Introducing the Maker Hub: Integrating Technology into Teaching and Learning

Opening in the John T. Richardson Library in fall 2017, the Maker Hub will be the library’s new center for offering technologies of making. The Maker Hub will allow DePaul students, faculty, and staff to access emerging technologies and equipment that may be difficult to access otherwise. Visitors to the Maker Hub may receive help with projects, as well as network and collaborate with others on group projects. The Maker Hub is part of the third phase of the John T. Richardson Library’s renovation, which will also include a suite of media production rooms with state-of-the-art equipment for editing video and audio, and high-end, powerful computing for demanding industry applications used in digital scholarship, data science, and media production.

The Maker Hub will focus on electronics and circuitry, prototyping, tinkering, 3D scanning and printing, laser cutting, and vinyl cutting.  The Maker Hub adds equity to the manufacturing process as it will serve DePaul’s diverse, interdisciplinary population by offering access to technology used in designing and creating the objects they consume. Library staff will also work with faculty and staff in other maker spaces around the university, e.g., the Physical Computing Lab, to build a true “hub” for maker-related resources, expertise, and academic programs around the university.

Inspiration for the Maker Hub’s design came from entrepreneurial centers such as 1871 in downtown Chicago, and The Garage at Northwestern University. Both 1871 and the Garage offer support for iterative design projects, including 3D modeling and printing, and white board and window space to help visualize, plan, and execute a concept with a team. Also, inspiring the Maker Hub’s administrative model is the Illinois MakerLab, a business school 3D printing lab at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that encourages do-it-yourself design by offering guidance and resources to empower visitors to independently create products. With maker spaces increasingly common in K-12 schools, as well, the Maker Hub’s programs may allow us to expand our K-12 community engagement efforts, including with our existing partners at DePaul College Prep and Lake View High School.

Visitors to the Maker Hub will have access to a fleet of 3D printers made by MakerBot and Ultimaker, and a Sense 3D Scanner that allows almost anything, (including people) to be scanned, edited, and 3D printed. Also, to be available is a vinyl cutter used for creating custom stickers, large format signs, decals, transfers for apparel, and more. A Glowforge laser cutter, capable of working with wood, leather, acrylic, fabric and paper will be available for use. In addition, a Husqvarna Viking sewing machine will also reside in the Maker Hub for work on textile-based projects.

The Maker Hub will be available to reserve for class meetings, as well as free access for students, faculty, and staff. Hours and reservation system will be announced on the library web site as they become available. Please contact Janice Scurio, Information Technology Librarian, with any questions or if you would like to plan to use the Maker Hub in your classes next year.

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