Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund announces third city

In addition to the breakfast taco, 300 days of annual sunshine, and bats galore, Austin, Texas is the newest home of Mozilla’s Gigabit Hive. Chosen from a robust list of amazing cities across the U.S., Austin rose to the top with it’s citywide digital inclusion plan, active developer community, and networked informal education landscape. The first two Mozilla Gigabit cities, Chattanooga and Kansas City, have already contributed 26 projects and pilots to the Gigabit EdTech ecosystem. We can’t wait to see how Austin’s Gigabit Hive community will help grow these existing projects while also contributing brand new ideas to our growing national network. 4k streaming between Austin and Chattanooga? A collaborative censor-based citizen science research project between Kansas City and Austin? The possibilities are endless.

As the third city in the Mozilla Gigabit portfolio, Austin’s educators and technologists will have access to $150,000 in grant funding, as well as support from a vibrant learning community we call Hive. This community will explore how Austin’s high-speed Google Fiber network can impact learning in classrooms, museums, and other learning spaces across the community. Austinite’s of all ages will become gigabit creators and beta-testers, exploring technologies like 4K streaming and immersive virtual reality that wouldn’t be possible on traditional networks.

Launching August 2016, the first round of grant funding will be open for Austin-based applicants to apply by October 18, 2016. Click to learn about the RFP process. In the meantime, stay tuned for meetups and other activities to learn more at Mozilla, Hive, and new Gigabit Community Fund grant opportunities. Sign up to receive additional information and invites to Austin events.

Interested in becoming a future Gigabit Hive city? We will be reopening the city application process in late 2016. Read more about the most recently funded projects in KC and Chattanooga.

2016 Round 1 Mozilla Gigabit Fund grantees announced

Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund awards $134,000 to nine grantees across Chattanooga and Kansas City

Mozilla is pleased to announce the nine grant award recipients in Kansas City and Chattanooga that will receive funds from the Gigabit Community Fund. Grantees across the two cities will receive a total of $134,000 for a 16-week pilot period beginning May 16. The Gigabit Community Fund, a collaboration with National Science Foundation and US Ignite, is investing in projects that utilize gigabit technology to impact learning.

Grantees will utilize the awarded funds to build, pilot, and scale gigabit-enabled applications and associated curricula that have immediate, measurable impact on classrooms and informal learning organizations. Through these projects, Chattanooga and Kansas City will become living laboratories in which to study how these next-generation networks can impact education and workforce development.

Grantees include:

Chattanooga

  1. Cross-city Gigabit-enabled Learning Platform | Genesee Intermediate School District, Flint, MI – Platform for cyber learning, biology research, and citizen science across cities, schools, and science centers.
  2. Gigtank 4K: Scaling from Micro to Macro | The Enterprise Center – Harnessing the Gig and 4K video microscopy to create connections + collaborations for powerful STEM learning opportunities in Chattanooga and beyond.
  3. Raspberry Python Music Genie | Art 120 – Makerspace kids utilize curriculum to build Raspberry Python Air Synthesizers and then partner with the Chattanooga Ballet for a live choreographed performance.
  4. Streaming 4K Content for Learning Experiences | The Enterprise Center – 4K streaming content in ultra-HD creates engaging learning environment through enhanced access to community assets for learners in three schools and two community centers.
  5. ViatoR | Forrest Pruitt/Nicole Prebula/The Enterprise Center – ViatoR uses VR to submerge users in an immersive environment for an interactive, engaging language learning experience. Working with local education partners, ViatoR will explore how high-speed networks can make language learning more immediate, equitable, and engaging.
  6. VR Bridge | Red Bank High School – Students will develop a Virtual Reality bridge between two schools and multiple organizations through the development of 360 degree video feed utilizing the gigabit connection for the purpose of developing workforce skills in the areas of robotics and automation.

Kansas City

  1. Open Data + 3D Models | PlanIt Impact – PlanIT Impact is putting its big data + 3D modeling technology in the hands of students in Kansas City to advance sustainable design.
  2. Read2Think | Pennez – A live-­time digital assessment tool for measuring a child’s reading fluency. The application utilizes artificial intelligence technology to assess speed, vocabulary, understanding, sight word, pronunciation, and phonics recognition.
  3. SensED IoT Student Innovation Challenge | KC Social Innovation Center – A project­-based STEM program for 7­-12 graders to provide real-­world experiences in the emerging field of the Internet of Things.

