12 Pittsburgh innovations that “broke the mold” will be presented at Finland education summit

What perfect timing! On the heels of Remake Learning Days comes an exciting announcement. Inspired in part by all those fab labs, robotics and creative sessions, 12 Pittsburgh programs have been selected to present their inventive ideas at the annual HundrED Innovative Summit in Finland.

Pittsburgh is the first US city invited to introduce education innovation by the global non-profit HundrED, which seeks out and shares inspiring ideas in K-12 education to an international audience. HundrED plans to document the programs this summer in preparation of the summit this fall.

When Pittsburgh was chosen, a call went out to educators throughout the region, with support from the Grable Foundation, to share their best ideas and approaches. The 82 submissions included pioneering after-school programs, examples of work taking place in libraries and community centers, plus state-of-the-art classroom ingenuity.

Free loans of Finch Robots allow educators to expose all students to the joy of learning computer science and robotics.

Winnowing those 82 examples down to 10 proved to be too difficult for the local advisory committee and the international research team.

“HundrED Spotlights are designed to identify 10 of the most inspiring innovations that focus on a location or theme, and then share those with the world to help spread what’s working in education,” says Lasse Leponiemi, executive director and co-founder of HundrED.

“But Pittsburgh broke the mold,” he says. “The response was so robust that we chose to expand our selection to 12 innovations. These selected innovations have been proven locally, but they are also inspiring in a global context.”

Global Minds Initiative is a youth imagined and designed program for combating intolerance by fostering intercultural friendships and global understanding.

With the growth of Remake Learning over the past 10 years, Pittsburgh has become a hub for education vision. That reputation will continue to grow as word spreads globally this fall.

“The HundrED Spotlight on Pittsburgh will elevate our regional education changemakers who take risks in their classrooms and schools, engaging their students in meaningful experiences and pushing the limits of learning,” says Gregg Behr, executive director of The Grable Foundation and a local partner in the HundrED Spotlight.

The HundrED Spotlight on Pittsburgh identified the most innovative, impactful, and scalable programs invented by educators in southwestern Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia. Check out the video here and be inspired.

Here are the 12 selections:

Fabricating Change in Mental Wellness: A digital fabrication lab (Fab Lab) at Intermediate Unit 1’s Fab Lab where students diagnosed with mental health conditions design, prototype, build and learn.

The Finch: A teaching tool created by BirdBrain Technologies that makes computer science more engaging and more accessible. Robots are loaned for free to educators serving underrepresented populations.

Global Minds Initiative: An after-school program, launched by students in Pittsburgh Public Schools, where participants create inclusive spaces to combat intolerance and foster intercultural friendship and understanding.

Hillman Academy: An 8-week summer learning program at the Hillman Cancer Center where high school students work alongside world-renowned scientists in real, hands-on lab settings.

JAM, an after school making program, started in 2016 when two first-grade girls wanted to use their creative skills to make items and sell them to raise money for local non-profit causes.

JAM: A student club at Avonworth Primary Center where students have raised thousands of dollars for local charities by making and selling crafts and gifts right in their school’s makerspace.

The Labs @ CLP Summer Skills Intensives: A summer program at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh that connects teens with local artists and librarians to explore photojournalism, filmmaking, beat making, personal branding, street art, and more.

MAKESHOP is a makerspace in the Children’s Museum that is changing the intersection of informal and formal learning.

MAKESHOP: A research-based learning environment for maker learning permanently embedded in the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh that provides materials and support for anyone ready to start their own makerspace.

Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild: A community center that started as a ceramics program in 1968 and has grown into a comprehensive after-school arts program with an impressive track record for helping students graduate high school.

Simple Interactions: A practice-based, strengths-focused, and community-driven approach to support helpers who serve children and youth, led by researchers at the Fred Rogers Center, Harvard Graduate School of Education, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Education.

The goal of Summer Dreamers Academy is to reduce summer learning loss by showing students that learning can be fun.

Summer Dreamers Academy: A no-cost premier summer learning program of Pittsburgh Public Schools that provides the academic benefits of summer school alongside the fun of summer camp to fight summer learning loss.

transformED: An initiative of the Allegheny Intermediate Unit to support educators growing their teaching practice together in a safe space that is filled with technology tools and other supports.

Youth Express: A program of SLB Radio Productions that equips teenagers with media making tools to create and distribute commentaries, discussions, documentaries, and other youth-generated media through a 24/7 radio station.

For more information and to see the full list of 82 innovations submitted to the HundrED Spotlight on Pittsburgh, click here