The festival of connected learning and hands-on educational activities for youth and families was founded in 2016 by the Pittsburgh-based Remake Learning network, and since then it has grown substantially. In 2018, more than 20,000 youth and adults turned out for at least one of the more than 250 free and low-cost activities presented by early learning centers and schools, museums and libraries, after-school programs and community nonprofits, colleges and universities, ed-tech startup companies, and more.
This year’s slate of events is on track to be comparable to that number, said Dorie Taylor, producer of Remake Learning Days Southwestern PA.
“In year four we’re diving deeper into the successes of past Remake Learning Days events in the region,” she said.
That’s most notable in the strong collaborations that are visible throughout the festival, a process driven by the efforts of the network, now 12 years old, and by connections formed through past Remake Learning Days.
“We have this Remake Learning network we’ve been convening for so many years, and it offers a window into the collaboration and community building that our members engage in. These efforts shine through during Remake Learning Days,” Taylor said.
“It’s a nice touch point to remind families that these organizations don’t just do this in May, they offer innovative learning year-round,” she added. Remake Learning Days can be an ideal opportunity for families to connect with these educational organizations across the region.
“Remake Learning Days is also a way for youth and families to see how accessible these organizations are throughout the region, as well as understand what different schools might be doing around innovative learning, and just to get an idea of the resources in one’s community,” Taylor said. She described bringing her own children to past events where they learned approaches to problem solving, such as at video game developer , which is again holding an demonstrating how video games are made.
Taylor stressed the continued importance of involving communities across the region in Remake Learning Days events.
“We have RLD events in Hazelwood, the Hill District, Homewood, and the Northside to showcase what is happening in those communities as well as events in Beaver, Butler, Lawrence, Fayette, Greene, Washington, and Westmoreland counties” she said, echoing a more general emphasis on equity that is a key feature of the Remake Learning network.
One new addition for 2019 is , as the original event takes root in six new regions hosting their own festivals of connected learning. , or called PA SEED Ecosystem Remake Learning Days locally, hosted its own event for the first time in 2018 and West Virginia, previously combined with Southwestern PA’s event, will hold during the same time period (May 9–19) as Southwestern PA.
Taylor has been instrumental in helping teams in each of those regions plan their own festivals, recruit hosts, and connect with partners. The collaboration has enriched her work organizing Southwestern PA’s Remake Learning Days, she said.
“It’s exciting that in Chicago we have the opportunity to have events in a variety of languages, for example,” she said. “It’s interesting to see how other regions are similar with family engagement and how they’re reaching out, and then to see each region having an opportunity to shine and show what makes their region special.”
This blog is part of series highlighting the work of each participating region of Remake Learning Days Across America, led by national co-hosts Remake Learning, PBS Kids and Digital Promise and led locally by Remake Learning along with PBS affiliate partner WQED Multimedia. Remake Learning wishes to thank the national sponsors of 2019’s Remake Learning Days Across America: Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Grable Foundation and Schmidt Futures.