BirdBrain Technologies Hiring Educational Content Developer

Our friends at BirdBrain Technologies are hiring! Check out the job description below. 

Title: BirdBrain Technologies Educational Content Developer

Position Description
BirdBrain Technologies seeks a technical writer to develop tutorials and documentation for users of its upcoming Hummingbird Duo product. The Hummingbird Duo is an electronics kit designed to allow users of any age or experience level to build and program interactive, robotic artifacts. The predecessor to Hummingbird Duo, the Hummingbird Robotics kit, is in use in hundreds of classrooms and homes. Find out more about Hummingbird Duo on our Kickstarter page:

Document and create tutorials that describe to a novice user how to program Hummingbird Duo with a number of different programming environments. These tutorials will include:
1. A large written component with appropriately designed graphics.
2. For most tutorials, screencasts and video tutorials.

Required Skills and Experience:
1. Technical writing or related degree (or significant progress towards completion).
2. Experience developing screencasts or other online video tutorials. 
3. Familiarity with editing websites using a content management system. Direct knowledge of Drupal websites a plus.
4. Some ability to design graphics or edit images using Photoshop or similar software packages.

Time Commitment:
This is a consulting position expected to require 10-20 hours of weekly work for three months. 

Highly flexible hours, a free robotics kit, and your work will be appreciated by thousands of students and teachers.

Please send a resume and portfolio to if interested.

About us:
BirdBrain Technologies was founded in 2010 to commercialize robots and robotics kits developed at the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute. Our products include the Finch and the Hummingbird. The Finch is a small robot designed to promote an engaging introduction to the art of programming. Hummingbird is a kit of parts that allows students to create and program robots built from kit components and craft materials. Together these products are in use in more than one thousand classrooms. as well as in libraries, museums, and homes. Learn more at

Join the Remake Learning Digital Corps

Check out this exciting opportunity from our friends at The Sprout Fund! Details below.

Are you interested in robotics, coding, gaming, and apps? Have you been looking for a simple way to give back to the youth in your community while getting paid and garnering new skills yourself?

Apply to join the Remake Learning Digital Corps. The application deadline is Friday, September 5, 2014Apply to become a member today!

The Corps provides free workshops for tweens and teens at locations across the Pittsburgh region where youth can learn how to build the web, program robots, and design mobile apps. Adult Corps members act as digital literacy mentors, working with youth on projects that demystify robotics, build websites, make media, and empower the next generation of digital innovators. Following a series of free trainings, Corps members will lead an 8 week series of lessons in an afterschool program. The Sprout Fund can reward you for your teaching time with a paid stipend.

For more information, please contact Ani Martinez at or 412-325-0646.

Hear Me is Hiring a Project Assistant

Hear Me is looking for a new team member! This is a great opportunity for the right person to work with students, promote youth voice in the region and work at the CREATE Lab.

View and apply for the position here.

Please share this posting with any qualified candidates.  The application period will end on August 29.


Hear Me and the CREATE Lab

More than a Number

An Open Essay by 16-year-old Denis McCormick

“People like to say we need to prepare students for real life, and what I counter that with is why don’t we make schools like real life itself-bring experiences outside of school into the school environment.”

This is a powerful quote from young education activist Nikhil Goyal (pictured above),who inspired me to further question standardized testing. As a student, I understand the importance of tests to track the progress of schools and individuals, but students shouldn’t be ranked based on test scores. The multiple-choice format of testing is a simplistic and inefficient way of assessment. It doesn’t show who the students are.

For example, students shouldn’t be labeled as “advanced,” “proficient” or “basic,” based on their answers to test questions. Coming from a low ranked school, I’ve seen students score poorly on these tests; meanwhile they have valuable real-life problem solving skills. I know that some of the things we learn are useful, but when will I be challenged in real life to fill in bubbles?

Schools put so much emphasis on the multiple choice section of standardized tests, but in the real world nothing will be given to us on a Scantron sheet with a packet full of multiple choice questions. As students, we struggle to find value in the state assessment system.

When I found out that our school district ranking was 437 out of 500, I felt that the Pittsburgh Business Times article was wrong and other students had mixed emotions. Some people agreed with the ranking, while others were mad, hurt and disappointed. We took action to make people realize that we are more than a number ranked by a system that fails to measure our real qualities. We all asked, ”Does this really define us? Are we really this bad?” We quickly shot down this thought and said, “We are more complex than what a test says about us. We are more than a number.” Then we decided as a collective group (The Future is Mine) to interview people on this topic and see how they felt about being labeled as “437”

Watch my documentary "437" here.

