Connected Learning and Web Literacy Training for NYC DOE Educators

Hive NYC just wrapped up a series of professional development trainings with teachers, librarians, administrators and technology coaches representing different public schools across the five boroughs of NYC. These educators are participating in the New York City Department of Education’s Innovative Partner Professional Development (IPPD) program, which connects them with “best practices for using technology tools as well as resources for teaching and learning.” [1] Through this program hundreds of DOE educators have the opportunity to choose from training sessions offered by organizations and companies that specialize in technology and/or digital literacy.

Hive NYC offered two training sessions to IPPD participants. Webmaker Institute lead by MOUSE and Hive NYC HQ and Connected Learning Educator, lead by Bank Street College, The LAMP and Iridescent Learning. Webmaker Institute familiarized participants with Web Literacy and ways to align Mozilla’s Web Literacy skills with a chosen subject area. Connected Learning Educator familiarized participants with the design principles and practices of Connected Learning (CL) and how to use them as a guide to create dynamic content for classrooms and schools.

Planning for IPPD started in July 2014. DOE’s Division of Instructional and Information Technology (DIIT) helped us prepare a description and a brief agenda for the IPPD application that launched In September. During the enrollment period, MOUSE, Hive HQ, Bank Street College, Iridescent Learning, and The LAMP held several meetings to plan the agenda for each training session. Our goal was to provide an in-person, engaging, hands-on experience that would guide participants and inspire them to integrate Web Literacy and Connected Learning into their teaching practices. We used a collaborative text editor called Etherpad as the main documentation platform for each training session. This is how we exchanged information with participants before and during the session. A detailed archive is available for both Webmaker Institute and Connected Learning Educator.

Session Descriptions

A total of 47 people signed up for the training sessions. Webmaker Institute took place at Hive NYC headquarters located in Dumbo. Connected Learning Educator took place at Iridescent Learning, located in The Bronx. Both sessions ran from 10am – 3pm. Hive NYC HQ provided breakfast and lunch for all participants and facilitators.

Webmaker Institute

16304513515_ff9c9c313f_k Webmaker Institute started with a fun activity for participants to share names, subject areas and school locations. Facilitators from Hive NYC and MOUSE gave brief introductions to each organization and how to get involved. After introductions, MOUSE lead a series of activities to introduce fundamental web literacy skills such as Composing for the Web, Coding/Scripting, Remixing, Credibility and Navigation. The activities included a high-energy game about HTML syntax, a newspaper remix activity and a web source credibility activity. A full description of these activities and more are available in this Webmaking with MOUSE Teaching Kit. Participants were asked to reflect on the activities and think about possible ways to integrate them into their classrooms. Everyone started by writing responses to a series of questions in the Etherpad.

This resulted in a diverse collection of usable information that enabled participants to learn from one another in real time. Using their shared knowledge, participants were asked to form groups and spend 40 minutes building an idea, activity or lesson around a specific Web Literacy skill. They had the option of remixing a MOUSE activity or creating a new one. Groups were not required to finish or execute these concepts. The intention was to seed ideas that participants could continue to work on after the training session ended. In this way, educators were not only introduced to specific ideas and practices but also received first-hand experience working in the kind of open, collaborative environment that characterizes Hive NYC’s unique learning laboratory approach. Explore early idea and concept here.

Connected Learning Educator


Connected Learning Educator started with the Yarn Web activity where participants introduced themselves by name and school. After connecting around shared interests, Bank Street College and The LAMP facilitated a conversation about powerful learning, which helped participants understand themselves as learners. Everyone recalled a memory from some point in their lives when learning occurred. They wrote brief responses to specific questions about the experience. Then, participants took turns sharing their experiences aloud and discussing how they align to Connected Learning principles and core educational values.

The next activity was done in pairs. Participants were asked to use a Connected Learning assessment rubric to analyze one example of successful learning from their careers as educators or one example of successful learning they hope to do in the future. Bank Street and The LAMP concluded with a group discussion focusing on what interest-powered, peer-supported and academically-oriented learning principles look like in action. Each pair shared results from the activity and pointed out how the the rubric could help them strengthen their short term and long term goals. 16426549876_d54b26039d_b For the second half of the training Iridescent Learning demonstrated how to put Connected Learning into action using their new, free engineering design platform Curiosity Machine. They started with a quick writing exercise to define pedagogical terms like hands-on learning and digital literacy. Next, dividing into teams of two or more, each group was given 30 minutes to Engineer a Balloon Helicopter that could fly at least three feet from the ground. Instructional videos and resources were provided, but groups were challenged to design from scratch.

Participants discussed the design and ideation process and their different approaches. Iridescent explained how important trial and error is to learning and how Curiosity Machine has been designed to help teachers and learners learn by doing. Iridescent demonstrated how youth can use the platform to document their work, ask mentors for help and access guides. Participants created accounts and uploaded content. Everyone agreed Curiosity Machine is something they definitely plan on exploring with students.

Iridescent Learning ended the training session by sharing a collection of free resources. While more resources will become available as the Curiosity Machine platform develops, but to start they provide lesson plans, workbooks, Next Generation Science Standards alignment and curriculum support through these fun and inspiring engineering design units.

