Maker culture is about combining DIY and Technology to enable people to actualize the products of their imagination.
Howard University is supporting maker culture by providing opportunities for students to imagine and create. We provide coursework that refines our students’ ability to ideate, spaces with tools such as 3D printers which facilitate their ability to make, and partnerships which network them with the larger maker community.
Our current curriculum places an emphasis on design thinking, in particular. In the freshman year, for example, all incoming engineering students have multiple exposures to design thinking and prototyping. Moving forward there will be an increased emphasis on the marriage of ideation and making.
The central program that will facilitate the development of maker skills is the HowU Innovate initiative. Through that initiative, a new Innovation Lab is being brought online that will become the focus of design thinking and making on campus.
Our students are currently involved in making through the HU Innovate student club. The club focuses on interdisciplinary teaming to identify problems and create solutions.
HowU Innovate Lab – large ideation and making space equipped with 3D printers, laser cutters, raspberry pi boards, and also low tech “speed of thought” materials.
GENIUS Advanced Manufacturing Lab – 3D printers, and CNC milling equipment.
Fine Arts Digital Studio – 3D printers
Fine Arts Sculpture Atelier – Wood and metal working equipment
To date, Howard University has engaged with the maker community by participating in local demonstrations hosted by makers as well as hosting events on campus like hackathons.
We currently have relationships with the DC Fab Lab and IDEASpace both are DC-based organizations focused on making/fabrication and have a shared use model.
In addition, we also have relationships with 1776 and GeneralAssembly which are local co-working and learning spaces, respectively, which focus in part on developing design thinking skills.
Maker culture has helped to encourage inter-disciplinary teaming.
As a result of maker culture and the associated tools, we have had a few early successes: