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KCI Makerspace Coordinator Program a Hit

October 10, 2019

Makerspace Coordinator training

Over fifty people are on track to receive their Makerspace Coordinator Certificates after the KCI held three, week-long intensives this summer. The Certificate marks the completion of 18 units of coursework, and is one of only two in California that is state approved. Participants hailed from all over California and came from many diverse backgrounds, including education, engineering, art, and computer science. They joined one of KCI’s two programs: Makerspace Coordinator or UniDIVersity, a cohort consisting entirely of women of color and women veterans, sponsored by Cisco. The purpose of the certificate is to prepare people to lead and managemakerspaces, whether they are in schools, libraries or community centers. 

During the programs, participants learned to use the key tools in the Makerspace, including laser cutters, vinyl cutters, CNC machines, and 3D Printers. In addition they learned how to use different design software in order to bring creations from a digital to a physical space. Students had multiple opportunities to practice their skills through several design and engineering challenges to design, prototype, and revise their creations, emphasizing the processes of computational and design thinking. The instructors also spent time discussing important concepts of safety, fostering creativity through tinkering, structuring a makerspace, and developing resources and materials. 

Participants reported that the program “opened up a new world of possibilities” for them, and that they “appreciated the design process and the role of play when learning and figuring out new tools.” Anonymous survey data indicates that 100% of participants felt the summer intensive increased their confidence with makerspace tools, both on their own and when using them with students. 

The Summer Intensive portion of the program consisted of 10 units of hybrid courses. Students received hands-on, face-to-face instruction in Design Thinking, Adobe Illustrator, Block-Based Coding, and 3D Design, with online follow-up assignments to reinforce theories and provide opportunities for practice. After the intensive ended, participants returned to the Makerspace frequently throughout the summer to complete follow-up projects, practice with the machines, and develop materials that they could use in their classrooms and workspaces.At the end of the summer quarter, students completed final projects, showcasing their design and prototyping skills. Projects included projection systems, interactive musical learning devices, hand-designed pop-up books, classroom space redesigns, and math manipulative kits. 

The Makerspace Coordinator Certificate programs will continue in the fall and winter quarters, with follow-up days that introduce the final five courses for the certificate. Fall courses will focus on programming and robotics, while winter courses will dive deeper into design thinking and learning progressions. It will be exciting to see the amazing products that participants dream of and create before they graduate in March.