What’s Next?

Hive NYC HQ created an online community to stay connected to the participants now that the training sessions are over. This enables Hive NYC, MOUSE, Iridescent Learning, Bank Street College and The LAMP to continue to not only model Hive’s peer-supported learning community in action but also provide an online space for educators to share and get feedback on what they are doing in their classrooms. In April, the participants and the facilitators will reconvene in an informal gathering to debrief, share outcomes and award awesome swag and awards. By this time participants will have completed the following requirements.

Participant Feedback

“I am excited about using the Web Literacy resources to showcase our school’s Middle School Core Content. After using, and These new tools will allow me to engage the students on a much deeper level. Now they can begin to build their content.” – Webmaker Institute attendee

“I felt very welcome, the workshop was wonderful. The atmosphere you created was conducive to learning and collaboration. I even like your choice of music! I learned a lot about this resource, but I also learned how to run a fun and effective workshop. Thank you!” – Webmaker Institute attendee

“I learned that students need to explore and tap into other areas of technology…creating not just consuming.” – Webmaker Institute attendee

“The LAMP activity, while drawn out, highlighted and clarified many guiding principles on the inclusion of technology moving forward.” – Connected Learning Educator attendee

“The Iridescent build dovetailed with my school’s push to the NGSS and our collaboration with Urban Advantage, a DOE science opportunity.” – Connected Learning Educator attendee

“I liked the Connected Learning Principles that were addressed. Most lesson plans contain some of these elements but not all precisely identified. I will use this list of principles when planning future lessons.” – Connected Learning Educator attendee


18. February 2015 by juliavallera
Categories: Education, Mozilla, Webmaker | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

2014: Year in Review

Thank you for such an incredible year!

Hive NYC HQ would like to extend deep gratitude to our amazing and quickly growing community. It is inspiring to look back and reflect on our time together over the past year. Let’s make sure to recognize and celebrate the great work we’ve done together in 2014.

Please take a moment to check out Hive NYC’s Year in Review and what changes we have in place for Hive NYC in 2015.


Links provided below
Jan: HiveOfficeHours
Mar: Hive+Digital Ready Badge Build
May: Affinity Groups
Jun: Hive Directory
Aug: Hive Community Badge
Sep: Hive NYC Orientation
Oct: Global Hive Meetup
Nov: Fundraising Challenge
Dec: Mozilla Flame phones

What lies ahead in 2015?

As we grow in size and have more impact on the educational landscape of NYC our goal is to remain open and inclusive. We look to our community to help identify new opportunities and practices that benefit the network and help us reach our goals. This survey is helping us plan for 2015, which will remain open until the end of February so please fill it out if you have not already.

Based on community feedback and a Mozilla Learning Network roadmap a few upcoming changes include:

  • Meet-Up frequency. In 2015 we are scheduling meetups every other month instead of every month. This will allow us more time to plan and prepare quality, in-person meetups.
  • New suggestion form! Would you like to host a meet-up, suggest an idea, present a project or share a tool with the community? If so, please suggest it on this form!
  • Webmaker tools. A few exciting changes coming this year including new tools, and updated curriculum and web literacy programs. More to come soon.

Mark your calendars! Hive NYC has prepared an extensive calendar that marks all upcoming public events. Please rsvp, make suggestions and keep in touch! Looking forward to another great year.

15. January 2015 by juliavallera
Categories: HiveBuzz, Other Stuff | Tags: , | Leave a comment

YALI: Washington Fellows reflect on Hive

This is a follow up to guest writer, David Gordon‘s post entitled Hive day for Washington Fellows – Young African Leaders

Recently, David Gordon was a guest author on the Hive NYC blog. He wrote about a recent Hive collaboration with Wagner College called Hive day for Washington Fellows – Young African Leaders. In the post, David reflected on the experience from Wagner’s perspective and described what the day was like. He touched on a couple points that individual Washington Fellows made regarding what they took away from the experience.

Since then we’ve received several more reflections, notes and personal stories written by the Washington Fellows themselves. We are very grateful for these reflections and believe they are valuable pieces of writing that everyone in the Hive community can benefit from reading. For that reason we have shared them here. Thank you to Edson, Marlon-Ralph, Samuel, Linda, Faith, Magdalene, Vickie and Roseline for sharing these thoughts with us.

Reflection on visit to New York Hall of Science and importance on my work Edson, Chinhoyi University of Technology

The visit to New York Hall of Science was very valuable and informative to me in five main dimensions. First, I managed to get an appreciation of the important role of collaboration among institutions as evidenced by the collective data collection in the environmental field between New York Hall of Science and Wagner College students. Second, I was able to get exposure to the modern field environmental testing kits which clearly showed the application of technology in a simplified way in environmental and scientific data collection. Third, I also benefited from the importance of enhancing creativity through children/young people exposure to science through design labs and exhibitions. Fourth, the explanation of how the New York of Science fits into Hive was very useful in understanding the overall function of Hive. Lastly, the networking opportunities around collaborative virtual learning were valuable.


