Innovation @ Pike

Originally published on Pike Perspectives

In Tony Wagner’s recent book titled Creating Innovators, he writes about the fundamental economic change that is occurring now and that will continue in the future.  He emphasizes that we are no longer in a knowledge economy, where knowing more than someone is a competitive advantage.  We now live in a society where any information can be “googled,” and what you accomplish with your expertise is more important than the knowledge itself.  Wagner and many others indicate that our current innovation economy requires a new generation of innovators that will be essential to America’s future. Pike students will be entering a world where problem-solving, multidisciplinary solutions, creativity, and collaboration will be very important skills. Pike has always provided opportunities for students to develop these innovation skills and qualities, and next year we will be building and extending that effort by creating a makerspace in the library.

What is a makerspace? I often describe a makerspace as a combination of Art and Science classes, mixing with technology, Shop and Home Economics class.  This will be a place where students are encouraged to “Invent to Learn” with tools like 3D printers for fabrication, electronics (Arduino and other microcontrollers), robotics, cardboard, hammers, and conductive tape.  In this space you will see students working together to build elaborate cardboard cities or pop-up books, completing Lego challenges, building toothpick bridges, programming a robot, building simple and parallel electrical circuits, and many other hands-on science, art, and engineering projects that promote the joy of learning. This new dedicated space, blended with a deliberate focus and the access to tools, equipment, and supplies will provide countless opportunities for creativity and innovation.  Our makerspace will offer an environment that fosters curiosity, and individuals can engage in hands-on experiential learning, creation, and exploration.

Throughout this past school year we have had a dedicated group of faculty (one or more from each division), librarians, staff, and administrators working in partnership to procure funds, design curriculum, and order materials for the new makerspace, and over the summer this same group will be working to transform the Tech Office behind the Library computer lab for this purpose.  A makerspace supports and extends Pike’s mission to develop lifelong, independent learners with a creative spirit and we are very excited to launch this new innovation space in the Pike Community.

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