Announcing the Building Youth Pathways in Computer Science and Digital Making (CS-Paths) initiative

CS-Paths site banner 2We are excited to announce and invite participation in the Building Youth Pathways in Computer Science and Digital Making (CS-Paths) initiative, a partnership between Hive Research Lab and the Mozilla Hive New York City Learning Network to support the learning and identity building trajectories of teens engaging in computing  and digital making programs. Through this initiative, supported by the Spencer Foundation, Capital One Investing for Good and the Hive Digital Media Learning Fund, we hope to develop and share best practices to help out-of-school organizations create opportunities for learning computer science and digital media making that span multiple experiences and settings. We see organizations like those in Hive NYC as critical nodes within larger city-wide learning ecosystems around technology and as key actors able to ensure that youth from non-dominant communities thrive in these ecosystems.

With national and local calls to provide meaningful computer science learning experiences to all students, this project aims to address key problems around ensuring equitable access. CS-Paths is included in the White House announcement today that charts progress on President Obama’s Computer Science for All Initiative, alongside incredible work happening across the country, including from many organizations connected the Hive NYC. You can see the full fact sheet that includes our work here.

In this post, we provide some history leading up to this initiative, as well as describe the general activities and intended outcomes of CS-Paths. For New York City-based educators and informal learning organizations who would like to learn more, please consider attending our information session on September 29th, 10am-noon, at MAGNET in downtown Brooklyn.

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Hive Research Lab at AERA 2016

AERA 2016 bannerWhile the blog has a bit quiet in the past months as the Hive Research Lab team has been engaged in data analysis and writing (including two dissertations!), we’ll be presenting a good bit of what we’ve been working on at the upcoming American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual meeting. If you’re coming to the conference, we invite you to check out our sessions (details below). The presentations cover all three of our core research areas, including better understanding the relationships between organizational networks and educational innovation, youth pathways and trajectories around digital making and the design of research-practice partnerships in educational networks.


Saturday April 9th

Enabling Equitable Knowledge Building in Research-Practice Partnerships through Community White Paper Routines

 

Authors: Rafi Santo (Indiana University), Dixie Ching (New York University), Kylie Peppler (Indiana University), Chris Hoadley (New York University)

Time: 4:05-5:35

Structured Poster Session: Strategies for Promoting and Studying Equity in Design-Oriented Research-Practice Partnerships

Chairs: William Penuel (CU-Boulder), Jean Ryoo (Exploratorium), Molly Shea (CU-Boulder)

Location: Convention Center, Level One, Room 102 B


Monday April 11th

“A City-wide Laboratory”: Scaling Digital Learning through Inter-organizational Collaboration in the Hive NYC Learning Network

 

Authors: Rafi Santo (Indiana University), Kylie Peppler (Indiana University), Dixie Ching (New York University), Chris Hoadley (New York University).

Time: 11:45-1:15

Symposium: Scaling Up Digital Media Innovations

Chair: Cynthia Coburn (Northwestern University)

Location: Marriott Marquis, Level Four, Capitol


Tuesday April 12th

Brokering Learning Opportunities within an Out-of-School Network: A Conceptual Model for Supporting Youth Interest-Driven Learning

 

Authors: Dixie Ching (New York University), Rafi Santo (Indiana University),  Chris Hoadley (New York University), Kylie Peppler (Indiana University).

Time: 8:15-9:45

Structured Poster Session: Brokering Future Learning Opportunities: Theoretical and Practical Considerations for Linking Youth to Out-of-School Time Opportunities

Chairs: Denise Nacu (Depaul University), Katie Van Horn (CU-Boulder)

Location: Convention Center, Level One, Room 103 A


Tuesday April 12th

Maybe a Maker Space? How an Out-of-School Center Engaged in Organizational Learning around Maker Education

 

Authors: Rafi Santo (Indiana University), Dixie Ching (New York University), Kylie Peppler (Indiana University), Chris Hoadley (New York University)

Time: 10:35-12:05

Roundtable: Media, Culture and Learning SIG Roundtable – Gaming, Community, and Civic Engagement

Chair: Christopher Carl Blakesley

Location: Convention Center, Level Three, Ballroom A

[report] Leveraging Hive’s Collective Intelligence To Better Measure Connected Learning

Educators at the January 2015 Hive NYC meet-up brainstorm indicators for Connected Learning

Educators at the January 2015 Hive NYC meet-up brainstorm indicators for Connected Learning

