September 25, 2022
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Did you know that there is a new facility at our Corriher-Linn-Black Library here on campus? It is called the Alcorn Digital Learning Lab, and is located on the second floor. It has a lot of interesting new technology available for faculty, staff, and student use. Recently I interviewed Zachary Trivett, the Library Instructional Technologist, about the lab space and his position here. Trivett has a degree in technology engineering and design education from Appalachian State University, as well as eight years of experience in STEM education. He shared some truly fascinating insights with me.

When I asked Trivett what exactly the space could be used for, he told me that it could help students create a wide variety of projects for various classes. This goal can be accomplished using many pieces of equipment. Some of these tools include several 3D printers, video editing software, and a laser engraving device. The most recent equipment in this lab space is a device known as a cricket maker, which is used for making vinyl stickers, pop up cards, and engraved cards. There are also 15 headsets which students can use to enter virtual reality and create a wide variety of objects and experiences inside the virtual space.

I myself have personal experience with the laser engraver and can tell you that it creates absolutely beautiful engravings of black and white pictures, in my case an image of the brain. If you need help working in the lab, Trivett and other library staff are available.

The Digital Learning Lab has a website that gives a description of the lab and an area where people who want to use the lab can sign up for an appointment. While you can technically use the space at any time between Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Fridays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., it is highly encouraged that you use the website to set up appointments.

There are also workshops being held to teach participants how to use the tools in the lab. The two workshops remaining this month focus on 3D equipment. The first of these workshops focuses on 3D printing and will be held March 22 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the first floor of the library and the second will be on 3D modeling and will be held on March 29 at the same time and place.

Overall, this new lab is a massive improvement for the library space at Catawba. Trivett pointed out that this space was created due to a 150k donation from Greg and Missie Alcorn. He was overjoyed with the wealth of opportunity it provides both students and staff saying “[It] is an incredible emerging resource giving students access to current and emerging technologies”. If you want to check the lab out for yourself, click here!

Chase Taylor

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