After a two and a half-year-long renovation programme to transform the library in the National Institute of Education (NIE) Singapore, Professor Lee Sing Kong, the Director of NIE officiated the launch of its “Library as Space” on 11 February 2014.
The redesign of the library space was borne out of a strategic plan to transform the library from a ‘place’ into a ‘space’ – one that offers a variety of learning spaces, including a Makerspace, that are suited to the learning styles of 21st-century students. In this new culture of learning, a space in the library, open to everyone, could offer an approachable route for participatory and exploratory learning, with many opportunities for students to tinker with prototyping. There is a redesigned Collaborative Space which offers a variety of informal settings for group work, collaborative learning, knowledge exchange or indulging in small talk over a drink and snack.
There is a new Makerspace where users can exchange ideas, tinker and create prototypes. It has a 3D printer that prints using Polylactide (PLA), a bio-degradable corn based plastic. The PLA plastic filament is fed through a heated nozzle which then melts the plastic to print. The heated nozzle is guided by computer-controlled motors to print the object, which hardens quickly. The object is printed layer-by-layer, from the bottom up.
There are a multitude of practical applications for 3D printing, including industries such as automotive, architecture, aerospace, defense, medical and even consumer goods. 3D printing enables rapid prototyping of design concepts and this allows for greater freedom and efficiency to create multiple iterations of a design.
In the context of a classroom and in particular Design and Technology lessons, students get to view their designs in physical manifestations, helping them to identify errors or weaknesses early in the design process.
Programmes at the Makerspace will be developed in collaboration with other makers from the maker community. There are plans for 3D modeling, arduino workshops etc., so do watch this space!