Nov 23 2016


This month, we launched our first meeting of Project Learning Lab (PLL), a peer learning space for Hive Digital Media Learning Fund grantees to workshop, share practices, introduce new tools, and exchange ideas and feedback about their projects.  This cohort of PLL consists of grant recipients from HDMLF’s 12th round of funding to support youth organizations in developing quality digital media learning programs.

Iteration, purpose, and learning goals

Building off of our last cycle of Project Learning Lab, this round is designed to have fewer sessions, giving us the capacity to meet in person for longer periods of time in order to dig deeper on topics relevant to members’ project development.  Overall, PLL aims to support Hive Digital Media Learning Fund grantees to engage in knowledge-sharing, documentation, and reflection on their projects in ways that improve current work and creates the conditions for projects to achieve greater impact on young people  More specifically, PLL strives to:

  • Build collective knowledge, develop shared language, and identify effective practices for digital media learning.
  • Generate useful and shareable documentation and communications related to Hive projects.
  • Develop social ties and stronger network relationships among members.
  • Create an environment in which members actively seek and provide constructive feedback on each other’s projects.
  • Cultivate a design thinking practice (eg: backwards planning, prototyping/piloting, testing, peer feedback) to experiment with new ideas, technologies, and programs.


Kicking off

At our first meeting on November 17th, members began by sharing illustrations of their projects and quick pitches of what they were working towards. Following each member’s pitch, the group provided feedback to their peers to help them develop more clarity in delivery.


Next, we spent time identifying the primary challenges and outcomes for each project, which provided an opportunity to lift up shared areas of growth and intention.  These included:

Among the challenges:

  • Finding models of successful curriculum integration, especially among organizations with differing capacities and budget sizes, and/or in contexts where curriculum shifts from being facilitated in-person to online or vice versa.
  • Being responsive to the unknown needs of young people, especially in oppressive environments.
  • Building effective partnerships with external institutions and organizations that may be needed to carry out a project successfully.  And, related: scaling up programs with organizations that may have different values.
  • Finding technical assistance providers who have more tech and media knowledge than a host digital media learning organization.

Among the outcomes:

  • Spread of youth programs that emphasize critical media literacy and inquiry.
  • Academic, emotional, and professional well-being among young people and their communities.
  • More young people creating technology and media to benefit their communities.

Next steps

Our next three sessions will focus on honing in on these shared challenges and outcomes, and finding ways we can support each other in addressing and achieving them.  Looking forward to sharing more in 2017!

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