The community outside the Hardin County OSU Extension office is not the only population benefitting from an innovative maker space. One of the greatest achievements of the Spark Lab is its ability to innovate the extension educators that work inside the space! The Spark Lab certainly fuels innovative thinking for those within, but the innovation behind its design stimulates Hardin County OSU Extension to take our innovations on the GO!
Sewing machines and fit bits traveled to 4-H Camp this year. Many young campers sought out a scarf making session with our Spark Lab sewing machines where they explored fundamental sewing skills beyond a mere needle and thread! Our Spark Lab fit bits motivated Family and Consumer Sciences Extension educator, Jami Dellifield, to promote overall 4-H camp health by seeking a grant that provided water bottles for each camper. Healthy Hydration – It’s in Your Hands was the movement that swept across 4-H Camp Ohio 2016, which resulted in a significant decrease of headaches, nausea, and other dehydration side effects commonly experienced at 4-H camp.
Electric grills have been on the GO across county lines for a ‘Chopped Challenge’ with teens from Hardin, Allen, and Putnam Counties. Paired with a lesson on food safety, these grills motivated six adolescent teams to prepare a safe and healthy meal in and hour or less, in a competition to cook the best dish of the day. The Spark Lab’s electric grills are currently on the GO at numerous locations around the county to stimulate healthy eating habits for Hardin County employees.
Nearly all of the Spark Lab’s devices travel to county schools during the academic year to fuel activities for Tech Wizards, an after school program that promote technology literacy for elementary aged youth in grades 3-5. Additionally, drones are gaining popularity with local farmers to scout fields from a bird’s eye view.
Even when a Hardin County OSU Extension program does not require the use of Spark Lab technology, extension educators and interns try to bring Spark Lab like innovation to their daily thinking. Family and Consumer Sciences intern, Demi Snider, has incorporated technology into several lessons for Hardin County’s Little Sparks – Goo Crew, a weekly program for parents and pre-school aged children! Girls’ Group, a leadership and friendship-building program for Hardin County ladies in grades 4-6 has traveled to Table 1 for a lesson on poise and dinner etiquette. 4-H and Youth Development intern, Tina Hiller, has utilized Spark Lab equipment on base and on the GO in each of her 4-H workshops! Whether 4-H’ers are traveling to local parks to practice photography skills, or a forgotten nature preserve to unearth knowledge about insects, birds, and trees, the innovative concept behind the Spark Lab has been fueling extension educators and interns to take their programming on the GO all summer long!