You may or may not have heard about a new space in the Library called the ThinkLab. This was a built as a hands-on learning and collaborative workspace with the help of the Simpson Library, College of Education, and Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies. It houses equipment like 3D printers, Arduino microcontrollers and electronic components, breadboards, soldering irons, Lego Robotics, and more. George Meadows and I are currently teaching a freshman seminar course in the space and I’ve worked with a few other faculty integrating the space as part of their curriculum. However, the number one question I get from students is “How can I use this space if I’m not in one of those classes?” This is the chance to make that happen.
On Friday, November 16th at 5pm we will kick off our first ever 24 Hour Hackathon in the space. Because the library has graciously offered to allow use of the space after hours entry and exit will be from the back door that leads out to the parking lot. We will be there from 5pm Friday until 5pm on Saturday. Free pizza and drinks will be provided (and maybe pancakes in the morning). We have a few larger projects to work on including building a CNC mill and a 3D printer, but anyone is welcome to come and learn about the space, play with the equipment, or work on whatever pet project they might have. There is also an opportunity for students to organize their own club as part of this event that could then make use of the space for meetings and have access to it any time the library is open.
I should also mention this invitation and the space itself is not limited to “tech geeks” by any means. We have students with no prerequisite knowledge of the tools building robotic cars, designing and printing Star Wars chess pieces, and making iPhone cases and jewelry.
For more information about the space visit http://umwthinklab.com