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Changing NYC's Learning Landscape

Technology and social media are replacing the telephone, office, and library, and are changing the classroom. The digital age may still confound those born without cell phones in their hands and computers in their totes, but technology is the principle way today’s young people communicate, play, and interact with the world.


Fall 2015 Press Release>>

Spring 2015 Press Release>>

Fall 2014 Press Release>>

Spring 2014 Press Release>>

Portfolio of Hive Projects.>>
Please note many, but not all, of these projects are funded by the Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in The Trust.

Digital Badges: What They Are and Why Funders Should Pay Attention>>

Teens participating in the New York Public Library's NYC Haunts program create a game to find clues to a missing girl who worked at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in 1911.

Teens designed and fabricated their own carbon monoxide and ambient sound sensors as part of DreamYard's Bronx Citizen Advocate Project.

Kids use social media for gaming, video production, research, and, of course, socializing. While some schools are slowly adopting new technologies, other informal learning institutions, including museums and libraries, can help kids find and follow their interests more deeply. These community and cultural groups can connect kids to collections, new information, peers, mentors, and new experiences using digital media and mobile technology in fun ways.

About The Fund

The Hive Digital Media Learning Fund was started by the MacArthur Foundation and The New York Community Trust in 2011 so that, together, kids, teachers, scientists, and artists can design new and exciting ways to learn, create, and participate beyond the classroom. 

In addition to MacArthur and The Trust, donors include the Altman Foundation; Renate, Hans, and Maria Hofmann Trust; Mozilla Foundation; Stavros Niarchos Foundation; and David Rockefeller Fund.

The Fund is currently overseen by an advisory committee consisting of representatives from major funders and the commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs. The Hive NYC Network's director serves ex-officio

We encourage the participation of other grantmakers, and each funder will be represented on the advisory committee. 

All grantees are members of Hive NYC Learning Network and will share resources.

Fall 2015 Grants

Read our press release>>

  • With a grant of $100,000, Carnegie Hall will help teens across the City use digital media to compose, produce, and share music.
  • With $50,000, Code/Interactive will teach young people in the South Bronx how to design and promote digital and web-based projects that address critical social issues.
  • A grant of $73,000 will let Grand Street Settlement adapt “gadgITERATION”—a program created by Parsons The New School for Design that gets youth to make creative projects using electronic circuitry, recycled toys, and other materials—and implement it at seven sites in Brooklyn and lower Manhattan.
  • With $100,000, Iridescent will start an after-school program that gets teens and their families to tackle real-world challenges in engineering and science.  
  • The Knowledge House is using $20,000 to take South Bronx middle school students on trips to media and technology organizations across the City; engage them in technology-driven projects; and introduce them to professionals working in film, computer science, and other fields.
  • A $20,000 grant to the Lower Eastside Girls Club will get teen girls coding and sharing their work on GitHub, a social network for software developers.  
  • With a grant of $100,000, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation will bring two projects—Eyebeam’s “Rap Research Lab,” which engages participants in research on rap and hip-hop; and Global Action Project’s “Media History Timeline,” which gets teens to explore the relationship between media, social justice, and public policy—to 10 City parks.
  • New York Public Radio is using $100,000 to train educators from the Police Athletic League and Global Kids to teach young people about journalism and multi-media storytelling.
  • The Partnership for After School Education is using a grant of $17,500 to help Hive NYC members prepare to spread and scale their digital media projects, and serve more local teens and educators.
  • With $25,000, the Police Athletic League will replicate the New York Hall of Science’s “Collect, Construct, Change” program at two of its Bronx facilities, allowing more teens to use tablets and smartphones to gather and study data about urban pollution.  
  • With a grant of $19,900, Wagner College will train Staten Island teachers and teachers-in-training to help special needs youth create podcasts and digital animations.
  • A $250,000 grant will allow the YMCA of Greater New York to develop a digital app for the “Y-MVP Teen Fitness Challenge,” which gets teens to exercise by using digital badges to recognize and reward the completion of weekly fitness missions, like biking, swimming, or using free weights.

Spring 2015

Read the press release>>

With a grant of $83,900, The After-School Corporation will train educators to use “Media Breaker,” a media literacy teaching tool created by the LAMP.

Beam Center, Inc. is using $50,000 to train teachers at six Brooklyn middle and high schools to incorporate digital media and students’ interests into lesson plans.

Eyebeam’s “Playable Fashion” project involves young people in designing computer games with wearable game controllers; and participants in New York Hall of Science’s “Collect, Construct, Change” workshops use mobile phones to gather and study data about urban pollution. With a grant of $100,000, BELL Foundation will bring both programs to two South Bronx summer programs for teens.

With $50,000, Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum will encourage teens to earn digital badges. An example: polishing and documenting a portfolio of art projects. They can use these badges when applying to undergraduate programs affiliated with the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design.

With $39,000, Eyebeam will work with Rap Research Lab to engage high school students in researching hip-hop and rap, and using digital media to create visual maps of the data they collect.

