Providing 21st century skills to Toronto youth

Matt Thompson

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Local non-profits come together to offer innovative new educational programs this fall

Today, Mozilla, the Ontario Trillium Foundation and Hive Toronto are proud to announce funding for new initiatives aimed at making Toronto a more innovative, connected and digitally literate city.

$75,000 total is being divided amongst five community-based projects that will provide new programs for youth across the GTA. The emphasis is on creative, hands-on approaches to teaching tech and digital skills, helping youth become active makers, creators, innovators and storytellers.

Hive Toronto Logos

Building a Toronto digital learning network

Today’s announcement is part of a larger effort to bring together leading Toronto community groups, educators and non-profits,” said Mozilla’s Executive Director, Mark Surman. “Libraries, after-school programs, museums and hacker spaces are providing cutting-edge access to digital learning for youth across the city. This is an opportunity to come together as a network to work and learn together.”

The new network, called Hive Toronto, includes collaborators like the Toronto Public Library, Boys and Girl Clubs of Canada, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Story Planet, MakerKids, the Textile Musuem of Canada, FabSpaces, CareerMash and Golden Horseshoe Green Tech. It’s the first Canadian chapter in a growing global Hive network that now includes New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Pittsburgh and London, UK.

Helping youth become digital creators

In 2012, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, an agency of the Ontario Government, provided a $365,000 grant to help develop Hive Toronto.

Hive Toronto has created a great approach to help young people become more than just information consumers,” said Andrea Cohen Barrack, CEO of the Ontario Trillium Foundation. “This funding enables youth to take their knowledge and enthusiasm to the next level by becoming developers and innovators themselves. We love the collaborative approach being taken with this program.”

New offerings coming this September

The five projects receiving funding today include:

  • Digi Story Making — hosted by Story Planet, a non-profit that offers free drop-in literacy skills through its Sci Fi-themed storefront, this workshop series will help youth become peer mentors while making creative use of technology to tell their own interactive stories.

Story Planet

  • Making Makers — Co-led by Kids Learning Code (an off-shoot of the popular Ladies Learning Code and Girls Learning Code organizations) and MakerKids, participants will get access to advanced maker technology and digital tools — plus help “teach the teachers” by developing workshop modules and training conferences for educators.

  • Wide Open Wednesdays — this monthly workshop series hosted by The Textile Museum of Canada will celebrate maker culture in the GTA, bringing together digital media and physical making by focusing on key principles like openness, sustainability and self-sufficiency.

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  • Sustainable Communities Tech Camp and Pop-up — Led by Golden Horseshoe Green Tech, this week-long camp in Hamilton will provide hands on learning for youth-at-risk, combining tech skills with environmental sustainability and community-building. It will also include two interactive science fair events where campers will mentor other youth.

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