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Pennsylvania State University Visits the KCI Makerspace for Inspiration and Guidance

May 2, 2022

KCI welcomed esteemed guests from Pennsylvania State University to the KCI Makerspace on Thursday, April 7th, 2022. Kim Lawless, Dean of the College of Education, and Steve Wilson, Director of Development at the College of Education, spent 5 hours in our makerspace in discussion about how to set up a similar learning space on their campus – which is in the plans for PSU College of Education. Their curiosities ranged from the actual machines, a schedule of open hours, how to implement safety procedures, pedagogical goals, and so forth.

Dean Lawless and Steve reached several conclusions by the end of their visit. Most importantly, they were reminded that the people matter most. They asked: “How do we get great staff who are excited about makerspace and the pedagogy behind the curriculum?”

My response: “You find a great staff guided by Kas Pereira who leads the makerspace efforts at KCI. Present with us today are Doris Mourad, a retired educator who is a true maker and leader, Matt Armer, a Foothill College engineering student, and Will Cavada, Eastside High School Media teacher who work with us in the makerspace with both college students and dual enrollment students participating in our makerspace classes.”

We all concluded that focusing on shifting mindsets is key: the maker-mindset, embodying creativity, and taking risks safely. Matt Armer, student-worker, said, “Working in the makerspace has increased his confidence in his abilities and broadened his perspectives by learning to actually collaborate with others.” Makerspace is truly about a space in which wonderment can flourish.

The esteemed visitors concluded that having a great staff was the critical part of the makerspace rather than focusing on the equipment. Our guests sent flowers to the makerspace staff with a very nice note which reiterated the sentiment of the trip. As we have already developed a California State Certificate of Achievement for Makerspace Coordinators and have a strong makerspace curriculum in place, we are hopeful that as the PSU College of Education makerspace plans take shape, we will be able to develop a partnership with their team.

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