4287 Views (as of 05/2023)
  1. Dagen Valentine
  2. https://epd.unl.edu/profile/dvalentine2
  3. Innovation & Entrepreneurship Educator
  5. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Extension/4-H Youth Development
  1. Bradley Barker
  2. Professor
  4. University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Nebraska Innovation Maker Co-laboratory

NSF Awards: 1723520

2019 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12

The Nebraska Innovation Maker Co-laboratory project provides opportunities for teams of youth and mentors to collaborate regardless of geographic location and to creatively problem solve and innovate.  We advance a high-risk model of connectedness and social innovation using two main strategies: virtual collaborative spaces and robotic telepresence, to provide rural youths and their communities access to the Maker movement. A component of the model utilizes telepresence robotics for more focused one-on-one collaboration with experts and mentors in the physical Makerspace. We see this model as high-risk because: a) it combines two relatively new technologies to create distance-based social interactions between learners and mentors in the Maker context, b) it serves a relatively small number of learners as compared to urban-based Makerspaces, and c) it explores the use of virtual tools to make physical things in collaborative environments.

This video has had approximately 384 visits by 237 visitors from 72 unique locations. It has been played 143 times as of 05/2023.
Click to See Activity Worldwide
Map reflects activity with this presentation from the 2019 STEM for All Video Showcase: Innovations in STEM Education website, as well as the STEM For All Multiplex website.
Based on periodically updated Google Analytics data. This is intended to show usage trends but may not capture all activity from every visitor.
show more
Discussion from the 2019 STEM for All Video Showcase (9 posts)
  • Icon for: Dagen Valentine

    Dagen Valentine

    Lead Presenter
    Innovation & Entrepreneurship Educator
    May 12, 2019 | 11:26 p.m.

    Welcome to the Nebraska innovation Maker Co-laboratory (NiMC) project video! The goal of this project is to explore how youth and mentors collaborate regardless of geographic location and to creatively problem solve and innovate in the context of makerspaces.  We used two main strategies: virtual collaborative spaces and robotic telepresence, to provide rural youths and their communities access to the Maker movement. We worked with two rural communities, Sidney and Columbus, NE and connected them to mentors in Lincoln, NE.

     This is our second year of implementation.  How have you used VR in your work?  What have you found to be the benefits or limitations of using VR?  How have you used telepresence robotics? 

     Please ask us any questions about our project and/or provide any insights and thoughts into the work. Thanks!

  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    May 13, 2019 | 08:13 a.m.

    hi, an imaginative experiment! 

    Your abstract speaks twice of this as a "high risk" project.  Can you say a bit more about what you mean by that?  And what evidence do you have for whether the strategy is working (by which I guess I mean, shows enough promise or strong enough results to lead to continued or expanded implementation)?

       I note from other "maker" videos that libraries are getting involved in maker-spaces. Have you involved them in your project so far, or might that be part of a future?

    Thanks for posting!

    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Michelle Quirke
  • Icon for: Dagen Valentine

    Dagen Valentine

    Lead Presenter
    Innovation & Entrepreneurship Educator
    May 13, 2019 | 09:42 a.m.

    Thanks Brian!

    This work was funded by NSF Early-concept Grants for Exploration Research (EAGER).  The EAGER funding supports research in early stages with potentially transformative ideas or approaches, i.e. "high risk". The approach in the project of using new technologies, VR and telepresence, for creating learning communities in the context of Makerspace is relatively new and untested, kind of risky :).  

    What have we learned? On a logistical side of the hardware and network, the Oculus serves as a great tool and improvements are happening all the time on VR hardware; bandwidth is rarely an issue.  Bandwidth for the telepresence robot can be an issue, luckily our partners at the Sidney Public Library worked with local ISP to increase their bandwidth.  In addition we had the opportunity to try out multiple VR software applications that support collaboration and/or exporting of files for manufacturing on maker equipment (not all do). Here's some more info on VR & telepresence from our project.

