Hive Chicago


Our Mission – To transform the learning landscape by empowering youth and educators to enact Connected Learning through a diverse network of civic and cultural institutions.

Our Vision – Chicago is a connected community where all learning counts and where the unbounded interests of youth are activated in a network of opportunities to grow and learn.


Over the last five years, Hive Chicago has emerged as a thriving network of 84 local member organizations across the city of Chicago – joined by dozens of local, national and international collaborating partners – to motivate, inspire and support Connected Learning experiences for thousands of young learners.

January 2014 Destination: Chicago Maker Party, Center for College Access and Success Makey-Makey Station

  • For middle and high school-aged youth, Hive Chicago creates opportunities that enable learning through hands-on making and exploration with peers and mentors, and that develop digital and web literacy skills for future success.
  • For informal educators, including, makers, artists, teachers, Hive Chicago offers the opportunity to inspire and be inspired through shared commitment and participation in building innovative and transformative educational experiences for youth.
  • For partners, Hive Chicago is an engine/incubator for creativity and innovation in learning. As a distributed learning lab, Hive Chicago provides opportunities to mentor young makers and inventors, playtest and provide feedback for new prototypes, develop new approaches and tools with learning innovators.

Hive Chicago is comprised of 76 youth-development focused organizations, such as museums, libraries, advocacy groups, higher education institutions, after-school programs and tech start-ups. Together, members, partners and allies create and connect equitable and accessible opportunities for young people to explore their interests and gain skills that prepare them for lifelong learning and success.

Guided by the design values of Connected Learning, Hive Chicago programs: engage youth around their personal interests, peer culture and civic participation; focus on production-centered, hands-on making and skill building; harness digital media, technology and the web to broaden and diversify learning opportunities; offer meaningful and supportive interactions with peers and mentors; and link equitable and accessible learning experiences with schools and communities.

The ongoing commitment and contributions of Hive Chicago members enable the network to pursue its mission and impact the lives of young people. Educators and institutions are empowered to innovate around the ideas, practices, and tools associated with Connected Learning through funded collaborations, meet-ups, design charrettes, events and online/offline communities of practice. By modeling networked behavior and open participation, educators in Hive Chicago learn with and from one another, organizing to build new approaches that transform the city’s learning ecology and empower youth in discovering their agency and pursuing their passions.

Hive Chicago programs primarily target Chicago public school youth (middle and high school-aged). These programs help young people develop competencies in the following areas:

    • Advocacy/Social Justice
    • College and Career Readiness
    • Critical Thinking and Collaboration
    • Digital/Web Literacy
    • Media Production
    • Games, Systems and Design Thinking
    • Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math (STEAM)
    • Youth Development and Leadership

Hive Chicago was founded through The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media & Learning initiative to fuel collaborations between civic and cultural organizations and to build innovative educational practices. Network members have access to funding to support their work through The Chicago Hive Fund for Connected Learning, a collaborative donor fund in The Chicago Community Trust. Mozilla became the steward of Hive Chicago in 2013.