Celebrating CSEdWeek Highlights

Last month was the annual Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek). CSEdWeek is dedicated to inspiring K-12 students to take interest in computer science. 

The CREATE Lab Satellite Network and our friends at the ABC CREATE network (Alle-Kiski Best Practice Collaborative CREATE Lab Satellite Hub) celebrated the week with various events and activities. Below are some of the highlights and ways to look back at the week. 

Franklin Regional Middle School: "We provide students the option to participate in Hour of Code and had approximately 200 6-8 graders participated this year. Additionally, we put a twist on Hour of Code, as one of our 8th graders led a computer hardware seminar for a group of students and another 8th grader presented a gaming website that he developed to another group of students." - Andrew Leviski, Principal

Knoch Middle School: Students in Mrs. Bocci’s 6th Grade and Mrs. Slater’s 4tha and 5th-grade keyboarding classes spent time participating in the HOUr of Code. South Butler students who took part did so by looking at familiar games like Minecraft and Flappy Bird and building on them. For instance, the characters who move throughout the game seemingly do so automatically, but that is becase a program has been written. The kids were able to write their own program to make the bird fly the they wanted, engineer the sounds in the game, and even adjust for the bird can move through the passageways. 

Burrell School District: Students were able to do did a number of small things regarding the hour of code with a lot of work using Scratch and Finch. 
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Following a cyber bullying project in 6th grade, students used scratch to make their names fly while 3rd and 5th grade did multiple projects with Code.org
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Colfax Elementary and Plum Borough School District participated in Hour of Code. One class at Plum used it with their geometry classes as well as in Web Site class if they finish labs early. 

Armstrong High School: All of the Computer Science 9 classes participated in an Hour of Code. Advanced students are preparing to create a video game about real world issues impacting our community for Pittsburgh's Games for Change student challenge. 

Deer Lakes School District:  All students at East Union participated in the Hour of Code on Days 4,5,6.  They practiced their Hour of Code using the Code.org website.   

All students at Curtisville participated on Days 1,2,3.  They also did Hour of Code using Code.org, Kodable, and Tynker. Tynker also gives them several age-appropriate tutorial options such as: 


HIRING: CEISMC looking for Program Director to do K-12 outreach

Our new Satellite at Georgia Tech, CEISMC, is looking for someone who wants to make an impact on education and tech fluency, 

The new full-time Program Director will focus on K-12 outreach. Responsibilities will include managing and leading development, budgeting, implementation, and technology programs for teachers and students. They will also provide program leadership in the administration of state and district education partnerships. 

To see a full job description and apply, click here.

CREATE Lab launches all new app: Smell PGH

If you smell it, you breathe it.

Unfortunately, pollution from industrial plants, diesel exhaust and wood smoke in Allegheny County still poses a significant threat, making the air we breathe dirty and people in our communities sick. People living in SW Pennsylvania have a significantly higher risk of developing cancer due to this exposure. Our air was ranked 8th worst in the United States in 2016 by the American Lung Association.

Foul odors outside may indicate a serious pollution problem in your community. If your air smells toxic, then it is possible that you are inhaling toxins.

Now, there is something simple you can do to help improve our air. Download and use the new Smell PGH app, which allows you to report foul odors directly to the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) so they can better monitor and act on these incidents of bad smelling air. The app also includes a compelling visualization of smell reports across Pittsburgh, so you can see the widespread impact of poor odors in our community.

Smell PGH, created by Carnegie Mellon University’s CREATE Lab in collaboration with many Pittsburgh partners,  crowdsources smell reports so that air pollution across Pittsburgh can be tracked through our experiences with poor odors. The app is easy to install and it only takes seconds to submit a smell report.

When we come together as a community, we’re able to take big steps toward cleaning up our city’s air, once and for all. It’s time for us to work together on improving the air we breathe and building a sustainable future for everyone in Allegheny County.

Be part of cleaning up the air in our neighborhoods and communities. Visit bit.ly/smellPittsburgh to learn more and begin using the Smell PGH app.

Click here to download the iOS app
Click here for the Android app

Crisis Housing Shelter offers a robot makerspace!

The Drake House in Atlanta explores the Hummingbird Robotics Kit

The Drake House in Atlanta recently sponsored a series of events introducing robotics to teens who are housed in a short term crisis housing shelter.   

A makerspace studio was set up using BirdBrain Technologies’ Hummingbird Robotics KITs. This was a great opportunity to engineer, craft and program robots for the first time.

The teens were amazing!  In less than two hours they were programming LED’s, servos and sensors using craft and recycled materials. It was truly a rewarding experience to give these courageous youths an opportunity to build confidence and learn new skills.

-Blog post submitted by Gail K. Tate (@gailSTEAMgal), Roboticist & Trainer from AVez Select, LLC.  www.avezselect.com     

Nearby Nature Professional Development at IU1

"The training I received during the Nearby Nature project held at the IU1 Learning Center in California, PA, was awesome...The abundance of resources provided to participants in this two day professional development was like no other," Howard E. Johnson, Charleroi Area Middle School.

On July 21 and 22, IU1 kicked off the first Nearby Nature Professional Development with 6 teachers from surrounding school districts. Throughout the two-day workshop, teachers learned how to incorporate CREATE and other technologies into their classrooms to get students exploring their outdoor environments.  Read teacher testimonials below.

