It’s strange to say this, but I’m beginning to think we’re returning to a more “normal” world. Here’s what I’m doing this autumn.
I’m part of an educational outreach team working on the new Moonshot Museum that opened to the public on Saturday, October 15, 2022. The museum is located in the Astrobotic: Pittsburgh Aerospace Company site on the North Shore of Pittsburgh. Astrobotic won the NASA contract to send a lunar module to the moon in 2022. My colleague, Justin Aglio, offered me the opportunity to work on this project representing the Readiness Institute Outreach project for Penn State University. I’ll coordinate the Hope Moonshot program that will be a permanent exhibit at the Moonshot Museum which will be under the guidance of Sam Moore and Mike Hennessy. My photos were used for the permanent exhibit of the Hope Moonshot. This fall I had a chance to capture fifth graders from the Manchester Academic Charter School (MACS) and 12th graders from the Perry Traditional Academy enjoying a special visit to the museum with a team from Space Forces. In addition, Mike Hennessy, the Learning Outreach Coordinator for the Moonshot Museum, and Vas Scoumis from MACS will present at this year’s Three Rivers Educational Technology Conference, TRETC 2023, scheduled for Monday, January 16, 2023.
The Readiness Institute at Penn State, in collaboration with Global Moonshots in Education, collected thousands of hopes from students, educators, and members of the global community from December 2020 through February 2021. According to Justin, “We are now sending those messages to the moon to create a lasting reminder that the hopes of today can become the reality of tomorrow. If our hopes can make it to the moon, then our hopes can become true on Earth.”
For the fifth time I’m working on the CoSN Driving K-12 Innovation Project. The project brings together a team of over 100 educators from across the globe to look at emerging trends in educational technology. According to the CoSN website: “In this initiative, a global advisory board of K-12 leaders, practitioners, and changemakers engages in discourse about the major themes driving, hindering, and enabling teaching and learning innovation at schools.” This fall we’ll begin by looking at Hurdles (obstacles to change), and then identify Accelerators (programs and processes that speed up change), and then identify Tech Enablers that provide strategies and solutions to addresses the Hurdles by infusing Accelerators.
This fall Birdbrain Technologies, one of my clients, released its latest educational tool, Owlet. Birdbrain worked with the CREATE Lab at Carnegie Mellon University for over five years as part of a National Science Foundation grant to develop this elementary math tool. According to the Birdbrain website: Owlet lets students explore math concepts in a safe, ad-free digital environment. With Glow and Cube, the two tools that are part of Owlet, engagement comes naturally – no games required. Educators can align to learning goals and standards while practicing math that actually looks like math.
Over the past year I’ve been reviewing films for Film Pittsburgh while serving on the Board of Directors. This fall I previewed films for the Three Rivers Film Festival that ran from November 10-16 at Harris Theater and Pittsburgh Playhouse in Downtown Pittsburgh as well as satellite sites around the Pittsburgh region. After the full length festival, Film Pittsburgh continued at the Harris Theatre from November 17-20 for Pittsburgh Shorts.
I’ve also explored new avenues with the Neighborhood Learning Alliance (NLA) for out-of-school programs. NLA has developed a new legal careers pathway that includes college-level courses that high school students engaged with this fall at Carlow University.
I’m working on a new version for the Winter of 2023 for my Osher class at Carnegie Mellon University, Teachings of Fred Rogers framed by the book When You Wonder, You’re Learning. I’m amazed that the seven amazing educators who joined me this past year will return for the winter term – Gregg Behr, Ryan Rydzewski, Melissa Butler, Cara Ciminillo, Bill Isler, Jane Werner, and Larry Berger.
This fall I’m exploring a variety of Pittsburgh and nearby areas with my camera. To see my fall photos, follow this link. I’ve been producing a series of slideshows and collages showcasing my photographs. I had a chance to capture some great images at a special event at Ketchup City Creative. In July I headed to Italy with Classrooms without Borders (CwB)to document the trip with photos and a film. The tour for educators focused on Discovering Italy: Crossroads of Culture, Heritage, and History with a lens on the Jewish contribution to Italian culture, heritage and history. In October I shared my film at the Energy Innovation Center as part of a special event sponsored by the Penn State Readiness Institute and Classrooms without Borders. As part of the event Jessica Lee brought her Fusion Street Jazz program with Melody Meadows, one of the CwB study tour participants, shared poems from her collection, “Impressions of Italy.”