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23.9.2019 | Pukhraj Ranjan |

12 Ideas from Pittsburgh That Could Transform Education

The HundrED Spotlight on Pittsburgh identified the 12 most inspiring innovations in southwestern Pennsylvania. Read our report and watch the documentary video series to see why we think something special is happening in Pittsburgh.

After nine months of outreach and exploration, research and storytelling, teaching and learning, HundrED is thrilled to release the HundrED Spotlight on Pittsburgh! The Spotlight identified 12 of the most inspiring innovations in the Pittsburgh region to share with the world. 


Documentary Video Series

The story of each of these innovations is captured in this collection of short video documentaries. Dive deeper into each of these innovations by visiting their updated profiles on, where you'll learn more about their origin and impact, see step-by-step guidance for recreating their approach, and find contact info to get in touch with the innovators.


Spotlight Report

The HundrED Spotlight on Pittsburgh research report collects these innovations together with a detailed overview of the education ecosystem in Pittsburgh, the areas of strength that make innovation possible in our region, and the needs for change that drive our commitment to ensuring each and every child can reach their full potential. 

On behalf of our partners at The Grable Foundation and Remake Learning, we'd like to thank the educators in the PIttsburgh region for participating in our first Spotlight in North America. We recieved more than 80 submissions from schools, musuems, libraries, and community centers in PIttsburgh that are harnessing the power of creativity, ingenuity, and innovation to help children thrive.


The Pittsburgh Dozen

Here are the 12 innovations selected for the HundrED Spotlight on Pittsburgh: 

Fabricating Change in Mental Wellness: A digital fabrication lab (Fab Lab) at Intermediate Unit 1's Colonial Campus where students diagnosed with mental health conditions design, prototype, build, and learn.

The Finch: A teaching tool created by BirdBrain Technologies that makes computer science more engaging and more accessible. Robots are loaned for free to educators serving underrepresented populations.

Global Minds Initiative: A for-students, by-students after-school program where participants create inclusive spaces to combat intolerance and foster intercultural friendship and understanding.

Hillman Academy: An 8-week summer learning program at the Hillman Cancer Center where high school students work alongside world-renowned scientists in real, hands-on lab settings.

JAM: A student club at Avonworth Primary Center where students have raised thousands of dollars for local charities by making and selling crafts and gifts right in their school's makerspace. 

The Labs @ CLP Summer Skills Intensives: A summer program at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh that connects teens with local artists and librarians to explore photojournalism, filmmaking, beat making, personal branding, street art, and more.

MAKESHOP: A research-based learning environment for maker learning permanently embedded in the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh that provides materials and support for anyone ready to start their own makerspace.

Manchester Craftsmen's Guild: A community center that started as a ceramics program in 1968 and has grown into a comprehensive after-school arts program with an impressive track record for helping students graduate high school.

Simple Interactions: A practice-based, strengths-focused, and community-driven approach to support helpers who serve children and youth, led by researchers at the Fred Rogers Center, Harvard Graduate School of Education, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Education.

Summer Dreamers Academy: A no-cost premier summer learning program of Pittsburgh Public Schools that provides the academic benefits of summer school alongside the fun of summer camp to fight summer learning loss.

transformED: An initiative of the Allegheny Intermediate Unit to support educators growing their teaching practice together in a safe space that is filled with technology tools and other supports.

Youth Express: A program of SLB Radio Productions that equips teenagers with media making tools to create and distribute commentaries, discussions, documentaries, and other youth-generated media through a 24/7 radio station. 


This November, the educators and changemakers behind these innovations will join hundreds of their peers from around the world at the HundrED Innovation Summit.

Congratulations to the selected innovations and cheers to all who participated in the HundrED Spotlight on Pittsburgh!