This past winter, Hive Research Lab had the opportunity to collaborate with folks from the Connected Learning Research Network (CLRN) Longitudinal Study of Connected Learning team at the University of Colorado-Boulder and SRI International on a process they were going through to improve a survey instrument around Connected Learning. The team, led by Bill Penuel at CU-Boulder, had been working to figure out how the survey could do two things. First, it aimed to measure which Connected Learning design principles a young person experienced in a program or activity. And second, it sought to understand whether that young person was experiencing valued outcomes in four areas: deepening civic engagement, advancing career goals and goal discovery, increasing academic success and bonding to school, and generally a deepening in satisfaction, fulfillment and joy.Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 3.30.58 PM

But measurement instruments can only be effective if there’s clarity around what’s being measured –  similar to how curricula can only be judged as effective once there’s a actually good sense of what you’re trying to teach. At the time they came to us, the survey team’s understanding of outcomes of related to Connected Learning was evolving along with the larger network of scholars that were part of the CLRN. As a result, parts of the instrument weren’t working perfectly, particularly some of the questions related to measuring the valued outcomes mentioned above. So the team was iterating on various parts of the survey, figuring out what was and wasn’t working from a measurement standpoint, what wasn’t matching with qualitative findings and grappling how to address those issues.

The challenge was determining what a young person could say or do that would be a good indicator that certain outcomes were happening for them, while also not creating a situation where every young person taking the survey reported that those outcomes are occurring when it’s not possible for that to be the case (a statistical phenomenon called ‘ceiling effects’).

The approach the CLRN team wanted to take to solving this issue and to improving the survey was to bring in the views of both young people and on the ground educators that are closest to these issues. Rather than going back to the literature, or talking more to statisticians and psychometricians, they took a community-oriented and participatory approach – talk directly to educators and young people about what they’ve heard (or said themselves) that have been indicators that things are going well, or not so well, around a particular area for a young person like being civically involved or having a sense of future career goals. The purpose was both to help clarify the outcomes to be measured and to help design new survey items around those outcomes.

Hive educators share out things they're heard from youth that could be indicators around career outcomes

Hive educators share out things they’re heard from youth that could be indicators around career outcomes

So in a series of workshops that Hive Research Lab helped to design and facilitate in early 2015, youth and adults at the Colorado Alliance for Creative Youth Development and educators from Hive NYC shared perspectives and accounts from their experience. From there, the survey development team, and the broader Connected Learning Research Network, built on what was shared in order to generate new, more valid survey items. The team just finished putting touches on a report that goes into more detail about the process of taking a participatory, community-based approach like this. It also includes the outcomes of the workshops: new survey items that educators can use to measure Connected Learning at their sites. You can check it out here.

Hive Research Lab at the AERA 2015 Annual Meeting

AERA 2015 imageHive Research Lab will be heading to Chicago this week for the American Educational Research Association’s 2015  Annual Meeting.

The theme of the meeting this year is “Toward Justice: Culture, Language and Heritage in Education Research and Praxis”. Check out the official meeting page.

Here’s a run-down of where you can find our work at the conference:

Friday, April 17th

4:05 to 5:35pm, Sheraton, Second Level, Superior A

Symposium: Learning as Transformation: Examining How Youth Author New Learning Pathways/Ecologies in Science, Engineering, and Technology

Chair: Daniel Birmingham, Loyola University Chicago

Presentation: “From Half-Pipe to Full-fillment: Leveraging Interest-Driven Identities as a Strategy for Technology Learning”, Dixie Ching (NYU, presenting author), Rafi Santo (IU), Tal Bar-Zemer (Citylore), Jessica Forsyth (Harold Hunter Foundation), Chris Hoadley (NYU).

 

Saturday, April 18th

Sheraton, Ballroom Level, Sheraton V

Structured Poster Session: New Tools, New Voices: Innovations in Understanding and Analyzing Life-Wide Ecologies for Youth Interest-Driven Learning

Chairs: Kylie Peppler (IU), Chris Hoadley (NYU)

Poster: Affordances of Social Learning Ecology Maps for Examining the Importance of Social Support in the Pursuit of Digital Media Making Activities Dixie Ching, NYU (presenting author); Rafi Santo, IU; Kylie Peppler, IU; Christopher Hoadley, NYU

[white paper] On-ramps, Lane Changes, Detours and Destinations – New Community-Developed White Paper on Supporting Pathways Through Brokering.

