Taking Hive Global

This is the first in a series of blog posts where Chris Lawrence, Mozilla’s Senior Director of the Webmaker Community, details plans for a global network of Hive activity. These posts will provide an overview of Hive, as a philosophy and as a Webmaker strategy. They will detail Mozilla’s ongoing involvement and map a path for how Hive will spread to new cities, from initial interest to the creation of sustainable and connected networks.

Originally posted on the Hive NYC blog.


The Hive Learning Network project is a global set of values, strategies, tools and design principles. Hive has become an integral part of Mozilla’s work and has connected hundreds of organizations and tens of thousands of youth engaged in interest-based production. In line with Mozilla’s mission, Hive also helps people know more, do more, and do better.

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We believe 2014 will be a pivotal year in establishing Hive as a global effort linking local educators to an international community through the advancement of connected learning, web literacy, and digital skills.

Together, Mozilla, MacArthur Foundation and other key stakeholders plan to increase Hive participation at the individual, city, and global level by activating educators and empowering them with the tools, community, culture, and practice to re-imagine learning in the cities in which they live.

We have a responsibility to optimize how youth learn.

The inspiration and design of the Hive model springs from a fidelity to connected learning, an emergent educational theory that recognizes the need for a new approach to learning. It is defined by its core values, learning, and design principles. We also know that the technology and the culture of the web is critical to learning in a connected world—helping all young people become citizens of the web is an issue of justice and equity. Our experiences, whether digital or analog, are informed by the web. The web is so integrated into our collective daily lives, we believe that web literacy is essential for youth and the adults who interact with them to be positioned for success in our ever changing world.

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We need a Global Hive to spread tools and practices from existing Hives and to help people who want to start Hives in new cities.

Through the work we have done over the past two and a half years with Hive NYC, and more recently with Hive Chicago, Hive Pittsburgh, and Hive Toronto, we have learned:

  • That there exists a great appetite to iterate proactively on the pedagogies and principles that best prepare people for a rapidly changing world

  • That too often innovative work and people sit inside silos with little chance to connect their work to others

  • That we need more collaborators, co-designers, and constituents to advance our collective goals

  • That there is a growing sophistication of purpose in the types of people, organizations, and communities who gravitate to Hive

  • The strength of a unifying brand and identity, which is open and available to adopt, adapt, and replicate in order to expand a distributed network

Hive is the city-based strategy within Mozilla’s Webmaker initiative.

Mozilla will house, operate, and co-fund Hive Global to function as a “big tent” for educators and organizations with diverse approaches to come together around connected learning and web literacy. Having a local and grassroots approach with Hive allows us to build momentum for and global adoption of the philosophy, tools, and strategies of connected learning.


As steward of the Global Hive network, Mozilla will construct and convene a governance structure, create materials, offer badges, run events, provide web platforms, and collect metrics that support the work of local Hive leaders.

Our roadmap for Hive Global in 2014

In the coming months, we will be working to identify and document best practices from existing Hive Learning Networks that can be shared with others globally. We’ll share more details and resources for those interested in exploring what a Hive might look like in their city.

Our immediate priorities are to:

  • Fully integrate the Hive Global plan, situated within Mozilla’s Webmaker initiative.

  • Expand the pipeline of new cities interested in Hive.

  • Build core materials and systems that make it easier and faster for people interested in Hive to get involved.

In my next post, I will share thoughts on a tiered engagement model that outlines what contribution to Hive looks like, and how those interested in activating local communities around this model might start on that path.

We’re extremely excited about the progress we’ve made in the past two years, and in the rising interest we’ve seen and heard from people and organizations around the world who have an affinity to our work. In many ways, we’re working to meet the demands of the opportunity to share and spread the Hive model, and so we’d love to hear your feedback or comments on these initial plans–please feel free to add them below or to email me directly.