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Remake Learning Days Recognizes Teacher and Community Champions

May 16, 2018

Featured photo: Ben Filio Photography via Remake Learning.

By Chris Maggio

Remake Learning Days kicks off its third year on Thu., May 17 for nine days of hands-on learning, regional and national partnership, and local honors.

The organizations that compose The Remake Learning Network will host more than 270 events, most of them free, across southwestern Pennsylvania and, for the third consecutive year, West Virginia. The events take place in schools, branches of the Carnegie Library, museums, and other institutions, with an emphasis on locations in Hazelwood, the Hill District, Homewood, and the North Side. The network divided all the events into themes, which run the gamut of the arts to outdoor learning. These themes often overlap.

“This is the fun thing about Remake Learning Days,” Producer Dorie Taylor said. “A lot of times, the events combine all the different elements into one.”

Take just one of the events: “What Does Your Voice Look Like?” hosted by SLB Radio Productions, Inc. noon-5 p.m. Tues., May 22 at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. The event category is Youth Voice, for as the event’s name suggests, children speak into a microphone and observe the image of their unique sound waves. But the event also touches upon technology and art. Children who bring their own t-shirt can have their unique sound wave printed on it for free at the Andy Warhol Museum.

The Remake Learning Days Kickoff begins 8 a.m. Thu., May 17 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. A new component of this year’s kickoff includes recognizing teacher and community champions. Participating school district superintendents nominated the teacher champions, while the Remake Learning Days team chose the community champions. “It was a mixture of people who are doing wonderful things in their community to influence the children around them and in some way are educators themselves,” Taylor said.

The teachers remake learning in myriad ways, such as by founding a student-run business or by incorporating CAD and 3D printing into art classes. The community champions include a film director, a police officer who teaches chess, the owner of TekStart, and other individuals, all of whom have engaged children and their families.

“This is a youth-centered, family-friendly event highlighting innovative learning and teaching, and you have to give props to all the teachers and the community leaders serving as teachings,” Taylor said.

The kickoff overlaps with the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), which will be open to the public 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Thu., May 17 at the convention center. The fair is the largest pre-college science competition in the world. Visitors can learn about the research of 1,800 students in 22 STEM fields.

Intel ISEF and Remake Learning Days also overlap sponsors. Gregg Behr, Executive Director of the Grable Foundation, andLee Ann Wainwright, who is the Policy, Government, and Public Affairs Specialist for Chevron Appalachia, will each speak at the kickoff. Other speakers include Maya Ajmera, President and CEO of the Society for Science & the Public, which runs Intel ISEF. Remake Learning Network Executive Director Sunanna Chand will also speak as will Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

This year, visitors from as near as eastern Pennsylvania and as far as South San Francisco will tour the Remake Learning Days events and plan how they can start similar programming in their own cities. Representatives from Digital Promise and PBS will also visit. And why not? Thirty thousand people attended Remake Learning Days last year, leaving more than 300,000 social media impressions per day.

The Remake Learning Network, a group of more than 250 organizations, launched Remake Learning Days in 2016. This year, Comcast is a media sponsor for Remake Learning Days. Its Internet Essentials program helps to bring low-cost internet to homes.

Visit the Remake Learning Days website for a list of all sponsors, events, teacher champions, and community champions.