The 16-week pilot periods will run from May 16 to September 4. The application period for the next round of Gigabit Community Fund grants closes on October 18 for pilots that will run from January 2 to April 24.

Cultivating Hive Learning Communities

Grantees of the Gigabit Community Fund become part of their local Gigabit Hive learning communities. Hive networks of educators, technologists, and other community stakeholders function as localized innovation clusters, working and learning together around community-driven goals. They join a growing global Hive network that includes New York City, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Toronto.

Members of the Gigabit Hive learning communities will participate in regular meetups and will share their planning, progress, lessons learned, and best practices throughout the pilot period.

How to get involved:

 

The White House Science Fair is today

Today, for the sixth consecutive year, President Obama is celebrating all things STEM with students from across the country at the White House Science Fair. View the White House press release, full release can be found here. You can join us at the fair virtually by watching the live webcast or by sharing your inventions and ideas on Twitter using the hashtag #WHScienceFair.

From robots to rockets, Mozilla loves science, technology, engineering and math. Add in gigabit technology and you get STEM education projects that wouldn’t be possible with traditional broadband internet connections, making learning more immediate, immersive, and accessible. Move over baking soda volcanoes.

Here are a few of the projects we’ve supported through the Gigabit Community Fund:

[Chattanooga] The brainchild of Gig City Production’s Jonathan Susman, Adagio is a cloud-based remote audio mixing tool co-developed with UTC Computer Science Professor Craig Tannis and several of his graduate students. Utilizing Chattanooga’s gigabit network, Adagio’s cloud-based platform drastically lowers the financial and technological barriers to mixing audio, granting students and professionals alike access to studio-quality tools right in their browser.

[Kansas City] The Gigabots from Big Bang bring connected robotics and devices to classrooms using existing educational robotics platforms. A Gigabot is a combination of hardware, software and a cloud platform. Each Gigabot is connected to others from any location in real-time. This project takes robotics to a new frontier in science and engineering through programming, all while teaching kids how to share innovation in collaborative ways.

[Chattanooga] GigBridge, proposed by Girls Preparatory School (GPS) senior Anjali Chandra, connects students via streaming video at Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy and East Lake Academy, two Title I schools in Hamilton County. With the help of Jill Pala, GPS’s Chair of Computer Science, the Spanish department and her classmates — as well as support from UTC and TVA — Anjali ran an after-school program focusing on English as a second language and healthier lifestyle skills through app design, developing a publicly-available digital literacy curriculum along the way. Students learned the basics of and built mobile applications over the course of eight weeks, creating English and Spanish versions. Anjali has since received additional funding from Causeway to help continue the project.

You can learn more about these projects and others in Chattanooga and Kansas City. Living in a city where you can leverage gigabit technology for education? Join us at the Gigabit City Summit, May 16-18 in Kansas City, exclusively designed for leaders in current and emerging gigabit cities.

Gigabit VR: Putting the World into Our Kids’ Hands

As part of our new application cycle, we’re exploring four areas in which we think next-generation networks could have a big impact on learning: virtual reality, video, big data, and connected devices.

Contemplating a Gigabit Community Fund application but don’t know quite where to begin? We invite you to explore these four focus areas alongside experts from Mozilla through a series of blog posts that we’ll be sharing over the next several weeks.  Today, Mozilla Curriculum Developer Chad Sansing kicks off the series with some great ideas on how current virtual reality technologies can be combined with next-generation networks for big classroom impact. 

What if stepping into the classroom or library meant you could step into anywhere?

That’s the core promise of virtual reality (VR) in our Gigabit Communities. The enormous amount of bandwidth available to us affords us the chance to do VR right. We can create and virtually inhabit digital environments with detailed textures and enough “room” for several people to be in one another’s telepresence all at once with very low lag or latency.

High-end desktop accessories for experiencing VR like the Oculus Rift exist alongside cheaper, mobile, more DIY solutions like Google Cardboard. Combined with other peripherals, like Microsoft’s Kinect cameras, we can even put ourselves inside virtual environments. It’s not unlikely that we’ll end up with wearble VR ‘computers’ (like the Microsoft Hololens) in the near future, as well.

