When I joined Mozilla as the Director of Hive Toronto, the network was a small, dedicated community of youth-serving educators and organizations who had come together for 3 pop-ups to increase digital literacy learning opportunities for Toronto youth. Through this initial year, the seeds of a collaborative network had been planted. Toronto now had a community of educators and organizations eager to empower youth with the web literacy skills necessary to participate in the culture, mechanics, and citizenship.
Now, over 2 years later, with investment from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the .CA Community Investment Program, and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, and the essential work done with Karen Smith, my Hive Toronto colleague, Hive has made extensive progress including:
- Growing to over 60 member organizations throughout Southern Ontario
- Hosting more than 20 Hive meetups and 20 Hive community calls
- Funding 13 projects with 19 Hive members, facilitated over 20 youth-facing events
- Representing Hive and Mozilla at conferences and speaking engagements including sxswEDU, the Digital Media and Learning Conference, The Association for Media Literacy, and theOntario Library Association’s Super Conference
- Growing Hive communities in Waterloo and Vancouver
It’s been amazing to lead an initiative that has impacted over 4000 youth and educators in just over two short years but it is now time for a new adventure. A few weeks ago I let Mozilla know that Monday, March 30th will be my last day.
I am excited to share that Hive Toronto will be left in the very capable hands of Karen Smith and Simona Ramkisson who will be Interim Hive Managers.
Karen Smith has been working on Hive Toronto and Mozilla’s digital literacy initiatives for the past several years. Karen came to Mozilla as a post-doctoral research fellow after completing her PhD in the Faculty of Information and Knowledge Media Design Institute at the University of Toronto. She has been invaluable to Hive Toronto’s development.
Find Karen on Twitter: @smithisgeneric
Simona Ramkisson joined Mozilla last year as the Hive Learning Networks Project Manager. With over 7 years of non profit management, program design, and acilitation experience, Simona has been instrumental in the spread of the Hive model around the world and the development of Webmaker Clubs.
Find Simona on Twitter: @simonaramkisson
My Top 10 Hive Highlights
As I’ve been wrapping up at Mozilla, I’ve been reflecting on what we’ve accomplished together. There is so much to choose from but I’ve narrowed it down to 10 of my best and proudest memories of Hive Toronto moments:
- Dispersing $150,000 through Hive’s Collaborative Community Projects in 2013 and 2014, funding cross-member projects to create new digital literacy learning opportunities through Hive Toronto
- Organizing Hive’s NASA Youth Space Challenge Pop-up at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) which was highlighted by NASA as an exemplary youth event
- Wrangling the Youth Maker Party at the Mozilla Festival in London, UK with over 20 international partners hosting stations
- Our Ca.Appable project funded by .CA to create curriculum, training, and tools to help educators teach app design and app-making
- Our Privacy Badges project, funded by OPC to codesign badges and corresponding privacy curriculum with youth
- A Webmaker workshop that had an unplanned all-female audience where youth unexpectedly used Webmaker to engage with current events that were unfolding throughout the workshop
- The evolution of Mozilla Learning, including the growth of Hive Global and Webmaker Clubs
- Being invited to speak about Hive and Mozilla’s work the Youth and Digital Skills Symposium, a national conference in Ottawa that brought together leaders in policy, education, and industry
- Designing and facilitating digital literacy workshops for member organizations’ staff including the Toronto Public Library and the City of Toronto
- And last but definitely not least, the phenomenal Hive Toronto community. Member organizations range in size, mission, and content but what they all have in common is their commitment to increasing their youth’s access to civic, educational, and personal opportunity through digital literacy.
With the growth and momentum of Hive Toronto and the Hive global model combined with learning now at the focus of Mozilla’s multi-year strategic plan, I know the team is positioned to impact Canadian youth and educators better than ever before.
A sincere thank you to every Hive Toronto member, Mozillian, partner, volunteer, funder, and colleague who has helped to impact youth through moving Hive Toronto forward. And a special Major shout outs to the Hive NYC and Hive Chicago teams who helped pave the way for Hive Toronto.
It was an absolute honour to be a part of the Hive Toronto community and this mission. Keep up the amazing work!