In the U.S., the Internet currently contributes to roughly 6 percent of our GDP, and the demand for the future work force increasingly involves technology. As technology is changing our lives, the need for future generations to have digital skills and literacies is imperative. The Hive Chicago Fund for Connected Learning at The Chicago Community Trust (Fund) recognizes this need and is proud to champion digital equity in Chicago in partnership with Mozilla Hive Chicago Learning Network. In addition to advocating, the Fund is pleased to announce $346,200 in support for 8 projects that begin to equip teens and educators with tools and confidence to be critical consumers and active creators who utilize digital media, technology, or the Internet to better their lives and their communities lives.
Hive Chicago Fund grantees lead the way in digital making
Although there are growing technology demands in the workforce and education, some see the next generation of youth as already digitally savvy. It’s true that young people are growing up with more technology than previous generations; however, they are often engaging with technology as passive consumers rather than active producers. We all know the difference between taking a selfie and utilizing 3D modeling to create a product. Here are examples of grant recipients who are leading the way in using technology for interest-driven learning:
Re[CREATE]Ed Spaces 2.0
Throughout the year, Sweet Water Foundation (SWF) and Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) will offer an eight-month program in-person and online learning experience that teaches Chicago teens about design, aquaponics, and construction program through onsite programming at SWF and online through CAF’s DiscoverDesign.org. Sixty youth will engage in learning about the design process and construct objects such as park benches, aquaponics systems, etc. These structures will be used to beautify community areas (mainly on the south and west sides of Chicago) where students reside. Participants will use the following technology during programming: PowerPoint, Google Sketchup, Pinterest, and Google Docs to capture, document and share their work along the way. As a final showcase, participants will present their work to architects and community members in the area.
Maker Mob 2.0
Northeastern’s Center for College Access and Success (CCAS), Adler Planetarium, Agape Werks, Chicago Public Library’s YOUmedia, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Project Exploration, Scientist for Tomorrow (SfT), and Yollocalli Arts Reach are partnering to bring the Maker movement (i.e. learning by making) and STEM activities into traditionally under-represented neighborhoods through community-focused events such as farmers markets and festivals. The proposed program is estimated to run weekly for four weeks and engage approximately 25 teens and 450 families. At the events, participants will engage in STEM activities such as building stomp rockets to learn about aerodynamics and pressure as well as creating water bottle green houses to teach about ecology. Maker Mob partners intentionally use low-tech activities, so that families can recreate the activities at home regardless of their Internet access.
These are just a few of many exciting projects that are engaging young people in Chicago through digital media and technology. Click here to view a full list of grant recipients.
Interested in learning more? We invite you to the Funded Project Showcase on April 20 at the Hive Chicago Learning Network Meetup.