Given the chance to explore the world – and to explore worlds we create ourselves – from every imaginable vantage point in 3D, what kinds of teaching and learning are possible with Gigabit VR?

First, let’s consider how Gigabit VR can make what we do now better.

  • We can make virtual field-trips into immersive 360-degree tours of sites around the world.
  • We can project real-time HD video feeds as VR environments for learners to explore from within to see the spatial relationships between the parts and the whole of something like a cell.
  • We can teach the web literacy and web VR using emergent technologies like Mozilla’s AFrame that make coding virtual environments as easy as coding basic webpages.
  • We can import models from AutoCAD and design software for students to “explode,” inspect, and iterate piece-by-piece in virtual workshops.
  • We can mash-up innovative projects like ‘Fight for the Open Web,’ a“Minecraft web literacy game-design challenge, and drop student developers and play-testers right inside the experiences they make for P2P learning.
  • We can emulate apps like RideW/Me to help parents and their children find and rehearse safe routes to learning spaces outside schools.

Next, let’s imagine new VR applications for the classroom and library.

  • We could develop virtual block-based coding and prototyping environments that make writing code like building LEGO. Think collaborative Scratch in 3D with virtual bits of circuitry and robotics to connect to the blocks.
  • We could create “city-as-canvas” VR environments empowering a variety of student community-improvement projects. Think of a VR SimCity based on your home town through which your could travel dropping new traffic signals, marking food deserts, and painting murals. Or think of a mobile app that lets you create and share community-enhancement mock-ups in situ as you walk around in real-life, pause here and there, put on your goggles, and create, like a painter carrying her easel and supplies all over town.
  • We could explode the diorama and develop a global, interdisciplinary, web-native library of learning objects kids could assemble into interactive exhibits that serve both as projects and, over time, portfolios. Think of kids building their own virtual museums of learning using a set of community-created assets like something out of the Sims.

While we have the capacity to do work like this now through platforms like Minecraft or Second Life, combining web VR with gigabit connections gives us the chance to make this work web-native, mobile, and user-friendly in the same way AFrame makes coding VR environments like building a basic webpage.

Finally, what are some possible VR moonshots?

  • Could we watch experiments in real-time from inside particle accelerators and colliders?
  • Could we build a browser-based VR interface to the Internet and Web that turned browsing and web literacy lessons into experiences more like exploring the neighborhood, sailing a ship, piloting a spacecraft, or exploring a dungeon? Can we build the Web as virtual MMORPG?
  • Could we broker virtual internship programs in arts, design, humanities, and sciences in which students and their mentors meet inside artworks, products, documents, and organisms?
  • Could we make students the virtual pilots and brains of deep-sea or near-space probes?

While we might not know how to build all of this all at once, we can use opportunities like the Gigabit Community Fund to begin building high-quality, high-bandwidth VR learning experiences with and for our kids and communities right now. With Gigabit VR and the Gigabit Community Fund, we can put the world into our kids’ hands.

How do we scaffold our students’ earliest VR experiences to help them change our world for the better? What do you think?  When you look around a 3D learning space, what do you see? How can Gigabit VR change teaching and learning local to you?  Share your ideas below or pitch them to the Gigabit Hive team. Please let us know how we can build, support, and improve web VR experiences for you and your students.

Mozilla Announces Expansion of Gigabit Innovation Program at US Ignite Event in Washington, DC

Today, Mozilla representatives are in Washington,DC with our partners from the National Science Foundation and US Ignite announcing the opening of the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund for 2016. $300,000 will be made available for pilot projects that show how high-speed networks can be leveraged for learning in the two pioneering gigabit cities of Kansas City and Chattanooga, TN. From robots that can be controlled without lag from across town to virtual reality applications that transport students across the globe, Gigabit Community Fund projects will explore how next-generation technologies can make learning more immediate, equitable, and immersive. Application details and deadlines are available at https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/gigabit/apply/.

Since 2011, Mozilla has partnered with US Ignite and the National Science Foundation to move gigabit innovations out of the lab and into communities. As more and more cities benefit from high-speed networks and the national gigabit ecosystem grows, projects like the Gigabit Community Fund are critical to increasing participation in next-gen innovation. This program brings new voices into the conversation about what the future of the Web should look like and fuels Mozilla’s mission of supporting an Internet where all people are empowered, safe, and independent.

