When explaining his role within Carnegie Mellon University’s Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment (CREATE) Lab, community outreach coordinator Dror Yaron uses a restaurant analogy. “The kitchen is where all our computer scientists and engineers develop the technologies,” he explains. He’s the waiter, providing educators and community leaders with a menu of those technologies.
“I’m able to step back and look strategically at what we do,” he says, forming partnerships with groups that might benefit from CREATE Lab’s mission of using technology to empower communities.
After working as a journalist in his native Israel, Yaron turned to photography. As photography outreach coordinator at Pittsburgh’s Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, he worked with educators using photography as a teaching tool.
It’s the perfect prelude to his current work, within the Pittsburgh Kids and Creativity Network, using CREATE Lab’s Gigapan program. Gigapan presents breathtakingly detailed panoramic images, made up of billions of pixels, that can be explored by students, shared, and commented upon.
“It’s a place where kids can have conversations about culture through images,” says Yaron. He remarks on the myriad ways kids have found to use Gigapan, from telling stories collaboratively to simply teaching other students how to use the program. It happens all the time, he says, another reminder of the nourishing and empowering potential of technology.