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California Community College Maker Initiative Releases Makerspace Impact Publication for Educators

The California Community College Makerspace initiative (CCC Maker) has published California Community College Makerspace Impact: Implementation Strategies & Inspiring Stories of Transformation available online at no charge. CCC Maker was created through a $17 million grant from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office that enabled a network of CCC Maker colleges to plan and develop unique makerspace communities.

“With CCC Maker, 24 community colleges developed makerspaces that served more than 64,000 students with the benefit of support from the statewide network and their industry partners,” said Carol Pepper-Kittredge, Associate Dean of Workforce Innovation, Sierra College and Statewide Project Director, CCC Maker. “This publication describes the impact of these makerspaces from the student and college perspective. We hope that the legacy of this initiative will be to inspire others to engage their ecosystems and offer educational makerspaces that encourage students to explore, create and connect.”

The publication describes the makerspace development strategies deployed by:

  • Allan Hancock College;
  • Butte College;
  • Cabrillo College;
  • City College of San Francisco;
  • College of the Canyons;
  • Folsom Lake College;
  • Moorpark College;
  • Orange Coast;
  • Sacramento City College; and
  • Sierra College.

California Community College Makerspace Impact highlights the experiences of college leaders who took the risk to establish cross-disciplinary hands-on community spaces with digital tools to close the skills gap, explained Deborah Bird, Technical Assistance Provider, CCC Maker and Assistant Professor, Pasadena City College. “The CCC Maker network encouraged participating colleges to lead the way in redefining what it means to be well-educated, especially in terms of a swiftly-changing economy demanding a resilient and adaptable workforce,” said Bird. “Successful faculty leads challenged traditional curricular boundaries and pedagogical practices, built community on and off campus, engaged local employers, and encouraged students to initiate projects across disciplines as well as start entrepreneurial ventures.”

According to Zack Dowell, Folsom Lake College Innovation Center Director, the college makerspace is staffed primarily by students. “The inspiration is empowering students to look at problems in a different way, to have a different set of possibilities and to give them access to tools,” said Dowell. “Empowerment manifests itself in a lot of different ways.”

Clare Sadnik, Makerspace Coordinator and Art Instructor, Moorpark College, indicates that in the makerspace, she’s seen students develop superior skills in problem-solving, troubleshooting, teamwork, spatial awareness, mentoring and peer-to-peer learning. “We were excited that we would be able to give the students more access to equipment and technology,” said Sadnik. “If they come in and make something really easy, like a button, then their eyes start to open and see all the possibilities.”

Nine students also submitted personal essays on their transformative experiences at their respective college makerspaces and these are included in the publication documenting the impact of educational makerspaces.

Ashley Tamori, Interior Architecture major, Butte College, was introduced to the makerspace when a class assignment required that she create a three-dimensional piece revolving around “clan identity.” “As I watched my design go from the computer to being etched on the wood, I remember thinking, ‘Woah, this is amazing!’” said Tamori. “The thought that an idea that I came up with could appear before my eyes was inspiring. That moment is when I realized how beneficial the makerspace could be to me.”

Connor Challis, Mechatronics major, Sierra College, worked with student Mason Sage to build a robotic hand that is programmed in American Sign Language at Hacker Lab powered by Sierra College. “Makerspaces are conducive to learning and experimenting,” said Challis. “Makerspaces offer the freedom and facilities that let you apply all the knowledge you’ve amassed.”

Open source tools, guides including the Makerspace Startup Guide and Makermatic: a Scalable Approach to Team Internships, and experiences of the largest educational makerspace network in the United States are shared at the CCC Maker website.

About Sierra College
The Sierra College District is rising to the needs of our community. Sierra College serves 3200 square miles of Northern CA with campuses in Roseville, Rocklin, Grass Valley, and Truckee. With approximately 125 degree and certificate programs, Sierra College is ranked first in Northern California (Sacramento north) for transfers to four year universities, offers career/technical training, and classes for upgrading job skills. Sierra graduates can be found in businesses and industries throughout the region.

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