New York Hall of Science provides good collaborative opportunities for Chinhoyi University of Technology in terms of virtual learning. Moreover, the possible options for accessing environmental testing kits for use by students at Chinhoyi University of Technology from the New York Hall of Science is very valuable in order to enhance the quality of teaching and research. Lastly, partnership in terms of collaborative grant application options is also important.

Reflections of the trip to NYsci – Marlon

The space rockets visible from a distance announce to anyone approaching that the New York Hall of Science is place where not even the sky is the limit to creativity. NYSci buzzes with innovation. The sight of children of genuinely intrigued and having fun whilst learning is a glimpse of heaven. Who wouldn’t want to work in such an environment where kids are allowed to be kids even whilst learning. Science carries the stereotype of being a serious subject shrouded in mystery said to be for only a gifted few. To the kids at NYSci, science was about explaining magic whilst also being as entertaining as magic! They have interactive displays that no kid or adult can resist. They employ stimulation of senses in the learning of science. The pirate ship decor reminds one of Neverland whilst the activities generate a never ending quest for science.


However being an African I was almost brought to tears. I began to mourn for the African child. The first time if had to learn about and use LED lights I was 18 in senior high school, but at NYSci I witnessed 5 year old kids designing and making miniature buildings with LED circuits. I thought how will the African child compete? But that’s is why I was there to learn. After learning I will go back home to teach and inspire. Then our African children too will discover the fun side of science as they design, make and play. Thank you for the trip

My visit at NY Hall of science on 9th July 10, 2014 – Linda

Among the visits which came with a lot of lessons is the visit to the NYC Hall of Science in Queens.


As Hellen Keller said the best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart. This is the feeling I got at the doorstep of NYsci. It is one of the best places where science is learned in a holistic and uninhibited manner. This is where talents are nurtured and children are cognitively inspired.


I was personally so moved inside being in this place. It gave me a learning opportunity and I feel energized working towards my goal. From NYsci I have learned about the Visual Lab, scientific models and value of each single second we are given.


Walking through different activities that takes place in the building gave me a chance of seeing how science models and ideas can be understood across the age of the child. I work with early childhood development and community education. I can see a chance of working with hives in the part of visual lab as a means of learning from the lab as well as enhancing of children’ cognitive development.

Reflection on Dreamyard – Samuel

DreamYard seemed organized and equipped. Its programs are diverse and provide some kind of attraction for youth. I learned about their arts, music and fashion programs, something I would like to replicate in Liberia.


Why Arts? We had the chance to speak with one of the kids, and their response was “they use arts to express themselves”. I would loved to see Liberian children going back to artistic expression that was taken away from us during the civil war.


Why Music? I love music and it is always amusing to see kids perform through music.

Why Fashion? It is creative, innovative and marketable.


All of the above could be turned into sustainable activities that can help my organization reach more children.

Mozilla & HIVE NYC – Using Innovative Technologies to promote Health – Faith

Hive NYC Learning Network (Hive NYC) is a city-wide laboratory where educators, technologists and mentors design innovative, connected educational experiences for youth. A few things stood out from the Mozilla presentation;

  • Tools that can help my team with development of website
  • The Mozfest event which was happening in Uganda – I Connected 2 people from my team to attend this event.
  • Opportunities for young developers to be linked to mentors and other resources.

My major interest is how we can use ICT to increase access to Health products and services. In many African Countries like Uganda, access to health services is still a challenge especially in rural areas due to lack of information, long distances to health centers and financial constraints thus preventing people from accessing health services.


Advancements in mobile telephone technology however has enabled the development of services like hotlines, SMS and Electronic vouches through which people can receive health information, counseling and referral services.


Many young people are taking advantage of this growth and are developing software and apps which have the potential to increase access to services. The major challenge these developers face is lack of resources and interested partners in their projects. Organizations like Mozilla can therefore play a big part in motivating them and also exposing them to new technologies and resources.


In line with that, I have the following questions for the Mozilla team;

  • How can Mozilla assist developers transform their ideas not products?
  • How can we partner with Mozilla?
  • How can we extend ICT services to rural youth?

Lower East side girls Club:

I visited The Lower Eastside Girls Club (LESGC) which provides innovative, community-based holistic programs and services for girls and young women.


I was impressed with the setup, the space and the variety of activities available for girls. The project has a lot to offer from dancing classes, cooking, Nutrition, college preparation among others.


One of the programs and strategic linkages that I learned about was the Tyra Banks –Tzone club which empowers girls with leadership lessons as well as Self Esteem classes. The linkage with the Clinton Foundation “No Ceiling Campaign” is also another strategic partnership for the club.


I learned that young women need supportive environments that allow them to explore different activities in order for them to reach their full potential.


The questions I have for the girls club are;

  • What is their source of funding?
  • What are some of the success stories of the girls who have gone through their programs
  • How do girls get to know about their services? We noticed that the facility had only a small number of girls in comparison to the services available.

Hive Experience – Magdalene

The beauty of Lower East Girls Club space will take your breath away as they calm and inspire you on the possibilities that can be achieved.


Visiting the girls clubs was one of the best things that happened to me as a Washington Fellow. The club offers girls an opportunity and beautiful space to learn skills they need in life as well as been exposed to different careers that enable them to choose what do in life. The club also works with artist like Tyra Banks to build girls confidence and self esteem by appreciating who they are. These programs are close to my heart as I work with girls back home among the Maasai community to expose them do different career fields as well as build their confidence and self esteem.


