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MakerSpace and MediaSpace introduces students to cutting-edge technology

New library facility promotes hands-on collaborative, multidisciplinary experiences. 

A creative space within UOW’s Wollongong campus library will be officially opened later this year, offering students the opportunity to design and create with cutting-edge tools and technology.

MakerSpace and MediaSpace are initiatives designed by students, for students and are located on the library’s ground floor.

They provide an introduction to the latest prototyping tools and technology and encourage multidisciplinary collaboration.

Tools include 3D printers, soldering irons, virtual reality headsets, digital recording programs, laser cutters, electronics and state-of-the-art sewing machines and crafting equipment.

Students can also explore digital creation including drawing, virtual and augmented reality, games, music, photography and cinematography.

The project was funded through Student Amenities Fees (SAF) and is expected to evolve based on the recommendations and feedback from students using the spaces and tools.

More than 20 volunteers registered with UOWX will receive induction and training to assist students in the use of tools and technologies within the spaces.

A ‘walk-through’ for UOW stakeholders, including academic staff, was held late last month, with project leaders sharing information and demonstrating the technology.

UOW Library Associate Director, IT & Infrastructure, Neil Cairns said the spaces were creative hubs where students could meet to explore and create, outside formal curriculum channels.

“In 2015 a committee comprising both student representatives and teaching and professional staff from across UOW began to look at what informal learning, study and collaboration opportunities there might be outside of the formal learning space,” he said.

“The group decided to create a pilot space that would provide opportunities for real-world, hands-on experimentation and collaboration with a multidisciplinary focus.”

UOW Director Library Services Margie Jantti said that transforming how people experienced information was at the heart of the library’s purpose.

“This multi-disciplinary space is part of being a university of the future. It is a pilot space that will be a strong learning environment,” she said.

UOW Library Emerging Technologies Librarian Nathan Riggir will be the project’s coordinator for the next two years.

“This opportunity for student collaborations is sensational. We see it as being a place to get the first hands-on experience with these types of machines, the first node in a network of the higher-end technologies that are available at UOW,” he said.

“Students will be referred on to more advanced technologies as their needs, interest and focus become more specialised.

“We want to have the spaces open as much as possible during library hours.”

A UOW Makerspace Club with more than 220 members has already been formed, with other UOW clubs already expressing interest in using the facility.

Workshops will be organised later this year to introduce students to the spaces.

Posted in Education
Tagged: Education