Ted Dintersmith, who co-wrote the following op-ed, will appear at the O’Reilly Theater on May 2 in an event hosted by NEXTpittsburgh and Remake Learning. 

“This is the digital age in a nutshell: convenience and customization on one hand, uncertainty and change on the other,” writes Ted Dintersmith, author of “What School Could Be: Insights and Inspiration from Teachers across America” and Gregg Behr, executive director of the Grable Foundation and co-chair of Remake Learning in the Post-Gazette this past Sunday.

“For many parents, it’s an anxious time to raise a child. The facts and formulas adults once memorized — the Pythagorean Theorem, the atomic number of oxygen, the function of the Fourth Amendment — now fit comfortably in children’s pockets. The paths parents followed from school to work to retirement are fading faster than Pittsburgh’s trolley tracks. Instead, lifelong careers are on the decline, the project-based “gig economy” is on the rise, and experts think tomorrow’s workers will jump from job to job, needing to adapt each time to new and quickly changing demands.”

The co-authors of the op-ed piece have visited hundreds of schools and talked to thousands of students, teachers and families. What’s clear, they say, is that many of today’s parents, including them, don’t feel equipped to help kids navigate the rapid, remarkable changes that define our digital age. “The gulf between the world as we knew it and the world our children know now has never felt wider.”

Fortunately, parents are getting guidance from many sources locally. “In Western Pennsylvania, teachers, librarians, curators and others are showing parents the way, equipping kids to thrive with a mix of high-tech tools and low-tech mindsets — along with plenty of art, science, activism and problem-solving. From the urban core to the rural farms, they’re remaking learning for the modern world: students film documentaries about changing neighborhoods, engineer real solutions to community problems and code software for their peers. They collaborate, communicate and think critically while making the world a better place than they found it. Parents wondering what the future holds need only look to the innovative schools, museums, libraries and maker spaces that grace the Pittsburgh region,” write the authors.

Those spaces will be open to all from May 17 — 25 for Remake Learning Days, “the world’s largest open house for the future of teaching and learning — will showcase more than 200 free or nearly free events, focused on everything from art to technology to outdoor learning.”

Read the op-ed in full here.