What’s a Maker Party, you ask? It’s a celebration and global campaign started by Mozilla, of Firefox web browser fame, where people and organizations come together to explore and create by using the web and other technologies in a fun, hands-on way.
As we wrote earlier, in May 2014 the Digital Ready team threw our inaugural Maker Party with friends from the Mozilla Hive NYC Learning Network, and it was big: more than 250 enthusiastic students and educators packed into NYU’s beautiful new Media and Games Network (MAGNET) space in downtown Brooklyn to hang out, mess around, and geek out.
See the Digital Ready + Hive Maker Party in action:
The Maker Party highlights a critical aspect of Digital Ready work: increasing student access to what we call expanded learning opportunities (ELOs), experiences that go beyond traditional classroom learning—either by getting students out of the building, or by enlisting partners to bring new kinds of learning into the building. In order to spark students’ awareness of and interest in real-world learning and potential careers, we facilitate robust two-way partnerships between our schools and youth-serving community-based organizations (CBOs), such as many of Hive NYC’s member organizations.
The most successful ELOs are driven by student interests and are connected to in-school learning. Digital Ready ELOs enable middle and high school students to discover new interests; develop lifelong learning, technology, and workplace skills; cultivate a network of peers, mentors, and professional contacts to help them on their journey; and explore potential career and educational pathways, particularly in technology and digital media.
We have a key partner in Hive NYC, which organizes institutions across the city to create an ecosystem of opportunities for young people to explore interests and develop key 21st-century skills. Together, our teams help CBOs to connect in-school academics to out-of-school learning, develop student interests and scaffold independence, and leverage these partnerships to create learning pathways beyond the school building.
Last year, Digital Ready schools collaborated with nearly 20 organizations to offer a wide range of digital media experiences. In many cases, ELO projects were designed with classroom teachers; some enabled students to earn academic credit for their work.
Keep an eye out for our second annual Maker Party in spring 2015, which promises to be even more action-packed. This year we plan to serve twice as many students by doubling the number of Digital Ready schools and expanding to approximately 30 Hive-affiliated CBOs.
Meanwhile, many thanks to the organizations who made our first Maker Party a success:
American Museum of Natural History
Brooklyn College Community Partnership
Emoti-Con Design Challenge A-Team
Eyebeam Art + Technology Center
Global Kids, Inc
Magic Box Productions
Museum of the Moving Image