Reflecting on a Month of Making: EiTM Lab’s Symposium Highlights and Takeaways

In February 2024, the EiTM Lab participated in various maker symposiums focused on equitable making and maker literacies. Dr. Melo joined these events virtually, while Graduate Research Assistants Luxin (Grace) Zhang and Rachel Rodney physically attended workshops in the Bay Area, California, and Arlington, Texas, respectively. Below, you can find the key insights gained from these events.

CRAFT Network for Researchers and Makers 

From February 9th to February 12th, Grace attended the 2024 CRAFT Network Meeting: Cultivating Reciprocal Partnerships with Communities, Researchers, and Makers Educators at the Children’s Creativity Museum in San Francisco, California. 


Exhibit in Childrens Museum

Photo of Children’s Creativity Museum


Grace presented various EiTM Lab publications to a group of scholars and practitioners specializing in equity and interdisciplinary approaches in STEM education. These publications included the original virtual Makerspace, its redesigned version, and signage from the redesigned Makerspace. During the presentation, she discussed the connection between physical spaces, learning, and the sense of belonging. Grace affirmed what the research data revealed: the Virtual Makerspace can be a valuable tool for educators and researchers aiming to create community-centered learning experiences, drawing on direct feedback from users.

During the group discussion, Grace raised important questions regarding the systematic impact of research, emphasizing the importance of effective dissemination and communication for sustained research influence, particularly after funding ends.

At the CRAFT Network conference and during the tour of the Children’s Creativity Museum, the EiTM Lab showcased the significant cultural and creative contributions of local communities. They shared valuable resources with their partners and linked their work to the broader maker community outside their state, specifically highlighting Bay Area makerspaces and practices. This was aimed at laying the groundwork for future research-practice partnerships.


People sitting around tables at conference

Photo from CRAFT Meeting


Maker Immersion for Makerspace Organizers

Furthermore, EiTM participated in the Maker Literacies Mini Immersion event on February 23rd, 2024, at the University of Texas Arlington (UTA) Library. The goal of this event was to engage with Maker Literacy standards that their Fablab developed through research studies conducted with UTA students. Some standards they established included students’ abilities to ideate and prototype, be safe in a makerspace environment, and collaborate in teams when making. To see more details about Maker Competencies, please refer to this resource

As part of the Mini Immersion, EiTM evaluated how the literacy standards might be applied to INLS 690: Information Professionals in the Makerspace, which is a recurring course where information science students learn how to express data through making.


Examples of making

Glasswork and Digital Presentation Area in UTA Library Fablab


In addition to the workshop regarding maker literacy standards, we toured UTA Library’s Fablab and networked with other makerspace professionals who attended the event. 

For participating in this event EiTM was granted $2,000 to purchase additional materials for our lab to contribute to students’ learning outcomes. In the past, students in our department have been very interested in making with textile materials such as quilting and crocheting. To expand on the textile making capacities of our lab, we added tufting tools and materials. Initial impressions students had of the addition were excitement and curiosity. We are looking forward to seeing what they create with these new tools! 


Yarn on pegboard

Creating a yarn wall for students to use in tufting