STEAM Showcase @ Carlow CREATE Lab Satellite

The projects on display in this showcase represent learning experiences constructed by our faculty to prepare students with 21st century skills.

JOIN US TO LEARN MORE ABOUT…
•       Student science research projects
•       Robotics activities
•       CREATE Lab Satellite Projects
•       The 1-to-1 Computing Initiative
•       Interdisciplinary Projects in Fine Arts, Language Arts, Math, Religion, Science, Social Studies

Family Night
JANUARY 28, 2015
6 – 8 pm
Meet our student scientists

St. Agnes Center, on the Carlow University Campus
3333 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

We recognize the value of interdisciplinary investigation,
and the inspiration that results from the convergence of different disciplines.

Pre-service Teachers Play with Arts & Bots

Dr. Harold Blanco's CI 350 (instructional technology) class is made up of Pre-K - 12 pre-service teachers. The class spent 3 weeks building robots as apart of Marshall University's satellite work. The training included using the equipment, programing the software, and integrating the technology into their unit plans. View some of the highlights below and check out all their bots here.

Remarks to the WV Board of Education

Last year we attended the West Virginia Board of Education meeting to introduce them to the Satellite Network...this year we returned to to update them on the Network's activities in West Virginia over the last year

The people in the group photo, from left to right, are:
Karen Savitz, ASSET STEM Education
Jeffrey Carver, West Virginia University
Jessica Meyers, ASSET STEM Education
Rachel Hite, CREATE Lab
Lou Karas, West Liberty University
Dror Yaron, CREATE Lab
Carrie Beth Dean, Marshall University
Stan Maynard, Marshall University

I’m Lou Karas, Director of the Center for Arts & Education at West Liberty University. I’m here today with my colleagues from the CREATE Lab Satellite Network. With me are Dror Yaron and Rachel Hite from the CREATE Lab at Carnegie Mellon University; Stan Maynard and Carrie Beth Dean from the Harless Center at Marshall University; Jeffrey Carver from the College of Education and Human Services at West Virginia University and Jessica Meyers and Karen Savitz from ASSET STEM Education.

Last fall, professor Illah Nourbakhsh the Director of CREATE Lab at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute shared with the you the story and vision of the CREATE Lab and its Satellite Network.

We’re here today to give you a brief update on the work of the CREATE Satellite Network in West Virginia.

Over the past three years the CREATE Lab Satellite Network has grown from a partnership between the CREATE Lab and the school of education at Marshall University, to a network including Marshall, West Liberty, West Virginia University, and Carlow University as well as ASSET STEM Education. Each Satellite team adapts and uses the CREATE Lab innovations in a locally meaningful way with the educators and future educators they support. Similarly, working closely with the CREATE Lab, the Satellites bring their communities’ needs to bear on the technology innovation process.

As the Satellite Network model of outreach is gaining traction and in light of its rapid growth, we recognize now is an appropriate time to invite more perspectives and stakeholders to the table, as we consider how to meaningfully direct and leverage the momentum and resources at hand. This has resulted in the formation of an advisory board that will meet for the first time later this fall at West Liberty.

Over the past year, the satellite partners have worked, throughout the state, with over 1,200 children, Pre-K through 12th grade and more than 700 educators, both teachers in the field and pre-service students at the three universities.

We are empowering a technologically fluent generation through experiential learning opportunities in and outside of school. The technology is the raw material, a tool for a child to use to explore and address real world issues, to learn - and communicate - about their own environment and perspective.

We’ve been able to take new technology tools from the desk of an engineer at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute to the hands of a child in rural West Virginia, making them among the first to gain access to these innovations. Each of the Satellites not only provides training on the use of these technology tools but also, in many instances, is also able to lend the tools to teachers throughout the state.

Our work with children has focused on using four of the CREATE Lab technologies.

Message from Me enables young children to better communicate with their significant adults about their daytime activities at early childhood programs through the use of digital cameras, microphones, e-mail, phone messaging and other technologies. Originally developed using adapted computer kiosks, the program now uses an app developed for the i-pad.

The Harless Center has been at the forefront of using Message from Me in their Pre-K classroom and sharing their experiences with others around the state.

