This is a request for the membership vote to establish a Hive13 sponsored “STEAM Tech Lending Library”.
An affirmative vote would authorize this proposed initiative to begin in January, 2018, as a first-year trial. It would start as a small-scale activity as outlined below and be run by a few volunteer members including myself. Any interested members are welcome and encouraged to join in to make it a reality.
The idea came from discussions with John Choi (www.choitek.com) at the past Cincinnati Mini-Maker Faire. The Hive would start our own variant of the AIU3 Center for Creativity STEAM Lending Library in the Pittsburgh area. The AIU3 makes the latest in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) learning hardware available to educators for free trial use; targeted to elementary, middle, and secondary level classrooms. Examples of their specific hardware offerings include Osmos, Hummingbird Robotics kits, Puzzlets, littleBits, and the Choitek MegaMark robot platform. In the three years since its inception, this one-of-a-kind offering has grown with generous funding from the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation. In their setup, teachers in Allegheny county area school districts complete a free one-day professional development course, and are then eligible to borrow classroom sets of equipment to experiment with in their classrooms.
In our implementation, the Hive would acquire and procure an initial and expanding collection of selected technology offerings to stock our STEAM Tech Lending Library. Initial offerings might include our own Learn2Solder setup, the SparkFun Arduino Inventor’s kit, and perhaps even leverage our own members’ initiatives via RoboMotiveLabs and Polar3D. We also intend to execute an agreement to acquire a consigned Choitek MegaMark robot platform at no-cost during 2018 as part of this vision. We would start small to build a pilot web-presence for this free lending library. We would not directly sell any of this hardware, but rather we provide a somewhat endorsed and supported user experience ecosystem for local borrowers to “check-it-out”. We would make outreach to local known STEAM educators and see where it goes during the first year. We think to establish an initial endowment fund to separately support library acquisitions for this activity. We intend to get this ball rolling and then investigate opportunities for Grant funding to expand the scope in out years.
This idea has several potential benefits that would honor and build upon our mission (to exchange ideas, skills, and information, learning from each other as well as teaching) and increase our visibility and outreach into our regional community. In a few years it may grow to become a significant signature activity, and perhaps spin-off into other interesting (and currently unknown) directions.
I respectfully request your “YES” vote and support for this proposed activity during 2018.