We Launched a Community Events Calendar and You Can Too!

Chicago is known for having one of the richest out-of-school time learning ecosystems in the US. So much incredible work has been done in this city to advance and nurture that ecosystem through collaborative networks like After School Matters (ASM), the Chicago City of Learning (CCOL), Thrive Chicago, Mozilla's Hive Chicago and others! In particular, CCOL and ASM have done incredible work to make these opportunities visible to young people and adults of influence through online portals, calendars, and searchable databases. But much of what is true for the needs of young learners is also … Continue Reading ››

Seven Things I Learned Demo-ing the Webmaker App This Summer

This summer, I participated in two exciting learning events in Chicago that gave me a great opportunity to take the Webmaker App on a little test drive. You know, kick the tires and light the fires. Turns out it had great acceleration and handled curves like a dream. Oh, and the kids loved it too! On Wednesday, July 22, Google hosted a street fair for STEM activities: the Geek Street Festival. Two dozen Chicago organizations participated to lead demonstrations and hands-on activities for almost 5,000 attendees, including thousands of children from Chicago Parks District summer camps! You … Continue Reading ››

Disruption and Creative Destruction

How do we disrupt the routine? In a connected world where passive likes are mediated by closed, proprietary systems, tracking our behavior and serving us tailored content – how do we disrupt that state of flow and break through to consumers; to inspire makers; to empower folks on the fringes? I believe that it’s not just about making, it’s also about breaking. I take my primary inspiration from Seymour Papert who believed that true computer education was not about using the computer to program the child, but rather, teaching the child to program the computer. I believe in “machines to … Continue Reading ››

A Member-Driven Network: Research, Data & Feedback for 2015

Hive Chicago is a Member-driven Network.

As part of Mozilla's Hive Learning Networks global initiative, Hive Chicago shares it's mission, vision and theory of change with all Hive Networks: mobilize educators in our communities to create connected learning experiences (that teach web literacy) and catalyze others to extend that work. Yet, as a network of local organizations in Chicago, the unique goals, strategies and calls-to-action that the Hive Chicago adopts to advance that mission are directly informed by the collective aspirations, needs and challenges articulated by our individual, organizational, … Continue Reading ››

Extracurriculars for All Kids, an Economic Argument

On Tuesday March 24, I was honored to attend a lecture and discussion with Dr. Robert D. Putnam hosted by The Chicago Community Trust and the Chicago Public Library. Dr. Putnam was introduced as "the poet laureate of a civil society" with a laudable career that has brought him to the oval office on several occasions as an advisor on the socio-economic health of our country. On Tuesday, he spoke about his new book, Our Kids, which makes the case for a growing socio-economic crisis driven by class isolation: an "opportunity gap" … Continue Reading ››

Working Together in Hive Chicago

One of the core principles of Hive Learning Networks is a collaborative approach to creating experiences that will transform the learning landscape for young people in cities into connected learning ecosystems. In Hive, collaboration isn't just a novelty, it's an essential approach to creating openly networked, interest-driven pathways for young people that are a foundation of connected learning.
A connected learning ecosystem requires a connected network of collaborative learning institutions.
In a successful Hive collaboration, multidisciplinary teams have shared goals, shared purpose, and objectives to nurture new ideas, new ways of working, new partnerships, and – as … Continue Reading ››

Cultivating Diversity in a Networked, Digital Age

This is a post that I drafted to collect some thoughts about diversity, learning networks, social media and youth development for future use in posts by me and my colleagues elsewhere. Many of the ideas presented in this post are formative or deserve a more sophisticated treatment than is achieved here, but the underlying thread is complete. The role of digital media and social networks in our modern discourse and learning is pervasive, but those networks require a cognitive diversity amongst their members in order to be effective. Unfortunately, the modern tools we use to cultivate these networks are not … Continue Reading ››

Lost Friends

Last night, I attended an exceptionally moving screening of Lost Friends, a student and Tribune staff, co-produced documentary collaboration brought to us by True Star and the Mash. It was captivating from the first moment, but as young Chicagoans were recounting stories of those they lost to gun violence, a shockingly familiar name and face flashed across the screen. In the summer of 2011, Kevin Ambrose, a student from Kenwood Academy, was a participant in a NASA summer program that I taught at The Adler Planetarium. He was kind, funny, creative, theatrical, dynamic, … Continue Reading ››

Designing a Hive Badge Ecosystem – Attributes

Previous posts in this series have discussed the structure and contributors to a Hive digital badge ecosystem. In this post, we will explore the attributes that will define these badges.
A Hive is a beautiful, complex, busy thing. Activity in a Hive, or #hivebuzz, takes many shapes and forms from the serendipitous or programatic connection between two educators at a local Hive meetup, to complex multi-organizational, cross-city partnerships pursuing big-budget funding, to Maker Parties: local community catalytic events with a Global connection. So, … Continue Reading ››