Spark Network Round Up for August 30th, 2012

Catch up on Network and National news, as well as hear about upcoming opportunities, through the Spark Network Weekly Round Up!

Network News

Spark Announces 2012 Fellowship Opportunity!

Last week, Spark announced a 2012 fall fellowship opportunity! Spark fellowships provide opportunities for emerging scholars and practitioners from the Greater Pittsburgh region to apply their knowledge to regional learning challenges, thereby enhancing their skills, building the field, and benefiting the local community. Ready your applications- the deadline is September 17th! Visit for more information.

Maker Selection Announced for 2012 Pittsburgh Mini Maker Faire

The makers for this year’s Mini Maker Faire have been announced! Proposals were submitted spanning a broad range of regional makers in two decision rounds. Those that were chosen were judged on the criteria of homemade projects, making processes that use new technologies, interactivity, innovation, creativity, inventiveness, and wow factor. Tour the selected makers, and buy your Mini Maker Faire tickets today!

Junlei Li visits the Spark Blog for a Guest Post

As a developmental psychologist and applied researcher with positions at the Pitt School of Ed and the Fred Rogers Company, Junlei Li brings a unique perspective. In this post, he ruminates on the challenges of human connections mediated through technology.

Students Work to Resolve the Panic at the Point

Students of Upper St. Clair High School and neighboring districts recently competed in a STEM focused challenge. Their mission was to use robotics, chemistry, or biotechnology to gather information, assess damage and risks, and discover the perpetrator of a fictional bioterrorist attack on the Point! Read more about the challenge on online.

Alien Assignment App Earns Five Stars

The Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College’s newest app, Alien Assignment, received a five star rating from Common Sense Media. It is said to be a fantastic educational app that engages children, while connecting them with their parents. Common Sense Media calls it “a must have” for family fun!

National News

GenerationOn inspires youth volunteerism

Tapping into a new spirit of service and using new tools for engagement, GenerationOn is the global youth service movement igniting the power of all kids to make their mark on the world.

Alleyoop Introduces Additional STEM Focused Courses

The online college prep tutoring site created by Pearson, Alleyoop, has added a selection of new STEM-focused partners to its course offerings. This gamification model for curriculum features real-time tutors, instructional videos, and a “personalized, iterative, and adaptive” system. To learn more about Alleyoop’s new offerings, visit MindShift.

2012 Gallup Poll Shows Support for Educators, but Need for Funding

The results of the 2012 Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup survey showed an overall public support for educators, while echoing the relentless call for additional education funding. According to the poll, nearly two thirds of polled individuals agreed to pay higher taxes to pursue better education in urban areas. To read more about the poll results, check out NEA Today.

Montgomery County Public Schools Hands Out Free Backpacks

Montgomery County Public Schools handed out 8, 133 backpacks stuffed with school supplies at last weekend’s Back-to-School Fair. Parents lined up around the block with their school-age children to receive one of the free backpacks. Officials said although they gave away thousands, they would have given more if they were available. View photos of Montgomery County’s Back-to-School Fair online.

Upcoming Events

Monday, September 3: Constructing Identity – Dying Fabrics

This is one of the few remaining Constructing Identity workshops put on by the PGLCC and local artist Scott Andrew. At this workshop, teens will create a garment and learn how to dye the fabric as well as use a sewing machine to do basic stitching. Don’t miss this fun opportunity, coming up on September 3rd!

Thursday, September 6: Volunteer Training at The LAB

Do you like to … work with kids? read? write? ask questions? be silly? have fun? make things? think about things? talk about things? If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, chances are you’ll enjoy volunteering at The LAB. Register to attend this volunteer training and get involved in this most excellent project.

Friday, September 7: Spark Meet Up at The Warhol

Join The Sprout Fund and K+C Network Members for an evening of creativity and conversation as we gather at The Studio at The Andy Warhol Museum. The event includes drinks, light snacks, and silkscreening, promising to be a fun night! Registration for this Spark Meet Up is nearly full- RSVP today to reserve one of the few remaining spots!

Tuesday, September 11: Mozilla Hackasaurus X-Ray Goggles Workshop at Hazelwood Library

Join Spark as we explore how to hack existing websites using the Mozilla Hackasaurus tool, X-Ray Goggles. All teens are welcome to attend to gain new skills. Learn more about the whole Mozilla Hackasaurus series of free code parties.

Wednesday, September 12: Using ELE – An Online Workshop

Dr. Michael Robb, Director of Education and Research at the Fred Rogers Center will be teaching this free, online course. During the lesson, you will learn how to use a new resource, the Early Learning Environment™, (Ele) in ways to promote professional development, classroom learning, and school-home connections. Sign up for this free Online Workshop.

Friday, September 15: SparkTruck Visits The Children’s Museum

The SparkTruck, a cross-country touring truck of toys and tools, will be stopping in Pittsburgh from September 11th through September 15th. On the 15th, the truck will be at The Children’s Museum from 11am until 5pm. There will be a demonstration of all the tools and tricks in the truck, followed by a hands-on workshop. Registration is required for the workshop.

Published August 30, 2012