The girls in Club are from less fortunate backgrounds just like me and the girls I work with and this visit confirmed the fact that mentorship changes the future. One of the things I learned is the importance of using influential people in society to speak with girls will give them confidence and increase self esteem. In addition to that the involvement of girls in social and civic engagement is essential in helping them to stand up for themselves and their community.


The exposure of girls to different activities from growing vegetable to cannery arts and other arts provides girls with opportunity to pursue their passions and understand how systems run. The involvement of parents in supporting the program is vital as they get involved in their lives and support hem in reaching their dreams. The visit was an eye opener for me in learning how different sectors can be merge and how involvement is vital to change

Hive – Vickie

The Hive presentation on Wednesday was an eye opener for me, one of my best learning experiences. Starting out the day with Leah and Julia was the beginning of an awesome day.


The presentation on Mozilla’s work was fascinating. I was impressed by what they are able to achieve with young people through technology and innovation. This has led me to think of various ways I can incorporate ICT in my work with prison inmates in Kenya. Seeing a 10 year old girl being able to create a movie on her computer made me realize just how limited my view of ICT programs has been. I am now thinking of new ways to pursue avenues that incorporate new technology in my work.


Having the opportunity to visit one of Hive’s members, Lower East Girls Club was amazing! The center blew my mind by how they run their programs. Needless to say it challenged me to think bigger! I realize just how much a difference there is between girls in the United States from girls of the same generation in Kenya! Mainly because of the levels of exposure, and this will later on affect access to opportunities.


I was greatly inspired by the girls club and will be going back this week to learn more of how they run their programs and learn from them on ways to improve programs back in my country. I am grateful for this amazing experience.

Hive – Roseline

Lower Eeast Side Girls Club is a awesome and inspiring place for girls and every one that would like to get involved in the community. Many programs for girls: singing, recording, cooking, planting, sewing, …that’s just marvellous! you can enter without skills and come out with developed skills are are useful in the community. I think girls need much more attention and this experience has helped me to focus on what i want to do back home. My vision is to work with girls on different skills through informal education: games, sports, arts,…It would help to get the support of the girls’ club staff, so they can lead me on the right path based on their experiences and failures. With their help I can learn more how to shape my plan in a positive and successful way.







16. July 2014 by juliavallera
Categories: Education, Other Stuff | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Thats a wrap! PASE Explorers 2014

The PASE Explorers Program is a three-year program designed to provide young people with a S.A.F.E. (Sequenced, Active, Focused, and Explicit) afterschool experience by engaging youth in discovering the strengths of their own neighborhood and giving them the opportunity to explore and learn about the strengths of another neighborhood. The Explorers Program promotes neighborhood and community exploration, which helps children to see the larger context of the world in which they live. Through activities such as community mapping, interviewing, oral and written presentations, creating a website and reflection exercises, this program helps young people build skills essential for life-long success including critical thinking, technology, teamwork, creativity, and communication.  The PASE Explorers program will expand the reach and scope previously offered through PASE’s Brooklyn Explorers Program by supporting other boroughs, working with more afterschool programs and offering more capacity building support services. – Partnership for After School Education
NOTE: This is the third generation of this program. It went from “Nets Explorers(2012)” to “Brooklyn Explorers (2013)” and now “PASE Explorers (2014)”

Youth from New york Junior Tennis & Learning PS 37 present their website to Explorer participants at Queens PASE Explorer Expo, June 3 2014

Hive NYC just wrapped up another successful year working with Partnership for After School Education(PASE) on a project called PASE Explorers. The program ran from January to June and included a series of educational trainings, curriculum building, skill development and site visits to afterschool programs in NYC. As technical consultants on the project, Hive NYC was responsible for teaching youth and adults from 18 after school organizations how to build websites with a suite of web building tools called Webmaker. These tools are free and open source. They provide easily accessible lessons, resources and templates that teach fundamentals of building websites using programming languages like HTML, CSS and Javascript.

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 3.21.06 PM

Map of PASE Explorers sites 2014 – Created by Hive Contractor, Patrick Weaver

This year, 18 afterschool sites (which grew from 6 afterschool sites last year) were chosen from The Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. These sites applied to participate through PASE and received a suite of resources to implement the program. Hive provided several days of technical training with the Webmaker tools, 2 visits to each after school site (36 visits in total) and troubleshooting throughout the project. In preparation for the site visits, high school students from MOUSE Squad were trained in Webmaker and joined Hive as technical assistants during visits. This gave MOUSE Squad teens the opportunity to practice their HTML and CSS skills by teaching it to (slightly younger) PASE Explorer youth.

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 5.13.45 PM

Final website by Queens site Goodwill Industries, Beacon 109 (Queens Village)

Each after school program was responsible for producing one website using Webmaker Thimble that showcased the work they did during the Explorers program. Often, youth at each site broke up into teams that would tackle certain tasks. For example, one team would be responsible for building the website, another team would be responsible for media, another team would be responsible for Popcorn videos, another responsible for writing, etc. This method of breaking up tasks gave all youth participants a way to contribute.  Adults from each site provided guidance to assist their students as they created the websites.

