Designing the Design Space
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Located in the ILC and what used to be room 220 DE and F, the newly opened design space is a space for innovation and creativity. Created by the school to extend the STEM philosophy, the new design space comes with state of the art 3-D printers and laser engravers that are usable free of charge. It is available for use early in the morning, when the library opens, and throughout the school day, upon student request. “It is an area where students can come in and create, design, imagine, and invent,” said Nancy Weinhagen, the ILC technology specialist and a supporter of the room.
The creation of this space is part of the growing revamp of the ILC, the informational and learning center, in order to promote innovation and imagination in all classrooms. This also aligns toward the STEM ideology of the Mounds View Schools District and is part of a nationwide trend within schools.
Even the designing of the space is reflective of the STEM and cooperative ideology of Mounds View. Weinhagen explained, “No one person makes a decision for the building. We bring in people from around the building to help make decisions.”
All students have full access to this room and the resources inside it. It can be used not only for extracurriculars but also for activities not immediately related to school. However, some students have voiced reservations concerning the unlimited access to the resources. “Yes, I think we can make a lot of useful stuff, but we need regulations on what we can print,” said Mark Ge, 12. “I think that students might print objects that might not be school appropriate.”
Furthermore, some concerns also exist about the use and availability of the room’s resources. Many students didn’t exactly know how to use the devices located in the room and in some cases didn’t even know they were available in Mounds View. When asked about the 3-D printers in the room, Cameron Tomczyk, 12, said, “Wait, we have 3-D printers?”
The school may need to further educate students about their technology and resources in order for this new space to reach its full potential. This newly created design space will definitely be able to provide a variety of benefits for schoolwork. “I would use this most for projects or extra curriculars, like Science Olympiad,” said Kaylin Ro, 11. Furthermore, it also can be utilized for out-of-school projects that students may be interested in. In any event, this new space serves as a part of a paradigm shift as schools become increasing more STEM oriented and focused on student creativity and innovation.