All posts tagged hiveberlin

Hive Berlin Speed Geeking: How’d it go?

The Results

For last week’s Hive Berlin Speed Geeking, we had a solid turnout of 30-40 participants, including a few families. (yay!) For three hours, we hacked at learning stations where participants could hop in and make something.

The event was generously hosted at Supermarkt, a very fitting platform for these kinds of experiments and budding communities. The station leaders came from a range of backgrounds: school teachers, open source contributors, youth program directors, designers, and all sorts in between.

The goal of the event was for these leaders to showcase their offerings and to connect with other individuals and Berlin institutions working at the intersection of learning and digital tools. It’s also an opportunity to find new collaborators or ways to extend existing curricula within the city.

The Stations

The stations we had running were:

  • Art Bots by Ela Kagel of Supermarkt. Wire up a little robot that draws on paper. Learn about electronics and crafts.
  • Learning with Wikis by Twoonix. Set up wikis to organize school activities and educational materials. Learn about collaborative editing.
  • Popcorn as a Marketing Tool by Robert Seibel. Remix live web content into an online video. Learn how to pitch a product using video.
  • Popcorn Maker by Laura Hilliger of Mozilla. Craft interactive media pages using fun templates. Learn how to augment videos with live data and content.
  • Stop Motion Animation by Jan Rooschüz of kijufi Landesverband Kinder- & Jugendfilm Berlin e.V. Film a stop animation video using sets & pieces you design. Learn about film composition and storytelling.
  • Twitteratur by Christine Kolbe. Analyze classic German literature using Twitter. Learn about text analysis and composition in brief form.
  • Thimble by John Bevan of Mozilla. Hack webpages and play short games in a two-pane code editor. Learn introductory HTML & CSS.
  • 3D Printing by The Build or Buy Store in Betahaus. Try out a 3D printer and play with objects made with different materials and techniques. Learn about new ways of manufacture and customization.
  • Editing Wikipedia by Wikimedia Germany. Get started editing Wikipedia by typing a few lines of text and formatting them. Learn about wiki markup and collaborative editing.
  • Send Flowers to the World by Mark Shillitoe. Paint a vase of flowers on an iPad. Learn about different kinds of brush stokes, painting techniques, and composition.

The Next Steps

We closed the event with a discussion about how it went & what participants would like to do next.

The feedback was quite positive. There was helpful advice on explaining the event more effectively (it was hard for several people to know the target audience), and how to get more participants (recommendations for communication channels and partners to bring more young people for next time).

There’s interest in trying similar formats at schools and at educational events in Berlin.

To that end, we’ve started a mailing list. Please join if you’re interested in getting involved. We’ll also keep using the hashtag #hiveberlin.

Wonderfully, the director of Hive New York City Chris Lawrence was in attendance and shared his experience setting up a learning network in NYC. There will soon be a kit to help other cities start Hives and to share ideas across the larger meta-network. Really looking forward to see if Berlin can plug into that.

Thanks again to everyone who participated! Keen to see where we go next.

Speed Geeking! August 26 with Hive Berlin

** Update:** A lot of key people have requested to reschedule the speed-geeking because of holiday travels. Since we want to pull this off with the right people in the room, packed and buzzing, we’ve decided to host the event on August 26. All the other info remains the same.

Speed Dating for Geeks! Get to know about 5+ topics in under an hour.

We’re hosting a speed geeking session on July 22 with Hive Berlin at Supermarkt in Berlin, Wedding from 1300 – 1500h.

This is a rapid-fire format aims to:

  • Showcase learning opportunities in the city
  • Get to know fellow educators and hackers
  • Play with new tools and concepts

And as a station host, you’ll get to share your project with a larger audience, gather feedback, and get really good at speaking quickly and clearly.

What is Speed Geeking?

The setup will be 5 or more tables in a circle in the room.

  • Each table will have a station host, who will present their project using flip charts, a few slides, screen grabs, whatever — in five minutes or less.
  • We’re thinking: get an Arduino to blink, remix a website, record a sound, edit a web video, hack a toy. Something fun, hands-on and educational.
  • Participants rotate among the speed geek stations in small groups. Every five minutes, you’ll hear about another topic. This provides a way to learn about a broad range of projects very quickly.
  • And the end of a full rotation, we’ll turn the floor over to open hacking. You can go back to your favorite station(s) and dig in more.
  • Afterward, we’ll regroup, share what we made, and talk about how it went.

