I worry I don’t do a good job of talking with my tutors about the “why” of the ThinkLab. I seldom have explicit conversations about my philosophy around teaching and making. I still haven’t figured out a way to have those conversations that don’t come across as “let me randomly start talking about philosophy and possibly lecture you about things”. Sometimes a moment happens organically and I try to grab them as they come up. This week held one of those moments.
Recently we’ve been working with a class that does a 3D printing assignment. I’ve struggled to make this assignment a meaningful exercise (at least meaningful in my mind). After a tutor had started another print he said something along the lines of, “I don’t really care for assignments where people come in and 3D print one-off things and we never see them again. I like to see people work through a project.” Yes, this was a moment! Another tutor also hopped in to the conversation and we began discussing the purpose of this space, the value of making things, and where a makerspace fits in at a small public liberal arts university. They could articulate ideas, even in their first semester working in the ThinkLab, that told me they already understood so much about this space. I know I should have not been surprised since they are both the kinds of students who valued the ThinkLab as a creative space before I even hired them. I spent the rest of the afternoon beaming. This is why I do this work.
Now, how do I create more moments and opportunities like this?