M.A.G.I.C. of Technology on Campus

Thomas Lauer, President of Maker And Game Invention Community – M.A.G.I.C. (photos by Alan Grace)

By SUHAN BUDHATHOKI, CSU Communications Graduate Assistant

A Minecraft tour of Minnesota State Mankato, a robotics competition and a virtual training site for underclass nursing students are among the goals of a new Big Idea community of Real-world Thinkers.

The Maker And Gamer Invention Community (M.A.G.I.C.) is a new Recognized Student Organization that offers a platform “for people who want to make cool sh##,” said M.A.G.I.C. President Thomas Lauer.

“It’s just a giant repository of knowledge,” he said. “So if you want to do 3-D printing then you can ask the other members, ‘Hey, has anyone done 3-D printing before? Can you help me get started?'”

That cooperative learning environment is why Lauer sees M.A.G.I.C. as a community rather than an organization. M.A.G.I.C. members do not have to be computer science or information technology majors. Lauer calls students from other majors an “important” part of their community.

“It’s everyone helping everyone,” Lauer explained. “You gain real-world experience by doing these projects.”

MINECRAFT CAMPUS TOUR

M.A.G.I.C. is currently creating a Minecraft virtual tour of the entire MinnesotaState Mankato campus. Global visitors wishing to view campus will be able to tour residence halls, the dining center, and classroom layouts. Along with virtual campus tours, running Minecraft through a server would accommodate large groups attending a conference or other large campus event.

THE NURSING PROJECT

Lauer said M.A.G.I.C. is creating The Nursing Project, a Virtual Reality teaching tool for first and second-year nursing students. Using a virtual reality headset, underclass students learn fundamental skills. This frees up the allied science simulation center for more advanced instruction.

HOLOGRAMS IN THE CLASSROOM

Another M.A.G.I.C. project uses hologram technology to create a virtual learning environment for instruction ranging from the sciences to engineering.

“You can go in with your hands and you can blow it up and pull different parts of the heart and dissect it,” Lauer said. “Or for automotive engineering. If you have an engine, you can explode that and see the pistons and the camshaft and how everything fits together.”

Through the interactive potential of Microsoft HoloLenses, the entire class would be able to see the same thing at the same time.

VEX ROBOTICS CONTEST

M.A.G.I.C goals for Fall 2022 include co-hosting a VEX Robotics Contest. Contestants would create a robot capable of accomplishing the tournament’s objective. A two-time state robotic champion, Lauer, wants to team with the Mankato School District for a Big Nine Conference event.

“Mankato East, Mankato West, Owatonna, Rochester Mayo, Rochester Century–all those schools–have VEX robotics teams. If we can host all of those schools for the robotics tournament, that would be great–especially for just general community involvement. That’s a big event.”

GAME JAMS

Lauer said another event on M.A.G.I.C radar is a Game Jam event. 

“We would reserve one of the ballrooms for 24 if not 48 hours. You code a video game in 48 hours and then present it,” Lauer said. “Those are lot of fun.  They’re like hackathons where you try to program an objective.   

M.A.G.I.C welcome students of all disciples and ages to join their community. It is their goal to employ technology to improve the campus atmosphere. Visit mnsu-magic.org to learn more about M.A.G.I.C. and join them on platforms like Discord and GitHub.

Reach out to the community. You also could be part of making M.A.G.I.C.

Members of the Maker and Gamer Invention Community.

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