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Sierra College Mechatronics Students’ Projects Benefit Humanity

Originally appeared in the Colfax Record on June 5, 2017.

Sierra College students invent for social good at makerspace

Sierra College mechatronics students developed and presented projects designed to make a positive impact on the world at a May 22 showcase event at Hacker Lab powered by Sierra College.

The students were supported by US Bank and the Sierra College Foundation.

Vivian Raeside won first-place for her “Solar-Powered Water Purification System.” David Ramey won second-place for his “Mech 90 Rat Trap” and Barbara Nichols won third-place for her “Automatic Cat Food Dispenser.”

Read the rest of the article about Sierra College Mechatronics student inventors and the benefit of Hacker Lab powered by Sierra College in the Colfax Record. Sierra College Students invent for social good at makerspace


CCC Maker Implementation Plan – Budget (April 28, 2017)

Developing the Makerspace Budget for your Implementation Plan. This webinar will cover the process of creating your budget detail and summary, matching funds calculation, budget narrative and total funding request. TAP will offer guidance in aligning funding request to overall Implementation Plan outcomes.

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CCC Maker Implementation Plan – Internships (April 25, 2017)

Developing the Internship plan for your Implementation Plan. This webinar will cover the CCC Maker Internship types and definitions, Work based Learning strategies, 21st Century skills development and how to integrate these into your overall Implementation Plan outcomes.

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CCC Maker Implementation Plan – Makerspace Equipment (April 26, 2017)

Developing the Makerspace Equipment plan for your Implementation Plan. This webinar will cover strategies for developing your equipment list based on your college needs and capacity, ranges of equipment packages and how to integrate makerspace equipment into your overall Implementation Plan outcomes.

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CCC Maker Implementation Plan – Work Plans (4/24/2017)

Developing the Work Plans for your Implementation Plan. This webinar will offer guidance in generating the Work Plan in alignment to key outcomes and implementation strategies.

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CCC Maker Update April 13, 2017

In April, the CCC Maker newsletter provided an update on the college makerspace initiative. Colleges attended regional meet-ups to build connections that will form the state-wide community of practice and work on their makerspace implementation plans. The CCC Maker initiative also sponsored New World of Work 21st Century Skills Training for makerspace teams. The City College of San Francisco makerspace planning team explained how they used visual mind maps as a technique to collect ideas and build community.

Read the April 13, 2017 CCC Maker Update.


CCC Maker Implementation Plan Packet Overview Webinar (4/20/17)

An overview of the Implementation Plan Packet, review of guiding principles, elaboration of narratives, technical and delivery guidelines.

Student Activity Reporting instructions

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CCC Maker Update March 9

In the March 2017 CCC Maker update, it was reported that colleges attended training in using Kumu to map their college ecosystems as well as regional meet-ups to build the community of practice.

Some of the colleges shared their efforts to build community and plan makerspaces. Sacramento City College students on the implementation team designed posters and put them up on campus. Cabrillo College is planning a Makerspace Plan-a-thon in April. Allan Hancock College is working with community partners on a Maker Weekend on May 5 and 6.

Read the March 9, 2017 CCC Maker Update.


Nurturing your Ecosystem through Member Engagement

Guest Blog Post By Amy B. Schulz, MBA, NACCE, Special Projects

After identifying partners in your ecosystem, the next step is to assess the strength of current connections and evaluate a need for developing new partnerships to round out your maker ecosystem. This blog post will focus on fostering current relationships, and a future post will examine how to build new partnerships.

In their book, Harnessing the Power of Networks for Social Impact: Connecting to Change the World, Plastrik, Taylor, and Cleveland (2014) provide strategies for fostering networks. In the example of the Networks United for a Rural Voice (NURV), diverse stakeholders joined together to move policy to improve conditions in rural communities. Initial strangers did not see how they were connected, but over time their common goals and budding relationships shaped the direction of the network, and, ultimately, policy. Forming trust through relationships was key to their success. The same ideals can be applied to developing a makerspace or innovation lab ecosystem. The richness of relationships from within the ecosystem can catapult a makerspace past the startup phase and initial funding. If the ecosystem members all feel invested in the makerspace, they will work together to ensure its success.

Trust is the key currency in a thriving ecosystem. Firstly, it is critical to evaluate the level of connectedness currently within your ecosystem. Plastrik, Taylor and Cleveland (2014) provide the following four levels of member connections:

“Level 1: I have been introduced to this person, but do not exchange information with them on a regular basis.

Level 2: I exchange useful information with this person on a regular basis but have not worked/do not work directly with them on a project.

Level 3: I exchange useful information with this person on a regular basis and have worked or am working directly with this person on one or more projects.

Level 4: I depend on this person regularly for important advice and have worked with him/her on more than one project (Plastrik et al., 2014, p. 86).”

In the context of a makerspace or innovation lab, levels of connectedness may appear by partners’ level of support in activities, such as a campus maker fair or in internships provided by industry partners. Platrik, Taylor, and Cleveland’s (2014) model provides a basis to start evaluating levels of engagement within the ecosystem.

Patterns may emerge of the most active partners and where future cultivation may be necessary for a more robust ecosystem. For example, if there is a strong clustering of Levels 3 and 4 connections around partners in making activities, but among employer partners the Levels fall in the 1-2 range, that would indicate a need to invest effort in employer relationships. Ecosystem stewards can design activities to engage the target audiences. Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning activities to engage ecosystems members:

  1. Face to face interactions are the gold standard of relationship building and ecosystem engagement. When possible, plan events that bring members together for in person connections.
  2. Employ empathy when designing events. What will appeal to your members and be beneficial to their goals? While you may have curriculum development and internship placements in mind, they might be attracted to the network for like-minded thinkers in similar fields or a sense of social responsibility. Understanding what brings value to your members will help to drive how to plan ecosystem events.
  3. Continually invest through multiple areas of entry. While in-person events are the gold standard, there are many other ways to engage members between in-person events, such as social media, e-newsletters, webinars, regular conference calls, and special interest groups. Like a face to face event, think through what brings values to members when designing virtual engagement activities.
  4. Become a network hub. Make your college the central hub to connect members of the ecosystem and add new members. If you have strong ties with members, you can introduce them to each other, which provides tremendous value to the ecosystem. They, in turn, will introduce new members to organically grow your ecosystem.

An ecosystem is a loosely connected and mostly volunteer network so participation will emerge as the value is evident. Be strategic in planning engagement activities to provide value while optimizing connections within the ecosystem. While the ecosystem will bring value to your makerspace or innovation lab work, the ecosystem should be beneficial to everyone involved.

Plastrik, P., Taylor, M., & Cleveland, J. (2014). Harnessing the power of networks for social impact: Connecting to change the world. Washington, DC: Island Press.