Each spring, ABC CREATE educators and other educational partners convene to share best practices in STEAM-based activities and relevant pedagogy they've successfully implemented during the school year at the ABC CREATE STEAM Showcase.
Open to educators from all grade levels and subject areas, the ABC CREATE STEAM Showcase provides opportunities for networking with thought leaders and practitioners in education. Workforce partners are encouraged to attend to explore and share intersections with education and network with K-12 educators.
In-person or virtual, this venue allows ABC CREATE education partners to showcase technological innovations and resources, share where they’re going and help educators to understand the ‘why’ behind the technologies.
ABC CREATE helps educators develop a network of peers with which to exchange best practices, co-author Learning Pathways and share resources. Educators find support for ongoing STEAM exploration and implementation of innovative lessons and learning units.
The Learning Pathways are an excellent example of cross-district collaborations within the ABC CREATE community. Teachers come together for learning pathway writing sessions during which they often work with other teachers or educational partners to create learning units/lessons, which are published and shared on the ABC CREATE website. In the Producing a Piano with Makey Makey learning pathway students learn how to produce a working piano using a Makey Makey circuit board and Scratch code. This pathway was designed and written as a cross-district collaboration between Michele Thomas of Kiski Area School District and Jessica Berberich of Freeport School District.
The ABC CREATE Resource Library offers more than twenty different educational technology tools and resources for its learning community to borrow, free of cost. Learning materials including Finch robots, Spheros, and Puzzlets are used to teach coding and computer science concepts and to promote computational thinking, engaging learning experiences and equitable access to PK-12 students. These tools have been used to support best practices in STEAM-based learning in the classroom and to support numerous ABC CREATE sponsored community events.
ABC CREATE hosts both in-person and virtual training sessions for educators who wish to learn more about these resources and how to integrate them into their classroom instruction. ABC CREATE invites educational partners, such as BirdBrain and CodeJoy, to lead these training sessions. Training attendees receive hands-on, interactive robotics and coding instruction, collaborate with colleagues to develop lessons, and share integration ideas and tech tool tips.
Learn more by visiting our ABC CREATE Resource Library website.
In addition to several annual events, such as the STEAM Showcase, Summer Teachers’ STEAM Retreat and Fall Convenings, ABC CREATE also offers a host of both in-person and virtual professional development opportunities throughout the year. Educational partners, such as BirdBrain Technologies and CodeJoy, share their expertise in STEAM integration by leading workshops on creative robotics and computational thinking. These workshops are thoughtfully designed to help educators integrate computational, technical, and future-ready skills into their existing instruction; they promote best practices in teaching and provide relevant skills and timely content.
ABC CREATE also offers information about and access to a variety of professional development training opportunities from outside organizations and educational institutions. Educators can visit the ABC CREATE Updates webpage to learn more about upcoming webinars, grant opportunities, conferences and more.
Courtney Barbiaux, a Personalized Learning Coach and Makerspace teacher at Burrell School District, used Hummingbird robots to make science--even virtual science, hands-on and engaging! Working in collaborative groups, students wrote simple programs in MakeCode to model physical movements and adaptations of an imaginary animal. Virtual students were able to assist group mates with coding and construction ideas by joining them via (Zoom).
In August of 2020, Courtney herself attended a virtual ABC CREATE training, Hummingbird in the Virtual and Hybrid Learning Age. This training, led by Kelsey Derringer from BirdBrain Technologies, taught educators how to build, code and teach with Hummingbirds in any classroom environment, virtual, in-person or hybrid. Courtney borrowed Hummingbird Bit kits from the ABC CREATE Resource Library. Her lessons and supporting resources were documented in a learning pathway, Engaging Students in Science with Hybrid Learning, and shared on the ABC CREATE Learning Pathways website.
Carmen Loughner, IT Coach at Franklin Regional School District, used Finch robots to bring community members to life! Carmen’s 3rd grade students worked in collaborative groups to create Finch ‘vehicles’. The students transformed their Finch robots into fire trucks, police cars, buses and mail trucks. They then used BirdBlox to create a program that would light up their Finch vehicle and drive it to several locations in a neighborhood.
Carmen is an active member in the ABC CREATE community. She has attended numerous ABC CREATE trainings and professional development events, including Creative Robotics for Elementary School with the NEW Finch 2.0 and Hummingbird Bit, where she first learned how to program a Finch robot. Carmen is a frequent ‘borrower’ from the ABC CREATE Resource Library, and even used it as a model when designing her own lending library for her school district. Carmen shared her Finch lesson and resources in a learning pathway, Bringing Community Members to Life with Finch Robots, on the ABC CREATE Learning Pathways website.