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Funding for a Changing 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.

Read the most recent press release>>

Read a 10/11 interview with leaders of the project>>
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. 

In 2013, the Fund made grants totaling approximately $1.8 millions to museums, library, and a host of other community groups. All grantees are members of Hive NYC Learning Network and will share resources.

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.


Spring 2013 Grants

$25,000 to Bank Street College of Education (one year), to provide workshops that help Hive NYC members respond to youth interests and develop projects that link school with after-school programs that teach kids new skills using digital media. Partners: The LAMP and Hive NYC.

$17,914 to Brooklyn Public Library (six months), for Brooklyn Haunts, a workshop series and location-based online game that teaches kids about the history of their neighborhoods. Partner: Global Kids

$101,000 to City Lore (one year), to develop and evaluate KickFlip 2.0, a skateboard location-based smartphone game with teens and game designers. Partners: Parsons The New School for Design, DCTV, and Harold Hunter Foundation

$50,000 to DreamYard Project (eight months), to develop a pre-college digital portfolio of students’ work samples and assignments. Partner: Parsons The New School for Design

$50,000 to Institute of Play (six months), to develop Gamekit, an online game-design network. Partner: Museum of the Moving Image

$43,785 to Iridescent (six months), to create the Gravity Game, an online physics game for teens. Partner: Robot Super Brain Designers

$50,000 to Make the Road New York (six months), to start Changemaker, an online youth activist program that deals with local social issues. Partners: Latino Justice PRLDEF and Urban Arts Partnership

$25,000 to Museum of the Moving Image (six months), to help City youth learn HTML coding and other web development skills. Partners: Young Rewired State and Hive NYC

$25,000 to New York Public Radio – WNYC (six months), for Radio Rookies live radio chats and a media-making program. Partners: Common Sense Media, Facing History and Ourselves, and New York Public Library

$150,000 to Urban Word (two years), for the Critical Literacy and Connected Learning Program to improve digital literacy. Partners: New York Public Radio–WNYC and Columbia University Teacher’s College.

$37,400 to World Up (six months), for the Living Remix Project, to introduce students to music production and technology. Partner: New York City Department of Education

$350,000 to Indiana University (two years), to research digital media learning efforts in the Hive NYC Learning Network. Partner: New York University

Fall 2012 Grants

Downtown Community Television, $18,900 for Young Women Speak Out, a youth-produced website where girls make, share, and respond to media about issues that affect them. Partner: Parsons the New School for Design

Girls Write Now, $100,000 for a mentoring program in which girls from the City’s public schools hone their writing skills with the help of Parsons undergraduates and learn how to use digital tools for movie making, blogging, and mobile game design. Partner: Parsons the New School for Design

Global Action Project, $50,000 for youth to develop a web version of the Media History Timeline, in which youth chart the media’s role in political, economic, and social movements. Partners: Hive Learning Network New York and designer Rosten Woo

Global Kids, $25,000 to form a youth council that will deepen young people’s involvement with Hive Learning Network NYC and advise on topics including network programming and an online badge program that recognizes achievement. Partner: Hive Learning Network NYC

Iridescent, $50,000 to integrate technology clubs into the Technovation Challenge, in which high school girls work with professional women in technology to develop and pitch mobile phone app prototypes. Partners: the Girl Scouts, THE POINT Community Development Corporation, Reel Works, and YMCA of Greater New York.

Museum of the Moving Image, $10,000 for youth to creating paper prototypes of innovative technology tools in order to develop a richer understanding of the design process. Partners: The DreamYard Project, Polytechnic Institute of New York University

New York Hall of Science, $150,000 to teach young people how to use mobile phones and digital technology to collect and analyze data on urban pollution and take action to improve conditions. Partners: Bank Street College, HabitatMap, Wagner College, YMCA of Greater New York

New York Public Radio, $25,000 for WNYC’s Radio Rookies program which will produce and distribute a do-it-yourself video series focused on storytelling, and templates for educators to create their own videos. Partner: Hive Learning Network NYC

Parsons the New School for Design, $39,000 for gadgITERATION, a program that teaches fashion design and technology skills to middle school students. Partner: MOUSE

People’s Production House, $25,000 to create youth Pop Squads to teach Mozilla’s Popcorn Maker, a web media tool, to youth throughout the Hive Learning Network New York. Partner: Hive Learning Network NYC

THE POINT Community Development Corporation, $50,000 for the Collective Power Initiative, in which youth create a digital toolkit to address social and environmental justice issues facing the South Bronx.

