Cabrillo Makerspace Student Activity

Cabrillo College Students Participate in Makerspace Community Plan-A-Thon and Showcase at the Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — On April 21, Cabrillo College held a MakerSpace Plan-A-Thon to get input from a wide variety of community stakeholders on what is needed to to create a MakerSpace community. The Plan-A-Thon featured several participatory activities to garner input on how faculty can embed making into curriculum, employers can provide internships, and Cabrillo students be given an opportunity to explore, create and connect in an innovative making environment. More than 50 attendees provided input for Cabrillo’s collaboration with The California Community College Maker Initiative. Together, they are working to drive innovation in education and prepare students for success in STEM/STEAM careers that demand 21st Century skills.

Several VAPA (Visual Applied and Performing Arts) Cabrillo College students participated in the Plan-A-Thon, working side by side with other community stakeholders, including employers and industry partners, to identify the requirements for a successful MakerSpace community and innovative education program. The VAPA Art students who are completing the Art 95-B class, Beginning Digital Fabrication for Studio Arts, were uniquely qualified in providing input since they had completed coursework that honed creativity and ingenuity in designing an object in 2D or 3D applications, then fabricating the object using 3D printers, vinyl cutters, laser cutters or CNC routers.

Students in the Art 95B classes were also required to collectively create a Rube Goldberg device — a deliberately complex contraption in which a series of devices that perform simple tasks are linked together to produce a domino effect in which activating one device triggers the next device in the sequence. The interworking device was debuted on Saturday, April 29, at the Cabrillo College Fab Lab booth at the Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire.

Both activities are part of Cabrillo College’s unique approach to the intersection of art and and function by creating a digital fabrication lab in the 3D arts department. Here, artists become makers who use the design process coupled with a deep understanding of materials. Students in the digital fabrication classes use their creativity and ingenuity to imagine an object, design the object in 2D or 3D applications, then fabricate the object using 3D printers, vinyl cutters, laser cutters or CNC routers. Their freedom to engineer an art object without the rigorous engineering requirements normally associated with 3D equipment, means the students develop skills using new equipment in the art/making process.

Cabrillo’s planned Makerspace Community will provide access to open source designs, equipment and tools, expertise and best practices, and a worldwide network of collaborative problem solvers. There are a growing number of Makerspace Communities across the country promoting the rapid development of robotics, 3D printing, wearable computing, and programming languages. Cabrillo College is leading the nation by incorporating the digital design and fabrication into traditional arts and making skills classes, specifically the 3D arts studio classes. Future expansion of the Cabrillo Makerspace include plans to extend the digital fabrication into many of the art and design classes, as well expanding making access into all the traditional STEM classes.

Making-centered learning – design thinking, build, hack, redesign, and tinker with a variety of materials – is a process that has been used in the creative Art and Design learning environment. It is imperative that the making-centered learning, that encourages creativity failure and innovation is integrated into all departments to prepare our students for their future work environment, which is shaped by rapidly changing technological advances that require the ability to adapt and function as an employee, free lancer or entrepreneur.