AIU Center for Creativity aims to inspire, energize teachers
By Stacy Lee
Published: Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, 3:56 a.m.
The Allegheny Intermediate Unit's Center for Creativity marked the grand opening of its transformED digital playground for educators on Wednesday.
Representatives from various Allegheny County school districts, educational organizations and technology companies demonstrated activities using GigaPan, Hummingbird robots, Scratch, a 3D printer, a green screen, Design Thinking, robotic poetry and New Worlds/Virtual at the AIU headquarters in the Homestead section of the Waterfront.
“This idea started with a conversation,” said Rosanne Javorsky, assistant executive director of teaching and learning at the AIU. “It was framed in the bigger picture of the Center for Creativity. Part of that conversation was a concern that schools were becoming places of test prep and we were not engaging students as well as we could.”
She said another driving force is that while children and teens are comfortable with technology, some teachers may not be.
“We had a series of four design sessions facilitated by Maya Design for teachers and principals,” Javorsky said.
She said, during the meetings that took place approximately a year ago, the educators requested a space to visit and learn about the newest technology.
The AIU invited various school districts, organizations and companies to demonstrate at the grant opening a form of technology they use.
“It's an opportunity for one school district to learn from another school district and to apply those innovative technologies in their own districts,” AIU director Shauna D'Alessandro said. “It's an opportunity also for teachers to learn from students.”
South Fayette School District seventh-grader Priya Mavani and teacher Stephanie Romero were demonstrating GigaPan, which enables users to create high-resolution panoramic images. Romero sponsors the afterschool United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Club, of which Priya is a member.
“I've been to all of the meetings,” Priya said. “I don't want to miss any of them.”
“We're presenting how we use GigaPan in the school,” Romero said. “We have a cultural exchange with a school in Rio de Janeiro.”
She said the students use GigaPan to post pictures of where they live or something related to their culture and then the other school comments and asks questions about the images.
“You can find any event or location and bring it into the classroom,” Romero said. “I can tell students, ‘There's a lot of traffic in Mexico City.' If I can find a shot of that, it's a more powerful teaching tool.”
Allegheny Valley School District eighth-graders Chloe Guy and Kevin Kondrit showed poetry coming to life through technology. They used a BirdBrain Technologies Hummingbird microcontroller to create a robotic theater to “The Sun has Long Been Set” by poet William Wordsworth.
“We record a poem in our voices and we have the robot perform,” Chloe said.
She said the idea for the advanced language arts students was conceived by gifted support teacher Sue Mellon.
TransformED is funded through a $218,000 Grable Foundation grant.
Javorsky said the technology education program will continue with a schedule of formal professional development opportunities in addition to informal “play dates” and open times.
Educators who are employed by any of the AIU's member school districts are invited to transformED. For more information, visit the Center for Creativity page on the AIU website, www.aiu3.net.
Stacy Lee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1970, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Serra Catholic High School friary to house foreign students
- 5 Operation Pork Chop defendants sentenced to 5 years probation
- Steel Valley Bicycle Tour will raise funds for trail maintenance
- Officials in North Versailles fed up with littering
- McKeesport workshop focuses on summer programs, policy updates
- East Allegheny counselors receive national recognition
- McKeesport student to celebrate Jackie Robinson’s legacy
- Markosek supports McCord for governor
- West Mifflin public works lauded for efforts
- Crews fill Duquesne sinkhole
- East Allegheny wins Kennywood’s Education Days contest