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Digital Learning 'Playbook' Released by Pittsburgh Network

17-Pittsburgh-ipad-Crescent-Early-Learning-Center-Homewood-500px.jpgHoping to help other cities replicate their nationally recognized network of hands-on and digital-learning supporters, civic and education leaders in Pittsburgh have released a new "playbook" replete with strategies, stories, and lessons learned.

Education Week took a deep look inside the Steel City's digital-learning network earlier this year. Among the efforts highlighted: "Message From Me," an app for preschoolers developed and disseminated through a unique partnership that includes everyone from early-childhood advocates to university robotics experts to neighborhood barbers.

The Remake Learning Playbook, developed with the encouragement of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, was released Monday in conjunction with the start of the "National Week of Making."

Among the playbook's highlights are strategies for: 

  • Convening interdisciplinary networks, including professional development and continuing-education opportunities
  • Catalyzing innovation, including distribution of mini-grants (as small as $5,000) and establishment of ed-tech incubators
  • Communications, including commissioning freelancers to document work and paying for network participants to attend national conferences
  • Coordinating members, including establishing partnerships with local researchers and national experts, and
  • Championing success, including the creation of interactive exhibits and creating public service announcements for local media.

"Communities need to come together to build on the basics and connect students with hands-on learning experiences that cultivate creativity, imagination, and grit," the guide reads.

"What's needed today is a new model for learning that values all learning opportunities and provides children and families with easy access to meaningful and rewarding experiences wherever they are."

Photo: Erie'Onna Seaster, 3, and other children at the Crescent Early Learning Center in Pittsburgh's Homewood neighborhood use an app-based activity to support "high-quality talk" among children, parents, and teachers.--Jeff Swensen for Education Week

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