Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Educators: Networking Leads to New Learning Ideas

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Educators: Networking Leads to New Learning Ideas

Article excerpt

At a networking meeting aimed at coming up with ideas to help children, Jane Werner, the executive director of the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, sat next to a stranger.

That stranger was Drew Davidson, a professor at the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University. She said the two chatted throughout the day about ideas but then heard another participant talk about an idea of a bus that would stop in neighborhoods and have children make things.

They decided, "Let's do that." The idea marked the beginning of the MakeShop at the Children's Museum, which opened in fall 2011. Visitors can make items, the possibilities depend on the day, that could include a sewing project that lights up, woodworking and animation. In 2012, the museum began taking the program to schools. It now visits six schools throughout the school year.

This idea is just one of many programs, in schools and out of schools, in the region that grew out of connections made in the Kids+Creativity Network, which brings people together from a wide range of fields to develop innovative ideas to help students learn.

Cathy Lewis Long, executive director and president of the Sprout Fund, which organizes the network, said the program "has really captured the imagination of how we are as a community harnessing all of the assets of the community to really begin to re-imagine how young people are learning."

Today at the Cabaret at Theater Square in Downtown, representatives of more than 200 organizations are expected to attend the network's annual assembly, which will focus on the network's successes and look toward more innovations in the coming year. The network's financial supporters include the Grable, Benedum, Hillman MacArthur and Pittsburgh foundations.

This is its annual meeting, but there will be other meetings during the year, including smaller affinity groups and "lunch and learn" sessions. Learning innovations are highlighted on the website remakelearning. …

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