By Juan Rubio and Zac Rudge
Hive Youth Meet-ups are 3-hour events that include a workshop facilitated by a Hive member organization, three youth presentations, and time for socializing, both amongst youth and organizational representatives. Below are reflections from two members of the planning team around the inspiration, design, and development of the event model. Juan Rubio is Associate Director of the Global Kids Online Leadership Program. Zac Rudge is Citywide Outreach and RecYouth Coordinator at the Parks and Recreation Computer Resource Center (CRC) program.
The Hive Youth Meet-up idea started with a conversation I had with Dixie Ching about youth pathways. She was interviewing me for her research on the topic and I told her that for me the Hive Learning Network represented an opportunity to learn from other professionals like me, form collaborations with others working on the same field and same goals. I mentioned to her that it would be great if we could create the same experience for young people. She liked the idea and encouraged me to develop it. She included me in a design charrette where some ideas were presented to Hive members and I explained the concept and intention behind the Hive Youth Meet-ups. At that design charrette, the idea of forming a meet-up for Hive Youth gained interest from other organizations and a working group was formed to develop the project.
I had seen some efforts to create youth groups at the Hive before, but I thought they were very adult-centered and sounded as if the kids had to make a big commitment to be part of them. My idea was to create a space where they would feel at the center of the event: an experience produced by them and where they could showcase their involvement in Hive programs. I was also interested in creating a space where young people could form bonds with each other and explore possible collaborations.
A key component of the Hive Youth Meet-up model was the design process that took place prior to its implementation. At the design charrette, I was able to form a group of Hive professionals who were interested in developing and implementing the idea. It was then that Erica Kermani from Eyebeam, Chris Amos from Carnegie Hall, Zac Rudge from CRC Parks and Rec, and Brian Cohen from Beam Center formed the core group to plan and design the first HYM, with assistance from Hive Research Lab. Thinking back to this point in time, I think the design charrette helped me recruit members from Hive organizations that were supportive of the idea of youth meet-ups; I also now had a group of people committed to providing input and helping me develop out the model. I was able to secure some funds through Mozilla and we started planning and implementing the meet-ups.
Another key component of the meet-ups was the assistance and guidance provided by Rafi Santo and Dixie Ching on the design and evaluation of the program. Their input was extremely helpful as we began to develop the program because we were being intentional about the goals we had in mind and the strategies we would implement to achieve those goals. You can read their excellent write up of their process here.
After meeting a few times and deciding on the model to use, we had our first meet-up at Beam Center in Brooklyn on a Sunday. We were expecting to have a good number of kids but the attendance was low. However, there were 3 youth presentations: one from a film program at the Brooklyn Public Library, one from Global Kids’s Playing for Keeps, a game design citywide program, and one from Eyebeam’s Playable Fashion. I would say that having that first meet-up was also crucial for moving forward and having a better model in place. We met again to reflect on the first meet-up and plan for the next one. Based on the observations from that first meet-up, we decided to have a workshop that was more interactive, and would be held on a weekday in order to increase attendance, and to have young people be the emcees.
Last summer I sat down at a table with a group of people that I had never met. Representing the Parks and Recreation Computer Resource Centers, I was at a design ‘charrette’ (the meaning of which I was also slightly unsure) to talk about youth trajectories, something that was familiar to me, having worked in the youth development space in a number of different time zones. I was also hoping to build relationships with organizations that could support the CRC to creatively meet the needs of young teens that we worked with. I remember Dixie Ching, who was leading the process, asking if I had brought a computer (no), and generously providing a machine for me to tap away on. I had attended a few Hive meet-ups, and was starting to recognize some familiar faces, but this was my first time getting down to the nitty gritty—actually talking and working through new ideas with people.
As the workshop got going, I remember Juan Rubio introducing the idea of a Hive for teens. Though I was still working out what the Hive for adults was all about, a teen version seemed like a very simple, clear, good idea. Thinking about the needs of teens that the CRC works with, and coming from many years working for a youth-led organization, I was immediately struck by the value of having greater opportunities for Hive-affiliated teens to get together, share and test ideas, learn new things, and to begin the process of developing pathways into the Hive itself through leadership roles in the ‘youth version’ of the Hive. That day it seemed like we had planned it all out (we hadn’t), but from there Juan, with the support of Mozilla and the Hive organizations who participated in the discussion that day, managed to secure just enough funding and organizational social capital to test the idea out.
