Fall 2016

Photos by Norton Gusky CC BY 4.0

Photos by Norton Gusky CC BY 4.0

This fall I’m working on two design challenges with the Parkway West Career and Technology Center (PWCTC) consortium and the Energy Innovation Center (EIC) in Pittsburgh.   Each Design Challenge taps into a real world problem. I’m using a framework from this summer’s  Studio A Workshop at Avonworth that combines Design Thinking and Project-based Learning with a focus on Arts Integration. For the EIC/ PWCTC Design Challenges student consulting teams are tackling two sustainability problems. In the first project students from Montour and Quaker Valley are responding to a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a sustainable food distribution system that will look at growing, marketing, and distributing food from the school environment to the Culinary Arts program at PWCTC and in the next phase the Community Kitchen at the EIC. For the second design challenge students from South Fayette and Chartiers Valley are creating a master plan for a sustainable community at PWCTC – Green Acres.

In September I joined the PAEYC UnConference: Getting Dirty. Early childhood educators worked at the new Frick Environmental Science Center on activities that included mud drawings and outdoor games. In October PAEYC sponsored another UnConference around the world of Fred Rogers.

I work with a Carnegie Mellon University startup  –  Birdbrain Technologies.  In October I joined Tom Lauwers, the founder and Chief Scientist for Birdbrain, for the MakerFaire on the campus of the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. On November 7 Katie Henry, the new training coordinator for Birdbrain,  lead a workshop on “Finch Tales” – using the Finch robot, another Birdbrain creation,  for story-telling at the Three Rivers Educational Technology Conference (TRETC). Tom and Nic Jaramillo from the YMCA gave a presentation on the Robot Petting Zoo, one of the free activities sponsored by Birdbrain Technologies.

At TRETC I shared more about the EIC/ PWCTC Design Challenges with four students and three teachers from the Montour and Quaker Valley School Districts. I also joined Anne Sekula from the Remake Learning Council to unveil a new Remake Learning Network initiative that will link existing regional resources to the ISTE Standards for Students released this summer.