2019 Spring

Photos by Norton Gusky CC BY 4.0

I continue to coordinate a series of Design Challenges  for the Energy Innovation Center (EIC). The program includes high school students from the Parkway West consortium of schools.  This spring term two student teams – Parkway West Career and Technology Center (PWCTC)and Carlynton – finalized their research and presented their ideas for “A Safety Plan” focusing on an app and safety band. Another team of three schools worked on a Design Challenge that focused on the development of a “food kit” for the Energy Innovation Center. The student consulting team from PWCTC prepared sample food items, while the student consulting team from West Allegheny developed menu cards for the items and the team from Montour shared strategies for environmental packaging for the food kits.

For both Design Challenges the EIC has enlisted the help of a series of experts to guide the process. For the Safety Plan the Community of College from Allegheny County (CCAC) shared its Director of Safety and Security, while SimTable, a breakthrough technology for safety incident training and modeling, provided its technologies for the student consultants to use. For the Food Kit Design Challenge Chatham University’s CRAFT team assisted the students as well as 412 Food Rescue. Both projects demonstrate the power of real world learning and collaboration with teams of experts working with the student consultants from the kick-off to the final presentations. The Design Challenge project joined 81 other initiatives as Spotlight on Innovation projects reviewed by Remake Learning to present at the HundrED Conference in Helsinki in November 2019.

This spring the Museum Lab™ opened as an extension of the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. I played a role getting the project off the ground when I served on the Board of the Manchester Academic Charter School.

As the co-chair of the Consortium of Schools Networked (CoSN) I present each year at the annual conference. This year I had a special honor. Edtech Magazine published a story about my presentation on “Scaling and Sustaining Innovation,” CoSN’s deep dive for the Driving Innovation project. In addition, I had an article published by Getting Smart on the upcoming CoSN report on Accelerators for Driving Innovation – Data-Driven Practices. For my article I tapped into two Pittsburgh area schools – Carlynton and Allegheny Valley – that are applying the Data Fluency project from CMU’s CREATE Lab. The project uses data to enhance student voice and agency.

The AYA Discovery Zone project at Community Day School kicked off with students trying to determine the best location for solar panels that will be installed this spring. AYA Instruments and I also met with a team from Fort Cherry, West Allegheny, and PWCTC to begin to work on a Sustainable Energy project for the fall. Teachers from the three institutions participated in a mini-Design Challenge this spring at Parkway West to prepare for a fall event around Energy and related careers.

I’m working with the South Fayette School District to prepare for the annual STEAM Innovation Summer Institute. The Institute will run from June 17 – 20, 2019. For this year’s Summer Institute educators can take a deep dive exploring and sharing innovative practices with teachers from the region and beyond. You can choose sessions from several pathways: computational thinking, CS/STEAM innovation, visible thinking, and leadership. For the South Fayette project I provide assistance with the evaluation and documentation of the Summer Institute.

The Three Rivers Educational Technology Conference planning process began this spring. This year the conference will move to Columbus Day, October 14, 2019. Baldwin High School, a suburban school district just outside the city of Pittsburgh, will host the event. This year’s theme will focus on the Future of Education with a special spotlight on Educational Innovation in Pittsburgh. We have extended the deadline for poster sessions, student showcases, or innovation zone projects (bit.ly/2ZAvBfH). The Call for Presentations has ended.