Special Series: Remake Learning

In September 2016, 90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh's NPR news station launched a 2-year initiative known as “Remake Learning.” Made possible through a grant from the Grable Foundation, the project focuses on Pittsburgh’s leadership in the international movement to “remake learning” and create educational opportunities designed for our times.

Remake Learning focuses on the Pittsburgh region’s need to prepare its young people for college and the work force by building on the basics and connecting students with hands-on learning experiences that develop relevant skills.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Duquesne Elementary School kindergarten teacher Breanne Dolby thought she was bringing her students to the library for a “surprise guest reader” last Tuesday. Instead, she was awarded $1,500, a customized Steelers jersey and tickets to the New Year’s Day game.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Before heading to the practice field, Westinghouse High School football players met in a classroom, where Coach Monte Robinson read questions from a notecard about alcohol and sexual violence. He told them to be honest.

Marcus Charleston / WESA

Giordan Dixon, 16, stuck to his script at the new Homewood – Brushton YMCA on Bennett Street in Homewood South. “I want to be a singer and a music producer,” he said, guiding small tours. Dixon lit up while showing off the center's recording studios, mixing boards and booths. Like a lot of teens lately, the aspiring entertainer spends hours pouring over the facility's new music education suite studying artist development and vocal training as part of YMCA's Creative Youth Center . "You can...

Matt O'Brien / AP

Two Pittsburgh area school districts—one thought of as affluent, the other, not so much—are partnering to tackle a common problem for young children from poor families: a huge disparity, not just in financial resources but also in vocabulary. “We’re looking at how we can really reduce the 30 million word gap,” said Megan Cicconi, the director of instructional innovative leadership in the Fox Chapel School District. She’s referring to the critical finding of a 1995 study that was re-affirmed...

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

In a time of shrinking school budgets, arts education sometimes takes a back seat to academics. In order to introduce students to arts not often taught in schools, the Pittsburgh Promise hosted a series of immersive dance and music classes taught by local artists.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

An audience of about 50 people watched uncomfortably as a man named Jon confessed he raped a girl in high school. The confession was actually part of a scene in the play, “Tape,” a story about sexual assault, performed at the University of Pittsburgh on Wednesday. The play follows the character Jon’s confession to his friend, Vince, that he raped a woman 10 years earlier. In the play, the two men both dated the woman, Amy, in high school. The two characters had never spoken about that night...

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

It took some wrangling to fit nearly 30 Catholic school eighth-graders into the basement space of Most Wanted Fine Art gallery in Pittsburgh’s Garfield neighborhood where St. Bede English teacher Becky Baverso took her comic book club to see artist Marcel Walker’s exhibit. “So this show here, ‘To Tell The Troof,’ this is my first solo gallery show,” Walker told the class, pointing. “I’ve had work in gallery shows before, but this is the first time it’s all mine.” While creators of color have...

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

A group of middle-schoolers sat quietly at their tables in South Fayette Intermediate School this past June, while getting some last minute programing and building instructions from teacher Michael Lincoln. He was all that stood between them and a pile of still-boxed, black drones. Lincoln, who usually teaches at Avonworth Middle School, encouraged the kids: “Use everything you’ve learned,” he said. “Don’t just start doing things. Think before you do.” Sixteen students from Avonworth and...

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

When students at the Homewood-Brushton YMCA are gone for the weekend, an app-controlled robot can now drop food pellets into their fish tank. “We thought, what would you like to do?” said Russ White, vice president of technology strategy for Development Dimensions International. “Through talking to them we thought there’s probably a solution there.” White’s company focuses on human-centered design, or designing with a specific person or group in mind, to develop leadership training software....

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Preschooler Marleny Roasario sat cross-legged on a multi-colored carpet Wednesday, scrunching her face at a blue and purple snaggle-toothed troll. Performing artist Amber Ramsey Fantini laughed, bobbing her puppets at the class. "Turn around," she told the girl. "Show your teacher and all the other kids." The half-hour-long storytelling session at Roosevelt Intermediate School in Carrick is part of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's StoryCorner series , which invites artists like Fantini into...

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

It may be summer, but on a recent sunny June day, a small group of teachers and students stayed indoors. They sat in classrooms at the South Fayette School District campus for a different take on traditional summer school. In the STEAM Summer Institute, teachers far out-numbered students, and in some instances, it was the students who were doing the teaching. South Fayette High School Freshman Parv Shrivastava was one of those students. He taught a room full of teachers how to use programming...

Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

The Fab Lab at the Carnegie Science Center is using its 3-D printer to make prosthetic hands. The “e-Nable the Future” program allowed visitors to take part in a workshop utilizing this technology. Essential Pittsburgh producer Marcus Charleston attended the workshop. The Remake Learning series is a collaboration of 90.5 WESA, WQED, Pittsburgh Magazine and NEXTpittsburgh.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council members and education activists say it’s time for Pennsylvania lawmakers to prioritize affordable early childhood education in the state’s budget.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

A s part of Remake Learning Days , Essential Pittsburgh is exploring two of the 11 districts and six individual schools in the region that have signed on to the Maker Promise , which is part of the White House-sponsored Digital Promise. While the Digital Promise works to put more technology into schools, the Maker Promise refines that to encourage the creation of maker spaces in schools that may or may not include new technologies.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

It’s remake learning week in in Pittsburgh and one of the ways learning is being “remade” is through a national effort known as the Digital Promise , which aims to put more technology into schools. The White House-supported program has launched an additional effort it is calling the Maker Promise . Karen Cator, CEO, Digital Promise, said the maker concept incorporates several skills that are important into the workplace.

