With the help of library “makerspaces” and 3D printers, college students could soon see their role on campus shifting from consumers to creators, a new report said.

The New Media Consortium Horizon Report, an annual at look possible future trends in educational technology, listed the transition as one of six technological changes that will soon take place on college campuses.

college-online-learningThe change is expected to happen over the next three to five years.

“A shift is taking place in the focus of pedagogical practice on university campuses all over the world as students across a wide variety of disciplines are learning by making and creating rather than form the simple consumption of content,” the authors of the report wrote. “Creativity, as illustrated by the growth of user-generated videos, maker communities, and crowd-funded projects in the past couple years, is increasingly the means for active, hands-on learning.”

In addition to video software and online crowd-funding, the report pointed to the emergence of “makerspaces” on college campuses as a signal of the trend.

Makerspaces – which began appearing around the county in the middle of the past decade, but primarily stayed off-campus until a couple of years ago – are locations in which members of a community can access a variety of creative tools, from woodworking to plastic to digital.

Campus libraries are increasingly adding makerspaces to their buildings, the report said, as well as utilizing 3D printers.

Also known as rapid prototyping, 3D printing appeared in New Media Consortium’s first-ever Horizon Report in 2004.

In that study, the organization predicted that 3D printing would find mainstream adoption on college campuses by 2009. The technology was then absent from the list for eight years, before at last reappearing in 2013.


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