Innovation

A Question of Learning

As a digital revolution changes classrooms across the region and country, one key question lingers at the end of each school day: Do the new technologies actually enhance students’ learning?

Rethinking Education

by Julia Fraser
Janice Smith’s fifth-​grade reading class at Central Elementary in the Elizabeth Forward School District was supposed to be working on a book report. Huddled around iPads, the students chatted with one another, pointing and swiping at the screens. No one was being shushed, few were sitting square in their seats,…

Remaking Learning

In retrospect, the gong makes a lot of sense. It was 2009, and a packed crowd huddled in the basement theater of the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, watching and laughing as one by one, teachers, technologists, parents, gamers and roboticists took to the stage to give their pitch. They had…

Engineering the Future at Pitt

by Danielle Commisso
It was the early 1960s, and it was a different time, recalls John “Jack” Mascaro. Like many of his fellow baby boomers, the young student showed up to his engineering classes at the University of Pittsburgh sporting a sweater and a tie, while his professors wore suits. It was a…

Beyond difference

by Katie Booth
Even before the performance of “Land of Oz” begins, it’s obvious that different rules apply here. Eyes dart around the auditorium and settle down in focused “listening” — sight is the primary way people here share information. To get someone’s attention, wave a hand in the air. To ignore someone, at which…

Wanted: More Workers (Part III)

by Evan Pattak
With baby boomers poised to retire and far fewer younger, skilled people available to replace them, the region faces a potentially crippling workforce gap that could be especially damaging in sectors that require STEM (science, technology, engineering math) skills. The Allegheny Conference on Community Development estimates that the gap could…

High tech + higher ed = ?

Editor’s note: For this special feature, we invited the presidents of the region’s leading colleges and universities to respond to the following:Technology is presenting unprecedented challenges and opportunities for higher education. While Internet-​based learning threatens the existence of some traditional, campus-​based institutions, for many others, emerging technology provides opportunities to…

Greening the region

It was 1868 — when looking down from the Hill District to smokestacks belching fire and smoke, a riverbank littered with coal barges and railroads, and a bottomland saturated with muddy streets and gritty row houses pressed hard against the Allegheny River, Boston writer James Parton described Pittsburgh as “Hell with the…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Finding new ways

It’s around noon, and the winter sun shines on Fanny Edel Falk Elementary School at the top of the hilly University of Pittsburgh campus.
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

I, teacher

Early in Isaac Asimov’s speculative fiction classic “I, Robot,” a little girl named Gloria becomes more attached to a robot named Robbie than to her own parents. Originally wary of Robbie, Gloria’s parents grow to love and respect the tin man after it saves their little munchkin’s life by sweeping…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Would you like to play a game?

The main entrance to the Carnegie Mellon Entertainment Technology Center off Second Avenue looks like the inside of a space ship. Neon blue and purple lamps wash the corridor with cool, luminescent hues, like a Death Star antechamber, and trapezoidal wall moldings recall Star Trek interiors. “Blast door” portcullises, complete…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

No cubicles

If any company represents creativity, success and a new paradigm, it’s Google. With an Internet advertising model that’s revolutionizing the industry and racking up money click by click, Google’s methods and its market cap represent a wish list for many companies. Its recent opening of an office in Pittsburgh was…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

A good lesson

Eleanore Childs may have had as many lives as Joanie Caucus, that trailblazing mom/​feminist/​late-​in-​life-​lawyer of the “Doonesbury” comic strip — each reincarnation a mirror of the social upheavals of the last half of the last century.
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