By organizational social capital I mean the people and organizations who agreed to jump in, without any significant financial input, to road-test the idea: Erica Kermani at Eyebeam, Chris Amos at Carnegie Hall, Brian Cohen at Beam Center, Juan Rubio at Global Kids, and Dixie Ching and Rafi Santo from the Hive Research Lab (HRL). Rafi and Dixie deserve a special mention here—their support has been invaluable, particularly in relation to outcome measurement, but also simply by virtue of their energy and support for the project—shout out to Rafi and Dixie!
We officially started the planning process in September, with the idea of holding three events to test out the model and we are now two Hive Youth Meet-ups in (we found a name, though it may change!), and the momentum is building. Generally speaking, our goals were to help teens build relationships, pick up new skills, and learn about resources and opportunities in the Hive. In a way, we hope Hive educators will find HYMs to be a useful mechanism to get the word out about programs.In the spirit of prototyping and iteration (more new terms I was to become comfortable with through this process), we have designed a strong model that aims to, in simple terms, be a version of the Hive for teens. However, as well as achieving what we set out to achieve, there were a few unexpected outcomes (good ones).
Our first HYM, in November at Beam Center, was a chance to test out the initial idea. There were a few bumps (we held it on a Sunday, which everyone after the fact agreed was a bad idea), and some of us completely missed on our commitment to get participants to the event (yes, that was me). However, the event supported our concept—the fundamentals were right; we just needed to tweak it a little. Participants were led through an introductory workshop using Python and Raspberry Pi, which gave a great view into the world of CPUs and code. We had some great presentations from teens, and strong question and answer sessions.
Even though we all considered it a good start, a few tweaks were needed. We found ourselves stumbling over exactly how to explain what “The Hive” was, and aimed to find ways to streamline our messaging. We added in a goal, aiming to specifically target teens 14-19 who didn’t know anything about Hive, and we added a long term goal of creating a core group of HYM youth who would, over time and through experience, collaborate and form social ties with each other, and act as Hive Ambassadors as they supported the implementation of the HYM initiative. On this point, we aimed to bring in a stronger “youth voice” at the next meet-up, both in the planning and implementation of the HYM. Out of this reflection we also ended up identifying the key roles that could make a HYM a success. These included an adult and a youth emcee, a workshop facilitator (this could be co-facilitated by adults and teens initially, with teens stepping into the role as their experience progressed), educator/observers from partner organizations, a Hive brokering coordinator, an event manager, and youth documenters (i.e., photographers).
By the time the second HYM came around in late January we felt like we had a good plan in place, with all bases covered, but you really never know in these situations. However, from the moment that Radio Rookies kicked off the event with an excellent podcasting workshop, asking teens to talk to each other about their first crush, everything went perfectly. There was great teen engagement in the workshops and the presentations, with lots of conversations and back and forth between the teens who attended. The Kickflip Program, Brooklyn College Arts Lab, and young CRC filmmaker Tay Pugh gave excellent, well-received presentations. Though there is obviously room to improve, this second HYM was again a strong proof of concept, building effectively on the first event.
Outside of the programmatic value of the HYM, for me this has been a demonstration in practice of the value of Hive more broadly. Those people that I didn’t know when I sat down at the workshop last summer, I now consider my colleagues. As well as having observed how the Hive can add value to programming for teens across NYC, I have come to know what the Hive is myself, through the experience of participating, by doing. Maybe the Hive isn’t something you can explain in a sound bite? Just like learning to design a game, or making a video, maybe the Hive is an experience?
After two successful implementations of the model, one at Beam Center and another at the Hamilton Fish Recreation Center, we are ready to have a third one at Global Kids. We have seen the idea realized and made changes along the way. From idea, to design, to implementation, we have been testing a model that is shaping up to be successful. We hope that creating a space for young people to come together and recognize the opportunities available to them in the rich environment that is the Hive Learning Network continues to develop and becomes an on going event.
For another perspective by Chanell Hasty, read this.
After three amazing years our time at MS 391, the Angelo Patri Middle school has come to an end. We wanted to celebrate with a look back to some of the highlights over the years including; the inception of NYC Haunts, creating anti-bullying comics, developing amazing games and most of all - having fun while learning. Check out the slideshow and celebrate our incredible students from the Bronx!