Reel Works, $50,000 for youth to develop transmedia stories, which tell a single story in multiple formats using digital technologies. Partners: MOUSE, WNYC Radio Rookies, The LAMP, and the New School for Social Research

Rubin Museum of Art, $50,000 for youth to create an interactive online map documenting aspects of Himalayan art in New York City. Partner: City Lore

Tribeca Film Institute, $105,000 for incarcerated young women to learn media literacy and production skills. Partner: The LAMP

YMCA of Greater New York, $50,000 to develop teens’ awareness of health issues and the importance of exercise using digital badges and social media. Partners: Institute of Play and Global Kids

Spring 2012 Grantees

The following grants were approved in April 2012:

Bank Street College of Education, $50,000, for Civil Rights Remix, a youth-produced multimedia exhibition connecting contemporary and historic civil rights events in New York City. Partners: the Schomberg Center and People’s Production House

Bronx Museum of the Arts, $23,000, for a summer program in which teens will record audio and video interviews with residents in Joyce Kilmer Park about living and working in the Bronx. Partner: City Lore

Brooklyn Public Library, $32,000, for Brooklyn teens to develop multimedia book reviews and teach these skills to other teens at 10 library branches in Sunset Park, Crown Heights, Bushwick, and other neighborhoods. Partner: Eyebeam

City Lore, $83,000, to expand a project in which teen skateboarders record and share videos of skate culture in New York City. Daylong programs in skate parks will introduce skaters to digital mapping, video production, and other innovative ways to share their passion. Partners: Reel Works and Bank Street College of Education

Common Sense Media, $25,000, for a teen-produced activity kit that provides young people with the information, tools, and practical skills they need to consume and discuss media. Partner: WNYC’s Radio Rookies

Joan Ganz Cooney Center for Media and Research, $100,000, to develop a series of video game design workshops at Hive Learning Network member sites that also encourage youth to participate in the National STEM Video Game Competition. Partner: Global Kids

The Lamp, $50,000, for an intergenerational media literacy program covering biased media messages about seniors, in which participants respond by re-mixing video and audio clips on the topic. Partners: Museum of the Moving Image and OATS (Older Adults Technology Services)

Museum of the Moving Image, $42,000, to help teens create digital videos using the Museum’s archive of presidential campaign ads. Partner: YMCA of Greater New York

New York Public Radio/WNYC Radio Rookies, $150,000, for a program where teens learn journalism basics so they can produce print, audio, and video pieces that explain what it means to them to be Americans today. Partner: Facing History and Ourselves

Parsons the New School for Design, $7,000, to create a series of projects, quests, and games that engage and reward youth while they explore the ecology of the urban environment.

Queens Library Foundation, $38,400, to help youth who use the Far Rockaway Teen Library to look critically at the media they consume and produce their own print, digital, and broadcast news stories. Partners: the LAMP and People’s Production House

Reel Works, $50,000, to help film and science students create an online database of short science clips and make films from the Museum’s archives. Partner: American Museum of Natural History

Urban Word NYC, $150,000, for the Words on Walls project, in which teens create poems, blogs, and videos and present them at events around the City against the backdrop of their multimedia projections cast by City Lore’s POEMobile. Partners: City Lore, Bowery Arts & Science, Nuit Blanche NY/Bring to Light Festival, and Global Action Project

Wildlife Conservation Society, $48,224, to help Bronx teens learn about climate change and create online games, oral histories, and other multimedia projects on the topic. Partner: Eyebeam

World Up, $25,000, to help youth to create original music using digital recording tools. Partners: DreamYard and the New York Hall of Science