The Children’s Innovation Project takes a broad interdisciplinary and integrated learning approach, focusing on creative exploration, expression and innovation with technology. Children explore and learn about electricity through hands-on engagement with a kit of components designed for young hands. Utilizing this learning, children disassemble toys, identify components and then repurpose and reconfigure these internal components into new circuits, empowering them with new relationships and understandings of their world.

The Harless Center has also taken the lead in the use of the Children’s Innovation Project in West Virginia schools. In addition ASSET and Carlow University are developing professional development programs, which will be shared with the Satellite partners for their use.

The third program is Arts & Bots. The Hummingbird robotics kit is designed to enable engineering and robotics activities for ages 10 and up that involve the making of robots and kinetic sculptures built out of a combination of kit parts and craft materials. Hummingbird provides a great way to introduce kids to robotics and engineering with construction materials that they are already familiar with. Hummingbirds have been used in nearly every aspect of the curriculum: teachers and students have completed Hummingbird units in science, art, math, history, english, drama, poetry, and character education classes. The kits have also been used in numerous summer camps, after-school programs and other community-based environments.

When Ilah was here last fall, he shared the news that the CREATE Lab had been awarded a three-year $1.5 million National Science Foundation grant to support the “Creative Robotics” project, an innovative program that introduces robotic technology into non-technical middle school classes. It is the intent of the research project is to identify and nurture students with an affinity for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

All 7th and 8th grade students at Springdale Junior-Senior High School in the Allegheny Valley School District outside of Pittsburgh and all 6th, 7th and 8th grade students in the Mingo County Schools — a total of 900 children annually — are using the robotic kits developed at Carnegie Mellon University. They will use the kits to complete at least one project or assignment each year in required courses such as health, earth science and language arts.

The project also includes faculty members and pre-service educators in the schools of education at Marshall and West Liberty universities. We are working with CMU researchers to develop the curriculum and integrate the project into both existing and new courses for our students.

GigaPan is an earthly adaptation of NASA’s Mars Rover imaging technology - GigaPan helps bring distant communities and peoples together through images that have so much detail that they are, themselves, the objects of exploration, discovery, and wonder. Using a small robotic device, point and shoot camera, stitching software, interactive online platforms and large-scale prints, GigaPan is enabling people to explore, experience, and share each other's world.

West Virginia University is working with North Elementary School in Morgantown, to train the teacher to both use gigpan images as well as generating their own gigapan images.  The technology integration of Gigpan is being conducted in and around the Garden Based Learning project at the school.  The ability to take super high resolution images during the garden growing season and then utilizing those images during the non-growing months in the winter allows teachers to extend the garden based learning curriculum through the non-gardening months. 

At West Liberty, we have incorporated learning how to use the GigaPan images and technology into several courses in the professional education program. We are also working with the art teachers in Ohio County Schools supporting them in the integration of GigaPan into their classrooms.

A key focus of the Satellite Network is to provide professional development opportunities for both teachers in Pre-K through 12th grade settings around the state –and- for our pre-service students. We have presented at conferences throughout the state included the West Virginia Technology conference and the West Virginia Art Education Association conference. The partners have provided opportunities ranging from GigaPan workshops lasting a few hours to weeklong Creative Robotics programs. It is important to note, that these programs are only the beginning of our work with teachers. Each Satellite provides on-going support to the teachers.

We are emphasizing the integration of the CREATE Lab resources into pre-service education because we believe it is important for our future teachers to learn these skills and technologies throughout their undergraduate years so they will be fully prepared to integrate them into their classrooms. ASSET, as our newest partner, will be involved in the expansion of this work.

I would like to acknowledge the amazing work done by Debbie Workman, Carrie-Meghan Quick Blanco and Cathy Walker. They devoted countless hours building the programs and services of the first Satellite site at the Harless Center. Over the summer, Debbie and Cathy retired and Carrie-Meghan moved on to another position. Their enthusiastic support has helped the other two Satellite sites get off the ground.

I would also be remise if I didn’t acknowledge the support of Benedum Foundation and Jim Denova. Jim has not only provided financial support for our work but has also shared connections and given us guidance as we expand the Network’s programs and services.

