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Pepperdine U to Establish International Network of Makerspace Clubs

A four-year project at Pepperdine University will work to establish a network of 12 makerspace clubs in the United States, Europe and Africa. Led by Eric Hamilton, professor and interim associate dean of education at the university, the effort received a $1.72 million grant from the National Science Foundation's Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program, a funding program that "seeks to advance new approaches to and evidence-based understanding of the design and development of STEM learning opportunities for the public in informal environments; provide multiple pathways for broadening access to and engagement in STEM learning experiences; and advance innovative research on and assessment of STEM learning in informal environments," according to the NSF website.

Student participants in the makerspace clubs will work collaboratively with counterparts from other U.S. and international project sites. The teams will be tasked with "creating digital assets — videos, games, short subject films and computer programs — designed to help their peers learn science and mathematics," according to a university statement. Students will have the opportunity to create "activities relevant to their interests and identities, while engaging in meaningful creative play and experimentation cross-culturally." In addition, the New York Hall of Science will work with the groups as a formal collaborative partner.

Concurrent educational research by Hamilton and his team will "test a novel data analysis methodology and create age-appropriate inventory for intercultural competence." Known for his research into innovative, transformative forms of learning, Hamilton points to the value of the makerspace project on an international level: "I think combining technology with an astute understanding of how people learn can lead to a new golden age of education."

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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