National Libraries Grant Aids in Studying Makerspaces

The UTA team will test the effectiveness of early-stage maker-based competencies previously developed by a task force on undergraduate learning.

makerspaces

Makerspaces are all the rage, and the a team at the University of Texas at Arlington will use a $49,800 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences to help develop a set of maker-based competencies.

The grant was awarded to Martin Wallace, Maker Literacies and engineering librarian at the University of Texas at Arlington Libraries in the form of a National Leadership Grant for Libraries.

MAKERSPACES HAVE SEEN RAPID RISE IN NORTH TEXAS

“The goals for this planning grant are to identify three additional partners who will agree to integrate and pilot test our maker literacies program at their institutions and to conduct a pilot run of the program over the 2017-2018 academic year,” Wallace said in a UTA release. “Accomplishing these goals will allow us to refine our early-stage set of maker competencies and apply for an IMLS Project Grant that will further expand the Maker Literacies Program.”

His team will test the effectiveness of early-stage maker-based competencies that previously were developed by a UTA task force on undergraduate learning, according to the release.

“This grant will support the development of competencies that can influence relationships between academic libraries and departments across the country.”
UTA Libraries Dean Rebecca Bichel

UTA said partners in the award are Gretchen Trkay and Katie Musick Peery of UTA Libraries, Tara Radniecky of University of Nevada-Reno, and Kathryn Pole of UTA.

Makerspaces have seen a rapid rise in North Texas, and are community-run work spaces where people with shared interests in such things as computers, machines, technology, science, and digital art can meet, socialize, and collaborate, UTA said.

Academic libraries can use makerspaces to offer students experiential learning opportunities that promote creativity, adaptability, and collaboration.

There aren’t many practical tools, however, for educators to measure student learning that is the result of making, and that’s where creation of the competencies could play a vital role by helping librarians and educators better assess and understand maker activities’ relevance in the academic process.

“This grant will support the development of competencies that can influence relationships between academic libraries and departments across the country,” UTA Libraries Dean Rebecca Bichel said in the release.

UTA Libraries opened its UTA FabLab makerspace in 2014 and was the first school in the University of Texas System to offer its students open access to 3-D printing.

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