The state should provide more than just numbers about the students and the school district. The writers at the Pittsburgh Business Times were given the statistics and they were doing what they were supposed to do.  The numbers don’t show anything about the students’ character or their community.

It is difficult to measure creativity and social involvement, but we should be ranked and defined by more than our test scores. We never get a chance to tell the true stories about our community and the quality of the people who live there. We are all held back by the statistics and we need to break the shackles of the “standardization” of our community and tell the real stories.

Denis McCormick is a junior at Steel Valley High School

Arts & Bots in Harrison County, WV

Having recently partnered with the West Virginia University CREATE Lab Satellite to include Arts & Bots as part of their “Hot Science Camp” week, The Harrison County Community Center raved about the experience.  The science camp was a combination of two summer camp groups, and included 35 students ranging in age from third grade to sixth grade, all from low income families in Harrison County.  

Campers were instantly engaged. After a short presentation on the basics of engineering, participants unpacked the hummingbird box and practiced with the software. They then began designing their robots on paper, following the rules of at least one motor, at least one light, at least one something else, multiple expressions, and at least one sequence. The kids quickly took over the computers, excitedly programming and building their robots.  Despite being chaotic, as active science always is, camp leaders at the Community Center said it was likely the best day of the week. The campers seemed enthralled by their work with Arts & Bots, and when asked if they would like a 2 or 3 day experience with this, they all wanted more! 

In addition to participating in "Hot Science Camp" this summer, WVU's CREATE Lab Satellite has also been working with the Children's Discovery Museum of West Virginia to offer robotics days for early elementary and preschool aged children. Two Arts & Bots sessions were held at the museum so far this summer, with participants ranging in age from four to nine years old. 

The Lemonade Project

The Lemonade Project is officially up and running!

The Lemonade Project enlightens and empowers youth through the use of science, art and activism.
Using the CATTfish digital apparatus to measure water quality, 7-10 years olds will test the drinking water. Then they’ll publicize their findings in neighborhood “lemonade stands” to inspire concern about pollution in our water.
Therefore, these are no ordinary lemonade stands! These kids have evaluated the water from various socio-economical regions (including their own) and the pricing of the lemonade will be set accordingly. Carafes of lemonade organized by regions (similar to wine), will be on display as a teach tool. 
Naïve passerbys who come to support a child’s financial endeavor—will instead receive a lecture on the environmental state of our neighborhoods!
We have set up sites in downtown Pittsburgh for the Three Rivers Arts Festival – plus run workshops via The Alloy School in East Liberty and through the Earth Vessel Camp in Friendship.  

Look for us out in the streets, in front of museums and in the city parks!

Lycée Louise Michel & Manchester Craftsmen's Guild: GigaPan Education Partnership

We recently had the pleasure of working to help organize a cultural exchange through GigaPan between Lycée Louise Michel in Grenoble, France and Manchester Craftsmen's Guild Youth & Arts here in Pittsburgh, PA.  

The partnership between these classrooms was born of a shot in the dark, an e-mail sent to Manchester Bidwell Corporation after watching an especially moving TED talk by Bill Strickland. After a discussion between Paolo Nzambi and Dave Deily in Pittsburgh, and Rebecca Clark in Grenoble, we decided a virtual exchange could be set up between two schools across the Atlantic. The project is being led by Rebecca and Justin Mazzei of the Manchester Craftmen's Guild.

Their one aim for this collaboration is for the world to get a little smaller for our students, and for them to understand themselves, their surroundings and empathize with others, their environments, surroundings, and cultures. Their aim is to help teens see that the world is just a village, to be shared by all, so that we can learn to appreciate each other and the wealth of our diversity.

The project began by a first videoconference, which took place on March 27th, 2014. In order to accommodate both groups, they met at 6:00pm for the French students and 12:00 for the Americans!

Says Rebecca, it was really great to be able to talk to students on the other side of the world about school and studies. The French students did a great job speaking English and the Americans had set up a great videoconferencing theater.

Justin Mazzei, teaching artist coordinator from MCG Youth and Arts, proposed using CREATE Lab and their Gigapan project as a way for students to share pictures and talk about their lives. Below are some of their images.