Community members beta test a Gigabit Fund project at Chattanooga’s first Mini Maker Faire. (Photo Credit: Jason Oswald)

Community members beta test a Gigabit Fund project at Chattanooga’s first Mini Maker Faire. (Photo Credit: Jason Oswald)

To date, the Fund has supported the development of 17 pilot projects in Kansas City and Chattanooga, engaging teachers, students, informal educators, and technologists of all stripes as co-creators and beta-testers of gigabit technologies.

“From relatively small grants have come huge impacts, as these projects continue as yearlong courses in our schools or even as full-fledged gigabit tech startups,” said Mozilla Gigabit City Lead Lindsey Frost. “Pilots have allowed students in these communities to collaboratively mix music, create media-rich videos that compile instantly, and even build a water-quality monitoring system that streams data in real time to local researchers.”

Gigabit Community Fund grant applicants can be companies, institutions or nonprofits eager to leverage gigabit Internet to improve education and workforce development. Though pilots must take place in Chattanooga or Kansas City, technologists and educators from all over the United States can apply, and cross-city grants are available.

Students at a Maker Party in New York test out The Gigabots, a Kansas City Gigabit Fund Project (Photo Credit: Hive NYC)

Students at a Maker Party in New York test out The Gigabots, a Kansas City Gigabit Fund Project (Photo Credit: Hive NYC)

These cross-city grants are not the only way we’re expanding the geographic reach of Mozilla’s gigabit innovation work. In partnership with the National Science Foundation and US Ignite, we’re also announcing at today’s event that we’re expanding the Gigabit Community Fund to three additional cities by 2018, with the first city to be announced in May 2016. Selected cities will receive support and staffing from Mozilla as well as $150,000 in Gigabit Community Fund innovation funding.

“There are more than thirty Smart Gigabit Communities from all over the United States represented at today’s event,” said US Ignite Executive Director Bill Wallace. “The Gigabit Community Fund presents a tremendous opportunity for them and for all gigabit communities to explore how next-generation applications can enhance education and workforce development.”

To submit your city for consideration to become the next Gigabit Community Fund city or to learn more about the 2016 Gigabit Community Fund grant cycle, visit mozilla.org/gigabit.

 

Furthering Our Commitment to Gigabit Cities and the Web’s Future

The Mozilla Foundation is furthering its commitment to gigabit innovation in the U.S. with the help of a three-year, $3.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The grant builds on Mozilla’s ongoing partnership with US Ignite, a national non-profit initiative that seeks to expand gigabit technology, the next-generation internet access that is about 250 times faster than the internet most of us use.

At the White House Smart Cities Summit today, the NSF is announcing the grant, which allows Mozilla to grow its existing Hive communities in the gigabit cities of Chattanooga, TN and Kansas City, MO, plus expand to three additional, still-to-be-determined gigabit cities. Mozilla Hives are learning networks composed of educational, nonprofit, civic and cultural institutions. Hives empower individuals by teaching digital skills through hands-on curricula, innovative tools, and inclusive communities.

Children at a Mini Maker Faire Chattanooga, which showcased Gigabit Community Fund projects

Our goals in the Gigabit Hive communities include demonstrating the need for gigabit networks, seeding demand for further investment, creating tools that improve local education and workforce development, and teaching web literacy. There will be $150,000 in grants available in each city during the first year of the program. These grants will support the development of gigabit technology pilots and associated curricula on the ground in local learning organizations. We’re empowering local classroom teachers, informal educators, and technologists as co-creators and beta testers of technology at the bleeding edge of the Web. We believe the Web is an invaluable tool for learning and unlocking opportunities and progress. And when people are equipped with a lightning-fast Web, amazing things can happen.

This grant follows a 2014 NSF grant that spurred gigabit innovation in Chattanooga and Kansas City. In these two cities, we’ve worked with 30 partner institutions to foster and pilot 17 gigabit apps, like real-time water monitoring systems, 3D learning tools for classrooms, specialized technology for first responder training, and more. We’re looking forward to continuing this work and creating more innovative tools capable of making a positive difference in the world.

