Makerspace Festival at COC showcases creativity

Sebastian Ramirez, right, starts the laser etcher as he makes "Star Wars" keepsakes for attendees a the SoCal MakersSpace Festival hosted by College of the Canyon in Valencia on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal

In a day filled with contraptions, engravings and drum circles, the second annual Makerspace Festival at College of the Canyons saw hundreds of students and their parents explore their creativity Saturday.

The festival, which was started last year, is a celebration of those in the local community who are attempting to have an influence on their immediate environment through their creative endeavors, whether in technology, handcrafts or music, according to event organizers.

“It’s a showcasing of all the innovation and creation happening in local industry, regional colleges and K-12 schools,” said Christopher Walker, coordinator of the MakerSpace on COC’s campus. “Basically, you can think of this as the ‘World’s Fair,’ but schools.”

During the daylong event, amateur creators held informational seminars, led young students interested in their field through activities and demonstrations, and many students received one-on-one time with professionals in a field they hope to join one day.

“I’m exploring what I want to do,” said Joshua Doh, a 13-year-old student at Rio Norte Junior High.

“He’s always enjoyed tinkering… that’s something that’s always been right up his alley,” said Doh’s mother, Esther. “He’s going into high school and I want him to have an idea of what’s out there and available.”

During the free event, open to public, those in attendance also had a chance to participate in workshops and try out the various devices and apparatus available in College of the Canyons’ MakerSpace area.

“The ‘Maker movement’ is what we’re all involved in and it’s a different type of learning,” said Walker. “In a traditional classroom, there’s a set goal or assignment and you’re striving for a set grade.”

Walker said he believes this type of learning environment stops students from taking risks or thinking “outside of the box.”

“MakerSpace learning encourages risk, to make mistakes and to then learn how to resolve them,” Walker said.

One such student, Justen Carter, 8, said although he is a trained cello and violinist, the SoCal MakerSpace Festival encouraged him to try his hand at making buttons, on which he then put his favorite superheroes’ likenesses.

“I came here today to try to learn something new and I learned how to print the picture and press the plastic onto the button,” he said.
For more information about future MakerSpace events or how to get involved in the COC program, visit their website hosted on the school’s website at www.canyons.edu.

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