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SSA Hosts Pittsburgh Maker-Educator Learning Community

On Thursday, April 21, 19 local maker educators in the Agency by Design (AbD) Pittsburgh learning community spent the day at Shady Side Academy digging deeper into learning values and maker education. The educators represented 16 different school systems across Western Pennsylvania. The workshop was coordinated by SSA Innovative Teaching and Learning Facilitator Jody Kokladas.

The group spent the morning in the Senior School's Glimcher Tech & Design Hub with its director, Jesse Robinson. Senior School Head Trixie Sabundayo and Academy President Bart Griffith '93 welcomed everyone and shared some of SSA's background and learning values, then the group jumped in to a disruptive game design challenge. Educators worked in teams to design games using a limited supply of materials, while Kokladas and Robinson introduced various disruptions and Senior School students Tashari Morgan and Gloria Mancilla-Balog offered feedback. The innovative game designs ranged from "Hanging With the Family" to "Maker's Paradise," and participants shared their learning reflections and application insights. Robinson also shared the history of the Glimcher space, the courses and connections it has become an incubator for, and some opportunities to connect with other schools represented.

After lunch, the AbD educators spent the afternoon at SSA Country Day School campus, where they explored outdoor learning spaces such as the treehouse classroom, engaged with fifth graders testing their Mars Rovers and observed classroom lessons ranging from kindergarten art to fourth grade Passion Project. CDS students were eager to share their learning and pose questions to the guests.

Agency by Design Pittsburgh, also known as the Pittsburgh Maker Educator Learning Community, is a research practice partnership designed to connect educators from diverse maker-based learning environments for the purpose of developing mutual understandings of maker-centered learning and assessment. The community consists of 30 educators from 20 organizations in in Western Pennsylvania. Agency by Design (AbD) is an ongoing research initiative at Harvard Graduate School of Education's Project Zero, investigating the promises, practices and pedagogies of maker-centered learning experiences.

View a photo slideshow of the AbD educators' day at SSA:


To submit an idea for a website news story, please email jroupe@shadysideacademy.org.