At Hive NYC, our commonalities—we are educators, we are mentors, we privilege the interests of youth—can also help us explore our differences. Whether you’re from a large cultural institution or a lean startup, a learning network’s focus on creativity and innovation across organizational and disciplinary distinctions encourages its participants to find different ways to work together. During recent events at Hive NYC, our members took distinct steps to collaborate and design against the grain, consciously exploiting new approaches and methodologies for greater impact. This post charts some recent Hive NYC forays that occurred outside the framework of funded collaborative partnerships.
Hive NYC members using string to illustrate their commonalities.
Example One: Discount for Hive
At Hive NYC HQ, one way to watch trends in the network is through the various interactions on our list-serve, Minigroup. Recently, educators from two member organizations have used Minigroup postings to offer early registration and scholarships opportunities for their programs to youth from Hive NYC member organizations. We’ve also witnessed an uptick in the sharing of resources through Minigroup. For example, inquiries requesting free and available space for meetings and screenings quickly received offers and leads.
Although sharing resources across the network happens regularly, these specific instances demonstrate the potential for organizations to open new doors for one another and for youth. By publicizing their needs to the network, CoderDojo NYC, a small organization run by passionate volunteers, did not only secure a location for future workshops but also created an opportunity to introduce their young coders to the design, craft and engineering programs at their new host site Beam Center. These are simple and small efforts whose vision and impact has the potential to go along way. Seemingly small gestures can go a long way to inspire and motivate. A glimpse of others hard at work or the ability to send a youth to another trusted program, demonstrate constructive ways that adults can broker connections to new discourses and spaces for youth. Hive NYC HQ has been heartened by these recent acts of forward-thinking, extra-organizational generosity. They are essential to maintaining a thriving and dynamic network with multiple, connected pathways for youth.
This is a guest post by Sara Vogel and Jack Martin from Global Kids’ Online Leadership Program.
First piloted in a collaboration with The New York Public Library and Global Kids in 2011, NYC Haunts is a set of mobile, alternate-reality games that challenge youth game designers and players to resolve the “unfinished business” of the “ghosts” that haunt New York City neighborhoods. Players, with GPS devices in hand, are led on a youth-created tour of the area to help a particular ghost figure out what may have led to their timely or untimely demise, and in the end, ensure that the ghost moves on and stops haunting the neighborhood.
At the Weeksville Heritage Center, where youth game designers guide playtesters through the game they created.
The first trek took place in the Bronx, where student game designers at Middle School 391 designed a mobile trek inspired by the famous Edgar Allen Poe poem, “Annabel Lee.” The game led players through the Bronx, including a stop at the celebrated Poe cottage. Many of the students had no idea that Poe had lived in the Bronx or why, and the mystery of what brought him there forms the basis for the plot of the game.
Since then, several other treks through Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island have been built by youth designers, including one based in Manhattan’s Lower East Side that follows the plight of a young woman whose sister may or may not have perished in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. This fall sees another exciting collaboration with the Brooklyn Public Library to create Brooklyn Haunts, a trek using new mobile software from MIT at the Grand Army Plaza Central Library neighborhood.
This is a guest post by Sybil Madison-Boyd.
Chicago Summer of Learning is a joint endeavor led by the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Mozilla Foundation, with the help of over 100 youth-serving organizations in the country’s 3rd largest city.
“CSOL”, as it is affectionately called by my Hive Chicago Learning Network buddies and me, is designed to help Chicago’s youth take advantage of the diverse array of learning opportunities available to them this summer and to make sure that their “learning counts” by acknowledging each young person’s achievements using digital badges (see this video if you are new to the concept) .
CSOL is a big, fantastic idea that is being implemented at an ambitious scale. And, it is critically important for Chicago’s youth. Taking a closer look at STEAM|Studio, a Hive Chicago-funded CSOL Challenge, will help me explain why.
STEAM|Studio is engaging a group of young people (right now) in the complex tasks of designing a STEAM-inspired fashion line and documenting the design and production processes. The “STEAM Team” is comprised of apprentice fashion designers, jewelry designers, bloggers, and photographers. These 8th – 12th graders have “leveled up” within CSOL and “unlocked” this particular challenge, which will culminate in a youth-produced, mutli-media runway show and the professional manufacturing of the best fashion and jewelry designs.
STEAM | Studio exemplifies exactly why Chicago Summer of Learning matters so much.