Since January 1, 2018, stewardship of Hive Chicago has transitioned from Mozilla to a new local non-profit, the Chicago Learning Exchange (CLX). Please visit us at chicagolx/joinus to learn how you and your organization can join our growing community. The Hive is still the Hive.

Sep 11 2017

Innovation Begins with Capturing a Glimmer of the Future


At the Hive Chicago Fund for Connected Learning (Hive) at The Chicago Community Trust, we use a human-centered design approach to grantmaking; our Glimmer grant in particular is designed to support ideation and cultivation of collaboration across projects in Chicago. Nourishing programs in the connected learning and digital media landscape begins by encouraging innovation and risk taking. Our Glimmer grant category supports organizations in that process — reinforcing the idea of intelligent failure, failure that helps the Hive Chicago Learning Network experiment, iterate, and ultimately strengthen and refine connected learning strategies and digital media integration for Chicago’s youth.

The Hive is not alone in its thinking, Edmondson explains, “Exceptional organizations are those that go beyond detecting and analyzing failures and try to generate intelligent ones for the express purpose of learning and innovating. It’s not that managers in these organizations enjoy failure. But they recognize it as a necessary byproduct of experimentation. They also realize that they don’t have to do dramatic experiments with large budgets. Often a small pilot, a dry run of a new technique, or a simulation will suffice.”

Our Glimmer grant recipients are visionaries ready to transform ideas into reality. Jim Kropp describes Glimmer grants as a “beautiful genius great big idea”… “it is the idea of seeding small amounts of money to potentially big ideas and seeing what happens. It creates an opportunity for lots of different and disparaging ideas to be tested in a very low risk environment.”

Check out the 2017 Round Two Glimmer grant recipients below:

Y-SciCom: New Pathways in Science Communication

Y-SciCom project was born out of passion to answer the questions, “How can youth-led programs foster and create a scientifically literate society? How can the Hive Network better amplify its voice and programming?” The Y-SciCom journey begins with providing professional development to the Hive Chicago Learning Network (Hive Network). The vision is to brainstorm ways to expand the voice of the Hive Network using youth-led programs and leverage opportunities to promote content on public television.

High Flying Connections IRL, A Club Approach to Building Community in Real Life

Another Glimmer grant lead recipient, Jackie Moore, founder of Agape Werks is also deeply committed to youth-led inquiry. She has known for a long-time that students learn best when they learn what they want to learn. Jackie’s expertise in robotics and subsequent founding of Agape Werks stemmed from the idea that she wanted to bring more educational opportunities into her community and also give people from communities across Chicago an opportunity to connect over building and flying drones. Jackie’s future is that robotics clubs will form around Chicago and come together once a year for a city-wide event. She strongly believes anyone (adults too) can learn how to build and fly drones. The Glimmer grant is giving Jackie and Agape Werks the opportunity to invite community partners to join her on the journey.

Youth Writing for Civic Engagement

UIC College of Education and partners are intentionally inviting youth to help design a civic engagement and media production program. Project partners are thrilled to have the opportunity to turn their idea into reality. It was not a linear process though…partners explain “we’re recovering rejects,” reflecting on the importance of not giving up on an idea just because it didn’t get funding during one particular funding cycle, “ask for feedback and reapply in another round.”

Transforming an International Experience into a Platform for Students’ Voice via Digital Media

Global Glimpse (GG) and Shine On, Chicago! (SOC) are blending their expertise to amplify student voice. Global Glimpse exposes students to international travel and is looking forward to partnering with Shine On, Chicago! who will bring their expertise in digital media. Jamelyn Lederhouse from Global Glimpse explains, “We are excited to work with Shine On, Chicago! to enhance the opportunities available to our students. We are excited to see how students drive the creativity of the project, and we are excited to learn how we can come alongside and behind so they can share and promote their stories.”

Visioning a Neighborhood-Level STEM Learning Center in the Austin Community

Natasha Smith-Walker and Jameela Jafri explain Glimmer grant funding has helped support the intentionality of their work. At the core of their work is an asset based philosophy that mobilizes community leaders. This fall, Project Exploration (PE) leads the Chicago STEM Pathways Cooperative (STEM Co-Op), a network of STEM organizations that aim to convene local stakeholders to envision a STEM Learning Center that brings Hive programs into Austin and bridges in-and-out-of-school learning. The organizations plan to work together to build and support equitable and accessible pathways into science, technology, engineering and mathematics for Chicago’s young people from cradle to career in partnership with Thrive Chicago and Chicago City of Learning/Digital Youth Network (CCOL/DYN).

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 September 21 at the Hive Chicago Learning Network Meetup.

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