This five month program culminated in an exposition for students to showcase their projects. At separate times, participants from Queens, the Bronx and Brooklyn came together to presented their work and share their experiences. Here is a short, cross-borough mash up of the presentations they gave.

This was made possible with the help of our fabulous assistants, Patrick Weaver and Rita Geladze. They brought skills, enthusiasm and innovation to make this program successful. Here they are at an amazing Maker Party called Maker Prom:


Rita Geladze and Patrick Weaver, PASE Explorers assistants 2014

For more information please see the detailed timeline of the program here. If you have further questions please contact Hive NYC @hivelearningnyc on twitter.


15. June 2014 by juliavallera
Categories: Education, HiveBuzz, Other Stuff, Webmaker | Leave a comment

State Of The Hive Meet-Up: March 20, 2014

Surveying The Landscape



  • Who: Hosted by Hive HQ. Attended by Hive NYC member organizations.
  • What: Semi-annual Mandatory Hive meet-up for 2014
  • Where: Centre for Social Innovation NYC
  • When: Thursday March 20, 2014 10:00 am – 1:00 PM EST
  • Why: To practice network thinking, consider what Hive might focus on moving forward and identify mechanisms for collective impact.

Here is the agenda breakdown:

    1. Practicing Network Thinking (40 min.):
      We spent the first part of the meeting surveying the Hive landscape by identifying factors, trends and uncertainties that characterize our context as a network and create our shared goals. Leah Gillam (Director of Hive NYC) presented the slide deck below to begin, then we worked as a group to populate the landscape:


    1. Individual Organization Landscape mapping (15 min.):

      Next, Hive member organization representatives used a similar framework to map their organizational landscapes in order to identify a realistic sense of where we might go next together.


    1. Break-out Groups (30 min.):

      Member representatives from 49 Hive organizations broke into small focus groups to share their Individual Organization Landscape maps and discuss ways they overlap. Each group generated a list of big issues they care about within the context of Hive Learning Network.
      Groups wrote the issues onto post-it notes according to three categories illustrated by color:

      • Areas of collective interest/What we care about (Yellow post-it)
      • Ideas/solutions (Pink post-it)
      • Specific problems to solve (Green post-it)

    1. Connecting the dots: (20 min.):
      Everyone came back together and placed all their post-it notes into one area. They were given three stickers in the shape of red dots. They used these stickers to vote on the most relevant issues/problems/ideas. This is how member representatives indicated the areas they found most important to their organization within the context of their work with Hive.

    1. Affinity Mapping (30 min.):
      Once everyone had placed their organizations votes we had a group discussion about the areas that received the most votes. Chris Lawrence (Sr. Director Mozilla Mentor Community) led member reps in a lively discussion about how/why they voted. People verbalized their ideas and rationales supporting their votes. From that discussion we were able to create an interesting list of small working groups that shared affinity around one of the items most voted for. Here are some examples of what people are most interested in working on:

      • Funding and resource development (described on one popular post-it as the “Funding Industrial Complex”)
      • Youth pathways, impact on making them more overt, transparent and well-walked – aggregate opportunities
      • Sharing of resources, research, evalution instruments, practices and results across similar orgs
      • Reconcile social-emotional learning with the common core.
      • Spread of programs that together advocate for social change that positively impacts youth
      • Philanthropic equity and leverage dollars
      • Group of those not interested in common core, sharing alternatives
      • Social-emotional learning
      • Industry/corporate sponsors


    1. Wrap up (20 min.):

      We opened the floor for the last part of the meet up. Hive member representatives shared feedback, questions and comments. We shared examples of ways to move forward with areas for desired impact, specific problems to solve, ideas/solutions and the affinity groups. One of these examples was led by Juan Rubio (Associate Director of Online Leadership Program at Global Kids).He shared an idea about Youth Meet-ups among Hive organizations. He explained how this idea would provide opportunity for exchange, collaboration, creation and innovation for youth. Having reocurring Hive meet-ups for young people will allow them to come together in an informal space to get to know each other, learn what they’re working on, what organizations they’re affiliated with, to inspire collaborations and exchanges in a way that mirrors the experiences of Hive’s adult member reps.



    Sign up to join an affinity group or cohort to read, build or design around the issues and ideas that are important to you. Please sign up here:

What came out of this meet-up?

After the meet up was over, Hive HQ took a lot of time to reflect on the ideas and topics we discussed. There were many areas where ideas overlapped and many areas that evolved through conversation. To summarize these things we put together the following visualizations. They each correlate to various parts of the meet up and are listed as so.

    • Practical Network Thinking: Surveying the Hive landscape by identifying factors, trends and uncertainties that characterize our context as a network with shared goals. These ideas came out of the first part of the meet-up when we worked as a group to populate the Hive Landscape.

