Wednesday, 04 March 2015 14:29

MHC’s Makerspace YXH a hit with students and the public

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They tried it. They liked it.

James Kuehn, one of the organizers of the Medicine Hat College’s MakerSpace YXH pilot project was pleased following the MakerSpace seminars which ran Feb. 19-27 at the Vera Bracken Library.
MakerSpace had experts which included students, college instructors and regional business owners and experts talking about various topics in an informal way. Each had their own style and the only thing which was similar was the exchange of ideas.
Some topics included laser cutting, diverse discussions on various uses of 3-D printing, home automation, quadcopters, bio-hackers and do-it-yourself biology, and other do-it-yourself culture.
“I was happy with the results. (I) figured out where some of the energy was generated,” explains Kuehn, who adds some of the people who were presenters had more energy this week following the exchange of ideas at the MakerSpace sessions.
The reactions of visitors were varied as was the number of people who attended events. He found noon hours and those during the day were better attended than evening sessions.
Kuehn also thought the library was a prudent location — not only for the space and ambiance the library had and the proximity to information — but also for the visibility.
Many of the sessions were held in one corner of the college’s library which is completely visible to the public due a clear wall partition making the inside open to anyone walking by.
Kuehn recalls one instance where an older gentleman was a little surprised looking at MakerSpace presenter Keegan Stepp in his full cosplay gear.
“Keegan was standing in the back of the library near the (large window) in his full armour and that was the day the job fair was going on so there were a lot of people in the hallways,” Kuehn explained. “There were jaws that were dropping in the crowd. This one guy walked right up to the window and just stared. I really like the visibility it was able to give. It’s a great location.”
Kuehn says organizers of the event will have a more formal post mortem on the event and then go from there. So far, they have just had an informal discussion.
Kuehn says they didn’t have official MakerSpace sessions at the Esplanade Feb. 28 with an unrelated program, but they did have some seminars with some of the MakerSpace presenters.
Kuehn found it had quite a different feel to it.
“It was an interesting contrast as it had a totally different audience ... a different vibe to it,” explains Kuehn. 
The plan is to have more MakerSpace sessions. It’s just a matter of when and the topics to be covered.
“There will be opportunities in the spring, even with all formal classes being done,” explains Kuehn.
“There are different areas in the college for example which we didn’t even ask. I was stopped in the hallways a couple of times with instructors saying ‘hey, you never asked me to present...
“We’re going to be developing a workshop; the science and business wings, we could be pulling from the visual communications department too.”

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor