2020 Winter

Photos by Norton Gusky CC BY 4.0

Due to the COVID-19 situation most of my projects are on hold. Below are some of the projects that are keeping me engaged and challenged during this winter period.

The COVID-19 pandemic has delivered unprecedented challenges to students, educators and members of the global community in 2020.  To start off 2021 we can all use a little hope. My colleague and friend, Justin Aglio, has joined a new venture, the Readiness Institute at Penn State. I hope to play a role in the Readiness Institute this coming year. The Readiness Institute at Penn State is embarking on a mission to help foster hope among people around the world.  Students, educators and members of the global community are invited to share messages of hope — for free — that will be included aboard a mission to the moon. The hopes will be saved on an SD card and will be placed in a storage capsule that will be sent to the moon’s surface by Astrobotic, a Pittsburgh-based space robotics company. To be a part of the Hope Moonshot mission, submit hopes before March 1, 2021. Participants will have an opportunity to receive mission updates, images and attend a virtual launch party in the second half of 2021. Lesson plans also are available for educators.  Readiness begins with hope!

I’ve been promoting Birdbrain Technologies’ At Home link for students and educators to program robots without Hummingbird Kits or Finches. Birdbrain rolled out its new Finch 2.0 in November. Tom Lauwers, the founder and CEO, joined my Osher class this winter and demonstrated the new Remote Robotics tools available for both the Finch and Hummingbird.

This winter I’m working with the Consortium of School Networking (CoSN) Emerging Technologies committee to draft the Edtech Next report that will look at low tech ways for students and educators to connect to necessary resources during the COVID-19 crisis. We plan on publishing the Edtech Next report after the CoSN Conference in March. I also participated in the Driving K-12 Innovation Summit where CoSN released the findings from the advisory team on which I serve.

Even though I’m no longer coordinating the programming for the Three Rivers Educational Technology Conference (TRETC), I helped to promote this year’s virtual event that happened this year on January 18, 2021. Jaime Casap, the former evangelist for Google, gave a wonderful presentation. TRETC demonstrated that conferences can move to the virtual space and still have relevance for educators.

This winter I taught a virtual course for the Osher program at Carnegie Mellon University. The course focuses on “What’s Working during COVID.” I invited a host of colleagues to join me each Friday in January and February to share their success stories. Sessions included:

  • Zooming into Tomorrow with Ani Martinez and Jason Swanson
  • Remote Robotics with Tom Lauwers
  • Virtual Work and Learning with the Neighborhood Learning Alliance team
  • Virtual Music and Wellness with Jessica Lee
  • Meeting the Needs of Today’s Learners with Justin Aglio

For my Osher class I had a chance to refresh my movie-making skills to create a summary of what I learned in order to engage learners in a COVID world.

This winter I’ll continue to explore with my camera my neighborhood and the Pittsburgh region. I hope you enjoy my photos.