Connecting The Dots:

For a detailed view of images above please see them

« Hive NYC
| Hive Research Lab »

30. March 2014 by juliavallera
Categories: Events, HiveBuzz, Recaps | Leave a comment

Hive February meet up recap: February 20, 2014

Tapping the Hive Mind to Level up Project Ideas



  • Who: Hosted by Hive Research Lab and Hive HQ. Attended by Hive NYC members.
  • What: An opportunity for Hive members to help each other level up project ideas
  • Where: MAGNET, 2 MetroTech Center, NYU Poly campus in Brooklyn
  • When: Wednesday February 26, 2014 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM EST
  • Why: Help Hive members prepare for an upcoming RFP (Request For Proposal)

What was this meet up all about?

The Hive Digital Media Learning Fund’s “grants support innovative connected learning projects” – but how do you identify what’s innovative? How do you do this within the context of your project and organization?

This meetup was designed to help Hive NYC members explore the big ideas driving their projects and get feedback from their fellow Hive members. In the first part of the meet-up, we engaged in activities to level up thinking about how we talk about our projects. In the second part, we engaged in a round robin where we “tap the Hive mind” to kick project ideas up a notch through collective feedback.

Hivers brought well-formed or new projects and ideas with them. They used this meet-up to advance their work, fine tune their thinking and work together on the impact their projects have on the community. Hive Research Lab included a special share-out on the dimensions of innovations.

Check out slides from the presentation:

Here is the agenda breakdown:

  1. Welcome (10 min.): Frank Mignorelli welcomed us to NYU Poly and briefly introduced us to the NYU Media and games network.
  2. Icebreaker (30 min.): Rafi Santo and Leah Gilliam led us through a 30 minute icebreaker based on the question of “What is innovation?”. We broke into pairs and discussed innovation cards (see below). Rafi contextualized the activity using the following 7 Dimensions of Innovations (innovations being the thing, not the process)
    • Value Added – is it better than what came before it?
    • Degree – how much better? radical or incremental improvement?
    • Novelty – is it new or distinctive?
    • Form – is it an idea? technology? pedagogical routine? program model?
    • Complexity – does it require a lot of background knowledge? is it complex for some, not others?
    • Origins-was it internally conceived or externally adopted, or a combination? implications for attribution/intellectual property?
    • Spreadability – is it contingent on other factors, is it compatible with other things?

  3. Activity, Part 1 (20 min.): With the new RFP on the horizon, we revisited the Rose, Bud, Thorn design challenge for members to share their latest project description, and work on articulating it as an innovation. The assignment was to describe a new or existing project in the context of impact, what question or problem it’s solving (can be for the field, for youth, for an individual organization, etc.) and what the form of the innovation is. Everyone wrote about their project on a large piece of poster sized paper, then hung it on the wall.
  4. Activity, Part 2 (20 min.): Everyone walked around the room with yellow, pink and green post-it notes in hand. They used the post-it notes to comment on each others ideas. Each color post-it note symbolized what type of comment they were leaving.
    • Rose – something you liked (Pink post-it note)
    • Bud – something that has potential (Green post-it note)
    • Thorn – critiques, things that might pose challenges, questions you have (Blue or Yellow post-it note)
  5. Activity, Part 3 (20 min.): Five people were asked to volunteer their project and lead a longer discussion around it. Everyone else chose one of these five projects to focus on for the duration of the meet-up. Breaking into smaller focus groups allowed members more time to ask questions and give feedback to each other.
  6. Wrap up (20 min.): Leah and Rafi concluded the meet up with a share out. The five break out groups summarized what they discussed and shared it with the group. Feedback was provided about the session itself. There was a consensus that having time to discuss project ideas in smaller break out groups was very helpful and it gave members a chance to get to know each other better. With this feedback Hive HQ will plan to incorporate more opportunity for members in this way.

« Hive NYC
Hive Research Lab »

24. February 2014 by juliavallera
Categories: HiveBuzz, Recaps, Technology | Leave a comment

The Art of Effective Partnerships: January 23, 2014

A Workshop led by Groundswell for Hive NYC Members

On Thursday January 23 2014 Groundswell led a three-hour workshop that provided Hive NYC members with an opportunity to network in advance of and in preparation for the next Hive Digital Media Learning Fund’s Request for Proposals. It was aimed at program directors, senior management or their designates.

A guiding question at the workshop prompted participants to identify key considerations and best practices in forming, developing and evaluating collaborative projects, knowing that Hive NYC is all about collaboration and collective impact.

The workshop prompted participants to identify key considerations and best practices in forming, developing and evaluating collaborative projects. The workshop offered opportunities to learn, discuss and implement best practices in establishing effective partnerships. It was developed in light of the Hive NYC’s focus on collaboration and collective impact and based on Groundswell’s 15 years of experience.

The work we did together culminated in several collectively produced visual artifacts. This is a walkthrough of the workshop and outcomes that resulted.

1. Icebreaker: Collaboration nightmare brain dump

We started the workshop by agreeing that collaboration can be a difficult and frustrating experience at times. The icebreaker gave everyone a moment to describe one negative collaborative experience on a piece of paper and place it into a bowl. We then discussed each of the examples by presenting questions to the group such as: What made the collaboration difficult? How could the collaboration have gone more smoothly? When preparing for the collaboration, what could stakeholders plan differently?

NOTE: During the group discussion a facilitator categorized examples into a list that we referenced throughout the workshop.

