Hive NYC = rocket fuel for learning

October 18, 2011 § 7 Comments

I’m proud to announce that Mozilla is taking over stewardship of a project called Hive NYC: a network of over 30 organizations using digital technology and web culture to fuel learning.

A part of MacArthur Foundation‘s broader digital media and learning effort, Hive Learning Network NYC pulls together organizations in New York City that run out-of-school learning programs. Some are about science. Some are about art. Some are about poetry. Some are about tech itself. What brings all these organizations together is a commitment to mixing the hands on, maker culture of the web into how they teach.

When I first met with the members of Hive NYC, I was blown away by the energy and common vision. It was a room filled with talented youth educators from orgs as diverse as MoMA, the American Museum of Natural History, Dreamyard, the New York Public Library, MOUSE and Eyebeam. All of them are out there every day running programs that feel like the kind of learning Mozilla should be doing more of: leveraging web tools (and promoting web literacy) to help kids learn about whatever they are passionate about.

Sitting in that room in New York, I realized Mozilla has a ton to learn from these people — and also that these people are a key missing link for the learning programs Mozilla needs to develop. When I look at Hive NYC, I see a mashup of:

  1. A community of orgs leveraging and building digital skills into they way they teach art, science, poetry, whatever …
  2. … rolled up inside a distributed lab that is creating new curriculum and new technology …
  3. … which, by the way, is a school that teaches web literacy.

A concrete example of these pieces coming together is Hackasaurus, which was developed by Hive NYC members working with Mozilla (lab). At it’s core, Hackasaurus teaches web literacy (school) but is also great way to teach about things like film making on the web (platform).

IMHO, this Hive Learning Network model can be rocket fuel not just for learners and network members, but also for Mozilla and the web. It pushes technology into the background, focusing instead on whatever kids want to learn about. The result: a much bigger population of learners getting web literacy and digital skills.

It’s this kind of interest based learning — combined with a platform that lets dozens (or thousands?) of people and orgs embed web skills into their own teaching — that Mozilla really needs to crack. Which is why I am so excited about bringing Hive NYC into Mozilla. It’s a chance to both learn a ton and to help a whole pile of other orgs who want to teach how we want to teach.

Hive NYC is a part of a broader Hive Learning Network, which includes Hive Chicago (not directly affiliated with Mozilla) and will soon add a number of other cities. In New York City, Hive will operate as a Mozilla project, just like Hackasaurus, or Popcorn or Browser ID. Core Hive NYC staff like Chris Lawrence and Lainie DeCoursy are employed by Mozilla and are integrated into our broader learning team. Welcome!

PS. Chris Lawrence has also blogged here about Hive NYC and Mozilla coming together.

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