Friday, February 7, 2014

As usual my day bounced around between teaching, curricular work, partnerships and  in information technology. Today - lots of great things happened on many fronts.

Ellis runs an amazing program each may called "Mini-Courses" where students and faculty explore a topic of their choice. The regular academic program is done and topics ranging from mountain biking to the chemistry of food to mobile robotics and exploring social media take place. This year I am partnering with two Ellis history faculty to develop and facilitate a design thinking challenge that centers on the City of Braddock, PA. My colleague, Susan wrote to Mayor Fetterman to inquire if he would be interested to work with us. We got a speedy reply and are planning to meet with him. All this happens on the wings of the successful KickStarter for Superior Motors. We are eager to learn more about the project from Fetterman and Chef Kevin Sousa and have the girls work through a design thinking challenge.
HearMe Cans will be used to display the work of our
9th grade Voice & Vision students starting this month. 
I also helped another teacher get a HearMe cans set up today. Our ninth grade Voice & Vision class is amazing! It's co-taught by visual arts and history faculty. In this course, our students look at the theme of water at both local and global levels (through a partnership with the Park School in Rio de Janeiro) through community engagement and expression via digital media. Our students have created InfoGraphics and now the HearMe audio that will be on display at the Schenley Park Visitor Center each month beginning this month. 

The last partners I ran into today were the folks from Steeltown Entertainment Project. Our middle school students participate in the "Take a Shot at Changing the World" contest each year and we got to brainstorm with Steeltown today! Take a Shot at Changing The World” is a “viral” video competition where students can make films about Pittsburgh Innovations--events of people that began in Pittsburgh and had an impact on the world at large, or they can make films that feature their own big ideas to change the world. 

Curriculum & Teaching:
In engineering class today our students were preparing their projects and activities for Lower School Space Day. I walked in to see parachutes being sewn, rain-drop costumes being made for an educational video on water filtration to scoreboards being created for a friction and propulsion activity. These real-world projects are time-consuming yet extremely beneficial to assure our students get to experience deep learning. Our Active Classroom for Girls is the location of our engineering class - I plan to blog about this more another time. The classroom is an amazing space with engaging and relevant curriculum. For the past year we have been conducing research on how this style of teaching coupled with space open for collaboration and "making" engages girls in STEM. Next week we are meeting with our research partner, Adam Liebovich  from the University of Pittsburgh to discuss the development of a white paper to share the amazingness that has been taking place!

I also got to meet with my amazing advisees, Julia, Liliane and Sophia today. Julia and Liliane are working on organizing a team of girls to participate in the Pittsburgh DataWorks, Big Data Jam. They will be defining and solving problems related to our city through use of open data. Sophia just received word a few weeks ago she won a license from TED for TEDxYouth@HotMetalBridge! I am working as her faculty advisor and its been super exciting. The theme of TEDxYouth@HMB is around innovation, millennials and solving problems. There is a lot of work with both of these ventures but I know that these #ellisgirls are up to put in the hard work! 

Tomorrow I head back to Ellis to film the "STEAM Powered Girls" presenting their research project for the Pittsburgh Grand Championship being held at NREC on 2/22! 

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