Categories included:


  • Different ideas about artistic processes
  • Big Fish/Little Fish
  • Last minute requests/Culture clash
  • Unclear Expectations
  • Control/Marginalization of one stakeholder
  • Compromise between collaborators
  • Marriage (Culture of learning and trust)
  • Verbalize issues
  • Collaboration vs. partnership
  • Point Person v. Agency buy in
  • Assumptions
  • Inflexibility/Fear
  • Time/Lack of time
  • Scope too big/realistic
  • 90% work/30% pay
  • Differences in values
  • Roles/Responsibility/Equity
  • Lack in technical capability
  • Trust/Secrecy


2. Stakeholders and their Goals: Are they the same, different but compatible, or mutually exclusive?

The icebreaker led us into a discussion about stakeholders, who they might be and how to identify them. Groundswell used themselves and their process as examples. The Executive Director, Amy Sananman showed a short video about their organization. After the video we identified who the stakeholders in the video were and why they were invested in the project.

Stakeholders for Groundswell Mural project and why:

  • Youth: Gain expereince to better themselves in some way
  • Property owner: Feels empowered to be involved in community
  • Funder: Name recognition and contribution credit
  • Artist: Opportunity to mentor and create work
  • Volunteers: Opportunity to mentor and work with artist
  • Local Politicians: Gain visibility for supporting project
  • Sponsors: Opportunity to donate products for opening event

3. Collective Impact: What is it, why does it foster collaboration and how does it help institutionalize goals in our practice?

Groundwell introduced the idea of Collective Impact, which was initiated by the Stanford Social Innovation Review and is defined as “the commitment of a group of actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem, using a structured form of collaboration”(Wikipedia). We analyzed Groundswell stakeholders according to the Continuum of Impact shown above, then talked about broader ways they may apply to Hive NYC members. We collectively created a list of goals that organizations could strive for that would help align them have a stronger collective impact.

Ideas for ways to institutionalize goals in a collaboration:


  • Collaborate on drafing MOU Contracts
  • Co-write project proposal – research together
  • Keep written minutes from each meeting
  • Debrief regularly about how goals are strengthening
  • Work openly/transparent and align values
  • Maintain regular check-ins
  • Identify roles & responsibility
  • Identify budget early
  • List Goals & methods for assessment strategy
  • Choose partners w/ compatible missions, personality, tech cap


4. Best Practices Test Drive: Potential partners give it a try

Everyone in the workshop broke up into pairs to talk about potential partnerships. Some of the pairs were representing organizations that do indeed plan on collaborating on an upcoming project, so this part of the workshop was a great opportunity for them to plan. For context and to remind everyone about Collective Impact, prompts were given.

1. What is Collective Impact Mission/Vision?

2. What are each Partner’s Goals

3. Where are they the same? / Where are they comparable?

4. Anticipate potential “nightmares”

5. Identify 3 practices you could Utilize in partnership

People from the orgs below paired up for a test drive:


  • Hive HQ
  • Laundromat Project
  • Connecting Youth
  • Brooklyn Public Library
  • BCCP
  • Reel Works
  • Beam Center
  • The Point
  • Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls
  • GAP
  • Hive DML Fund
  • Eyebeam
  • Girls Write Now
  • Radio Rookies
  • Groundswell


5. Visualize your Collaboration

We concluded with an art-making activity that visualized some of the concepts we spent the workshop discussing. A guest artist working with Groundswell led the activity. We paired off to create images out of text, shapes, light and texture. Mylar, tape, scissors, paper and glue were provided. The collaged images were then projected on an old overhead projector. This was the final activity for the day, but had a lasting effect on the group. Ending with such a unique and hands-on experience seemed to make everything that we learned that much more memorable. The skills, techniques, reflections and methods we explored have (and will continue to) benefit us. A huge thanks to Groudswell and all the participants for making the workshop so successful.

More workshop visuals here

30. January 2014 by juliavallera
Categories: HiveBuzz, Recaps | Leave a comment

Hive January Meet Up: January 18, 2014

25. January 2014 by juliavallera
Categories: Education, Events, HiveBuzz, Recaps | Leave a comment

My “Hour of Code” recap

Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 3.45.20 PM

Last week, I had the pleasure of participating in/facilitating several events to celebrate the Nationally celebrated  Computer Science Education Week. I centered my attention on topics and events related to’s first-ever “Hour of Code”. So, from Monday, Dec. 9 through Friday Dec. 13 I joined thousands of contributors working to “demystify code and show that anyone can learn the basics.”

Among many of the participating organizations was Mozilla Webmaker who have a continuously growing set of free resources for learning and teaching code. Some of the events I took part in incorporated these resources and/or many others. Below is a recap of my Hour of Code experiences, which include links to many free/cheap resources made available throughout the week.

