Hive-like Learning Hubs
Hive Learning Network hosts "city-based learning labs," meetups, mash-ups and all manner of digital learning opportunities to support learning outside of the traditional walls of schools. Mozilla Foundation (Firefox browser) has located "hives" in major cities like Chicago, Boston, and NYC and these hubs partner with innovative organizations within each community to serve as a "connection" for learners, organizations, volunteers, and educators. For example, the mission of the NYC Hive chapter is listed on their site as, "Hive NYC operates as a city-based learning lab, where members network with each other, share best practices and pedagogies, learn about and play with new technologies, participate in events, and most importantly, collaborate to create learning opportunities for NYC youth." Throughout the summer of 2013 alone, the group is helping to support and promote many dozens of camps, workshops and programs throughout NYC for middle and High School-aged youth.
Hive Learning Network is especially important as schools face additional budget cuts and teachers must increasingly focus on "teaching to the test" at the cost of more innovative, learner-driven activities. Digital media and technology is often not fully integrated into this more traditional curriculum and is at best an afterthought in traditional education programs. Hive aims to provide the resources to make these technologies less a secondary element and more a "glue and amplifier" for truly connected learning experiences, albeit outside the confines of the classroom.
Beyond fostering innovative programming, the HIVE Learning Network envisions a larger mission of developing, "sophisticated consumers and active producers of digital media." While focused on after-school programs to fill the void created by restricted formal learning experiences and fostering "New Media Literacies," the program is a model of a connected learning community intended to impact not only young learners, but also the traditional in-school experience. More and more, effective "learning" is happening outside of the traditional classroom setting and Mozilla is a part of this movement towards cultivating these "out-of-school time spaces" as fertile ground for growing learning innovation.
Image: Hive Logo