By Juan Rubio
This past Saturday May 19, Global Kids in collaboration with the Brooklyn Public Library and The Hive Learning Network NYC conducted a game jam based on the popular game Minecraft and the equally popular books The Hunger Games.
We wanted to show a short video of the game as it happened in Minecraft and some pictures. We will publish a more complete video in the near future with all the participants, including interviews with the youth and partners in the program. We wanted, however, to acknowledge the success of the program soon after it happened. Click read more to learn more about what took place during the day.
Gathered at the Main Branch in Grand Army Plaza, teens from two internship programs from the library participated in the day long game jam. The program was developed with the assistance fromMinecraft Edu who created a world in Minecraft to represent two sectors as depicted in the books: The Capitol and District 12. After the youth learned in a quick tutorial the basics of crafting, they began playing the HungerCraft game. In the game, two groups were divided and given the roles of being in The Capitol or District 12. Having unequal amount of resources, but needing from each other to survive, the groups engaged in a game that involved trading, strategy and crafting skills. This mechanic provided the group to later have a lengthy discussion about inequalities and imbalance of resource in societies past and present. The youth discussed The American Independence War, The American Civil War, and the French Revolution. They also spoke about current events in which power struggle has been present such as the Arab Spring and conflicts in Africa. The youth were engaged, enthusiastic and had lots of fun in the program.
By Barry Joseph
This past week has been a veritable badge-a-palooza. The only reason we had four separate badge meetings was because the fifth was postponed for a week when an earlier meeting ran over. Phew!
Global Kids' Youth Badge Advisory
Last Thursday, Daria and I were so excited to launch the first meeting of the GK youth advisory. This group will ensure that GK youth leaders are playing a key and substantive role in the development of the GK badging system.
After learning about digital badging systems and what GK has planned, they were ready to get down to work. We started with four dozen or so Global Kids Letters of Recommendations (with names changed to protect the innocent). Following the model we had developed earlier in the month, the youth color labeled the letters to identify whenever a GK staff member mentioned any of the following categories of learning: hard skills, soft skills, knowledge, participation in a GK program, and roles. When the youth finish this part of the task, they will be entered in a spreadsheet where, together, we will analyze the results and see if they suggest any GK-wide badges that should be incorporated into the badging system.
It was hard work, and tedious at times, but they appreciated what they were learning and said they were motivated to keep at it when we meet next week.
Hive Chicago Badging Meeting
Yesterday, on Monday, Joliz and I traveled to Chicago for our first meeting with the Hive Chicago Learning Network to explore the development of a community-wide badging system. There were people there from most of the member organizations who expressed interest in getting involved:
Agape Werks, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Architecture Foundation, ChicagoQuest Schools, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Common Sense Media, Free Spirit Media, Museum of Science and Industry, Now Is The Time, Office of STEM Education Partnerships, Northwestern Univ., Project Exploration, Shedd Aquarium, and the YMCA Black and Latino Achievers Program
They were superengaged and asked deep, provocative questions throughout. It became clear early on that, as we had all suspected, Hive Chicago is in a very different position than Hive NYC, when it comes to badges. Hive Chicago is a younger, smaller Network, so there are less organizations interested in a badging system. However, as this means they are small enough where "everyone knows your name," this potentially supports a closer and deeper level of collaboration. It might be a gross generalization, and might not hold up over time, but Hive NYC members have focused more on how each organization can use the collective badging system while Hive Chicago are considering flipping the frame, in which badges are not designed around organizations and their programs but, rather, around competencies shared across the Network. For example, rather than different members building their own badges with similar content, in essence rebuilding the wheel, they might collaborate to build one badge around that same content and share accreditation responsibilities. It is an interesting shift and we'll watch how this plays out.
Hive Chicago also differs from New York in another other key way; while there is more previous and current experience with badging systems in NYC (e.g. two of the HASTAC competition winners were from Hive NYC, and none in Hive Chicago), those involved in Chicago are invested in two separate badging technical solutions, both currently under development. How can these two (can we say?) legacy systems interact with the new model - will they collaborate, or must some give way to make room for the others. Again, only time will tell.
The meeting left with perhaps more questions asked than answered (a sign for us of a successful meeting), and a number of clear next steps about how we can approach them together.
