Guest Post from Sarah Major
I spent about 5 hours in the TECH Playground on a Monday. I needed to use the 3D printer, so I took off from work and headed up to Willard. I got there and Dr. Stansberry and Mr. Toby were kind enough to get me started with the printer. I brought up my laptop thinking I would get some homework done. After about 20 minutes of checking email and facebooking, one of my favorite professors walked in to work on the treadmill computer. As we sat there working, we started talking about reading philosophy, educational approaches, our personal views about technology for children, and what we had for dinner the night before. It seemed that one of us would stumble upon an article, facebook post, or assignment then pose a question to the room and we were off! The melding of minds, bouncing ideas, and high energy was very refreshing. It was such fun experience and I felt really enriched when I left at the end of the day. I realize that I am too social of a person to be very productive working in there very often, but I felt excited about teaching after my visit to the TECH Playground.
Beyond the enjoyment I got out of being in the TECH Playground, I also learned a lot about how easy it is to create a learning commons space. I realized that most of us in the room were just using a computer- not the fancy and expensive equipment. So then I started thinking about what made the TECH Playground so stimulating. For me it was the lack of agenda, the fact that we were just in there hanging out. The bar tables make it new and interesting- rather than a typical table or desk. I also enjoyed the glass panes on the walls, even though I didn’t write on any of them, I got a kick out of looking at other people’s thoughts and brainstorms. So as I think about my future as a school librarian, I see myself creating some space in my library for that purpose. To sit and work in the company of other great minds.