A special message from Anne Sekula

Outgoing director of Remake Learning Anne Sekula shares reflections on the impact Remake Learning has made in her life, both personally and professionally.

After three great years of Remake Learning, I will be transitioning on to pursue broader community-based work starting in 2018. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with this amazing network of partners to advance modern learning for children in our region.

Working with Remake Learning has been deeply personal for me. As director, I’ve had the privilege of introducing Remake Learning to new people throughout the region and throughout the US. Whenever I’m talking with them for the first time, I usually hand them a packet of Remake Learning materials, encased in a folder covered in photos of Remake Learning moments captured throughout the years. One of these little pictures just happens to be a photo of my son William when he was three years old. He’s learning about energy at the very first Pittsburgh Mini-Maker Faire at the Children’s Museum eight years ago.

RePlay My Play at the Pittsburgh Mini-Maker Faire / Photo: Ben Filio

RePlay My Play at the Pittsburgh Mini-Maker Faire / Photo: Ben Filio

William and his siblings have been lucky to grow up with the Remake Learning network. In preschool at the Children’s School at Carnegie Mellon University, his class piloted Message from Me, which has now scaled nationally as a resource connecting children and parents in early learning. When our family moved to Erie, PA for a time, PAEYC brought up the Imagination Playground to live at the Children’s Museum there and spread the importance of Play, Making, and Creativity. When we came back to Pittsburgh,  William and his siblings started attending afterschool and summer camps at Assemble, participating in Code Fest, Jr at the Carnegie Library. William has learned digital animation at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, learned by working with real tools and materials during visits to MAKESHOP, and now as a tween he’s venturing into Fab Lab programs at Carnegie Science Center and becoming curious about the Labs at CLP.

Now I have a new picture of William, age 11, at the 2017 Pittsburgh Maker Faire demonstrating a robot Dragon he built with classmates in at his school, built through funds raised in the first Kickstarting Making in Schools effort led by The Children’s Museum. After reading the book Wonder in his language arts class, his teachers have formed a year long project with peer students at the School for the Blind where they are creating a game they can play together built through developing empathy, Design Thinking and use of their maker space. Pretty powerful learning!

Student-designed robots at Maker Faire Pittsburgh 2017 / Photo: Anne Sekula

Student-designed robots at Maker Faire Pittsburgh 2017 / Photo: Anne Sekula

I share this personal history because an early goal of Kids + Creativity, the effort that gave birth to Remake Learning, was to solidify the region as a great place to raise a family. It is with a heart full of gratitude to this amazing community, who has provided my children and many of the region’s children with incredible learning experiences on a day to day basis, that I am leaving as director. But with the hopes to continue as a part of the network in a different capacity and continue to advance this powerful learning my family has benefited from to all our region’s children.

With that, I am honored to pass on my role to the talented Sunanna Chand, who has been the Learning Innovation Strategist at Remake Learning since 2015 and has been supporting the Remake Learning Council since its founding in 2014. She has successfully led the development and execution of Remake Learning Days, garnering national attention. Sunanna also led the network through the revision of the new Mission and Values and has the vision, the skills and dedication to lead us into the next decade of the work. Sunanna has been a stalwart champion and caring coordinator of Remake Learning and I have every confidence in her leadership as she stewards Remake Learning into the future.

Leading Remake Learning has been an honor and a true pleasure. I’m looking forward to continuing to collaborate with my fellow network members as we work toward building a region that provides more engaging, relevant, and equitable learning opportunities to all of our learners.

Published December 15, 2017

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