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Looking for Innovation in Context: Meet the local advisory committee for the HundrED Spotlight on Pittsburgh

5.3.2019 | BY RYAN COON & ARIELLE EVANS
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With just two weeks to go until the deadline to submit to the HundrED Spotlight on Pittsburgh, dozens of educators in the region are working overtime to finish up their innovation profiles. Educators have until Friday, March 15th to publish their profile to be considered for the 10 Pittsburgh spotlight selections.

But how are those 10 innovations being selected? The Spotlight collection will be created through a process that begins with a thorough review by HundrED’s research team, the same team that reviews and selects the annual HundrED Global Collection. HundrED uses its rigorous evaluation method to find the most innovative, impactful, and scalable innovations in the mix, but local context matters, too.That’s why a local advisory committee of people in the Pittsburgh region will score the eligible innovations identified by the HundrED research team. Made up of educators, students, community members, researchers, technologists, and learning scientists, the Pittsburgh advisory committee represents a diverse cross-section of the region’s thriving learning innovation ecosystem. (See the list below!)

To learn more about the local context that the advisory committee will be considering as they score innovations, we spoke with committee chair and director of Remake Learning Sunanna Chand.

A photo of Sunanna Chand

 

Ryan + Arielle: What should people from other places know about education innovation in the Pittsburgh region?

Sunanna Chand: First, it’s a really collaborative place. There are collaborations happening across in-school and out-of-school organizations, and that’s pretty unique among regional education ecosystems across the country and across the world. There really is widespread collaboration among teachers, schools, and out-of-school educators and organizations.

Then when you look beyond these places of learning, there’s deep engagement with researchers, industry partners, technologists and all kinds of people with something to add. The result is a deep, rich fabric of collaborative innovation.

Another thing to know about the Pittsburgh region is that we’re the right size. We’re just big enough so that some really amazing changes can happen, but we’re also small enough that everyone is just a point of connection away from each other, so we can really make it a point that we’re doing this together. It’s a pretty amazing place to be!

R+A: How does the work of the Remake Learning network connect to what HundrED is doing?

SC: HundrED is about seeking and sharing inspiring innovations in education. What's cool is that that’s what Remake Learning does on a regional scale here in Pittsburgh. We’ve been doing that more than 10 years now, and to be able to work in parallel with an organization doing that on a global scale is amazing.

In essence, we share the same core values: we believe amazing things are happening in education, that innovation looks different across different environments and means different things to different people, and that a better future of learning is possible for each and every child.

R+A: What can you tell us about the local advisory committee?

SC: We wanted to make sure the local advisory committee is a reflection of the regional network that Remake Learning represents. So we set out to recruit different types of organizations and individuals with really different areas of expertise. We had an eye to create the greatest diversity possible on the committee. We have learning scientists and researchers. We have educators and students. We have urban, rural, and suburban stakeholders. And we have a real concentration of people that have a deep understanding of equity and justice. That’s important to us because here in our region we see equity and innovation two sides of the same coin. We are looking for innovations that don’t just innovate to innovate.

R+A: What are you most excited to see in the submissions to the HundrED Spotlight on Pittsburgh?

SC: Well, as usual in the Remake Learning network, I love seeing all the different types of organizations that are submitting. What’s cool about Remake Learning is that all of these different brains from all these different domains can come together and showcase innovation. I’m excited to see what that word “innovation” looks and feels like and how it plays out across a lot of different contexts within the region.

Obviously, I’m really excited to see how people have combined innovation and equity in our region and how they’re working towards using innovation as a tool to create a more just and equitable world, as network member Dr. Temple Lovelace would say.

R+A: What will you and other advisors be looking for when you review submissions?

SC: The advisory committee is going to be looking for approaches that are innovating for equity, innovating for purpose. We’ll be looking for things that have paired innovation with best practice and best outcomes for teachers and students.

Scale will be important. I think about scale as going deep, rather than wide. I’ll be looking for how willing folks are to share what they’ve learned, less so they can franchise their approach across the world, but so that they can really meaningfully connect with their peers in all over the world who want to do their own contextually specific version of the innovation.

 

 

Members of the Pittsburgh Local Advisory Committee

 

 

Here are the people who will be weighing in on the HundrED Spotlight on Pittsburgh:

  • Alaine Allen, director of educational outreach and community engagement at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering
  • Melissa Butler, former teacher and founder of the Reimagining Project
  • Sunanna Chand, director of Remake Learning (chair)
  • Luke Chinman, student at Pittsburgh Public Schools Allderdice High School
  • Grace DeLallo, student at Baldwin High School
  • James Doyle, executive director of Higher Achievement
  • Lou Karas, director of the Center for Arts & Education at West Liberty University
  • Ken Koedinger, director of LearnLab at Carnegie Mellon University
  • Viveka Lawson, student at Pittsburgh Urban Christian School
  • Stephanie Lewis, manager of partnerships and quality improvement at APOST
  • Asia Mason, project manager of student voice at Pittsburgh Public Schools
  • Nadyli Nunez, operations director at Ascender
  • Bart Rocco, former school administrator and fellow at the Grable Foundation
  • Bille Rondinelli, former school administrator and fellow at the Grable Foundation
  • Tyler Samstag, director of the Center for Creativity at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit
  • Maya Shook, student at Pittsburgh Public Schools Allderdice High School
  • Tiffini Simoneaux, early childhood manager in the Office of Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto
  • Makaila Holston Smith, student at Pittsburgh Public Schools Obama Academy of International Studies
  • Talib Smith, student at Pittsburgh Public Schools Obama Academy of International Studies
  • Jason Swanson, director of strategic foresight at KnowledgeWorks
  • Jane Werner, executive director of the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

Cover photo by Nico Segall Tobon. Portrait of Sunanna Chand by Ben Filio. Photos courtesy of Remake Learning.