Hive NYC Badging Meeting
Last Friday, Global Kids hosted the second meeting for the new Hive NYC Badging System. Around twenty members of our local learning network attended the meeting.
After introducing ourselves (and sharing something we've each learned in recent weeks that we thought worthy of a badge), we had presentations from three Hive members talking about their upcoming plans for badging systems.
The YMCA went first. They talked about their plans to introduce a badging system to encourage and certify healthy physical activities.
The American Museum of American Museum went next, presenting the presentation they gave in the recent HASTAC competition.
Finally, Global Kids released the plans for its badging structure, based on four types of achievement badges and one role badge (see below).
After the presentations, John Walber from Learning Times gave a demonstration of the BadgeStack system, which will be the technical core of the Hive NYC Badging System. Many asked to see more details about the back-end of the system, so a Webinar will be held, open to all within Hive NYC, to give a tour of the backend later in May.
Global Kids' B-FAT (Badge Fast Acting Team)
B-FAT is the small group of senior staff who meet every two weeks to review progress and make key decisions in our GK badge development process. We meet last Thursday and approved what we have been informally calling, for lack of a better term, a GK Badge Design Schemata, which offers a visualization to explain the way badges will be development for the GK badging system. It was well received. It raised questions right away about how this process will formally establish standards across the organization. For example, if you run a program, and define badges youth can earn through the program, you now better make sure your lesson plans over the year actually create opportunities for youth to learn the skills related to those badges.
We designed a system that structures the system into four achievement badges, which may be combined to achieve a role badge. The four achievement badges, as mentioned above, are hard skills, soft skills, knowledge, and participation in a GK program or the badging system. So, for example, youth in a GK gaming program might receive a badge for game design (hard skill), collaboration (soft skill), game design terminology (knowledge), and Being There (they have been to at least 90% of the meetings); these badges, combined with a variety of others, unlocks the mission for the Game Designer role badge. Some of the badges offers their own power-ups, some about the badging system (certifying other Game Designers) and about GK (getting to attend conferences).
We built out the model for three different programs (around three different role badges) and then developed a visualization to show how these collections become different paths, or lens, directing youth through the full collection of GK badge offerings.
This has all come together rather quickly, but the work being done with the GK youth, with the letters of recommendation, and with the other GK advisory, all lends credibility to this approach. Next steps are to work with particular GK programs to develop their own role badges and continue to develop GK-wide badges.
By Joliz Cedeño
The MacArthur Foundation highlighted the badge system work Global Kids is developing in their recent Spotlight post. Read the excerpt below. For the full article you can visit Spotlight.
Along the lines of badge exploration, Global Kids is developing a new badge system for New York City and Chicago members of the Hive Learning Network, a group of civic and cultural institutions that encourage young people to explore their interests in virtual and physical spaces.
By Barry Joseph
This past friday, Global Kids was thrilled to host the first meeting for the new Hive NYC Badging System. Two dozen members of our local learning network had expressed interest in learning more about the system, amongst which 22 participants came from sixteen of the organizations:
American Museum of Natural History, Bank Street College, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Public Library, Common Sense Media, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, DCTV, DreamYard, Girls Write Now, Global Kids, MOUSE, Museum of Modern Art, Museum of the Moving Image, Museum for African Art, New York Hall of Science, New York Public Library, Parsons The New School for Design, People's Production House, The Lamp, THE POINT CDC, Wildlife Conservation Society, WNYC's Radio Rookies, WorldUP, and YMCA of Greater New York.
In short, we talked about the current interest behind “badging systems” as a form of alternative assessment and youth engagement, explored the nature of our current grant from the MacArthur Foundation, and then discussed next steps and the various roles each organization could play. Many left with a great sense of potential and excitement for the impact this will have on youth across our city.
We started the meeting, and introduced badges, by doing a go-around asking everyone to do one of the following: “Please share something you learned growing up that has since helped you in your life but you didn’t know you possessed at the time” “Please share something you knew you possessed but had no way to demonstrate to those in ‘authority.’” Everyone had something to share, and it would have been easy to go another round. We then asked everyone to imagine how their lives might have been different if they had fully appreciated their hidden abilities, or been able to share those abilities with people who counted.
That, in many ways, is what we hope badging systems can offer to youth served by our programs: a deeper understanding of their abilities and a new way to leverage that knowledge to reach for their dreams.