Looking ahead, next spring, The CREATE Lab Satellite Network and The Sprout Fund are partnering to present the first annual Creative Tech Conference: Best Practices of Creative Technology in Education on April 21 through the 23 in Pittsburgh. The Creative Tech Conference will ignite productive dialogue and spur the exchange of ideas about the use of creative technologies (or creative use of technologies) in education, teaching, and learning.  

The conference will feature two tracks of programming: Practice and Ecosystems. The Practice track will feature educators sharing ideas and stories around their methods and experiences with integrating technology creatively and successfully into their classrooms and programs. The Ecosystems track will focus on discussions about the networks and conditions that support and empower meaningful technology practice in education. We hope you will consider joining us for the conference.

In the mean time, we also invite you to visit us at Marshall, West Liberty and WVU to see the work of the CREATE Lab Satellite Network in action this school year.

Thank you.

Lou Karas, Director of the Center for Arts & Education at West Liberty University


Arts & Bots in Harrison County, WV

Having recently partnered with the West Virginia University CREATE Lab Satellite to include Arts & Bots as part of their “Hot Science Camp” week, The Harrison County Community Center raved about the experience.  The science camp was a combination of two summer camp groups, and included 35 students ranging in age from third grade to sixth grade, all from low income families in Harrison County.  

Campers were instantly engaged. After a short presentation on the basics of engineering, participants unpacked the hummingbird box and practiced with the software. They then began designing their robots on paper, following the rules of at least one motor, at least one light, at least one something else, multiple expressions, and at least one sequence. The kids quickly took over the computers, excitedly programming and building their robots.  Despite being chaotic, as active science always is, camp leaders at the Community Center said it was likely the best day of the week. The campers seemed enthralled by their work with Arts & Bots, and when asked if they would like a 2 or 3 day experience with this, they all wanted more! 

In addition to participating in "Hot Science Camp" this summer, WVU's CREATE Lab Satellite has also been working with the Children's Discovery Museum of West Virginia to offer robotics days for early elementary and preschool aged children. Two Arts & Bots sessions were held at the museum so far this summer, with participants ranging in age from four to nine years old. 

Camp CREATE at Mingo County

The CREATE Lab Satellite team at Marshall University's June Harless Center is running the first of three summer Arts & Bots camps this week in Mingo County, WV. Watch the full TV story here!


This week--more than three dozen students in southern West Virginia are exploring the fields of science, technology, and art. Empty juice containers, shoe boxes, and toilet paper rolls aren't the most technical objects, but these recycled materials are exactly what students are using to build robots at "Camp Create" this week in Gilbert. "It's really just about engaging children in something fun and exciting that's technology based," said Tarabeth Brumfield, program development office for the Harless Center of Marshall University. Students are using computer programs to tell their robots how to perform different functions. "We learned what everything does and how to wire it," said student Dylan Glasscock. And students are loving every minute of the design process. "I'm really into this stuff and I love science in school," said Skyler Mounts, Camp Create student. Mounts has already gotten her robot's eyes to blink and the arms to move. She's even working on getting it to talk! "I think that this will help me a lot in science because I'm moving up to middle school, and I'm sure that they have a lot of projects like this," said Mounts. Camp Create organizers hope students are energized by what they're learning to help them excel in the fields of science and math.. "The great thing about children is they're not intimidated at all. So to put real tools, real robotics components in the hands of them at 7, 8, 9, 10, then that just gets them prepared for the content that they're going to need, gets them excited about what they want to do for the future," said Brumfield. And that goes beyond school and into the hundreds of career opportunities open to kids who go into technology-related fields. "I've had children this week say they're an engineer or they're an artist, but how do you combine those skills to make a job for the 21st century? So that's what these programs are all about," said Brumfield. If you'd like to check out to finished robots these kids are making for yourself, Camp Create students will showcase their work Friday, July 11th from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Harless Center in Gilbert.

Train the Trainer: The Science of Light

Along with our colleagues at ASSET STEM Education, we recently hosted a two-day train-the-trainer workshop for members of our Satellite Network around the principles of photography and its use in the classroom, particularly through the lens of social impact.

Participants kicked off the workshop building a pinhole camera, and concluded it putting together a digital camera. (see full workshop schedule below)


The goals of the workshop:

  • Deepen understanding of photography fundamentals, to anchor and enhance the GigaPan outreach and support provided by CREATE Lab Satellites.
  • Hands-on consideration of the Bigshot camera kit as a Satellite Network wide offering within a context of community empowerment. 


