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Maker Literacies Program Alumnus At Barcelona Maker Faire

Christine Adame facilitating her CNC Vinyl Cut Screen Printing workshop at UTA FabLab.

--By Martin Wallace

I’m writing to highlight what I consider to be a huge success story for our beta Maker Literacies Program at UTA Libraries. I just learned that Christine Adame is at the Barcelona Maker Faire teaching the “Easy Screenprinting with Vinyl” workshop that she developed as part of her assignment in the Maker Literacies Program!

Have you ever wanted to screenprint a cool shirt or poster with your own design? It's easier than you think! Learn how to make your design digital and create your own DIY screenprinting studio at home with the help of CNC technology.
All the staff at UTA Libraries want to congratulate her on this accomplishment, and for keeping the Maker Movement real!

One of the cornerstones of Maker culture is the eagerness of experienced makers to share their knowledge and skills with novice makers. We have enshrined this tendency in our draft Maker Competencies document as such:

The maker literate student transfers knowledge gained into workforce, community, and real­world situations; the maker literate student teaches what he/she knows to less experienced makers.
In Fall 2016, Dr. Cook’s ART 4392 students got a chance to develop an end-of-semester workshop series. Students in the course spent the semester exploring and learning new technology while developing their own body of work. The final project assignment was to take something that they had learned and teach it to others by developing workshops of their own.

Most of the students had never formally taught anything. Around mid-semester I presented a “workshop design” workshop for them, where I taught the backward design process. Feedback from students in the course was that the workshop was incredibly helpful for them and added value to what they had to do. They had never been taught anything about teaching before, and several of them would be expected to teach as part of their graduate studies. [I mentioned in the workshop that the students present would know more about teaching after this two-hour workshop than 99% of the GTAs currently teaching on campus!].

Over the remainder of the semester, students were given wide birth to do whatever they thought was best to teach and to design their workshops accordingly; Dr. Cook and FabLab staff helped reign the students back when their scope became too sprawling or if it seemed the workshop’s content wouldn’t be doable under the constraints and limitations of the FabLab.

Students worked in teams in order to keep the series manageable. Since the class is comprised of both graduate and undergraduate students, grad students were given leadership roles and the workshops would be part of their final grade. Undergrads were to be “helpers” and the workshops would not affect their grades. Their primary responsibility was to show up for the workshops and help participants as-needed while the grad students did their presentations & demonstrations. Ultimately there were two day-long workshops, each with two parts.

Workshop 1:

Morning: Illustrator tips and tricks for CNC
Afternoon: Easy silkscreen using the vinyl plotter
Workshop 2:

Morning: Tinkercad for making 3d printed molds
Afternoon: Casting with 3d printed molds
Students said having to design and facilitate these workshops reinforced the learning that had taken place over the semester; it gave them a chance to learn a second time. One cool and unexpected thing that happened due to this arrangement was that the students were able to attend each other’s workshops and learn additional content that they had not explored during the semester. Since this was during finals week, there were not many attendees from outside ART 4392. Dr. Cook reports that each session had four to six attendees who were not part of the class. The majority of those four to six were library employees!

We hope to continue this assignment in future iterations of ART 4392. We look forward to having Dr. Cook and his students in the FabLab again in Fall 2017, and we’re excited to see what amazing workshops will emerge!