Want to Use the Makerspace?

Teachers Mrs. Sykes and Mr. Garrant show students how to use one of the Makerspace’s many tools.

Did you know that we have Makerspace technicians to guide students and support them on how to create the designs that they envision? The Chiang Center’s Makerspace is a great workspace for Blair students to use their creativity to create real-life products. Equipped with various 3D printers, a laser engraving system, and a vinyl cutting machine, creative possibilities are endless. Since these complex machines most likely are foreign to many, students may be reluctant to pay a visit to this unfamiliar environment. This is what Makerspace technicians are there for.

Under the guidance of Mr. Garrant, Computer Science teacher and Chief Director of the Makerspace, technicians learn how to operate various devices and create guidelines for an efficient process of creation for other students. Technicians are a group of student volunteers who rotate working down in the Makerspace, with one or two students “on duty” every night from 7 to 9 PM. They are there to assist their peers, answer questions, and give advice.

According to Mr. Garrant, being a Makerspace technician “is a technical leadership role.” He insists:

The experience of coaching other students and learning by doing advances our students’ making and interpersonal skills.  At Blair and beyond, guiding others in work will teach them to be empathetic toward someone in need and will test their patience. That’s why we encourage our technicians to ‘teach someone to fish’ and not complete their project for them.

To gain insight into the experience of being a Makerspace technician, I asked June Dinias ’20 a few questions about the job.

Shauna Kwag: Why would you recommend this position to your peers?

June Dinias: Because you can learn a lot about the technology of today’s world.

SK: Why did you want to become a Makerspace technician in the first place?

JD: Because I wanted to do stuff on my own like make stickers and t-shirts.

SK: What is your favorite part about being a Makerspace technician?

JD: I love learning how to use the different machines and being able to use them for my own projects; I also enjoy helping others.

SK: What is a typical night like?

JD: I get there at 7PM on Tuesday night. I am currently in the training process with my partner, Madina [Shabazz ’20]. So far, we have learned to use the laser cutter and the software for the 3D printer.

Speaking as a Makerspace technician myself, I can say that the experience so far has been enriching. Every Sunday I go down to the Makerspace and learn something new about technology. For the past few weeks, I have helped students make t-shirts for meme day, created a poster that laid out instructions for how to handle the machinery, and organized software files for students’ convenience. Having the opportunity to hang out with Mr. Garrant is definitely a plus of being a Makerspace technician, too! If anyone is interested in signing up for this role, feel free to email Mr. Garrant. He can be contacted at garram@blair.edu.

(Copyright 2018 Shauna Kwag)

Shauna Kwag

Editor

Shauna Kwag is a two year junior at Blair Academy. As an editor at the Oracle, she hopes to integrate her interest in poetry, photography, sports, and social science into her work.