A Hive Chattanooga meetup, where technologists, classroom teachers, and informal educators meet, mingle, and explore opportunities for collaboration

The $3.2 million grant is part of a larger investment by the NSF and US Ignite to apply gigabit technology to the realms of healthcare, energy, and education.

Why GigHacks is a Great Hack Event for Entrepreneurs

Kansas City has been building up an ecosystem for early stage gigabit applications for going on four years.

PlanIT Impact, Start Talking, Big Bang, Sportsphotos and SightDeck are just a few of the emergent startups and apps that make up a unique community of builders and doers using Kansas City’s rare fiber infrastructure to create the next-generation tools for the broadband economy. And they were all either created at (PlanIT, Start Talking) or made significant developmental strides at KC Digital Drive’s past gigabit hackathons.

Our next hackathon providing entrepreneurs a gigabit boost is GigHacks, May 1-3 at the Google Fiber Space.

This hackathon will take place simultaneously in KC, San Francisco (CA), Burlington (VT), Chattanooga (TN) and Charlotte (NC). Teams can link up cross country as well as tap into a variety of resources from organizers like Orange and US Ignite as well as sponsors Google Fiber, Shinra and TechWeek.

GigHacks is not just for coders. It’s also a great place to kickstart your startup.

Here’s why.

1. Kansas City supports entrepreneurs like nowhere else. 

This city is an entrepreneur’s city. We are home to the godfather of entrepreneurship, Ewing Kauffman, and his iconic Kauffman Foundation, which is the bestower of support and sustainability for such fine pursuits. We are also home to the big-bang of startup electricity in the Kansas City Startup Village, which landed as it did thanks to Google Fiber’s unique fiberhood-driven arrival.

2. We have a pipeline of resources.

What happens to your idea after the hackathon? As the growing businesses mentioned above demonstrate, our community continues to build and scaffold the funding, programming, support and education that affords a pipeline for pre-commercial concepts to seed and grow.  

KCSourcelink was an early option that remains an essential building block for entrepreneurs and small business. Kansas City’s Economic Development Council has been an avid supporter, including the new LaunchKC Grants program — a national grants competition that will award up to ten $50,000 grants to early stage entrepreneurs and their tech ventures.

We also have the two-year-old Digital Sandbox providing proof-of-concept resources to support early-stage commercialization processes. The Sandbox is a direct outcome of the community visioning that built our Playbook.

And in 2014, Mozilla brought the Gigabit Community Fund, an experimental project to the gigabit cities of Kansas City and Chattanooga, and invested in 17 early stage pilots using that leveraged gigabit technology to transform education and workforce development.

3. GigHacks will catalyze innovation in areas that matter.

Google Fiber Wall Photo - Rodney Taylor Flickr

KC Digital Drive sees the value in fostering the tech community to keep innovating and exploring new ways to impact education, healthcare, civic engagement and industry. Hackathon events like GigHacks catalyze the collisions between dreamers, doers, technologists, and designers in order to fuel  innovation.

At GigHacks, we’re interested in demonstrating innovation in education, workforce training, healthcare, and other public benefit areas. We’ll be prototyping using client-side open web technologies (HTML5, WebGL, WebRTC) and a local private cloud.

The types of applications we’re talking about include:

  • applications that require high bandwidth (100Mbps to 1Gbps)
  • applications using huge data sets
  • applications that take advantage of layer 2 programmability/software defined networking
  • demonstrations of the above running point-to-point with local anchor institutions (over community fiber or wireless)

Bring your own idea or concept, or take peek at some of the early forming concepts like a community digital archive built on a cloud-based platform to share/store content from public resources and cultural institutions; apps for video and connected device control of robots over gigabit connections; a virtual mentorship early literacy tool; 3D modeling and printing for education and advanced manufacturing; a Kansas City filmmaking and micro-documentary project (in collaboration with Chattanooga), plus the winning team from OneDayKC and more.

4. Networking, learning and a TechWeek discount.

This isn’t just a sit-and-code hackathon. It kicks off Friday night with a free reception, followed by an immersive education workshop designed for teachers, conducted by local ed tech guru Daniel Green. Saturday at noon, we’ll enjoy a cloud-gaming presentation from pioneering, NYC-based gaming company Shinra, which will be conducting a beta test to Google Fiber customers in Kansas City (big news if you’re a fan of gaming).