    Our qualitative research suggests we are forming learning communities and supporting makerspaces in a positive way.  We are conducting some research with youth in a pre-post design and are wrapping that phase up over the next couple of weeks.  One of the neat things is having the presence in the space to support the makers.  With telepresence and VR we teach and co-teach classes, support clubs, provide just-in-time instruction. To serve as an example:  Dr. Barker and a university student co-led a club with local 4-H educators to build a Magic Mirror in tandem with a 4-H club in Sidney NE.  The club's finished project received special recognition at the Nebraska State Fair.  

    Libraries are fabulous!  We partnered with the Sidney Public library for this project.  The library serves, among other roles, a meeting and connection point in the community.  Partnering with the library was a perfect fit for our project.  Nebraska 4-H/Extension and Nebraska Library Commission have a broad network, covering all 93 counties, to have local impact.  Nebraska Extension is currently partnered with the Library Commission on an IMLS grant to support the Maker Movement.  We foresee continued collaboration and synergy in our work with libraries.

    Thanks for the question!

    Edits: Spelling

  • Icon for: Michelle Quirke

    Michelle Quirke

    Project Manager
    May 14, 2019 | 02:28 p.m.

    I was impressed with how your video demonstrated the buy-in from several different stakeholders. How did you identify community partners for the project and has this led to other opportunities? 

  • Icon for: Bradley Barker

    Bradley Barker

    May 15, 2019 | 05:44 p.m.

    Hi Michelle,

    Prior to the grant funding we had worked with the Nebraska Library Commission and the Sidney Public Library and knew there was a lot of interest and buy-in from the community.  We conducted a number of face-to-face meetings with city officials, school teachers and administrators, Extension educators and library staff during the proposal process as well.

  • Icon for: Ginger Fitzhugh

    Ginger Fitzhugh

    Senior Research Associate
    May 14, 2019 | 07:46 p.m.

    Cool! In any innovative project, there are bound to be unexpected consequences--positive and/or negative--perhaps especially when experimenting with new technology in novel ways. I'm curious about what has surprised you thus far in your implementation of this project.

  • Icon for: Dagen Valentine

    Dagen Valentine

    Lead Presenter
    Innovation & Entrepreneurship Educator
    May 15, 2019 | 10:37 p.m.

    Ginger, we have had multiple 'aha' moments.  A couple high-lights: the digital to physical manifestation process on multiple maker tools was an idea we wanted to explore but weren't really clear on the details.  Once we had digital 3d models created in VR (like .stl, .glb, .obj) an obvious output was to 3d printer, but we also came up with some neat ways to further manipulate the files for laser and CNC.  Another great 'cool' moment was using collaborative VR.  The students really 'took' to it faster than us adults.  Sculpting/designing together feels a lot like real-life. 

  • Icon for: Victor van den Bergh

    Victor van den Bergh

    User Researcher & Evaluator
    May 14, 2019 | 10:00 p.m.

    I'm impressed with all the different applications you have found for the VR and telepresence technology.  How did you go about generating all those novel ideas?  Did you adapt existing practices to the technology or did you start from the technologies themselves and think about what they would allow collaborators to be able to do?  Did you find participants themselves coming up with new applications as they went?  Thanks for sharing your work!

  • Icon for: Dagen Valentine

    Dagen Valentine

    Lead Presenter
    Innovation & Entrepreneurship Educator
    May 15, 2019 | 10:59 p.m.

    We started with the technologies themselves by staying with commercially available apps and hardware.  Luckily one of our partners, Knowinnovation, 'plays' in this innovative space and has helped us guide us in the process.  Knowinnovation helped form our guiding principles for choosing apps and tech to use for the project. The guiding principles of collaboration; ability to share designs (export capability); and developmentally appropriate (not too easy or not too hard) gives us the ability to review apps quickly.  Throughout the project we have stayed open to 'new' apps that fall under these guiding principles.  We encourage the project staff and mentors to explore apps that may benefit the project.  Although participants didn't come up with new apps, they became more proficient in the use of the apps and tools we provided, allowing for some creative work. 

  • Further posting is closed as the event has ended.