2020 Spring

Photos by Norton Gusky CC BY 4.0

Due to the COVID-19 situation most of my projects have been put on hold. Below are some of the things I was working on before the Coronavirus and the series of protests around the death of George Floyd altered all of our lives.  Instead of thinking just of my own work, it’s time to think about how we can all contribute. We can now start to think about our plans for the future – the New Normal – and how we can join together to create a more just and kinder world.

To help out one of my former colleagues from the Fox Chapel Area School District, Jill Tabis, I created a presentation this spring about Developing an Entrepreneurial Mindset. Jill used the video as part of her online course for students who are at home during the Coronavirus period. I tapped into my experience as an educational technology broker to highlight the role of a consultant as an entrepreneur.

This winter the Energy Innovation Center (EIC) kicked off a new series of Design Challenges  with high school students from the Parkway West consortium of schools.  One of the Design Challenges engaged students to come up an interactive map and marking plan for what we’re calling the Gems of the Hill District. The second Design Challenge asked the students to design a more educational and interactive atmosphere for the Loop Walkway at the EIC. Unfortunately, the Design Challenges were not completed this spring. Any additional Design Challenges are on hold until probably 2021.

In February I presented an update on the Design Challenges at the PETE&C Conference in Pittsburgh. I shared four years of real world experiences with over 400 high school students. I put on my photography hat and documented Zee Poerio’s Edtech Fashion Show. I also joined Birdbrain Technologies in the Exhibit area on Monday, February 24 and Tuesday, February 25, to share the new Finch 2.0. This spring to address some of the issues of home access to its resources, Birdbrain created an At Home link for students and educators to program robots without Hummingbird Kits.

As the co-chair of the Consortium of School Networking (CoSN) Emerging Technologies Committee I sometimes represent the organization at national, state or regional events. This winter I worked on the new 2020 version of the Driving Innovation project with educational experts from around the globe. The latest report on Hurdles and Accelerators for K-12 is now available. This spring I worked with the Emerging Technologies committee to begin to look at low tech ways for students and educators to connect to necessary resources during the COVID-19 crisis. I had planned on sharing the Driving Innovation project at the Connected Learning Conference this summer, but the conference has been cancelled.

In January I joined AYA Instruments for a session at Parkway West Career and Technology Center (PWCTC) to look at the Sustainable Energy Discovery Zone installation at PWCTC and to understand the next steps developing a curriculum and workforce opportunities for schools and out of school providers with the Pennsylvania Solar Center. AYA hopes to have a series of online and in class activities ready for the reopening of schools in the fall.