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Makerspace

Funding Your Makerspace

 

As you may know, schools throughout the United States are getting excited about the Makerspace as a place of creativity and expansion for students of all ages, but how do you fund your Makerspace? When it comes to improving education in STEM subjects, Makerspaces have been touted as a fantastic way to get students involved in hands on learning from physics to computer programming and much more. While it can seem daunting to get a new Makerspace up and running, there are actually many resources out there for funding your new space. From government grants to private sponsorship, this blog post takes you through some of the best ways to fund your Makerspace.

Funding Your Makerspace with Government Grants

The government is ready to help all students prepare for the STEM jobs that will help build our nation into a stronger, more competitive market in the fields of science and technology.

For example, Title I Funding gives financial assistance to elementary and secondary schools with low-achieving students to boost their ability to meet academic standards. For students with special needs, IDEA is a great resource to help fund projects that will go towards helping these students.

While it will take time and effort, government-sponsored grants can go a long way into helping provide resources for your Makerspace that will keep students engaged. Here are more great grant resources to explore:

Corporate Sponsorship and Competitions for Your Makerspace

Corporate sponsorship is a great way to get funding for your Makerspace. Searching online for local STEM competitions is a great way to showcase the potential of any Makerspace and a way to possibly win a monetary prize to boost student pride. National competitions include the Google Science Fair, and the STEM Video Game Challenge for middle and high schoolers.

Other corporate sponsorships come in the form of grants, such as the Lowe’s Toolbox for Education. A great place to start is to research local businesses, and larger corporations who have offices near you, to find out what types of programs may fit your needs. The next step is outreach. It can be an involved process, but corporate support is one of the best ways to get your Makerspace up and running.

Check out this great Blog Post on how to prepare applications and outreach materials for private funding.

Crowdfunding Your Makerspace

Students can be encouraged to take initiative and create a crowdfunding campaign with the help of their Makerspace leader. Usually this entails a creative video, which can be done on any smartphone, information about how the money will be used, and incentives for donations.

  • Kickstarter is the original crowd-funding website. Projects have 30 days to get a set amount of money or everyone gets their donation back. This gives the project a sense of urgency, which makes people want to invest sooner rather than later. Two tricks: be as specific as possible about what the money will be used for, and try to raise a lot of money upfront – the more money a project has within the first week, the better chances it will succeed.
  • GoFundMe does not have an all-or-nothing outlook nor does it have deadlines. However, this does mean that people may not be in a hurry to donate, and whatever you promise to them you must deliver, whether you are fully funded or not. There are also fees involved for using the service, so many programs ask that larger donations are made directly, rather than through a platform like GoFundMe.
  • On Indiegogo, you can choose to have a deadline or not. They have a more diverse base of donors, but statistically, people donate less than to other sites.

Go Out and Make!

Makerspaces are about being creative and getting into the DIY spirit. Not every Makerspace has to involve expensive tools and 3D printers. These types of spaces can provide a place to draw, sew, hammer, build or program. There are so many configurations and ideas to explore, and the ways in which funding comes together can depend on the specific plan for your Makerspace. We hope these resources help you to get started.




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AV in U.S. courtrooms

How AV is Transforming U.S. Courtrooms

The days of old-fashioned, closed off courtrooms are over. While many perceive the legal industry to be lagging behind in technology adoption, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Integrated AV technology, used widely in courtrooms and law firms across the U.S., not only improves transparency in the judicial system, it improves courtroom efficiency, lowers overhead costs, and increases security.

Understanding the Role of AV in Court Proceedings

Historically, court proceedings required everyone involved to be present in the courtroom. Before, during, and after a trial, communication plays a huge role in the legal system. In addition to courtroom activities, depositions, training programs, and many client communications required in-person meetings. Even as some communications shifted to email interactions or phone conferences in recent years, AV technology has the potential to take communications to the next level.

AV technology meets the demand for broadcast trials as well as those behind-the-scenes interactions that take place in the legal field on a daily basis. Video conferencing and telepresence systems make it possible to accomplish many pre-trial tasks remotely, and even to call in witnesses who cannot be physically present in the courtroom.

Meanwhile, broadcast technology can bring trials to a broad television or internet audience. Interactive video monitors, microphones, speakers, touchscreen control systems, and internet-connected devices and networking all play a role in the modern, technology-driven courtroom.

AV setups in the courtroom often feature:

  • Videoconferencing equipment. Video conferencing and telepresence equipment enables courts to engage in remote arraignments and interact with witnesses or court officers who could not travel to provide testimony. Video conferencing technology also supports out-of-the-courtroom interactions such as depositions and client meetings. Remote interactions with defendants, legal counsel, and witnesses reduce overhead travel costs for individuals, government, and law firms.
  • Broadcasting equipment. To improve judicial transparency, many courts are broadcasting trials on local television or via other mediums. Instead of adapting to camera crews who need to set up equipment before each trial, some court systems are investing in their own broadcast equipment. Even if the trial isn’t immediately broadcast, the video serves as an important record of the events that took place and provides more in-depth data than a court reporter’s documentation.
  • Interactive display panels. Large screens placed in strategic locations throughout the courtroom often serve dual purposes as video conferencing screens and interactive whiteboards on which attorneys can display key pieces of evidence and use electronic pens to illustrate a point. Additionally, every important person in the courtroom can be provided with a display to ensure maximum visual intelligibility including the judge, clerk, attorneys, witnesses and jurors.
  • Audio integration. Microphones, digital signal processors and audio distribution such as speaker systems play a crucial role in the courtroom setting. Many courtrooms invest in audio technology before transitioning to video components. Microphones capture the information being shared to support court records, while connected speakers amplify communications and auditory evidence. Intelligible audio is critical for all participants to understand what is being said or presented.
  • Control and connectivity. In addition to these primary AV components, many AV companies are outfitting courtrooms with multi-functional access panels that may include laptop connections, document cameras, and other integration-friendly equipment. Judges, for example, often have access to control panels with intuitive functionality to manage the proceedings from the bench. The judge and/or lawyers may have the capability to turn on specific courtroom cameras, video sources, or displays, mute or activate microphones, and operate the video conferencing system from a touchscreen control panel or even a mobile device, such as an iPad, tablet, or smartphone.
  • Managed services. As AV technology and IT services intersect, many AV providers have started to offer managed AV services. Instead of installing the equipment and relying on the users to manage it, AV companies are remotely managing every component for reduced downtime and improved security, which is a crucial consideration in courtrooms.

AV technology clearly plays an important role in the legal setting, and government entities willing to adopt new technologies have a great opportunity for long-term positive impacts in their courtrooms.





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