Chicago is a leader in this nation. We have something for everyone. You like culture? The arts? How about natural beauty, water sports, citizen science, theater, or architecture? It is a world-class city; and alongside the landmark institutions, many small, lively, cutting edge organizations create the cultural landscape of this city.
But we also have world-class problems that are too complex for anyone to solve on their own. We have made national and worldwide headlines for violence, for unemployment, for public schooling issues. Tragedy is commonplace for many of our youth. Families struggle to make ends meet. And worse of all, our kids’ schools are being closed. Schools that have remained open struggle to meet the needs of their students with less money and often less staff.
Teachers struggle to meet ever-increasing challenges. City-wide problems trickle into the school. Some of them flood. Violence. Poverty. Yet, anyone who works in the schools knows that there are amazing teachers doing incredible work there. Many teachers are constantly looking for ways to innovate learning in their classrooms and many of them are already enacting connected learning, in one way or another often with limited support.
The Opportunity in Out-of-School Time
While teachers work to better connect students to their passions, anyone who has worked with Hive Chicago knows that there are incredible educational opportunities for youth all over this city. Every Hive Chicago organization is doing something interesting and challenging with youth: making art, making music, making videos, making news, making fashion, making people think, making things happen, making conversations, making experiments, making new ideas grow.
These out-of-school programs offers youth amazing learning opportunities, but only reach a few youth within a large population of students in Chicago. How do we close the equity gap in the education of our youth? How can we bring world-class connected learning experiences to more of our youth?
What if…the learning experiences described above could easily fit into a classroom? The Hive-School Connection Moonshot group is working on making connections between Hive Chicago and schools by building a connection for teachers. We want teachers to know about what is going on and support them so that they can actively participate in the connected learning movement and bring connected learning to all our youth.
We’ve started by gathering some data about our organizations, trying to figure out what kind of connections with teachers already exist and how can we maximize those connections. We are also trying to figure out where we are missing opportunities to connect with teachers.
The next big challenge we will undertake is creating an on-ramp for teachers at CCOL and other pop-up learning events, often known as maker parties. This strategy will involve inviting teachers to take something tangible from a pop-up to their classroom. If teachers come to these events where they can see and participate in hands-on, problem-solving activities and feel the excitement of hundreds of youth making and learning, won’t they want more? Wouldn’t you?
We think so. So this is our first big project – sending out a beautiful invitation to the next Destination: Chicago event to all of our teachers. Come join the party. We’re serving hearty slices of connected learning, Chicago style. Click here to join us!