Pittsburgh: An EdTech Hive

Writing for his blog on Education Week, learning innovator Tom Vander Ark surveys the scene of Pittsburgh's learning landscape, where Hive Pittsburgh and the Kids+Creativity Network play an important part in turning Pittsburgh into and "EdTech Hive."

My first job out of college took me to the coalfields of southwestern Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh was just starting to rebound from the loss of thousands of steel jobs. The universities played a pivotal role in the development of a new economy based on technology, finance, and health jobs. In the last decade city–driven particularly by Carnegie Mellon University— Pittsburgh has become an edtech hive.

Last year, Pittsburgh Today ran a six part series on building the entrepreneurial economy. The series quoted a Mellon Foundation report, “Pittsburgh is on the verge of reaching a critical mass in terms of the number of successful start-up companies, entrepreneurs, availability of local early stage capital and ability to push and pull university technologies to market.”

Maker Hive. The MacArthur Foundation selected Pittsburgh as the third city to host a Hive Learning Network (along with NYC and Chicago). Hive Pittsburgh launched on Friday with a three month summer learning initiative. Hive Days of Summer activities will turn city sites into a “maker” camp for teens. The three month initiative launched Friday. Summer activities will turn city sites into a “maker” camp for teens.

Hive Pittsburgh is just one of many innovative learning initiatives happening in Pittsburgh. Tweens and teens have access to maker learning in MakeShop, STEAM learning at Assemble, on-line literacy games at community libraries, multimedia training at the LABS at the Carnegie Libraries, a Robotics Academy at Carnegie Mellon University, and even music remixing at Hip Hop on LOCK.

TechShop , a big maker success from Menlo Park ( featured on Bloomberg last week), recently opened a new location in Pittsburgh’s Bakery Square.

There’s also been a recent building boom of digital and maker learning spaces in public schools across the region:

And it doesn’t just end with students. The Allegheny Intermediate Unit is transforming professional development with TransformeED – a digital playground for teachers to provide inspiration of how they can bring technology and maker practices into the classroom. And parents can get support through organizations ranging from the Fred Rogers Center to WQED Multimedia.

Pittsburgh educators, innovators and organizations have come together to form the Kids+Creativity Network – more than 100 organizations, including public school districts, non-profit groups, libraries, museums, afterschool programs and neighborhood community centers – which is committed to “remaking learning” in the greater Pittsburgh area.

Read the whole post at Vander Ark on Innovation.

Published May 06, 2013