In the summer of 2014, Hive Research Lab facilitated a design charrette focused on supporting youth interest-driven learning trajectories in the Hive. As part of the preparation for the meeting, mRoad signs groupedembers were asked to provide illustrative examples of what successful pathways or trajectories looked like on the ground. From the extraordinarily rich stories that members provided emerged our latest publication, a community-developed white paper entitled: On-ramps, Lane Changes, Detours and Destinations: Building Connected Learning Pathways in Hive NYC through Brokering Future Learning Opportunities.

This paper [pdf, exec sum, handout] makes a strong case for the importance of brokering as a key strategy for supporting youths’ interests in sustained and robust ways. Brokering (1) connects youth to meaningful future learning opportunities including events, programs, internships, individuals, and institutions that will support their ongoing interest-driven learning; and (2) enriches youth social networks with adults and peers that are connected to or have knowledge of future learning opportunities. The paper emphasizes that the Hive NYC community—with its robust social network of educators and professionals—represents an impressive cache of human and social capital that could be leveraged more fully through brokering.

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 2.17.17 PMChallenges to brokering are discussed as well, including how a young person’s network orientation or help-seeking orientation may affect her ability to take up and navigate the opportunities brokered by high resource individuals. Several recommendations targeted towards individual organizations and the network are offered as generative starting points for thinking about ways to extend the impact of brokering.

We wish to thank the 70+ individuals (named in the Appendix) who engaged in the collaborative sensemaking discussions, reflective conversations, and feedback-giving that resulted in this paper. We hope this collective effort felt of value to all who participated and that HRL, as facilitators of the process, was able to capture adequately the thinking and expertise of the community.

And of course, we look forward to more conversations and collective knowledge building around this core youth development practice!

Using a Collaborative Design Research Approach in Hive NYC: Hive Youth Meet-ups Case Study

RafiJuanHive Research Lab seeks to provide value to Hive members through the sharing of formative reports, acting as embedded research partners, and engaging in collaborative design research efforts with members. This post reports on our recent design and evaluation work with the Hive Youth Meet-up team—Juan Rubio from Global Kids, Chris Amos from Carnegie Hall, Brian Cohen from Beam Center, Erica Kermani from Eyebeam, and Zac Rudge from Parks and Recreation Computer Resource Centers. While Juan and Zac have provided wonderful perspectives on various aspects of the project (also see Global Kids’ Chanell Hastings’ recap of the first two meet-up events), here we focus on the design research process itself. Since this was one of the most substantive projects where we’ve applied this process, we wanted to document and reflect on how things played out and how these methods might be applied in other contexts within Hive. Continue reading

What me, mentor? Introducing the Connected Mentor Framework for out-of-school environments

CM_logoMentoring is often described in terms of its intensity: the long arc of interactions, the deep bonds that form, the great investments made on both sides. However, when reflecting on the range of experiences that youth have in out-of-school contexts like those found in Hive Learning Networks, one can point to many instances when adults mentor youth in ways that don’t quite fit the traditional model, but are still valuable in their own right. For example: the video game designer hired to run a 7-week program, who not only provided instruction but also created a temporary conversation space to ‘geek out’ about the latest video games and the game design industry itself. Or the fashion designer invited to speak at a youth event about his journey to owning a small business. Couldn’t such “mentoring moments” be just as valuable or consequential to a youth’s learning trajectory as more sustained mentoring?

This is the question that the Chicago-based Mentoring Working Group—Tené Gray, Director of Professional Development at the Digital Youth Network (DYN), Elsa Rodriguez, program manager at Hive Chicago, and Bernadette Sánchez, associate professor at DePaul University—set out to address. Their Connected Mentor site, which launches tomorrow, represents a synthesis of rich research and practical knowledge around mentoring, including a mentoring framework that was developed specifically for the out-of-school context.

As our own on-the-ground observations here in NYC indicate that many ‘fleeting’ interactions between youth and helpful individuals do provide key forms of support contributing to the ongoing pursuit of interest-driven activities, we find this framework provides a valuable foundation to begin teasing apart and further leveraging these relationships. Furthermore, this issue of common language is something we’ve seen as important for any type of coordinated action and so we applaud this effort to develop a powerful and shared language around the practice of mentoring.

Tene and Elsa were kind enough to chat with us about their work and give us some insight into their Connected Mentor Framework. Continue reading