Education & Literacy, Universities & Colleges, Social Innovation, Tampa Bay, Technology
The Innovation Lab-A “Technology Playground” Or Maker Space
THE INNOVATION LAB
The Dennis L. Jones Community Library is a joint-use facility in collaboration with the St. Petersburg College Seminole Campus and the City of Seminole.
A unique feature of this library is their Innovation Lab, which is a collaborative learning environment, oftentimes referred to as a “technology playground” or maker space. The Innovation Lab is open to the general public where people of all ages and with common interests (e.g., science, technology, engineering, digital arts, and math – STEAM) can meet, socialize and/or collaborate while sharing innovative ideas and learning new skills.
The Innovation Lab offers a variety of resources, including a growing list of emerging technologies, books, magazines, and interesting people with a variety of skills and experiences to share. For a list of the lab’s current equipment and resources visit http://j.mp/SPCiLab.
Inside the Innovation Lab, there are no judgements, no grades, and it is encouraged to color outside the lines and to make beautiful mistakes.
In October 2015, the Innovation Lab received a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from the Walt Disney Company in collaboration with the Association for Library Service to Children to expand their successful Maker Boot Camp program that helps “promote exploration and discovery for children ages 6 to 14.” The Maker Boot Camp works with adults and teenagers too!
Chad Mairn, Innovation Lab Manager, St. Petersburg College
Imagination and originality, flexibility, decision-making, communication, self-expression, collaboration, and motivation are the critical components of creativity that the Maker Boot Camp with support from the Curiosity Creates Grant has integrated into their curriculum.
The Innovation Lab offers Video Game Design, Robotics, 3D Design/Printing, Circuitry/Electronics, Virtual Reality, Drone Building, Video/Audio Editing, and Sewing workshops and has many other educational opportunities currently in the works, including a CoderDojo where free coding workshops are offered a few times each month.
The Innovation Lab also collaborates with local inventors to get their ideas to reality with 3D designs and prototypes. In early 2017, the Innovation Lab was awarded three St. Petersburg College Foundation Innovation Grants: ‘Microsoft HoloLens: Holographic Enhanced Learning’, ‘Graphs and Geometry: Engaging and Illustrating Mathematics with 3D Printing’, and ‘Virtual Reality: A Renaissance.’