(Photo credit: “Arduino running ‘blinky”, by Sean (Tailor) Cooney)
Jasia Stuart and Sean (Tailor) Cooney are extremely busy getting ready for the much-anticipated opening of the Technology Sandbox. They are testing and calibrating a very wide range of low and high-tech equipment: from a sewing machine to a 3D-printer. Jasia and Tailor will try to break the distinction between low- and high-tech which sometimes is a barrier to trying new things. As Jasia puts it, her office is a giant castle of exciting technology most of which is still in boxes!
The concept of the Technology Sandbox is a simple one: in essence, the Sandbox provides access to those who want to experiment with technology. Some of that equipment can be very expensive and, consequently, unaffordable for most students. Students will be able to borrow some equipment (using a card available at Loans & Returns) and get help from staff and other students using the Sandbox. The atmosphere will be one of mutual assistance. Librarians and staff will give workshops. Jasia planned a series of workshops on Arduino machines, vinyl cutting, and how to get your cat to send you selfies! Moreover, Jared Wiercinski will give a workshop on using synthesizers and Pamela Carson will show users how to build a website. The definitive list of workshops will be available in the new year. Jasia is counting on students who are “pros” in their field to get involved and help in building a community of knowledge. The idea is to share the enthusiasm and to listen to what the community has to say so that the Sandbox becomes a live and active hub in touch with the needs of its users. Jasia and Tailor already purchased VR (virtual reality) equipment such as HTC Vive headsets.
Jasia has emailed every department chair in the University asking them to inform faculty members who, in turn, will help in informing the students. The reaction to date has been excellent. She plans to reach out to student groups in January.
Tailor Cooney has recently been hired at Systems and comes to the library from IITS. He has extensive experience in makerspaces which will prove most valuable at the Sandbox.
The Sandbox is planning an “open house” for staff some time before it opens to the general public.
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