Below are testimonials from workshop participants. The accompanying photographs were taken with Bigshot cameras, which participants assembled and experimented with during the second day of the workshop.

"The workshop has been a lot of fun. It was really helpful to begin with photographic history and move through different techniques, tools and concepts. I learned a lot about how modern cameras work through examining older methods of photography. This is definitely something I can share with my colleagues and students."
Kris Hupp
Cornell School District
21st Century Teaching & Learning Coach

"Thank you for the last two days.  I have truly enjoyed learning more about the technical side of photography."
Deb Spencer
Manager of Professional Development
ASSET STEM Education

"Going through that training, it's much easier for me to see how to help others with little to no experience with photography, as I had. I have a better understanding of exposure and focus and what it means and how its used after the big shot session and its easily expanded into gigapan. It was a great session!"
Carrie-Meghan Quick-Blanco
Language/International Studies Specialist
Marshall University

"This picture was taken during our training on the BigShot camera. The session provided an interactive experience that encouraged individual creativity and voice!"
Renee Graham
Research and Development Manager
ASSET STEM Education

"The most engaging part of the workshop for me was when we had to think about harnessing photography as a tool towards making folks aware/educating about a specific social justice issue, and then actually capturing a few images with the BigShot camera towards that end. This took on the flavor of a "project" and strengthened my belief in the power of photography, especially in the hands of students."
Jim Rye
Professor, Curriculum and Instruction/Literacy Studies
West Virginia University

"This workshop was a wonderful resource for new techniques and methods for using photography in a classroom."
Rachel Shipley
Artist Educator Fellow
West Liberty University 

"The impact that art can have on society is not something I have ever thought about, and I now realize its power. The potential these materials have for out of school time is something I want to explore.  I am looking forward to working with and using the resources provided. Thank you for this experience."
Lisa Callender
Professional Development Manager
ASSET STEM Education 

"I loved the opportunity to build a kit-based digital camera and I’m sure the Bigshot will be a great resource for kids to learn more about photography. I also appreciated the examples of photography and image-making for social impact projects. All in all, a very valuable workshop. Thank you!"
Mac Howison
Senior Program Officer for Catalytic Funding
The Sprout Fund


Workshop Schedule

Train the Trainer: Make it Move

The CREATE Lab Satellite Network gathered at the Center for Arts and Education, home of our West Liberty University Satellite, to share two best practices:

Arts and Bots training developed and offered by Lori Maxfield of our Carlow Satellite in collaboration with Yvonne Ng of Engineer's Playground.  The program explores a progression from hand powered mechanisms to robots, while considering - and clarifying - concepts of engineering, design, electric circuits and programming. 

New maker-space at the Center for Arts and Education, a flexible learning environment put together by Lou Karas, the center's director. We explored it in the best possible way - by learning and making in it. 



Here are some testimonials from the event:

About the Workshop

"This workshop really helped me get a better understanding of how Arts & Bots fits into the larger context of an engineering curriculum. Now I feel a little more able to train people on Arts & Bots, not in the abstract, but with the broader picture in mind. I also think learning some nuts and bolts about engineering makes the general subject a little less intimidating for people, which in itself can be really empowering!"

"The session highlighted connection between different aspects of technological fluency: the engineered artistic design and the computer programming behind it. Incorporating this into trainings will be a powerful motivator to learn more about programming and computer science."

"The session gave Arts and Bots a context. All of the activities leading up to the creation of the robot were both foundational and engaging."



About the Space

"The space was fantastic. I did not have a single creative idea that could not be brought to fruition with the materials provided, many of which led to even more creative ideas! It's a very welcoming and functional space."

"It was a pleasure to work in an environment where a variety of tools and materials are readily available, organized and accessible - finding them does not slow the flow of making."

"The Make Shop space will be a real asset to the Education Department. Not only will it provide a perfect space to meet faculty and students creative needs, It will be a great facility for teacher training, for families and visiting public school children."

"best part of the training for me, very inspiring but it was torture to sit there and not put my hands on all the cool materials and make stuff as soon as i walked in!"