I was also struck by the graph we shared at the start of the meeting. In response to the question, “How would you describe your organization's current relationship with digital badging systems?”, we received the following responses from the participating organizations:
We were pleased that the concept had attracted such a wide diversity of experience with badging systems. But what surprised us the most is that experience did not necessarily match with expertise. With most any other topic - say Social Media, or Global Literacy - those who are more engaged with the topic tend to know more, separating the “experts” from the “newbies.” That was not always the case at the meeting.
One organization that had previously offered digital badges minimized their past experience, unable to rely on it to guide them towards something more robust.
One organization that had never run one but had proposed one to the HASTAC competition still had no confidence that what they had described was even valid (as other than a rejection, they had received no other feedback).
One organization who was interested in learning how to develop their own badges for the first time had come to the meeting to learn best practices. Without minimizing the expertise that certainly filled the room, across the board if was hard not to respond, “There are no best practices, as of yet. Whether you’ve previously built a badging system, described one in a proposal, or are totally new to the process, we all get to work together to develop best practices.” And that level of collaboration, working towards the high bar set by the HASTAC competition within which many Hive members so recently competed, is one of the key things this new grant will allow us to support. How exciting to get to work together with such creative individuals and powerful organizations to develop and implement such nascent practices.
After the meeting, we spoke with one academic about the research opportunities available within this emerging badging system and the practices which support and surround it. How are we forming our badge design principles? How can that process, led by practitioners, be informed by evidence-based research produced in Universities? How do we use badges to build a learning pathway for youth to navigate learning throughout our city? How will the system developed in New York differ from the one being developed for Hive Chicago? There is so much for us all to learn.
Below you will find some of the material produced for or about the meeting and its next steps. (Some are already available and some will be added when they become available.)
By Barry Joseph
We recently produced this one-page recent history of badges for learning, to support our efforts to develop a badging system for the Hive Learning Network. We thought it might be of interest to others as well.
In 2007, Eva Baker, the President of AERA, gave the Presidential Address at their annual conference, entitled “The End(s) of Testing.” After exploring a wide range of problems with the current use of assessments within schools, she focused on her key recommendation: the development of Merit badge-like “Qualifications” that certify accomplishments, not through standardized tests, but as “an integrated experience with performance requirements.” Such a system would apply to learning both in and out of school and support youth to develop and pursue passionate interests. Baker envisioned youth assembling their Qualifications to show to their families, to colleges, to employers, and to themselves. Ultimately, Baker believed “the path of Qualifications shifts attention from schoolwork to usable and compelling skills, from school life to real life.
In came the alternative assessment and games & learning academics, like James Paul Gee, who combined the two. They recognized that Baker’s “qualifications” closely resembled, using the parlance of the digital age, the “achievements” within digital games. They were inspired to transfer these powerful in-game learning tools into the real world. They combined “achievements” with “qualifications” to create “digital badging systems.”
Work in this area remained largely under the radar until 2011, until the release of the White Paper, “An Open Badge System Framework,” authored by Peer 2 Peer University and The Mozilla Foundation. The paper provided some much needed definitions and an overall framework. Badges are explained as “a symbol or indicator of an accomplishment, skill, quality or interest,” and the paper provides as examples uses by the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, PADI diving instruction, and the more recently popular geo-locative games, like Foursquare.
The report asserts that badges “have been successfully used to set goals, motivate behaviors,represent achievements and communicate success in many contexts” and proposes that when learning happens across various contexts and experiences, “badges can have a significant impact, and can be used to motivate learning, signify community and signal achievement.” The report also makes clear that the value of badges comes less from its visual representation than from the context around how and why it was conferred. The stronger the connection between the two, the more effective the badging system will be. “Badges are conversation starters,” the report explains, “and the information linked to or 'behind' each badge serves as justification and even validation of the badge.” For example, a badge should include information about how it was earned, who issued it, the date of issue, and, ideally, a link back to some form of artifact relating to the work behind the badge.
In September, 2011, the HASTAC launched the Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition, funded by the MacArthur Foundation, to fund $2m worth of new badging systems. The rest is history.
This morning the Hive NYC Network came to Global Kids Headquarters for the launch of the public development of the Hive NYC Badge System. Check out the photos below!
GK Digital Learning and Leadership Blog
Check back in to find out what projects our DLL team is working on with Global Kids students!
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