Dozens of innovative learning events are on the horizon for families in northeast Ohio this spring, when the Remake Learning Days Across America festival comes to town.
For Tim Francisco, some of the most exciting events involve youth voice, including a student photography exhibit at Tremont Montessori School that will explore students’ perspectives on social justice issues. Like dozens of other Remake Learning Days events happening in the region May 15-17, this exhibit is free and open to the public.
Launched in Pittsburgh in 2016, this year the festival includes more than 700 in-person and virtual events hosted by a variety of organizations – schools, museums, libraries, community hubs, tech startups and more — in 17 regions of the country. These events, nearly all free, are designed for parents and caregivers to learn alongside their kids and offer relevant and engaging educational experiences that can help students get excited about learning and even discover future career paths.
Francisco is helping to plan the festival here in Northeast Ohio as a member of NeoSTEM Ecosystem, a diverse coalition for science, technology, engineering, math and computational science throughout northeast Ohio. The region previously participated in the festival in 2019.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the events this year will be virtual, but that’s actually one of the most exciting things about Remake Learning Days this year, Francisco says.
As a teacher — he’s an English professor at Youngstown State University — Francisco is excited about the learning opportunities that the festival offers and “the widespread sharing of expertise that would not necessarily have been available in brick-and-mortar teaching.”
Virtual events happening nationwide between April 22 and May 23 will be available online to Northeast Ohio families. And families around the country will have a chance to tune in for virtual events hosted at places like NASA’s Glenn Research Center and the Cuyahoga County Public Libraries.
Francisco praised the science centers, museums and public libraries in the region that are participating. As they showcase the learning opportunities they offer year-round, he hopes more local families and students will realize “we have a lot of great organizations doing really interesting and creative things.”
“We want families to understand what is available,” he says, and “to connect to the varied and rich resources the ecosystem is providing.”
This year’s events in northeast Ohio will include:
- May 15: Arduino memory game, a hands-on virtual program where participants will learn to wire and code a Memory-based game using simple circuits, Arduino coding and electronics.
- May 15, 16, 20, 22, 23: Family frog dissection workshop: Participants will learn about the body and eye anatomy of frogs through this dissection. They can follow along virtually with the Froggipedia app. Advanced registration is recommended.
- May 15, 16, 22, 23: Wonders of Water workshop, where families will test water samples and learn how to help heal and protect local water sources.
- May 17: Baldwin Wallace University Tech Camps: Participants will learn how to create a Web page using HTML and CSS, and how to make Web animation using CSS, in separate sessions.
- May 18: Teen open mic night, a virtual event where participants can share poetry, music or short stories, dance or do stand-up comedy with other teenagers in a supportive environment.
Francisco is keenly aware economic disparities can lead to a lack of opportunities for students and families, but believes organizations like Remake Learning can help address those issues.
“We need to think about equity — who really has the time, the resources, the bandwidth to be innovative? That really is the challenge,” he says. “As people participate in Remake Learning Days Across America and see what people are doing and how people are rising to these challenges, there will be further discussions between educators and families. New kinds of partnerships will be formed.”
That, Francisco says, may be the most impactful thing about this national celebration of learning.
“There are enormously creative and dedicated people and organizations involved in this national project,” he says, “and it really is quite inspiring.”
Learn more about Remake Learning Days events in the Northeast Ohio region here: https://remakelearningdays.org/northeastohio/