ETEC 568 MakerSpaces Personal Retrospective

This class has been an experience! I began the semester truly not knowing if I would be able to complete the assignments. Luckily Dr. B reminded us frequently that the class was not really about how good at coding we are but about stepping out of our comfort zones and into the creative makerspace mindset. I really took this to heart and relied on this perspective to get myself through the challenges. Had I not gone into the class with this in mind, it would have been much more stressful and I don’t think I would have learned as much about the Arduino and I also would have been missing the whole point of what a MakerSpace really is.

Though online classes are the only option for me because of my other obligations and life situation, I would have loved to take ETEC 568 as an in-person class. It would have been fun to have access to an in-person makerspace and I think I would have ended up learning more form my classmates if we were able to collaborate in real time. Even though in-person would have had its benefits, I did appreciate how much self-directed learning there was with the online. I think having that initiative and taking your learning into your own hands is something all adults need to become comfortable with if they are going to progress and meet their highest goals.

Having the class online also inspired me to take the makerspace mindset with me no matter where I am. Though a real life makerspace would be awesome to have at my current job as well as wherever I end up (and I hope that will become the norm one day!), taking this class online will help me to remember that I can bring the makerspace with me to the job. What I mean is, I can share this mindset with others in how I instruct them, encourage them, and give them space to try things out on their own.

What I loved about this class is that we did not have to be perfect in order to succeed and this is the same mindset and understanding that I want employees to enjoy. I have been in too many jobs where supervisors and trainers had very little patience and too much was expected without enough guidance or freedom to learn through mistakes. We learned plenty through experience, but it was through stressful experiences where we were met with hostility and irritability instead of support and collaboration. Luckily, I am now in a job that is far closer to having a makerspace mindset than any I have had before. However, I want to take that mindset to the next level through more awareness of what a makerspace is and the benefits it has to offer.

It is hard to say what build I am most proud of because I learned important pieces and gained confidence in different areas one step at a time through each project I completed. The project I enjoyed the most though was the piezo buzzer because I got to choose the project on my own and it was fun finding the perfect mix of challenge and familiarity. With this project, I got a glimpse of the fun that is possible with Arduino. And though that is a rewarding experience and exciting to think about what I could potentially end up doing with the Arduino myself, the real reward in it for me was finding more excitement and inspiration in a topic I initially wasn’t interested in and watching myself grow as a person within a specific medium.

This process was so important to me because I have been experiencing a similar process at work. I have always been a creative and artsy person, so working in mortgage as I am now did not seem to make much sense. However, I have found a strength and a different form of creativity within that industry that is exciting and empowering. Likewise, this experience for me has an even deeper meaning because it brings me back to my original love of education and learning which I plan to share with others in a business setting. This class was truly a transformational learning experience for adults which is exactly what I want to bring to the business world.

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