Why should I come?

It’ll be a fun Sunday affair where you can learn something, meet new people, and share what you’re passionate about.

We plan to iterate on event formats like these and build towards a learning network in Berlin. Whether you’re interested in the bigger Hive network plans or not, you are very welcome to come play, make and hack with us.

How do I get involved?

  • Would you like to attend? It’s free! For kids and grown-ups alike.
  • Would you like to host a station? 3 hour time commitment max!
  • Have an idea for something else? Email michelle – at- mozillafoundation – dot – org

See you on July 22! #hiveberlin

Images by Jon Lim with Hive Toronto

A Learning Network for Berlin

There’s a long road ahead to bring Europe’s “start-up darling” Berlin up to par with learning & and the web. Digital literacy and simple computational competencies are often lacking; and there’s no indication yet that Berlin schools will step to fill the gap.*

There’s an important “out of school” role to play with Berlin’s tech-savvy communities and hackerspaces, together with an existing network of media centers and educational activists.


To get closer to a vision of what this could look like, 10 educators, tech community members, and activists met on Wednesday at St. Oberholz for a community brainstorm.

The goal: to map current digital literacy needs & offerings in the city, and to scope possible next steps for a learning network in Berlin.

Connected Learning

One of theories of change driving this discussion is connected learning.

Pioneered by UC Irvine researcher Mimi Ito and the MacArthur Foundation, connected learning is about re-imagining education in the information age. It leverages today’s technologies to meet youth at their interests and passions, realized through hands-on production, shared purpose and open networks.

I personally find this model very promising, as it centers on:

  • actively producing, creating, experimenting and designing
  • valuing the interests of young people to steer their learning
  • cross-generational collaboration
  • harnessing peer culture
  • linking the school, home and local community in an open network
  • and honoring academic achievements.

While the steps we are taking now are small, there are a number of successful learning networks to draw inspiration and mentoring from. Among them Hive NYC and Hive Chicago, as well other models at work in Pittsburgh and other cities.

Berlin: a network for making & learning together

What could such a network look like in Berlin?


  • Visit the Pergamon Museum and get an introduction to new methods in archeology and how to scan for objects underground.
  • After unearthing a digital file of a buried statue from the museum’s learning center, you head to Open Design City, where you pick up the basics of 3D scanning and printing. You print off a copy of the statue based on the museum’s files.
  • Your class had a workshop earlier that year in the Wikimedia Germany community space. So you know the basics of wiki-editing and online research. After digging through articles, you pull up an ancient inscription to go with your statue.
  • Go around the corner to lasernlasern, who helps you etch the inscription into the statue using lasers.
  • You’re really proud of what you made and want to tell the world. The nearest media learning center is a few minutes away. You bring your statue and some photos, and a volunteer helps you set up a blog and a gallery.
  • They tell you about Coder Dojo, a youth-led initiative to learn code, which has it’s first event in Berlin next week. You sign up, eager to make a game about hunting statues and cracking ancient codes.


Needs & Offerings

At the meet-up, we mapped what we already have to offer and what we need.

It was exciting to see that collectively, we have more to offer than we have needs. Lots of important skills at the table (teaching web development, film-making, media theories, entrepreneurship, and more), as well as connections to subject-matter experts, a nation-wide network of education activists, meeting spaces, hardware, time, and even small funding to get started.

The full list is here, and please feel free to add if you something to offer to the network.


Next steps

We decided we needed to test our thinking by running an event.

An event is a concrete way to 1) try out partnerships, 2) gauge local interest, 3) experiment with the curriculum, and 4) have fun.

Together with Fabian, I’m drafting a lightweight scaffolding for a youth pop-up event this summer. Chris Lawrence from Hive NYC has written an excellent piece about how to run one of these events, from which we’ll certainly borrow many ideas.

If you’re interested in:

  • Hosting a learning/hacking station (1-3hr, fun small activity that teaches a skill)
  • Offering a space (large, open space holding 50-100 participants)
  • Volunteering (the more, the merrier!)
  • Recruiting young people (We’re old. Where do we find young people in Berlin?)
  • Spreading the word

Then please join us on June 20 for a planning meeting. Location & time to be determined.

You can follow #hiveberlin for updates and also ping me (@thornet) and Fabian (@fabianmu) with ideas & questions.