Spring 2023

Photos by Norton Gusky CC BY 2.0

It’s good to spend time with kids and educators after more than a two year hiatus. Here’s what I’m doing this spring.

I’m part of an educational outreach team working on the new Moonshot Museum that opened to the public on Saturday, October 15, 2022. The museum is located in the Astrobotic: Pittsburgh Aerospace Company site on the North Shore of Pittsburgh. Astrobotic won the NASA contract to send a lunar module to the moon in 2023. My colleague, Justin Aglio, offered me the opportunity to work on this project representing the Readiness Institute Outreach project for Penn State University. I work on the Hope Moonshot program that is a permanent exhibit at the Moonshot Museum. My photos were used for the exhibit of the Hope Moonshot. This year I’m taking photos and making movies for the Moonshot Museum and Astrobotic with educators and students from the Manchester Academic Charter School (MACS) and the Manchester Youth Development Center MYDC). This spring Astrobotic hopes to send the Peregrine lander to the moon with the first archive of Hope Moonshot dreams. As part of Remake Learning Days the Moonshot Museum hosted an event for the community to explore the museum. I helped to document the event.

I joined the River Valley School District in San Diego for the World of Work Conference. Philip Martell, the superintendent of River Valley, Melissa Milanak, the CyberSecurity teacher, and Jeff Geesey, the Workforce Development specialist, shared the STEAM/Cybersecurity program that River Valley has developed in the past year. The highlight of the trip for me was visiting the Cajon Valley Union School District and spending time with kids and educators from the district as well as colleagues from around the country, like Tom Vander Ark from Getting Smart. I ended up writing an article published by Getting Smart.

BIG NEWS from one of my clients, Birdbrain Technologies. The Finch Loan program applications are now OPEN for spring and summer 2023! In the last 8 years, the Finch Library program has reached over 205,000 students with its free robot loans. Apply for FREE creative robotics magic today: https://birdbraintechnologies.com/loan-program/

I wasn’t surprised to find a Finch robot and a Birdbrain Hummingbird Kit at a Remake Learning Days event at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit. For the past year teachers from around Allegheny County worked on projects that tapped into their innovative juices to meet the needs of their K-12 students. Projects ranged from hydroponics for elementary kids to 3D modeling for high school biology students. Many of the projects address the social and emotional needs coming out of the Covid period. Teachers created activities around belonging or wellness. I also joined as a judge the Design to Make a Difference event at Duquesne University as part of Remake Learning Days. It was wonderful to see innovative students from elementary to high school sharing their projects that addressed real world problems. Here are some photos from the event and other learning events like the STEM Summit that the Pittsburgh Technology Council produced in March.

I finished teaching a new version of my Osher class at Carnegie Mellon University, Teachings of Fred Rogers framed by the book When You Wonder, You’re Learning. I’m amazed that six of the amazing educators who joined me this past year returned for the winter term – Gregg Behr, Melissa Butler, Cara Ciminillo, Bill Isler, Jane Werner, and Larry Berger. The paperback edition of When You Wonder, You’re Learning: Mister Rogers’ Enduring Lessons for Raising Creative, Curious, Caring Kids was released on Tuesday, April 4th. (https://www.hachettego.com/titles/gregg-behr/when-you-wonder-youre-learning/9780306874741/)

To see my spring photos, follow this link. I’ve been investigating local art galleries and museums. The Stage to Page show at the Frick Museum includes a series of Shakespeare folios and an augmented look at the world of Shakespeare. I’ve also been producing a series of slideshows, collages, and movies (see : My Gallery.) I joined my stepson, Jacob, and we took our puppy, Olive, on this year’s Pet Walk as part of the Pittsburgh Marathon in Point State Park. Here’s a short video highlighting the event: