We don’t have desks, we have work benches. We don’t have a whiteboard, we have multi-screen teleconferencing and presentation walls. We don’t have one professor, we have seven, three of which roll around the classroom in robots called Beams. Instead of normal printers, we have 3D printers and laser cutters. We don’t have a traditional classroom; we have a makerspace called the X-Labs.
We had to adjust to this new classroom setting. Many of us weren’t used to it and it was frustrating at times. For example, the multiple presentation walls were perplexing at first, but we were able to take full advantage of them and other technologies after overcoming the learning curve it takes to use them. The makerspace setting helps us not only get “lecture” time to discuss our progress, but it also offers convenient access to a hands-on “lab” setting; we feel like we’re actually doing something meaningful. This conjunction of an instructìnal environment with a hands on component in one class makes for a very efficient and productive working environment for students.
The various tools enable us to quickly pump out sample drafts of our end products and then efficiently build a sample 3D model/prototype of it on the spot; it enables us to bring our ideas to life! Maybe this is due to the technology we are surrounded by or maybe it’s the collaboration the space offers with peers and faculty members of different disciplines alike. We can argue that the X-Labs set up is far superior to a normal classroom! This is new to many of us, and we feel like we’ve only scratched the surface with this space. Regardless, we’re going to miss working in this setting once the semester is over. *cries*
By Premal Patel, Urvi Patel, Everett Pitts, Alexa Senio, and Jeffrey Small