videoSeptember 10 2015

Developing Open Networks for Digital Learning

Rafi Santo, Dixie Ching

Databite No. 51

Early research on learning in online ecologies like fanfiction and gaming communities pointed to the power of open networks characterized by rich social practices to support learning, but at the same time showed a clear lack of access to such learning experiences for marginalized youth. This talk explores how Hive Learning Networks, collectives of informal learning organizations across a city, aimed to build rich ecologies based on principles of open and connected networks to fill this void. Rafi Santo and Dixie Ching, of Hive Research Lab, discuss their research on Hive NYC, exploring how Hives support youth in their technology interests and the challenges associated with building cross-institutional pathways in open learning networks. They’ve centered on the practice of ‘brokering’, and having institutions act as connectors for youth to experiences beyond their programs. Rafi and Dixie also share findings around how Hives aim to operate as places where organizations are encouraged to ‘work in the open’, with work practices and organizational routines from the open source software world circulating into the discourse, and the attendant tensions associated for these organizations that come from a very different cultural location.

Hive Research Lab is an applied research partner of Mozilla Hive NYC Learning Network and a collaboration between Indiana University and New York University. Our mandate is to investigate and strengthen the network as a context for innovation in out-of-school learning organizations and as a support for interest-driven learning by young people.

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Data & Society’s “Databites” speaker series presents timely conversations about the purpose and power of technology, bridging our interdisciplinary research with broader public conversations about the societal implications of data and automation.