Global Kids is using $48,100 to hold events featuring hands-on, youth-led digital media learning activities designed by members of Hive NYC. The events will take place in computer resource centers located in five City parks.   

The LAMP will use $9,300 to develop a series of “Media Breaker” workshops for teens at local branches of the YMCA. Participants will create original videos that analyze, critique, and respond to what they see on television.

The New York Hall of Science’s “Girls First Digital Studio” teaches girls and young women about computing and digital design. With a grant of $80,300, it will train staff from the City Department of Parks and Recreation, Coder Dojo, Girl Scout Council of Greater New York, and Sports and Arts in Schools to run the program at their own sites, substantially increasing its reach and impact.  

With a grant of $100,000, Reel Works will refine and expand a system of digital badges that document and recognize youth achievement in media production.

With $50,000, the Wildlife Conservation Society will engage youth in environmentally-conscious urban planning using “Visionmaker/NYC,” a web-based educational tool.

Fall 2014

Read press release>>

With $39,000, Bank Street College of Education is working with The LAMP to develop online workshops that help teachers throughout the City integrate digital media and students’ interests into their lesson plans.  

Center for Urban Pedagogy is using $10,000 to design an interactive application that educators can use to engage teens in civic and social justice issues, and train them to conduct interviews with policymakers, community members, and peers.   

With $10,000, teens at City Lore will create comics augmented with digital graphics, text, sound, and video. They will work with international multimedia publisher Rattapallax.

Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum will use $10,000 to create a system of digital badges—in design or architecture software proficiency, for example—that high school students can use when applying to schools affiliated with the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design.

Participants in Eyebeam’s “Playable Fashion” program combine fashion, technology, coding, and game design skills to create video games with wearable controllers. A grant of $40,000 will help it expand the program to more after school programs.

Groundswell is using $10,000 to help teens design a mobile game based on murals across the City. They also will organize a series of events where other kids can play, test, and suggest changes to the game.  

Iridescent’s “Curiosity Machine” website features hands-on activities for kids to tackle real-world challenges in engineering and science. More than 20,000 teachers and students have used the program to date. A $40,000 grant will help align the lessons to national educational standards, making it easier for middle school teachers to use them in the classroom.

With a grant of $40,000, The LAMP is developing a plan to promote and distribute “Media Breaker” a video editing and media literacy teaching tool. By reaching more educators, this program will allow more students to think critically about what they see on television and online.

MOUSE is using $10,000 to document and evaluate professional development workshops that help students explore and learn web literacy skills, and will align existing activities with the Common Core learning standards to increase their impact and utility for educators.

Middle school students in the New York Hall of Science’s “Collect, Construct, Change” program use mobile phones to gather and study data about urban pollution. With a $40,000 grant, the Hall will develop a plan to spread the program to other nonprofits, especially those helping low-income City teens.

With a $40,000 grant, New York Public Radio will create a plan to provide schools and after-school programs with a series of short animated videos that teach teens about journalism and multimedia storytelling.

Partnership for After School Education is using a grant of $15,000 to help nonprofit organizations in Hive NYC evaluate and understand how to share their digital media and technology programs to reach more schools, after-school programs, and young people.

With $40,000, THE POINT will work with the Knowledge House to train young “Tech Fellows” that will run focus groups with teens in the Bronx and upper Manhattan. They also will develop digital resources for other nonprofits to run 10-week courses that equip more young people with technology and business skills.

Rubin Museum of Art will use $10,000 to develop a summer program with the Museum of Mathematics, in which teens will learn about Himalayan art and build math and coding skills by producing three-dimensional mandalas.

With a grant of $10,000, Tribeca Film Institute will refine the curriculum for its filmmaking and multimedia production program—which currently serves girls and young women at Riker’s Island—so that it can reach more disadvantaged and court-involved young people across the country.

$10,000 will help students at Wagner College work with Tech Kids Unlimited to teach young people with disabilities or special needs how to build websites, mobile games, and other digital media projects.

The YMCA of Greater New York’s “Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity Program,” or Y-MVP, encourages teens to exercise with digital badges that recognize and reward the completion of weekly “fitness missions.” With a grant of $40,000, the Y will revise curriculum and training materials and plan expansion of the program to all 22 of its local branches. 