"The Nearby Nature workshop was extremely interesting and informative. Ryan and Kevin (ASSET) from the CREATE Lab at CMU shared some really great tools that I cannot wait to integrate into my classroom. The Speck will be a great way to promote student thinking about air quality and the Gigapan will be a fun way to start student conversations that can be transformed into meaningful discussions. It can be challenging to motivate students to actively participate in the classroom in an alternative setting. Some of the tools will be great to try to increase our students want to learn, even if they promote awareness and basic principles. Thanks for sharing your tools with us!"

 - Alyssa Hirsh 
Intermediate Unit 1
Science Teacher

"The training I received during the Nearby Nature project held last week at the IU1 Learning Center in California, PA, was awesome.  The information provided regarding indoor air quality monitoring with the SPECK unit will be put to good use in my classroom, as well as the FlaminGO Water Sensor, which I will implement into my Stream Stewardship program.  I especially enjoyed the outdoor activities in the morning (land cover classification) and afternoon (soil testing and cloud identification) utilizing new techniques and equipment to get students actively involved in outdoor ecosystems.  The Problem Based Learning information was especially interesting to me as a middle school science teacher because I strive to get my students actively engaged in beneficial activities as I shift more responsibilities directly them, to enhance their own learning experiences.  The abundance of resources provided to participants in this two day professional development was like no other and will be utilized to enhance my total teaching repertoire."

- Howard E. Johnson
Charleroi Area Middle School

Nearby Nature is a partnership between IU1, RESA III, Marshall University, West Liberty University and the CREATE Lab and is funded by the Benedum Foundation.
For more information on the Nearby Nature Project, email Ryan Hoffman at ryan@cmucreatelab.org

Microsoft Stores in Atlanta offer Introduction to Robotics

The Microsoft Store in Atlanta recently sponsored a series of free community events introducing robotics to kids 10 years old and up. A maker space environment was set-up along with BirdBrain Technologies’ “HUMMINGBIRD KITs.” This was a great opportunity for students to design, engineer, craft and program robots for the first time! AVez Select, LLC, was the presenter and motivation coach to ‘first time’ roboticists. 

The Microsoft Store supplied Surface Tablets, recycled boxes and art supplies to help unleash animatronic robots.  It was amazing how quickly children were able to program their creatures!

Blog post submitted by Gail K. Tate, Roboticist & Trainer from AVez Select, LLC, and a big fan of BirdBrain Technologies. www.avezselect.com 

Technology + Empowerement: Now Hiring!

If you or someone you know is looking to make an impact through work focused on tech empowerment, two CREATE Lab related projects are now hiring:

Educator: Be a part of our new CREATE Lab Satellite in Atlanta, CEISMC, as their Educational Outreach Manger. This new hire will be directly involved in establishing this new Satellite with program development, implantation, marketing, and more.

Click here for more information, qualifications, and steps to apply.


Developer: The Lab's spinoff company, AirViz (maker of Speck), is hiring a Firmware Programmer who will develop and manage the interactive code running on the Speck air quality sensor and for new products in their development line.

More information and how to apply can be found here.

Listen to the first episode of the CONTEXT Podcast!

Earlier in May the CREATE Lab launched it's latest podcast: CONTEXT. 

If you aren't familiar, the CONTEXT Conference is a forum for informal and formal educators, administrators, community members, and organizations to consider thoughtful implementation of technology in learning environments. CONTEXT first took place in 2015 and will return in 2017. 

CONTEXT, the podcast, will be what happens in between the conferences. For the first few episodes we are going to look back at CONTEXT 2015 before looking ahead at CONTEXT 2017. We’ll be listening in to the audio from actual talks and panels as well as interviews from the speakers themselves.

We launched with a listen party held at WYEP. Check out the event here.

CONTEXT can be found on the following and pretty much anywhere podcasts are available. 

Listen now:
Pocket Casts

Speck Training Videos

Below is a set of videos that can guide you through setting up your Speck, understanding online Speck tools and accessing your Speck data.
For more information visit: http://specksensor.com/
(Note: It might be particularly useful to visit the Getting Started and Software pages)

1. Speck Features and Basic Setup

2. Installing the Speck Chrome App

- Windows

- Mac

3. Overview of Speck Chrome App Features

4. Connecting Speck to a Wi-Fi Network


5. Speck Chrome App Settings, including Factory Reset

6. On-Screen Factory Reset for Speck - Versions 16T and Higher


7. Data Upload Configuration

8. Downloading Speck Data

Join the annual Showcase of Innovation & Creativity

The Children's Innovation Project will be holding their annual Showcase of Innovation and Creativity. Join them for this showcase where children will share learning from the year, including thinking about circuits, noticing and wondering about electronic toys and overall persistence as innovators in the world.

Other learning will also be shared including children's expression through music, visual art, writing, mathematics, scientific inquiry and community-based projects.

Children’s Innovation Project embraces innovation as finding something new inside something known. This frame for innovation allows a slow space for children to find small, authentic discoveries and reflect on themselves in relation to the materials they explore.


Pittsburgh Allegheny K-5

810 Arch Street

Pittsburgh, 1212


Wednesday May 18