Fall 2011 Grantees

  • American Museum of Natural History, $50,000 for teens participating in the Urban Biodiversity Network to use mobile devices to seek out hidden alerts at urban sites in Manhattan and at the Bronx Zoo, where they make a field observation or solve a riddle. With help from the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum, they will share findings on an online platform that the teens will help customize.
  • Brooklyn Museum, $25,000 for teenagers to research and create an online guide to African art at the Brooklyn Museum and the Museum of African Art.
  • City Lore, $25,000 to pair Reel Works teen filmmakers with skateboarders to make and share online videos about skateboarding and to create a digital map of skate parks in all five boroughs. Bank Street College is advising on the project.
  • The DreamYard Project, $25,000 for workshops in graphic and web design; and video, audio, and music production for Bronx youth. The students will also advise on future programs at a new Bronx media and social center.
  • Girls Write Now, $25,000 for a creative writing program that will end with a digital portfolio of finished stories. Watch the video>>
  • Global Kids, $25,000 for teens involved with the Brooklyn Public Library to create an outdoor treasure hunt that uses GPS-enabled devices to get their peers involved in neighborhood issues; and $15,000 to work with Mills College to evaluate the program.
  • Museum of the Moving Image, $25,000 for a digital game-design camp during spring break that will produce a replicable game-design curriculum. The Institute of Play will provide mentors for participants. Check out the NY1 piece about this project>>
  • MOUSE, $100,000 for teens to plan and implement 2012 Emoti-Con!, a competitive digital media festival in which young designers, programmers, filmmakers, and technologists demonstrate their work, collaborate on social action projects, and meet professionals in the industry.
  • Museum of Modern Art, $25,000 for a series of digital media and art-making classes, CLICK@MoMA.
  • New York Public Library, $100,000 for NYC Haunts, a mobile scavenger hunt in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island that connects local history to contemporary problems. Teens create and post possible solutions. (See photo above)
  • People’s Production House, $50,000 to train youth to use digital multimedia storytelling to capture, edit, and publish news not covered by the mainstream media.
  • Urban Word NYC, $100,000 for young people involved with Global Action Project and the YMCA to write and share poetry through in-person workshops and through Urban Word Live, an interactive website, as well as live-stream and digitally publish their writing.

Spring 2011 Grantees

The first round of grants, totaling $485,500, went to:

  • DreamYard Project, $100,000, is working with Cooper-Hewitt and The Point Community Development Corporation on A City of Neighborhoods: the Bronx Citizen Advocate Project. Bronx teens will explore local environmental problems and will gather information using their social media networks and hand-held devices with video, photo, and GPS capabilities. They will share solutions via presentations, designing mobile phone applications, and providing their communities with ways to take action.
  • Eyebeam, $23,000, is working with WNYC’s Radio Rookies and Digital Democracy to help teens investigate and record stories about a neighborhood. Teens will create multimedia presentations about important community centers or businesses and post them on the web using
  • Facing History, $75,000, is also working with WNYC’s Radio Rookies program to help teens develop multimedia stories about their neighborhoods. Participants will learn research, interviewing, writing, and editing skills to help teen journalists produce documentary stories and share them online. Watch the video>>
  • Girls Write Now, $15,000, a program that pairs girls with professional female writers, is developing a program plan that incorporates new technologies to strengthen its mentoring program.
  • Institute of Play, $25,000, is developing an after-school program that focuses on design, engineering, and science, and challenges young people to take on roles as journalists, scientists, designers, inventors, and activists by giving them the skills to make science-based contributions to the sustainability of their communities.
  • Iridescent, $165,000, is joining the New York Hall of Science to help high school students who are “explainers” at the Hall create mobile phone applications based on science museum exhibits that increase informal learning for children, teens, families, and teachers. Watch the video>>
  • Museum for African Art, $7,500, is developing a plan to incorporate the use of digital media in its new facility to help Harlem youth learn about cultural identity and traditions, self-expression, and civic engagement.
  • New York Hall of Science, $50,000, is leading a partnership with Bank Street College and City Lore to further develop mobile phone tools that enable teens to use smart phones with carbon monoxide and particulate matter probes to research and report on environmental conditions.
  • Urban Word, $25,000, runs a program in which young people write and perform poetry, read the works of classic and contemporary writers, critique and edit each other’s work online, and participate in live-stream summer writing “Wordshops.” The New York Public Library will provide links to bibliographic materials and prompts via mail and social network sites where kids are already spending time to inspire new writing.

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

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