Spring 2014

Read press release about these grants>>

  • With a $35,000 grant to Beam Center, high school students from the Afro-Caribbean community in Flatbush, Brooklyn will make and play steel drums; then develop digital sensors and circuits on their instruments to manipulate and remix their music.  Partner: Brooklyn College Community Partnership
  • $37,500 to Bronx Museum of the Arts will fuel a new afterschool program, Mapping the Bronx, in which teens interview Bronx residents and then produce multimedia works on the history and culture of their borough. Partner: Center for Urban Pedagogy
  • Brooklyn College Community Partnership is using a $25,000 grant to design a new Art Lab center where youth, adults, and families can experiment and invent using digital circuitry, 3-D printing, and other specialized tools. Partners: MOUSE and New York Hall of Science
  • With a $50,000 grant, Carnegie Hall will connect teaching artists with teens referred by the City Department of Probation and Administration of Children’s Services to create, remix, and share music. Partner: World-Up
  • KickFlip, a program created by City Lore with previous Hive funding, gets skateboarders to design and build digital maps of the city’s best skate parks, make videos about skating culture, and create games using gyroscopes, Bluetooth, and wired-up skateboards. A new $100,000 grant will help them scale the program for adoption by other youth groups. Partner: Harold Hunter Foundation
  • DreamYard, the largest provider of arts education in the Bronx, is receiving a $150,000 grant to train teachers and students how to boost their college applications with digital learning portfolios containing videos, blogs, websites, and evidence of learning in math, history, science, art, and digital media. Partner: Parsons The New School for Design
  • Basketball-loving teens in the Bronx will learn technical and analytical skills by creating websites, videos, and blogs based on their interest in the sport. Funded by a $14,000 grant, 20 teens in Exposure Camp’s Athletechs program will share their projects at the Bronx Tech Meetup and with other youth organizations across the City. Partner: City Lore
  • Global Kids’ program, HungerCraft, features an educational video game that merges Minecraft with Hunger Games, to challenge students to think about inequality and oppression. With a $50,000 grant, it will run additional workshops and develop curriculum for HungerCraft with a plan for how to distribute it nationally. Partners: Bronx Museum, Brooklyn Public Library, and the Harry Potter Alliance
  • With a $52,000 grant, Iridescent will bring other Hive grantees together to investigate and playtest digital game design activities for students. It will host Game Jam events and create open-source game design curriculum. Partners: Brooklyn College Community Partnership, Eyebeam, Exposure Camp, Global Kids, MOUSE, and Museum of the Moving Image
  • The Lower Eastside Girls Club in Manhattan is using $50,000 for Making Waves: The Science of Sound, a program that makes use of its audio lab, planetarium, and rock camp in the group’s new 50,000 sq ft. clubhouse. Girls will explore capturing, creating, mixing, and distorting sound. Partner: Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls
  • With $39,200, New York City Writing Project will bring students and teachers together to improve their digital skills through writing blogs, producing TV shows for the BronxNET youth channel, creating videos with Mozilla's Popcorn Maker, and designing and earning digital badges. Partner: BronxNET Television
  • Students will learn to make professional quality photographs and online portfolios using iPhones as part of a $10,000 grant to NYC SALT. The group will also create an iPhonography curriculum for high school and college students. Partners: Common Sense Media and the School for Visual Arts
  • With a $50,000 grant, Reel Works will design, create, and test a set of youth digital media badges based on skills, such as fluency in programming languages or video editing, that align with Common Core learning standards. These badges are credentials that can then be presented to schools and employers. Partner: Urban Arts Partnership

Fall 2013 Grants

$98,000 to Eyebeam Atelier (nine months), for Playable Fashion in which teens combine technology, gaming and fashion to design their own video games with clothing and accessories that serve as game controllers. (Citywide) Partners: Brooklyn Public Library, New York Hall of Science, New York Public Library, and DreamYard.

$75,000 to Global Action Project (one year), will help youth build an interactive timeline that includes their personal reflections about media history. (Citywide) Partners: CoderDoJo, Center for Urban Ecology, HabitatMap, and Parsons the New School for Design.

$150,000 to Global Kids (two years), to expand NYC Haunts, a history game that teens design and play using mobile technology to hunt ghosts that lurk in their neighborhoods. (Citywide) Partners: Brooklyn, Queens, and New York Public Libraries, and the Brooklyn Museum.

$75,000 to Learning About Multimedia Project/The LAMP (one year), will bring teens and senior citizens together to critique and “remix” portrayals of both age groups in media messages, and then create a multimedia ageism awareness campaign. (Citywide) Partners: Older Adults Technology Services and WNET.

$25,000 to MOUSE (10 months), to develop original content including learning resources and recommendations to help educators teach students how to read, write, and participate on the web. (Citywide) Partners: Mozilla Foundation and New York City Department of Education.

$50,000 to New York Hall of Science (one year), for the “Girls First Digital Studio” to teach girls from low-income families how to code and encourage them to explore computer science. (Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens) Partners: CoderDoJo, Lower Eastside Girls Club, and Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls.

$150,000 to Parsons The New School for Design (two years), to expand on gadgITERATION, a program that teaches computer engineering and design-thinking as students refurbish and add electronic components to found objects like teddy bears. (Citywide) Partners: Brooklyn College Community Partnership, MOUSE, and Wagner College.

$75,000 to The Wildlife Conservation Society (10 months), to engage teens in creative activism by using digital tools to explore and create solutions around urban ecology and climate change. (Citywide) Partner: Eyebeam Atelier.

$150,000 to YMCA of Greater New York (one year), to expand a program at YMCA branches that uses digital media and games to teach teens about health and fitness, encourages exercise, and recognizes achievements with badges. (Citywide) Partners: Global Kids, Institute of Play, and Iridescent Learning.

Hive Grants Archive>>

Watch the video below that explores the Iridescent/NY Hall of Science Hive project based on Google App Inventor>>


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