We’ll have hands-on experimentation with Kubi robots, Giroptic cameras, Google Cardboard and Respoke WebRTC.

Plus, if you’re eyeing going to TechWeek this September in KC, we’ll be offering an exclusive discount to all comers.

Whether you can stay and hack the whole weekend or not, if you’re a tech entrepreneur looking for early stage support and development, we want you there.

Eventbrite - GigHacks KCThank you to our event sponsors:

thanks, sponsors!

The Importance of the Gig in Chattanooga — and Everywhere

Hive Chattanooga is heading to U.S. Ignite’s 2015 Summit in Washington, D.C. on March 23. This dynamic event brings technologists, policy leaders and community organizers together to chart a Smart Future made possible by next-generation networks. Two Hive Chattanooga Projects, Adagio and Viditor, will demo at the Summit, showing attendees the smart future of education that we are already experiencing with Chattanooga’s gigabit network.

In Chattanooga, our team is constantly asked the same big, juicy question by community members: so what? Why do you really need a gig? Why do high-speed networks really matter? My hope is that our project teams’ demos help to answer this “so what?” question. We’re excited to captivate summit attendees with how next-generation networks can make teaching better, learning more fun, and classrooms more engaging through real-world, community-based gigabit innovations.

Answering the “so what?” question wasn’t easy when we first launched Hive Chattanooga a year ago. Chattanoogans had seen demos, concerts and showcases displaying the power of the Gig, but few community members had experienced the impact of our next-generation network in their everyday lives. The eight projects we’ve supported through the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund have changed this community dynamic, moving “the Gig” from abstract idea to reality. The impact on learning that next-generation networks can have is now abundantly clear to the thousands of students and hundreds of educators teachers who have interacted with the Hive Chattanooga Gigabit Fund projects. That impact includes these essential qualities:

  • Immediacy: Next-generation networks make learning immediate and immersive — just ask any student who’s built a video with Viditor or any teacher who worked with a student across town via video through Wireless Earth Watchdogs. Gig speeds mean that students don’t have to wait for a video download or for their projects to compile losing valuable classroom minutes. They don’t experience weird lurches in video calls or buffering times on media-rich websites. This advantage may seem minor, but its impacts on engagement are huge. When videos load instantly, there’s no time to become distracted with another tab or another student. When there’s no lag on video calls, distance learning feels like in-person learning.
  • Equity: High-speed networks level the technological playing field for Chattanooga’s students. Gig speeds mean that schools don’t need the latest and greatest hardware to be on the cutting edge of technology. Chattanooga’s high-speed network allows data to stream without delay or lag to the cloud, where hardware-intensive processes can take place. This means that students working on old laptops or outmoded tablets can — without a great processor or expensive software — edit videos thanks to Viditor or mix music with Adagio.

The students, teachers, and community members who have participated in Gigabit Community Fund projects through Hive Chattanooga might not be able to explain software-defined networking, how GENI works, or why low-latency connections matter. However, they do know that they don’t have to wait for the video they made to upload and that they won’t have lags or freezes when talking to a class on the other side of Chattanooga via video chat. These Chattanoogans have experienced the benefits of the gig — the so what? of this work — even if they can’t explain it with technical jargon. They have experienced how our next-generation network makes learning more immediate and bleeding-edge technology more equitable and accessible. They’ve experienced the Smart Future in Chattanooga today.

Celebrating One Year in Chattanooga

A year ago today, the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund launched in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In front of a crowd of more than 250 community members, education leaders, and technology innovators, we kicked off the next phase of the partnership between the National Science Foundation, US Ignite and Mozilla aimed at bringing gigabit innovation out of the lab and into classrooms and informal learning spaces across Chattanooga.

Brainstorming at the Kickoff Event in February 2014 (Photo Credit: Mary Barnett, Chattanooga Public Library)

Over the last 12 months, we’ve awarded $167,000 to 8 community projects that have shown the impact of our high-speed network on learning. From real-time environmental monitoring with micro-controllers to cloud-based audio remixing, the ideas supported by the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund have pushed forward the bleeding edge of next-generation technological development. By engaging learners as beta testers and educators as co-designers, these projects have also empowered diverse new groups of Chattanoogans as creators of gigabit technology while helping to reimagine the relationship between educators, technologists, and entrepreneurs in our city.