About the Event

"Face to face time with other Satellite Network members was important and we should use all the time we can get for those kinds of activities."

"We got to include pre-service teachers which is important as the next generation going into the classroom they are on the cutting edge."

How Children Can Learn

by Gayle Manchin, president of WV Board of Education, following a recent visit to the CREATE Lab: 


I knew that the CREATE Lab was a visionary “think tank” of young brilliant minds--but that does not even scratch the surface of what is “happening” in this arena at Carnegie-Mellon. 

The opportunities given to children to expand their minds, their explorations, their discoveries, and have it all happen as an everyday experience begins to define what education should mean. Young people create, discover, experiment, and solve problems as engaged scientists. This can and is being replicated in WV in remarkable ways. These students will become tomorrow's teams that find the cure for cancer, temper global warming, and change the way they will leave their land better than we left it to them.

Replicated in WV in remarkable ways. CREATE Lab Satellite Network partners in West Virginia.

However, in addition to showing the world how children can learn, the CREATE Lab is also changing our universe. The entrepreneurial spirit that exists in that facility is changing the scope of mankind in what and how individuals can observe, learn and facilitate the integration of new knowledge into our ever-changing, complex world. These young minds enable all of us to know more quickly the challenges that we face as a society and encourages us to be part of the solution in a more effective way.

The visit in and of itself was a overwhelming experience --- but the opportunities that exist are almost incomprehensible in how far the human mind can stretch. I feel so incompetent in trying to express adequately the experience of spending an afternoon in this lab, but suffice it to say, I left there realizing that I had been a part of an amazing vision of teaching and learning at its finest. THANK YOU for sharing with us!!

I hope that our paths will cross in many ways on this journey to educate for the future.

Gayle C. Manchin
President, WV State Board of Education

GigaPan Curriculum Collection - Celebrating 41 Educators

For the past six years, CREATE Lab GigaPan outreach has inspired projects in 20 countries, engaging 1,176 educators, 6,371 students, and 153 leading scientists across the globe. 

Today we are proud to announce the release of a GigaPan curriculum collection including 20 lesson plans, based on projects that were developed and implemented by 41 of our partner educators, featuring a variety of content areas and unique approaches to GigaPan. We're proud to show off their work.

The curriculum collection is available on: gigapan.com/cms/use-learn.
Each unit details the related common core and state standards.

In addition to our gratitude toward our partner educators, we dedicate a very special thank you to Jennifer Geist of  Zeitgeist Creations Global Education Tools, who curated all the unit plans and uniformly formatted them for easy reference and implementation. To complete the collection, Jennifer bundled these units with educator guides for online resources, hardware, activity ideas as well as a project design template.

Photography becomes transformative when the image maker is empowered to capture what is most valuable to them, and even more so when they share this perspective with others. By creating and sharing GigaPan images, educators, students, and scientists can share the stories of their own landscapes and ignite conversations with participating groups all over the world. 


We asked some of the educators featured in this collection to share their perspective about GigaPan. 

Here's what they said:


Elizabeth Lallathin, Kellogg Elementary School, Huntington WV, USA

"Using GigaPan in my classroom has allowed all readers access to inferencing skills and to be part of a greater conversation. Images found on gigapan.com have become a virtual window to the settings of books, lessons, and news. Readers are able to place themselves inside of the picture and see it close up. The images grab the audience and hold the attention begging the onlooker to inquire more deeply with every zoom...GigaPan is a tool that I highly respect and enjoy using within my classroom."

Download Elizabeth's projects: World of Diversity and Travels Through Literature


Hari Prasetyo, SMA Al-Izhar, Jakarta, Indonesia


"GigaPan is an amazing tool. Using GigaPan has taught me and my students many things, such as, partnership, exchanging the ideas, and because we are from Indonesia we practice our English conversation by communicating with our partner school. The gigantic panorama produced by the GigaPan enables us to find/zoom in on unique or strange pictures/phenomenon/scene in our daily activities or cultures. We then can discuss these findings within our class or ask for an explanation from our school partner's students and teacher.  So much cultural diversity or biodiversity that we can understand and learn about." 

Download Hari's project, School Daily Activities, here.