Discover How Pittsburgh Became A Leader In 'Remaking Learning'

May 10, 2016
Alan Cleaver / flickr

Education is constantly evolving and has come a long way since the days of the “new math.” Remake learning is the latest trend in education. Emphasizing digital learning, creativity and innovation we’ll discover how Pittsburgh has become a leader in this movement with Anne Sekula, director of the Remake Learning Council . Also taking part in the conversation is Kevin Gavin, WESA’s executive producer for special projects.

Remake Learning

Learning doesn’t just have to happen in a classroom. That’s the message that e ducation groups and members of the Remake Learning Network hope to send by hosting more than 280 events this week . The events will promote innovative educational opportunities for children with hands-on learning such as woodworking, sewing, robotics, 3-D printing and student-led panels. "Remake Learning" is an expression used to describe the idea that children can learn anytime and anywhere, including at museums...

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 FM WESA

Students at Avonworth School District ’s Primary Center had a chance every week to gather in an empty classroom to create anything from battery-powered cars to catapults. Then, one day, a few students came to kindergarten teacher Maureen Frew with a teeny request.

The Ellis School

In the year 2113, a city in the Katmandu Valley of Nepal will be surrounded by an earthquake mitigation system and crisscrossed by underground pneumatic tubes that will zip solid waste right out of your house. At least that is what a group of seventh and eighth graders at The Ellis School in Pittsburgh will be presenting next week at the national Future City competition. “The whole point of this is to imagine 100 years in the future, but it has to be based on something that could really...

Erika Beras / 90.5 WESA

When students Bishal Rai, Arpun Khadka and Gabriel Sahij walk into Concord Elementary School in Carrick, a welcome sign greets them in English, Spanish and Nepali.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA News

North Allegheny High School sophomore Mason Blackburn wanted Alex the Lion to escape the zoo, but it wasn't that simple. The team hit a few roadblocks along the way, he said. Levers overcomplicated the motions, so they tried a simpler pulley system. It took a lot of trial and error, Blackburn said. "We certainly learned a lot," he said. "We had several of these swinging hooks and each hook would transfer energy to the next hook. Eventually that was too complicated." North Allegheny joined...

Integrating Technology In Classrooms Around The Region

Oct 29, 2015
Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

One hundred seventy-five school leaders, education experts and other stakeholders from across the country recently convened in Pittsburgh at the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools national meeting to discuss the role technology partnerships can play in enhancing digital learning in schools. The league is comprised of just 73 school districts including three from the Pittsburgh area: South Fayette, Avonworth and Elizabeth Forward.

What's Being Made At Pittsburgh's Maker Faire

Oct 9, 2015
Maker Faire Pgh / Facebook

From robots, to rockets to bicycles: this weekend, Maker Faire Pittsburgh will exhibit the work of many creative minds from all over the region. Dale Dougherty , creator of Maker Faire, said ‘maker’ is an umbrella term that broadly defines anyone who builds, creates, or puts something together. “I think one of the elements of Maker Faire is that we’re using technology often to transform materials and turn it into something that means something to us and to other people,” he said.

Erika Beras / 90.5 WESA News

Chris Williams, 34, tilts a delicately etched wooden cube from side to side. His body shifts as it sends out electronic tones. It’s poplar. It’s organic. It’s electronic. It’s… a game. The box, dubbed Coral, is Williams’ first foray into audio memory entertainment for the visually impaired. With wires and electronics hidden in a laser-engraved, wooden enclosure, the toy produces tonal sequences its players identify and match by rotating in four directions, similar to the children’s game Simon...

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

One school of thought in adapting to a new generation of learners is to take students out of traditional classrooms where desks point toward an instructor. To do that, educators create a maker space where students can explore and question content. Libraries use maker spaces, the Carnegie Science Center has a new digital fabrication lab, and Mayor Bill Peduto held a roundtable discussion on the importance of them. Entrepreneurs use them to collaborate and have access to materials they otherwise couldn’t afford on their own.

How Playing A Game Can Help Kids Navigate Trauma

Jul 29, 2015
Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

At first glance, the mobile app "Triangle of Life" looks like any other video game. Fun music, animals and prizes are won as the lead character moves through the game. But it isn’t just about jumping and scoring points or making it to a complicated finale — although that happens, too. Instead of coins, gamers collect experiences. The goal is to give kids who have experienced trauma and are in therapy a fun tool to navigate their emotions and make healthy choices.

Rebecca Devereaux / 90.5 WESA

This week, game designers, developers and educators gathered at Carnegie Mellon University for the Serious Play Conference , where the focus was on "serious” gaming, or games used for training and teaching. Pittsburgh-based game designer Jesse Schell, CEO of Schell Games, demonstrated his company’s award-winning game "Water Bears."

Baby Theater: Pacifiers And Teething Toys Welcome

May 22, 2015
Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

These aren’t your typical theater-goers. They call out during the play. They try to join into the performance. And some are sucking on pacifiers. This is entertainment for the very young — baby theater.

Erika Beras / 90.5 WESA

In Jim Seagriff’s classroom at Taylor Allderdice High School, there are a half dozen furnaces and boilers. A small closet area is set up the way a basement would be. Goggle-clad teenagers adjust knobs on mock refrigerators. These are HVAC students in the Career and Technical Education program.

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