Northeastern Illinois University awarded $25K grant for Model for Connected Learning program

Monday, November 24, 2014

Northeastern Illinois University’s Center for College Access and Success and its partner, YOUmedia, have been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Hive Chicago Fund for Connected Learning, independently administered by The Chicago Community Trust.

The grant will support the new Model for Connected Learning program to bridge the gap between in-school and out-of-school learning by empowering high school students to use digital technology and newly acquired skills to complete classroom assignments as well as projects that explore their personal interests.

The program will provide participating ninth- through 12th-grade Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students from low-income families with exposure to and training on a variety of digital technology skills including: audio recording and editing; video production and editing; and basic programming and graphic design.

“We are excited to work collaboratively with YOUmedia on redesigning learning experiences that are meaningful, relevant and transformative for students,” said Wendy Stack, associate vice president and executive director of the Center for College Access and Success. “These experiences not only impact the students and teachers involved, but ultimately can shift the way learning occurs and resources are networked, leading to academic and career success.”

The program will provide the teachers of participating CPS high school students with professional development opportunities on curriculum building, using the technological expertise and resources at YOUmedia and the Center for College Access and Success.

“The intent of this project is to bring more connected learning experiences to our youth,” said Germania Solorzano, professional development specialist at the Center for College Access and Success. “It’s a matter of equity and access.”

Through this exciting partnership, teachers will create innovative curricular units, incorporating a field trip for students to YOUmedia, where they will work on a related digital technology project.

Founded in 1978, the Northeastern Illinois University’s Center for College Access and Success is the largest school improvement organization in Chicago. The Center develops and nurtures collaborative partnerships that engage the entire community to help students succeed academically and socially. 

Opened in 2009, YOUmedia Chicago is an innovative, 21st century teen learning space at 11 Chicago Public Library locations. YOUmedia connects young adults, books, media, mentors and institutions throughout Chicago in a dynamic space designed to inspire collaboration and creativity.

Hive Chicago was founded through The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media & Learning initiative to fuel collaborations between civic and cultural organizations and to build innovative educational practices. Network members have access to funding to support their work through The Chicago Hive Fund for Connected Learning, a collaborative donor fund in The Chicago Community Trust.