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.

Oct 18 2016

Learning & Community at DML2016!


This year 16 Hive Chicago members attended the at the University of California Irvine. DML is a conference that focuses on fostering interdisciplinary and participatory dialog and linking theory, empirical study, policy, and practice. This year’s gathering focused on highlighting and celebrating work that activates and supports media being produced by communities of color,  LGBT and undocumented youth and their families. Additionally, Game Design & Game-Based Thinking was an equally popular topic. Presenters shared new research and best-practices about the benefits of gaming communities, their culture, and game-based curriculum design.

Through our line of work, it is necessary that we be intentional about the voices we engage and amplify- who tells the story is as important as the story being told. Much of the research that was presented this year validates informal learning practices and cultures; hearing about this work was a great reminder that we are all ‘fighting a good fight’ and there is much work still left to be done.



If you can please take a moment to go through their archive, the includes links to essays, media and contact info on presenters. You can also watch the on DML’s site.
A few of our colleagues have shared their thoughts on the conference below:


Vanessa Sanchez/ Yollocalli Arts Reach

DML this year was surprisingly refreshing and inspirational because of a few really great discussions I was able to attend. I say that because  generally at conferences I feel like the information provided is not relevant to the communities we serve or is redundant. The “Information, Imagination, and Action: Entry points into Participatory Politics” was extremely helpful when thinking about the more creative methods instructors are providing to youth to feel engaged with their community and to have the research to back up what they are doing.

The Digital Dreamers discussion with and was my favorite part of DML. To hear from voices that are not usually heard from at conferences, was inspirational and a strong message that other conferences need to be more aware, in a genuine and “woke” way, of social issues affecting our communities.


Meghan Hausman/ NEIU Center for College Access & Success

As a newcomer to DML, I didn’t really know what I was getting into, I was blown away! My favorite session was definitely the Making with Music workshop where I got to learn about creating a podcast as well as other music production techniques applicable in a makerspace. It was almost entirely hands-on and incredibly approachable.



Nathalie Rayter/ Adler Planetarium

This was my fourth time at DML Conference, and it remains one of the best things I get to do every year. As in past years, one of the greatest benefits has been connecting with practitioners from across the country (in fact, at my very first session this year, I met someone from the Bay Area who will almost certainly help the Adler build out our science communication pathway). My favorite session was the keynote by Jose Antonio Vargas, which was provocative, energizing, and emotional — exactly what I want out of DML.

However, I most enjoyed getting to engage in critical dialogues around equity and access with my Chicago colleagues. Despite our proximity to each other, we don’t always get the space or time for this kind of discourse, and it’s invigorating to get to learn from each other in this setting.


Jacklyn Carmichael/Project Exploration

My favorite presentation at DML was the conversation with Jose Antonio Vargas. He brought up so many great points that people need to consider and remember when discussing one of the biggest issues that face our country: immigration.  So many of us work with students who are undocumented and it’s great to see an effort being made to make those students’ lives easier and allow them to feel included.


David Bild/Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

This was my first time attending DML and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect (I attended bits and pieces of in Chicago, but that seems like a really long time ago and DML, Connected Learning, and Hive were all very new to me).

I really enjoyed the full day workshop on Wednesday, “”  (plus).  It was incredibly useful to have a chance to work alongside CL researchers and fellow out-of-school time educators from across the country. It helped me look at my programs through a new lens and start to develop a “theory of change”.

A second highlight was the opportunity on the Hive Mapping Cooperative. It was a bit daunting to cover everything about a 1.5yr project in 30 minute talk and have people leave with actionable tools.  One of my favorite parts was being able to share how much the project owes to the Hive Chicago community, including colleagues not directly involved in the project that provided feedback, ideas, and connections from the project’s initial inception to the present.


We are so grateful Hive members were able to attend this year’s conference and look forward to continuing to provide exciting learning opportunities to the network.


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