Project:Connect empowers young web makers to make the web a better place

May 17, 2013
DML,
Educator Innovator Blog
By Educator Innovator

By idecoursy; Cross-posted from The Webmaker Blog

On May 9, programmers, designers, educators and learning innovators came together in New York to hack for a better web. The Project:Connect hackathon — hosted by the MacArthur Foundation, Facebook, the Family Online Safety Institute and Mozilla — kicked-off this year’s Digital Media and Learning Competition. The competition brought together teams to develop prototypes for social tools, including apps, badges, and curriculum in pursuit of a better web. Participants advocate for the innovative use of new media in support of connected learning, using the web for everything from building community support frameworks to gaining better information access in schools.

Participating partners included Mozilla Hive NYC

Members of the Mozilla Hive NYC Learning Network took up the challenge; they included City LoreExposure CampGlobal KidsInstitute of PlayIridescentMOUSENew York Public Library and WNYC Radio Rookies. Teams presented their ideas to a panel of judges that included Cynthia Germanotta, co-founder of the Born This Way Foundation (also known as Lady Gaga’s mom); Chris Bevans, Founder of CBAtelier, creative director for Billionaire Boys Club and MIT Media Lab Fellow; Diana Rhoten, Chief Strategy Officer at Amplify; Anne Collier, safety expert, on the Facebook Safety Advisory Board and editor of NetFamilyNews.com; and Dave Steer, Manager of Policy Communications at Facebook.

Greater freedom in schools and libraries

Team Emoti-Con advocated for a youth-led campaign to advocate for gaining access to currently blocked URLs at schools and libraries, to provide greater access to students looking to the web for research and for creating web-based media projects. A special bookmarklet would enable youth, parents, students and educators to submit URLs for review, and start a dialogue about which websites should be used for educational purposes.

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Team Emoti-Con advocated for unblocking URL at schools and libraries.

Better internet access for youth

Team Truth pitched a new web app called Cyberstoop, which calls upon local communities to help keep youth connected. Teens would enter their zip code to find local businesses willing to share their wi-fi during after-school hours, providing greater opportunities for access to do homework or surf the web.

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Team Truth called on local businesses to share wi-fi access with students after school

Fighting sexual cyber-bullying

The “That Could Be Your Sister” team proposed a youth-led, virtual neighborhood watch on behalf of victims of sexual cyber-bullying. They prototyped a social media bookmarklet that could be used to report images and videos that engage in “slut-shaming,” and micro-communities would rally to reach out and support victims. Listen to the story that Temitayo and Radio Rookies produced for WNYC on sexual cyberbullying or check out their complete pitch presentation.

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All together, participating youth came up with a great range of ideas for hacking a better web.

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