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.

Train the Trainer: The Science of Light

Along with our colleagues at ASSET STEM Education, we recently hosted a two-day train-the-trainer workshop for members of our Satellite Network around the principles of photography and its use in the classroom, particularly through the lens of social impact.

Participants kicked off the workshop building a pinhole camera, and concluded it putting together a digital camera. (see full workshop schedule below)

The goals of the workshop:

  • Deepen understanding of photography fundamentals, to anchor and enhance the GigaPan outreach and support provided by CREATE Lab Satellites.
  • Hands-on consideration of the Bigshot camera kit as a Satellite Network wide offering within a context of community empowerment. 

Below are testimonials from workshop participants. The accompanying photographs were taken with Bigshot cameras, which participants assembled and experimented with during the second day of the workshop.

"The workshop has been a lot of fun. It was really helpful to begin with photographic history and move through different techniques, tools and concepts. I learned a lot about how modern cameras work through examining older methods of photography. This is definitely something I can share with my colleagues and students."
Kris Hupp
Cornell School District
21st Century Teaching & Learning Coach

"Thank you for the last two days.  I have truly enjoyed learning more about the technical side of photography."
Deb Spencer
Manager of Professional Development
ASSET STEM Education

"Going through that training, it's much easier for me to see how to help others with little to no experience with photography, as I had. I have a better understanding of exposure and focus and what it means and how its used after the big shot session and its easily expanded into gigapan. It was a great session!"
Carrie-Meghan Quick-Blanco
Language/International Studies Specialist
Marshall University

"This picture was taken during our training on the BigShot camera. The session provided an interactive experience that encouraged individual creativity and voice!"
Renee Graham
Research and Development Manager
ASSET STEM Education

"The most engaging part of the workshop for me was when we had to think about harnessing photography as a tool towards making folks aware/educating about a specific social justice issue, and then actually capturing a few images with the BigShot camera towards that end. This took on the flavor of a "project" and strengthened my belief in the power of photography, especially in the hands of students."
Jim Rye
Professor, Curriculum and Instruction/Literacy Studies
West Virginia University

"This workshop was a wonderful resource for new techniques and methods for using photography in a classroom."
Rachel Shipley
Artist Educator Fellow
West Liberty University 

"The impact that art can have on society is not something I have ever thought about, and I now realize its power. The potential these materials have for out of school time is something I want to explore.  I am looking forward to working with and using the resources provided. Thank you for this experience."
Lisa Callender
Professional Development Manager
ASSET STEM Education 

"I loved the opportunity to build a kit-based digital camera and I’m sure the Bigshot will be a great resource for kids to learn more about photography. I also appreciated the examples of photography and image-making for social impact projects. All in all, a very valuable workshop. Thank you!"
Mac Howison
Senior Program Officer for Catalytic Funding
The Sprout Fund

Workshop Schedule

BirdBrain Technologies Launches Hummingbird Duo Kickstarter

Our friends at BirdBrain Technologies have just launched a new KickStarter campaign to support production of the second generation of Hummingbird kits: the Duo! 

Building upon the Parents' Choice Gold Award-winning version one Hummingbird controller that operated as a tethered I/O board, the Hummingbird Duo is essentially two boards in one. It operates as either an original Hummingbird controller or as an Arduino Leonardo with an integrated motor/servo shield and improved connectors. The version one Hummingbird can be thought of as a "pre-Arduino," because using it helps build skills and confidence that make it easier to use Arduino. With the Hummingbird Duo, the Arduino is built right into the controller so that anyone who wants to can immediately take that next step! 

Please check out the KickStarter page for more information, and consider supporting BirdBrain Technologies and Duo if you can.

Hear Me Goes to ALEC to Record Student Interviews

This blog was reposted from The Brashear Kids Association Blog, which can be found here:

Hear Me Comes to ALEC to Record Student Interviews

Hear Me, an initiative of the CREATE Lab at Carnegie Mellon University, came to the Allentown Learning and Engagement Center (ALEC) to record our students' thoughts about the Pittsburgh Police.  ALEC is located next door to the Zone 3 Police Station. Interactions with the police are part of our students' daily lives. 

Through this collaborative campaign with Allies for Children, students from all over the city of Pittsburgh had the opportunity to record their responses to such questions as, "What is the job of a police officer?" and "How would you describe your relationship with police officers?"  Once all the responses are recorded and edited, Hear Me will present them to Mayor William Peduto to help inform the selection of the new Chief of Police.  

Students at ALEC listened to their interviews  and then interviewed one another.  They had such a great time sharing their stories with Jess and Ryan of Hear Me, and we can't wait to share the final edit. 

Hear Me is a collaborative network of community organizations, institutions, businesses and foundations working together to provide a better future for our kids. Through this project, our students have had a chance to share their voice with a wider audience and participate in the democratic process.  To learn more, check out their website.

- Renee

Summer Arts & Bots Camps



Ages 8-9, Full Day Camps 9 am – 3 pm

Call 412.237.1637 or Register HERE 

June 16 – 20
July 21 – 25
Aug. 4 – 8

Technology and imagination unite as you combine craft materials and robotic components to build and animate robotic creations. Using Carnegie Mellon University's CREATE Lab's visual programming software and Hummingbird Robotics Kits, campers will engage in the artistic side of robotics.
$235 members / $250 non-members (price includes materials fee) 


Ages 10-12, Full Day Camps 9 am – 3 pm

Call 412.237.1637 or Register HERE

June 9 – 13
July 28 – Aug. 1
Aug. 11 – 15

Technology and imagination unite as you combine craft materials and robotic components to build and animate robotic creations. Using Carnegie Mellon University's CREATE Lab's visual programming software and Hummingbird Robotics Kits, campers will engage in the artistic side of robotics.
$235 members / $250 non-members (price includes materials fee)


Robot Programming

Grades 5th-7th, Full Day Camps 9 am - 3pm (extended day available till 6:30pm)

Register HERE

July 28 - Aug. 1

We will only be offering one week of this super awesome session! We will be using the fantastic Hummingbird robotics kit to teach programming. This versatile platform was designed at Carnegie Melon’s CREATE lab.

It is the perfect introduction to programming as it combines hands-on building and art with real electronics (servos, LEDs, motors, sensors) with programming. No previous programming experience is necessary. The kids will work in small groups and create robots that interact with the other robots and environment. Students will not be taking home any projects at the end of the session


Arts & Bots in the News

We're so excited to share this Arts & Bots story, featured yesterday on WESA, Pittsburgh's NPR News Station! 

Sue Mellon, gifted teacher at Springdale Junior & Senior High School and longtime friend of the CREATE Lab, describes her classroom's use of Hummingbird kits in the English curriculum. Mellon uses Arts & Bots as a way for her students to explore themes of poetry that might otherwise feel intimidating or uninteresting. “Repetition in poetry increases comprehension of the poem, so by building you get this natural repetition," says Sue. "They’ll have recorded the poem so it’ll run while their robotic actions highlight what’s going on in the poem. That’s another form of repetition. They have to keep referring back to it to make it come alive.”

Check out the full story here, and watch the video below for a demonstration from one of Sue's students.