Here is my week in a nutshell:

  1. Game Jam @ The Iridescent StudioScreen Shot 2013-12-17 at 3.50.53 PM
    Iridescent Learning
    kicked off the week with this awesome free event that brought together several youth, parents and educators. It was a NY Hive sponsored event and was a highly collaborative effort between multiple Hive organizations, including Iridescent, MOUSE, GlobalKids, Museum of the Moving Image, and Eyebeam. Kids and parents from throughout the NYC area, but especially from the represented organizations, were welcome to attend.Each participating organization ran a station that participants could visit throughout the day. These stations included many tools and strategies such as Scratch, The Fluid Ether, Frogger, Flora, Hackable fashion and Tic-Tac-To Remix.
    Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 4.25.39 PM
    The diversity of skills and interests kept the youth fully engaged. I would even say they were excited and eager to participate in all the activities. Although I could not stay for the whole day, I understand they had a show and tell at the end, where all the kids presented what they worked on to their parents, which I think is a great way to showcase all those new skills and experiences.
  2. STEM Fair, hosted by PASE & Barnard College Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 3.56.09 PM
    On Wednesday, PASE hosted a free resource fair for adults interested in STEM education. Many organizations were represented at the fair including American Museum of Natural History, NYC Parks and Rec, Google, The After School Corporation and The Intrepid. I was there on behalf of Hive NYC and Mozilla Webmaker. The combination of these resources was great to be sharing within this community. Many of the visitors were eager to get involved with Hive NYC and inclined to bring Webmaker tools to their organizations. I demoed the tools to nearly everyone, which gave them an idea of all the free teaching resources and templates available to them through Webmaker.
    Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 4.52.24 PMThe table next to me was occupied by a new resource available through Google Creative Labs called Coder For Rasberry Pi. As a new tool, they are still growing, but offer a great platform to learn HTML, CSS and Javascript basics. This was a beneficial event with really great representation from organizations all over NYC. As a mid week event, it was a perfect way to discuss, demo and share tools in celebration of Hour of Code.
  3. Gina Tesoriero’s Computer Science Club Maker Party. Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 3.59.50 PM
    Gina is a Special Education and Computer Science teacher at MS 104 (Simon Baruch Middle School) in NYC. This fall she got permission to start the very first Computer Science club at her school, which is called Code Scouts. This summer she interned with Hive NYC and learned many new tools she is now applying in her classroom. There is an incredible interest from the students at her school to participate in this club. She organized events all week, invited guest facilitators and even ran out space for all the kids that wanted to participate! For this specific event, she and I facilitated 2 separate webmaker workshops that were each 45 minutes long. Gina focused on a webmaker tool called Thimble and I focused on a Webmaker tool called X-Ray Goggles. An organization called Hopscotch (a Hive NYC member) also came to demo a playful Ipad app that teaches coding skills to youth.  In total  we (4 adult facilitators and 2 adult assistants) spend about 2 hours using these tools to teach code to about 30 students. It was a great afternoon that ended with a lot of really fun new ideas and web remixies. Here are few (NOTE: these are unfinished):
  4. Mozilla Webmaker RemixScreen Shot 2013-12-17 at 5.28.59 PM
    Throughout the week I was trying to learn new web skills myself. These new Webmaker tutorials created by the Mozilla Webmaker Community strengthen skills in Javascript, HTML5 and CSS. Although I did not have enough time to do all of them, I did find time to remix this Holiday Card.

Hour of Code was a huge success for me. It created a reason to focus on gaining skills, expanding teaching methods and learning strategies related to code. I look forward to the next one and hope that this celebration becomes more of a regular occurrence.





17. December 2013 by juliavallera
Categories: Education, Events, HiveBuzz, Webmaker | Leave a comment

How did I not know about this sooner?


“How did I not know about this sooner?” is  one of the first questions I got at last weekends Mashed Media Conference.  Jonathan, a high school senior from Philidelphia, PA (where the conference was held) was quick to ask this while using the X-ray Goggles for the first time. He was one of many local teens participating in the one day, media focused conference. The tool he was using comes from Webmaker, which is a set of free, online tools developed at Mozilla to enable skill development in HTML, CSS, Javascript, remixing, video editing and teaching the web. In addition to exploring the awesome schedule Mashed Media had to offer, I was demoing these tools and mentoring visitors on how to use, teach and share them.

I didn’t really have an answer to the question that Jonathan asked me, but it did prompt an interesting conversation and even better, a full exploration into learning the tools. After practicing some HTML on X-ray goggles and using it to remix his high school website, he tried another Webmaker tool called Thimble. Thimble offers many “Starter-Makes” to new users, which are hackable templates built by the Webmaker community. Choosing to hack one of these starter makes challenged Jonathan to make an HTML and CSS based website of his own. His enthusiasm was great and he quickly called over several friends to check out this “baller” (slang for something well respected I think?) website.


Like many free online tools (Scratch, Dash, Google sites, Twine, Code Academy, etc.), it takes a lot to get them into the hands of grade school students and teachers. Events and conferences of this nature seem to be a great solution. During the event I spoke with a variety of interested professionals from schools, clubs and city government. All of them were new to these tools and very excited about their potential.


I would like extend a huge thank you to Philly Youth Media Collaborative for putting this together and bringing so many interesting people together. The combination of youth performances, gaming, crafts, digital tools, media workshops and youth organized activities was outstanding. I witnessed a level of excitement about learning that does not happen on a daily basis for many youth I know. I am looking forward to the next one!


12. November 2013 by juliavallera
Categories: Events, HiveBuzz, Mozilla, Webmaker | Leave a comment

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