Teaching Digital Citizenship in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood

February 13, 2013
Sarah Jackson
Common Sense Media
San Francisco, United States
CATEGORIES Common Sense News, Digital Citizenship, Digital Literacy

For those of you who’ve never been to Pittsburgh, you are missing out. Turns out that in the years since Fred Rogers used the technology of his day to educate and comfort young children and families (he filmed his famed show in the city), educators and technologists have been using today’s new technologies – games, apps, and robotics – to building a new kind of creative learning community, one that uses technology-rich learning to support kids of all ages.

With a $500,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Pittsburgh was asked last week to launch Hive Pittsburgh, the latest member of the Hive Learning Networks. The networks are designed to expand the boundaries of learning for young people beyond schools to other important community institutions like museums, libraries, afterschool programs, and community centers.  

We’re thrilled to be part of this effort. Our new Pittsburgh education manager will be collaborating with local schools and community organizations like Allehgeny Intermediate Unit 3, the Fred Rogers Center, PAEYC, WQED, the Sprout Fund and others, to educate and engage teachers, parents, and youth workers about digital literacy and citizenship. We’ll be working with the local community to provide hands-on support, professional development, and tools to ensure they can harness the best of digital media for learning.   We're expanding our work to Pittsburgh thanks to the generous support of the Grable Foundation.

We also have education mangers on the ground in Omaha, Denver, New York, Chicago, Maine, and the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to providing support, this part of our team helps us gather important feedback from busy educators and parents about what’s working, what’s not, and what you all still need help with. If you’re on the ground in one of those cities, please get in touch.

The Sprout Fund’s Kids+Creativity Network, a local multidisciplinary group of more than 100 regional cultural and educational institutions, will manage the new Hive Learning Network designed to engage youth in learning that is based on their interests and helps them develop necessary 21st century skills.

We just got back from a trip to Pittsburgh, and as digital education enthusiasts, we were truly wowed by what we saw – a committed community of educators of all types working together across sectors and programs to create amazing learning opportunities for kids.

Members of the Kids+Creativity Network demonstrated their work at a science fair style showcase of programs at Carnegie Mellon University on Friday.

We were impressed with groups like the Neighborhood Voices Project of the Saturday Light Brigade radio program, who are working with local kids to share their perspective by writing, recording, and producing oral histories of their families and neighborhoods that are then broadcast online.

Or the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Digital Learning Librarian Corey Wittig, who leads The [email protected], a quartet of media spaces that provide tweens and teens with access to tools like still and video cameras, digital editing suites, musical instruments, and production software, plus training and mentorship to build their talents.

Or the educational robotics kit developed at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute that’s now being used at schools around the region. Check out the Arts & Bots Project.

Hive Pittsburgh is only the third such effort in the country. The first Hive was launched in New York City in 2007, followed by Chicago in 2009. We’re a part of networks in both of these locations as well.

We can’t wait to dig in.