A large part of our mission at DECO is to foster interest and promote education in science and technical fields. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math are core subject areas that can lead to exciting and productive careers. With the addition of art, the acronym STEAM is used to describe a powerful educational platform that encourages creativity and exploration to allow students to learn at their own pace. The result is a well-rounded student who is more confident and able to overcome challenges.

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Students at the Sharpsburg Library use homemade play dough and potatoes to operate a computer.

Remake Learning

DECO was selected by the Avonworth School District to develop a STEAM-based curriculum through the Sprout Fund’s Ed-Tech Refinery program. We will work with teachers and school administrators to connect students with local and national resources and develop hands-on educational opportunities. These courses are intended to get kids out of the classroom with active projects where they will practice the concepts learned in school.

Our curriculum will connect work being done in urban revitalization with a conceptualization of a mission to the planet Mars. Many of the processes are similar, from soil testing in vacant lots to the soil testing currently being performed by NASA’s Curiosity Rover. Any long-term space mission requires renewable energy that can be provided by solar power, which is also being used by many urban pioneers in Pittsburgh. Access to clean water is critical anywhere we go. We will be able to parallel the search for water on Mars with our work in stormwater capture and reuse.

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Kids collected compost from the Black Forge Coffee Shop for their garden at the Allentown Learning Engagement Center.

Education Technology in Practice

Many of our projects require us to use technology in innovative ways. Our clients hire us to get the best data at the lowest cost. To do this, we put together a team of individuals with diverse backgrounds who find creative approaches to each project. We learn as we go, using best practices to guide our work.

We learn as we go, using best practices to guide our work.

We have applied this same process to our work with local youth at Maker Education workshops. Through our work with local partners, we have the opportunity to introduce students, from elementary school to college graduates, to real-world projects that we are participating in. Our team is able to develop a deeper understanding by taking complex topics and making them accessible to people with little or no background in that topic. At the same time, we are able to expose people to relevant projects within their community.

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Youth in the Millvale Library work with wood scraps from the Open Floor Maker Space.

Our team is excited to continue developing these types of programs with our partners and other education-technologies organizations throughout the region. Access to these programs is beneficial to students of all ages, from pre-k to post graduates. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on this project using #EdTech.