David Williams, Huntington High School, Huntington WV, USA

"What I liked about the GigaPan is that it allowed the students to make discoveries without me telling them and it allowed me to see what interested them. It allowed their peers to help them because they were the only ones online to communicate with. It made the students excited and engaged. I had fully engaged students and by being on the computers students that might not participate in discussions could discuss via the keyboard. This project did a good job hooking my students on learning about the Incas."

Download David's project, Inca & Ancient Civilizations, here


Linda Twedt, South Fayette Middle School, McDonald PA, USA

"The magic of GigaPan is as much in what it can show as in what it can 'erase'. With assistance, we were able to peek inside the contents of a frozen food truck seemingly without the doors. GigaPan excites the students with its Facebook-style interface, allowing them to use their foreign language skills to get to know their partners, who may live many thousands of miles away."

Download Linda's project, Alimentation/Nutrition, here


Briana, student of Brandon Keat, Propel School, Pittsburgh PA, USA

“I must admit Gigapanning for me became a new craving! All I thought about when I walked around was 'this would be a great place to do a GigaPan.' I learned it all – how to set the machine up and how to adjust everything correctly and take awesome pictures. It was an amazing experience and I'm glad I got to be apart of it!"  

Download Briana's classroom's social studies project here


Khosi Ntuli, Tlhatlogang Junior Secondary School, Soweto, South Africa

"I am an educator teaching Life Orientation at Tlhatlogang Junior Secondary in South Africa. Students are faced with challenging dilemmas. Life is all about choices and priorities. My subject aims at equipping them with skills and techniques to face their challenging background. Meeting with other educators made me realize that one way or the other we are all the same. We are faced with the challenge of changing the minds of those kids that God has placed to our care.”

Download Khosi's project, Global Health, here


Becky Severino, Beverly Elementary School, Beverly WV, USA

"The Self-Portrait GigaPan project sprang from a discussion with a preschool teacher about found objects. We decided that we would ask our students to go on a treasure hunt at home and bring to school any small treasures they could find. We used the objects as springboards for creative play. When it seemed that the students had exhausted all possibilities, we introduced the concept of self-portraits. Using the GigaPan site, we visited museums and art galleries to see original self-portraits by famous artists. We used our found treasures to build faces, working without glue so that we could change our work, revisit it, recreate the faces depending on the objects chosen. Finally we created our own self-portraits. We then created puppets from our objects and wrote stories about their lives.

We were so fascinated with that GigaPan that we decided to create our own using the self-portraits of famous artists. We made small thumbnail copies of their works and placed them in various spots around our classroom. We then made larger versions of the same pictures and used those to cover our faces and placed ourselves in the GigaPan.  We were very pleased with the outcome of our work!"

Download Becky's project, Beautiful Stuff: Self Portraits, here


Bonnie Conner, Milton Middle School, Milton WV, USA

"I created the project for a classification unit I do near the end of the year. My students are always amazed at how the GigaPan works. Students enjoy trying to find the organisms and classify them. I even taught a student teacher how to use the GigaPan last year and used it in my digital imaging club with 6, 7, and 8th graders."

Download Bonnie's project, Nine Phyla of the Animal Kingdom, here


Marti Louw, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh PA, USA

"Gigapixel technology brings a 21st century spin to the natural history diorama. Explorable images not only make accessible the remote, rare and hard to see, the technology enables learners to explore, observe and discover meaning in their own way."

Download Marti's project, Stories in Rock, here


Jason Jackson, Beverly Hills Middle School, Huntington WV, USA

"The projects main focus was to broaden the horizons of children. Many places around the world seem so similar to us here in the US, but the differences in everyday activities, like grocery shopping, can be surprising. During this project we took time to look at local prices for a gallon of milk and compare that mathematically to the price of a gallon of milk in other locations. We started our investigation by asking family and friends who lived in other states what a gallon of milk cost. Then, we explored the GigaPan site and other internet sites for the price of milk per gallon. After locating several outlets, a convenient store in the middle east, a European Sweet Shop, an Asian open market, and grocery stores in the United States, the data comparison assignment started. As a culminating assignment, students had to use the information that we had learned to create a visual representation of how the prices varied among other objects located in our class' original GigaPan. Most students chose a spread sheet which related back to our math basis."

Download Jason's project, Nutrition & Markets, here.


View the full curriculum collection here