Remake Learning Days, being held May 9-15, 2016, is a week filled with events and activities designed for educators & innovators, children & families, and youth & teens, celebrating STEM, STEAM, maker and technology-enhanced learning across Southwestern Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Organized by the Remake Learning Network the event will shine positive light on the tremendous educators, students, nonprofits, governments and companies that are creating remarkable learning experiences for children and youth.
The event showcases the learning happening all over the region and celebrates the organizations and people that make it happen.
According to Amelia Courts, E.D., President/CEO of The Education Alliance in Charleston, WV, and member of the Remake Learning Council, "Remake Learning Days is an opportunity to provide more positive momentum for a lot of the efforts that West Virginia and Southwestern Pennsylvania are working on to be innovative, and to push forward some innovative approaches to learning."
There are two aspects to the week.
"The first aspect is asking schools to Make a Commitment — to double down on their efforts — to remake learning," explains Courts. "This will give us some specific, measurable results and a database of innovative learning going on across the region for future networking and collaboration."
"The second aspect is asking schools and organizations to Host an Event that brings the community in and promotes innovative learning among stakeholders, policy makers and the broader community.
The week-long event starts with a kickoff on May 9, coordinated by the Remake Learning Council. Leaders from West Virginia and Pennsylvania will highlight some of the commitments that the Council is making in the region.
The week will continue with several events in the region.
Courts says that West Virginia will host several simultaneous events across the state. The Remake Learning Network is reaching out to county superintendents and encouraging them to take advantage of this opportunity to shine a bright light on some of the great things they are doing. The Network is also reaching out to schools with maker spaces that are doing innovative and remaking work. In addition, the Alliance for Excellent Education, in Washington D.C., is also planning an event in West Virginia during Remake Learning Days.
"We really need to remake the way we provide education," says Courts. "Some schools and systems are being transformative and moving the needle. Remake Learning Days is a great opportunity to generate positive messages and create peer pressure moving forward. To say 'this is possible,' and here are examples of schools that are doing it."
To encourage schools to participate, the Education Alliance of West Virginia is offering grant funds ($250 - $1,000) to support schools, districts and nonprofit organizations that host an event during Remake Learning Days.
"We are encouraging and incentivizing schools and districts to take advantage of this opportunity and host an event," says Courts. "Schools have a limited budget and the grant helps offset the cost of participating." Applications can be submitted on the Education Alliance website.
Courts says that it is an exciting time for the Remake Learning movement in West Virginia. In 2014, the governor of West Virginia formed a STEM council. Now, there are eight STEM network schools in West Virginia that pioneer innovative STEM education techniques and workplace learning experiences for students. In addition, there are seven maker spaces in the planning stages at schools and community sites.
"There is already a lot happening in STEM learning, but efforts aren't coordinated," explains Courts.
She says that the Remake Learning Council encourages programs to list STEM and innovative learning on the Carnegie Science Center's central hub, called STEMisphere, and the Kidsburgh online resource. "As we ramp up activities in the region, this is a way to increase access to those programs. A user-friendly way for students and parents to get online and find programs across the region."
As part of its strategic focus, The Remake Learning Council is working with the Carnegie Science Center to develop "clearing house" of innovative learning programs.
In the meantime, Remake Learning Days is a great opportunity for parents, students, educators and innovators to learn more about STEM, STEAM, maker and technology-enhanced learning across Southwestern Pennsylvania and West Virginia.