Promoting production-centered, peer-supported, interest-driven learning in classrooms and out-of-school time.
In 2013, Pittsburgh joined Hive Learning Networks, an international movement to reimagine learning across youth-serving organizations. Every day, students move among learning experiences in formal classrooms and in a range of informal settings, from museums and libraries to afterschool programs and community centers.
Hive Learning Networks endeavor to link these environments to create “Connected Learning” experiences where youth can participate in accessible, “anytime, anywhere” learning activities by pursuing their interests and engaging with their peers.
With support from the MacArthur Foundation’s digital media and learning initiative, the first Hive Learning Networks were created in New York City in 2007 and Chicago in 2009. Pittsburgh’s Hive operated within the Remake Learning Network as an ongoing grant program to spur new connected learning projects and programs for tweens, teens, and young adults.
Although Hive ceased to be a brand actively used in Pittsburgh at the end of 2015, Sprout continued to support Connected Learning with catalytic funding and event sponsorships through the Remake Learning funding stream starting in 2016.
Program In Brief
Project Spotlight: Youth Invasion
Hive supported Connected Learning experiences such as Youth Invasion, an event where teens take over programming at The Andy Warhol Museum.
Funded Project Highlights
Hive projects promoted production-centered, peer-supported, interest-driven learning in out-of-school-time settings, classrooms, and community spaces throughout the region.
Connected Learning Out-of-School
Exposing Pittsburgh teens to social issues that affect their communities, contextualizing them within historical precedents, and empowering them with technical and artistic skills.
Media Lab at Sarah Heinz House
Creating and composing media in teams, teens learned how to publish online news stories, shoot photos, produce short films, edit soundtracks, and study music production and DJ techniques.
Rankin Gymnasium Mural
Creating a mural and staffing a new printshop where students learn digital and screen printing design processes used in producing uniforms and promotional materials for an upcoming basketball tournament.
Sister II Sister
Supporting at-risk female students who wish to achieve school success through STEAM education through a hands-on approach that empowers young women to gain knowledge and understanding through experiential learning.
Bulldogs on Bikes
Encouraging teens to be active by enabling them to design and build their own bikes.
Cook, Grow, Garden
Teaching students about cultivation and cooking, from recipe writing to floral arranging, after working with food grown on-site at the museum’s community gardens.
Teens as Teachers
Inviting students to become teachers and mentors in their own schools and communities by helping them develop leadership and technical skills.
Teaching teens facing adversity about surfing, filmmaking, and conservation by piloting paddleboards and using GoPro cameras to document their adventures.
Youth Initiative on Race & Identity
Leading teens through activities that help them reflect on who they are, identify their own personal biases and stereotypes, and see how they interact and lead discussions on sensitive topics.
My Block is Beautiful
Integrating art, media, technology and civic pride in an interdisciplinary S.T.E.A.M. project that includes drone training, aerial photography, photo manipulation, screen printing and gallery installation.
Cultivating student creativity through the exploration of music and the arts in an inquiry-based, active learning environment.
Connected Learning in Classrooms
Build Your Own Desk Project
Preparing students to kick off their high school education with the skills needed to succeed–and a desk to do it with!
Avonworth Pittsburgh Galleries Project
Supporting student-created, curated and managed exhibitions at Avonworth High School in association with major cultural institutions around Pittsburgh.
Saturdays at The Dream Factory
Inviting youth from the surrounding counties of Washington, Greene, Westmoreland and Fayette to transform inventive ideas into real objects, using laser cutters, AutoCAD with 3D capabilities, robotics, micro controllers, and wood shop equipment.
Explore the New Manufacturing Video Challenge
Students exploring career opportunities in manufacturing and honing their skills in teamwork, communication, writing, marketing, time management, and storytelling.
Water Design Challenge—Dive In!
Tackling local and global water resource issues in physical and virtual spaces and learning about civic engagement by collaborating on student task forces.
Connected Learning Events
Media Empowerment Students Summit (M.E.S.S.)
Highlighting youth voice and empowerment at Carnegie Mellon University with a discussion led by youth on media and advocacy.
Mobile Quest CoLab
Focusing on learning and experimentation with games as teaching tools, games as dynamic systems, game design, and mobile technology.
Crossing Fences Oral History Celebration
Celebrating the release of multimedia publications documenting neighborhood history gathered by African American boys in the Northside, Hilltop, and McKeesport areas of Pittsburgh.
Local Focus, Global Connections
Hive Maker Parties
Each summer, Sprout partnered with Hive projects and Remake Learning Network members to host a free summer event focused on exploring, creating, and sharing.
Hive Pittsburgh people attended the annual Digital Media & Learning Conference to connect with colleagues and researchers on important Connected Learning topics.
As the global steward of the Hive Learning Networks, Mozilla invited partners from North America, Europe, Asia, and beyond to London to make a better web.
Share & Spread Connected Learning
In 2017, Sprout helped 10 Remake Learning Network organizations develop new lesson plans inspired by their previously supported Connected Learning programs. This collection of resources was designed to share, remix, and reuse, and it exemplifies some of the best connected learning practices that have developed in Pittsburgh.
The projects come from remarkably varied sources, including public schools, libraries, museums, and makerspaces. Each project is deeply interdisciplinary: major themes include ecology, sustainability, and visual arts, but these lessons delve into intersections between art, technology, science, history, and more. Some of these lesson plans are for activities lasting an hour or a few class periods; others are intended as major projects that can unfold over several weeks or an entire school year.
Use these PDF downloads as starting points to adapt, remix, and reframe connected learning practices in your own classroom or learning space. All have Creative Commons licenses to help share and spread the remarkable learning practices happening here in the Pittsburgh region with educators everywhere!
Avonworth Galleries Projectsave_alt
from Avonworth School District
Environmental Problem Solverssave_alt
from Pennsylvania Resources Council
Green City Remixsave_alt
from Heinz History Center
Local Climate Change Impacts & Solutionssave_alt
from Carnegie Museum of Natural History
My Block is Beautifulsave_alt
from Homewood Brushton YMCA
Pathway to Collegesave_alt
from Homewood Children’s Village
Youth Leading Change
Video Game Designsave_alt
from Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Water Design Challengesave_alt
from Mt. Lebanon School District
As both were operated by The Sprout Fund, the Hive Learning Network was fully integrated within Remake Learning, Pittsburgh’s network of educators and innovators developing new approaches for teaching and learning.
City of Learning
Many Hive projects and organizations were key program partners for Pittsburgh City of Learning and issued digital badges in the summers of 2014 through 2016.
Spark was Sprout’s original learning innovation program and was focused on providing support for early learning and creativity projects.