In April this year, CCST released a roadmap to help California Community Colleges grow a network of makerspaces, communal, interdisciplinary spaces which are empowering open-ended learning throughout the nation. This month, CCST brought the conversation home with a series of regional symposia designed to take the information in the report to the next level.
“The InnovationMaker3 Symposium Serieswas designed to bring together interested community college faculty with experts from the Maker community, said CCST Executive Director Susan Hackwood. “Broadly, we aimed to begin building the envisioned community college makerspace network and inform faculty of what is required to develop a successful makerspace. I’m proud to say that the conversation we began was a strong success.”
Makerspaces are places where people can design and invent among a community of other makers. They are communal facilities which offer opportunities for collaboration with a supportive, interdisciplinary community that connects students, businesses, and community members.
The InnovationMaker3 Symposium Series showcased existing makerspaces in and near Berkeley (June 13), San Diego (June 16), and Bakersfield (June 23), and discussed how to connect them to the community through both educational experiences and business partnerships. The symposia were spaced throughout the state to cover the seven Community College (CC) regions in California. Speakers included representatives from Laney College, the Hacker Lab in Sacramento, Maker Ed, Pasadena City College, Fab Lab San Diego, EnVision Maker Studio, CSU Bakersfield, and Fresno Ideaworks.
“Makerspaces incorporate the ‘four C’s’ of 21st century skills: creative thinking, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication,” said CCST Senior Program Associate Brie Lindsey, who presented CCST’s makerspace report at the symposia. “There are already numerous successful makerspaces throughout California. Leveraging connections with these spaces, along with other regional stakeholders, is a way for the community college system to grow a new network of makerspaces in a way that complements and strengthens the educational community as a whole.”
As a key partner in developing a workforce for the innovation economy, the California Community College System is investing $17 million to grow a statewide network of makerspaces linked to California Community Colleges. Through its InnovationMaker funding opportunity, the CCCCO aims to identify and convene up to 38 colleges committed to exploring, creating, and/or building out their connections to the Maker movement.
“Makerspaces align well with the work we’ve been doing to develop the work-based learning continuum as a set of experiences for all students,” said Tim Aldinger, Director of Workforce Development Services at the Foundation for California Community Colleges. “We’ve been partnering with New World of Work to develop 21st century ‘skills badging,’ which focuses in part on adaptability, collaboration, and communication. We are thrilled to support the internship component of Innovation Maker with our Career Catalyst service.”
The network invisioned in the initial project is just the start. Through its InnovationMaker3 funding opportunity, the CCCCO aims to identify and network together a broad group of colleges committed to exploring, setting up, and/or building out their connections to the Maker movement.
“It has been exciting and inspiring to see both the existing makerspace programs throughout the state and the keen interest by stakeholders in taking this concept to the next level,” said Susan Hackwood. “CCST looks forward to continuing to work with the Community College System as the InnovationMaker3 program gets underway.”
A list of presenters at the symposia, along with PDFs of their presentations, can be found here.
M. Daniel DeCillis, PhD is the Spotlight editor and a Senior Research Associate at the California Council on Science and Technology.
The California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization established via the California State Assembly – making California’s policies stronger with science since 1988. CCST provides California’s Executive and Legislative Branches with independent scientific advice, convening a diverse network of expertise spanning California’s public and private universities, community colleges, and Federal research laboratories.
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CCST Sustaining Institutions and Affiliates Featured: University of California Berkeley; University of California San Diego; California State University Bakersfield; California Community College System; Pasadena City College