A distinctive space for learning for future educators
Learning in the iForge provides learners with a creative space, a positive environment and knowledge integration to be a future leader in education. The iForge gives students opportunities to work cooperatively, creatively and experimentally. These are all important experiences for those interested in teaching. Therefore, I believe that students of Education will progress in their studies as a result of engagement with the iForge. All of these experiences are available in the iForge and it is free to use for students at The University of Sheffield.
However, the iForge is distinct from many other university or school learning environments. A lot of the resources in the iForge are digital, giving learners opportunities to explore and learn new things about digital technology in a positive environment and providing excellent practical experiences. The volunteers have expertise and knowledge and are glad to receive visitors.
The iForge has several activities and courses for visitors to engage with, such as using laser cutters and 3D printers. The facility enables visitors to explore their interests, but they should also follow some rules. For example, they must complete two courses (‘Unpowered hand tools’ and ‘Workshop health and safety’) online on the iForge website before they need to use a specific machine or equipment. Moreover, visitors should report to reception and be escorted by a responsible person inside the iForge while they are still beginners. Until they have more experience, there are some tools that they must not touch. Students and visitors need to visit the iForge to obtain experience and knowledge.
Mohammad Aldaihani is a current Digital Literacies, Culture and Education student