2019 Summer

Photos by Norton Gusky CC 4.0

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 year I had a special honor. CoSN asked me to join Susan Beard, the CTO for the organization, to share the Driving K-12 Innovation project toolkit at the ISTE Conference in Philadelphia. This summer I also started to work on the new 2019 version of the Driving Innovation project with educational experts from around the globe. In addition, I joined the State of XR and Immersive Learning Panel as a CoSN representative.

At the ISTE Conference I spent part of my lunch period working with Birdbrain Technologies, a spin-off from the CREATE Lab at Carnegie Mellon University. Birdbrain demonstrated wonderful projects created with the Hummingbird Kit and shared a prototype of the new Finch 2.0 robot that will go into production in 2020. Look for a special workshop using the new Finch 2.0 at the Three Rivers Educational Technology Conference (TRETC) on 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. Registration is now open for this year’s TRETC.

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 summer I’ll begin to develop new Request for Proposals (RFPs) for four new Design Challenges. One of the Design Challenges will challenge students to come up with ways for the EIC to tap into eSports with NFL Sports and another Design Challenge will utilize the new Robert Morris University Rapid Prototyping Lab at the EIC where students will design a mobile green wall with a robotics maintenance system.

In June I worked with the South Fayette School District to conduct the annual STEAM Innovation Summer Institute. The Institute ran from June 17 – 20, 2019. This year South Fayette brought some of the Western Pennsylvania districts to the South Fayette campus thanks to a PAsmart Grant through the state of Pennsylvania’s Workforce Development Board. For this year’s Summer Institute over 150 educators took a deep dive exploring and sharing innovative practices with teachers from the region and beyond. Sessions were from several pathways: computational thinking, CS/STEAM innovation, visible thinking, and leadership. For the South Fayette project I provided assistance with the evaluation and photo documentation of the Summer Institute’s four amazing days of engaged professional learning.

During the summer I had a chance to visit the Boys and Girls Club in Lawrenceville. Students and adults were collaborating on activities around Artificial Intelligence. It’s amazing to see how far AI has come in the past few years.

In August an article that is part of the Global Search for Education appeared and went viral. The article focused on the Design Challenges I’ve created for the Energy Innovation Center with the Parkway West Consortium of Schools. Cathy M. Rubin interviewed me for the article.