CreativeMornings/Pittsburgh, the first session: Nina Barbuto on "Making Learning a Party"

This morning, out of curiosity, Abby and I attended the inaugural CreativeMornings talk of the new Pittsburgh branch. Many thanks to Kate Stoltzfus for bringing this concept to Pittsburgh!

Nina Barbuto spoke on “Making Learning a Party”.

Creative Mornings - Pittsburgh - Dec 14th 2012-13


Nina Barbuto is someone I’ve encountered in the past, at Assemble, a Pittsburgh “community space for arts and technology”; I was there for a Pittsburgh Geek Out Day meeting a year ago (August 10, 2011). She is very active in Pittsburgh in promoting hands-on learning opportunities, especially for children.

She discussed how she likes to learn, and contrasted that with her experiences in school (she is an architect). One theme that came up was the idea that there are better ways to learn than the “factory model” of the 19th century. Another was that art is important and should be part of “21st century” education, expanding “STEM” to “STEAM”.

Creative Mornings - Pittsburgh - Dec 14th 2012-31

I found her advocacy and description of her various local projects inspiring, and I myself think there are better environments for learning than standard schooling (I hated much of school myself), but I think the “party” theme of learning being “fun” may be too loose for serious learning. She mentioned how some of the classes offered to disadvantaged kids involved some coming and going, but without sustained participation. I think the problem of promoting learning, especially deep learning, is a difficult one. Getting someone in the door to do something at all, in the name of fun, may be useful, but I worry about how to build on that to encourage deep learning, which doesn’t have to be dreary, but may not always be fun, and certainly always involves repeatedly facing challenges, with intensive mentoring.

In any case, it was good to hear about what she has been doing and what her vision is, and the large audience seems to indicate that there are a lot of people in town who care enough to think about these issues.

Video of the talk


It’s great that Pittsburgh now has a CreativeMornings, and Nina Barbuto kicked off the premiere of this lecture series with a thoughtful presentation. I look forward to other presentations in the future. Many thanks to the sponsors, including the location host, the Andy Warhol Museum (which I entered for the first time ever, actually).

comments powered by Disqus