In strategic partnership with Oregon State University’s College of Business (COB) and Austin Entrepreneur Program (AEP), United Way is developing a Mobile Makerspace initiative in response to priorities identified in its 2013 Rural Needs Assessment. The assessment identified providing activities and developing leadership opportunities for South Benton County youth as priorities. You can find more information and link to the full report <here>
The Makerspace initiative is a purpose-designed 32-foot trailer, comprised of small-scale fabrication and design tools—which offers on-site, hands-on learning for youth. Makerspaces provide opportunities for students who may not thrive in traditional classroom environments to explore and develop, using their problem-solving skills to find solutions to questions they face.
Oregon State University College of Business
College of Business 16xOSU students, representing a variety of disciplines, are designing curriculum aimed to engage youth from elementary through high school in STEAM/Entrepreneurial fields, help them understand fundamental business skills, and inspire them to pursue higher education. Makerspace curriculum will guide youth through a design-thinking process and enhances their critical thinking skills. Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM)-related concepts and fundamental business skills will be emphasized.
16xOSU is Austin Entrepreneur Program's (AEP) new social entrepreneurship initiative: the practice of utilizing business models and methods to help solve social problems. Students participate in an entrepreneurial community where they learn how to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to construct sustainable, innovative solutions to poverty, at home and abroad. 16xOSU challenges students to analyze situations strategically, think critically, and work collaboratively to ensure the long-term sustainability of their solutions.
How it works: The Makerspace program works with local school districts and communities—and tailors curriculum to meet needs of that district, neighborhood, or specific school. Implementation can range from a makerspace workshop for a science fair or one day event, to a 10 week, module-based course. One day events include a number of activities where students learn how create a 3-d object, create their own custom t-shirt, or laser engrave an object, as a few examples.
The module-based course consists of one two-hour session per week, with a primary focus on helping students develop college and career readiness skills. Adapted from the lean business model canvas, modules walk students through the foundations of business, and teach them how to run their own micro-enterprise. The course culminates in a "Demo" day where students are able sell the products they have created at a local event such as a sporting event or open house—inviting community members and local business owners to come and look at the work the students have done.
While ostensibly the Makerspace program provides students an opportunity to tap their creativity and “make cool stuff,” they are also developing interpersonal skills and learning business concepts through experiential learning. These skills prove valuable whether they ultimately decide to attend a post-secondary institution or go straight into the workforce.
The design team purchased a trailer mid-July, 2016. The pilot program is expected to launch in South Benton County with the 2016 school year.
More news about the Mobile Makerspace program <here>
Build-out progress pics below: