This post is part of a series where the YALSAblog takes a closer look at Learning Lab grantees from museums and libraries to learn how they engage middle and high school youth in mentor-led, interest-based, youth-centered, collaborative learning using digital and traditional media.” To read more about the context of the Learning Labs, visit the first post in the series here.

Original set up_3D printer Today we will read about a Learning Lab in Oregon, which is a partnership with the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and the Multnomah County Library with Kristin Bayans, Senior Educator, OMSI, and Sara Ryan, Teen Services Specialist, MCL,

KC: If you have named your Learning Lab, can you share what you are calling it?
KB/SR: Our teen advisory council named the area Maker[ ] to convey the open ended possibilities of making.

KC: What is the target age for your Learning Lab?
KB/SR: The OMSI space is drop-in and available for anyone. Our primary audience is Teens.

KC: What makes your Learning Lab unique?
1. Visitors can engage in the engineering design process by rendering and printing an object on the 3D printers.
2. The breadth of high and low technology programming.
3. Integration of the Maker Corps program.

KC: What theoretical framework are you applying to help inform the design and activities in the space?
KB/SR: The MacArthur and IMLS grant focused on Connected Learning and HOMAGO pedagogy by Mimi Ito, and OMSI consulted with Multnomah County Library on an approach to teen engagement informed by YALSA’s Competencies.

KC: At the heart of most learning labs is the concept of community. How do you anticipate your Learning Lab creating community where it didn’t previously exist in the same way before?
KB/SR: The planning process has resulted in renewed energy around teen engagement at OMSI both inside and outside the Maker[ ]. More opportunities for teen engagement will help build that sense of community.

KC: What advice are you taking into consideration in approaching this project-either from libraries who have completed or are in the process of similar projects, your own experience, or otherwise?
KB/SR: Ask your community—especially your teens — what they need. We held three brainstorming sessions for community partners and expert advisors to discuss teen engagement, space, and programming considerations, and worked with a teen advisory council throughout the planning process.

KC: What components will make your Learning Lab a Learning Lab?
KB/SR: Audience, type of facilitation, and digital media programming. It is not about the space as much as the staff.

KC: What types of activities and/or technology do you anticipate being a part of your Learning Lab?
KB/SR: <ulCurrent technology based offerings:

3D Printing

    , Design, and Scanning

ArduinoMakey MakeyLeap Motion GamingLittle Bits

    Stop Motion Animation with iPads

Light PaintingEgg-Bot

KC: What are your plans to keep the Learning Lab dynamic, fresh, and moving forward?
1. Continual reflection and analysis of program offerings.
2. Crafting a seamless visitor experience by further integrating the Maker[ ] and OMSI Physics and Chemistry Labs into the larger exhibits based Turbine Hall.

KC: For libraries or similar organizations that haven’t received funding to build their dream Learning Lab, what suggestions do you have where they can start to get ideas or create a similar experience?
KB/SR: Take a temperature of your city. Who is doing something similar? Would that space/organization make a good partner? What niche could your space fill within the community?
Look at the Hive networks, Connected Learning, the Makerspace Playbook, Digital Media and Learning, and the YOUmedia resources.

Attachment: Floor Plan Sketch Teen Advisory Council

About Kelly Czarnecki

Kelly Czarnecki is a Teen Librarian at ImaginOn with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. She is a member of the YALSA blog advisory board.

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