We Are Makers released

Last week we released a short documentary on the Maker Movement as part of broader discussions on campus about the value of “learning by doing.” We’re pleased to share it with the ACU community as so many here on campus contributed to its final shape.

We spent several weeks in March interviewing key voices thinking about the impact of making in different contexts—in community centers and libraries, in education and museums, and in hackerspaces and online.


Special Thanks

We’ve already had a chance to thank those who welcomed us into their makerspaces and workshops while shooting in Austin and NYC, but we did want a chance to share a few of the Abilene connections.

  • thanks to Michael Daugherity and the department of Engineering and Physics for return visits to film their 3D printer and begin thinking about its future impact
  • Sandy Freeman welcomed us into the ACU Theatre Costume Shop where Amanda Martin made a dress on the spot
  • we spent a great afternoon with James Langford dusting off our macro lenses to shoot tools in his shop
  • Megan May in the library not only shared her lightening-fast knitting but also introduced us to student maker Brittany Bunch who is both an Etsy seller (at Projects for Bliss) and a part-time Disney princess
  • Evan Young helped edit the additional footage for wearemakers.org while Matt and Nathan were heads-down on the final film
  • and finally Elvis Sanchez who worked with Nathan to score the transitions in the film with stunning work on a tight deadline

The production of the film itself just reminded us how many makers surround us here in Abilene, making this a logical spot to open a makerspace of our own.

Details coming this fall.

Counting the Days kick-off

Those of you who have been with us in Cornerstone this fall got a glimpse of one of our summer projects. This was our second kick-off film to welcome freshmen to campus and the ACU Core–Kyle Trafton produced “You Are ACU” for us in 2010.

“Counting the Days” was produced by Matt Bardwell and Nathan Driskell, our media production specialists in the Learning Studio, and offered a creative break from our work on the Year One Report this summer. Enjoy.


Behind the Scenes

The film combines time-lapse photography with a tilt-shift effect and graphics done in post-production. After we premiered the film in Cornerstone, the guys received a number of questions about how it was put together, so Matt walks through how the shots were done with a couple favorites that didn’t make the final cut.

Special thanks to Scot Colley, Kristian Allen, and Joel Swedlund for help getting some of these shots.


Digital Storytelling facilitator training

This last week Joe Lambert from the Center for Digital Storytelling joined us for a one-week follow-up to our workshop last May. During the week he and Beverly Bickel from CDS trained on-campus volunteers to facilitate future digital storytelling workshops.

As part of the facilitator training, a small group of campus volunteers went through a “workshop within a workshop” where they created stories of their own. See below for select stories from each workshop..


Digital Stories – August 2011

Digital Stories – May 2011


Digital Storytelling Workshop Reflections – May 2011


Summer schedule in the Learning Studio

Just a heads-up on summer plans for the Learning Studio. During the school year, we’re focused on serving students and faculty on campus but as those numbers drop off during the summer we’ll be working with a number of campus guests.

During each event, all Learning Studio spaces and equipment will be reserved for the use of the visitors in each program.

June 27 – July 1

Next Generation Learning Challenges Grant

Dr. Cynthia Powell and the Adams Center will be working with math and sciences faculty to scale her work with inquiry-based learning to other campuses. For more information on the grant, read the news release.

July 11-15 & July 18-22

K-12 Digital Learning Institutes

Dr. Billie McConnell and the College of Education & Human Services will host two groups of K-12 faculty in the month of July to develop skills for teaching and communicating with new mobile tools.

For More Information

Here are a couple videos offering details on these programs.

Watch video

Where good ideas come from

A great talk from the TED Conference by Steven Berlin Johnson considering the types of spaces most likely to spark new ideas. Not surprisingly, ideas rarely appear all at once, the result of isolation and the individual genius. Johnson walks through a range of examples, from natural selection to GPS, to illustrate that great ideas are born of communities with a wide range of interests and expertise.

Thanks to Joyce Haley for sending this along. She just opened the Morris and Mitchell student Ad/PR agency on campus and has spent most of her summer thinking about designing spaces that spark creativity, an interest we share for the new Learning Studio.