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The DIRT for Aug 13-17, 2018

Middlebury’s Makerspace—Blog Post by Bill Koulopoulos

Written by Evelyn Helminen

Bill Koulopoulos, DLINQ’s Director for Technology and Learning Spaces, published a blog post about Middlebury’s New Makerspace. He says, “A broad definition of a makerspace is a work space that brings together individuals, tools and projects, in order to facilitate exploration, collaboration and making.”

In the post, he gives a brief summary of the years-long process of creating the makerspace, starting with two College students who wanted to build an electric car. From 2015 until May of this year, the makerspace seemed like barely more than a dream, but on Friday, May 11th, 2018 the College makerspace “opened its doors to the College community at large with a 24(ish)hour make-a-thon, which included presentations and workshops from local makers and guest speakers.”

The makerspace is currently looking for students, faculty and staff volunteers. For more information, please contact Bill Koulopoulos at bkoul@middlebury.edu.

Read the blog post by Bill Koulopoulos, “Middlebury’s Makerspace,” to learn more about what is in the Makerspace and about some of the plans for the fall.


Digital Pedagogy Lab (DPL) was held July 30-August 3, 2018, in Fredericksburg, VA, at the University of Mary Washington. We had a mighty DLINQ and Middlebury contingent represented this year. Here are some of our reflections from the Lab.

Designing for Change—Blog Post by Amy Collier

Written by Evelyn Helminen
Designing for Change Digital Pedagogy Lab Track
Big digital hugs going out to this amazing Design Team (Design for Change track participants)!

Amy Collier, Associate Provost for Digital Learning, taught the Design for Change track at the Digital Pedagogy Lab (DPL) conference. After the week was over, she wrote a blog post reflection about her thinking process leading up to the event, and some of her take-aways when it was all said and done.

Her goal was to “call into focus a need for the work of education to be political. Not political in a right/left conservative/liberal way, but in a way that acknowledges that educational choices and opportunities are driven by a desire for some kind of future state.”

In the post she asks several questions she pondered as she designed her track, including, “Rather than shy away from our ideologies, how do we acknowledge them and make them transparent as we do our design work?”

She then shares the three things they focused on during the track:

  1. Listening
  2. Writing
  3. Exploring emergent design processes

She shares some of the topics they discussed, including information environmentalism and student privacy. She finishes by talking about how track participants connected with each other in meaningful ways, and asks the important question,

“How can we lean more on each other to bring about the changes we hope to see at Middlebury?”

Read the full blog post by Amy Collier, “Designing for Change – DPL reflections and resources” for more details and links to additional resources.


Frugal Innovation—Blog Post by Sarah Lohnes Watulak

Written by Evelyn Helminen

Sarah Lohnes Watulak, DLINQ’s Director of Digital Pedagogy and Media, wrote a blog post reflection on one of the keynotes at Digital Pedagogy Lab. It was presented by Dr. Jade Davis, and called, “Frugal Innovation and Translatable Skills.” (You can view the recorded version of her talk, and the other keynote, “Monkeys Vs. Robots,” by Anya Kamenetz, on the DPL website here.)

Frugal Innovation in Digital Learning: 4 Things, presented by Dr. Jade Davis at Digital Pedagogy Lab
A slide from Dr. Jade Davis’s keynote at Digital Pedagogy Lab

In her post, Sarah shares the 4 guidelines to frugal innovation that Dr. Jade Davis presented, and then talks about her personal experiences attenpting to redesign her learning activities as a faculty member.

She mentions the “guilt and shame cycle,” of having too much to do and not enough time, and shares her realization that, “it was still possible to target a handful of learning activities in one of my courses, and these experiences – small moves, designed with frugal innovation in mind – would still be valuable to my students’ learning experience.”

She leaves us with the final invitation,

“…think about how we might embrace the notion of frugal innovation and consider what small moves might be worth making in our own classes and in our work, and how we might support – and celebrate – these small moves.”

Read the full blog post by Sarah Lohnes Watulak, “Frugal Innovation—A DPL Reflection,” to learn more about the keynote and see some additional readings connected to the topic.


Dig Deeper:

“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered. 
– Ralph Waldo Emerson


Featured Image by Jez Timms on Unsplash

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