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University of La Verne Hosts Second Annual Makerspace Conference

Makerspace sign

More than 100 makers, librarians, educators, and students gathered for the 2nd Annual Makerspaces for Innovation and Research in Academics (MIRA) conference held at the University of La Verne in support of creating and sustaining makerspaces in academic organizations.

Makerspaces are creative environments designed for open collaboration among educators and students that include the use of virtual reality tools, 3D printers, laser cutters, robotics, and programmable electronics. The spaces allow for do-it-yourself projects that can be used in health and sciences, engineering, aerospace, and research fields.

The two-day conference included workshops and presentations on how to find the right tools for academic institutions, the opportunities and challenges to a makerspace, and how to partner with science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics (STEAM) programs through makerspaces.

Students from the University of La Verne hosted an interactive demonstration featuring the fundamentals of coding for robotics. Step-by-step, attendees were shown how to use an Arduino board to code ultra-sonic sensors, IR sensors, motors, and servos.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for anyone to learn the basics and better understand the value in makerspace,” said Tiffany Casillas, ’21, a business administration student. “Makerspace is all about finding different solutions in order to solve a problem, and what better way than by creating robots.”

The conference is imagined, hosted, and organized by the staff of Wilson Library at the University of La Verne. The Wilson Library is home to a permanent makerspace available to students, faculty, and the community.  Wilson Library received more than 60 proposals from across the country and Canada to be included in this year’s conference.

“With the knowledge learned, attendees can integrate basic robotics into their makerspace, classrooms or school programs,” said Vinaya Tripuraneni, university librarian.

Guest speakers came from academic institutions including the University of California, San Francisco; Washington College; Ohio University; Ohio State University; Indiana University, University of California, Riverside; University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Miami University; and University of Maryland. Presenters came from Long Beach Public Library, Los Angeles Public Library, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Bay Area Discovery Museum, Anaheim Public Library, Corona Public Library, and Tarbut v’Torah Community Day School.

To learn more about the conference and for future dates, visit laverne.libguides.com/mira.