These successes in Mozilla’s first year of work in Chattanooga were made possible through collaboration with dozens of like-minded organizations, schools, and businesses across our community. These collaborations with the Public Education Foundation, the Company Lab, and so many others have fueled the rapid development of Hive Chattanooga, our city-based learning community that has – together with our partners – convened 4,800+ Chattanoogans at more than 50 events since February 6, 2014.

Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund Project DevLearn at Mini Maker Faire Chattanooga (Photo Credit: Jason Oswald)

Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund Project DevLearn at Mini Maker Faire Chattanooga (Photo Credit: Jason Oswald)

Hive Chattanooga has brought together community members to explore the intersection of technology and education, pushing forward the conversation about how to best leverage next-generation networks while recognizing the necessity of web literacy at every level. Indeed, we have seen again and again in our work here in Chattanooga the symbiotic relationship between basic digital literacy education and next-generation tech development. To use a media-rich web app in a classroom setting, after all, students need not only a high-speed connection but also a basic understanding of what a web browser is. And to be inspired to learn basic coding skills, students need to see how these skills fuel the innovations happening all around them in their own classrooms and communities. Web literacy education builds a user base for gigabit innovations, while gigabit innovations inspire web literacy learning.

This powerful symbiotic cycle is what the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund has fed and deepened in Chattanooga over the past 12 months. In the weeks and months to come as we begin year two, we’re going to work on better telling the story of this cycle – what’s happened and why does it matter for Chattanooga? As part of sharing this story, we’re also going to be looking at how we can take the projects we’ve supported to new audiences in new organizations and new cities while bringing lessons from other Hive communities back to Chattanooga. So stay tuned – there are exciting things ahead for the Mozilla Gigabit Fund and Hive Chattanooga.

Get Connected with the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund and Hive Chattanooga:

Cyberlearning 2015: Connect, Collaborate, and Create the Future

What can two days in Washington D.C. discussing the aspirations and academia behind Cyberlearning reveal? A boat load.

The Cyberlearning 2015 event is put on by CIRCL (led by SRI International in collaboration with EDC and NORC) to support and advance the works with projects in the NSF Cyberlearning Program and cyberlearning-themed projects across NSF to support, synergize, and amplify their efforts.

As a huge fan of UCLA’s Louis Gomez, it was empowering (and fun) to hear him talk candidly about innovation, the importance of equity, and the “zone of wishful thinking” as space between good ideas and improving lives. 

Justine Cassell from the Human-Computer Institute at Carnegie Mellon (@cmuhcii) was evocative in her keynote discussing her work with tutor simulation and rapport building with young students, noting that culture is not a set of buckets into which you can drop people; people have many cultures.

We got to spend several hours working with groups on specific impact areas that hold promise for researchers, educators, non-profits and industry to affect the projects NSF funds with this initiative.  We were particularly engaged in the sessions on collaboration with teachers, revealing methods for attraction, adoption and co-design for research and edu projects, and the broader scope of Cyberlearning, with it’s potential to offer a “Grand Challenge” to create test beds to rapidly test, deploy, iterate and scale findings and projects.

We participated in the Gallery Walk featuring several interesting works, where we demonstrated Adagio (@AdadioIS) -a remote audio mixing tool – to show visitors how the power a gigabit network impacts learners. 

Cristobal Cobo ( talked about redefining the boundaries of learning, Jim Kurose, AD for the Directorate for CISE from applauded the researchers in the room and implored them to keep doing the noble work that has inspired his long career in academia and with NSF, and throughout the two-day event, we heard dozens of PechaKucha style project talks.

And to cap things off,  visitors and live streamers got a mind-blowing and inspiring peek inside Theo Watson’s (@theowatson) interactive, embodied work (@designio), including a new, large-scale installation that will open at New York Hall of Science in June.

Hearing and participating in this event, especially as the news spreads about the four new Google Fiber cities, we see the opportunities for wider technology adoption and the imperative to seed learning innovations, and we take great pride in our opportunity to partner with these folks whose theories and research shape the genres of Cyberlearning, and offer us great parallel work streams.