Museums, libraries win grants to enhance learning online

Museums, libraries win grants to enhance learning online

$150,000 in Grants Part of Larger Effort to Build a Learning Approach for Our Times

Washington, D.C., July 10, 2013 – Sixteen museums, libraries and nonprofit institutions have been awarded a total of $150,000 to engage young people in the development of apps, badges, curricula and other tools that will make the online experience more  civil, safe and empowering. The Project:Connect Summer Youth Programming Competition is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, administered by Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC), and was carried out in collaboration with Mozilla. The Competition this year is also part of the Project:Connect initiative that includes collaboration with Facebook and the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI).

Competing for grants of up to $10,000 each to support single or multi-day summer programs, the 266 applicants from 41 states plus Washington, D.C., included libraries, community organizations, advocacy groups, museums, non-profits, cultural organizations, youth-serving institutions, and arts organizations.

“The competition this year is designed to engage young people in solving a real-world challenge – making the Internet a safer and more powerful place to advance learning,” said Connie Yowell, Director of Education at the MacArthur Foundation. “The ability to meet that challenge will help determine whether education will be more relevant to both young people and the economy where they will be eventually looking for work.”

The Project:Connect Summer Youth Programming Competition is part of the 5th annual Digital Media and Learning Competition. It kicked off May 9 with a daylong hackathon in New York City hosted by Facebook, the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), MacArthur and Mozilla in collaboration with HASTAC. This year’s HASTAC Digital Media and Learning Competition, supported by the MacArthur Foundation, will encourage the development of apps, badges, curricula, and other tools to enhance learning through making the online experience for young people more civil, safe, and empowering. It includes the hackathon in New York City in May, the Summer Youth Programming Competition, and a $1.2 million open competition that will launch in the fall.

Proposals were evaluated for their potential to:

  • Actively contribute to the goal of a more equitable, social, safe, and participatory web for all, through the development or testing of new digital tools and learning programs;
  • Bridge social and cultural differences by providing youth with opportunities to learn from and with one another in supportive ways;
  • Provide participatory and hands-on making and learning experiences based on the principles of Connected Learning, an educational approach designed to help prepare young people for a world that is highly networked, technology-enabled, and producing new knowledge at a pace not known to previous generations; and
  • Support online programs and applications that enable privacy and diverse and respectful lifestyles and opinions.

The winning programs effectively encourage civic engagement and community-building; promote civility, equity and safety online; embody Connected Learning principles of interest-powered, peer supported and academically oriented learning; and have a strong plan to ensure participation and project success.

The 16 winners are:

  • The Clay Studio’s Claymobile Outreach Claymation Learning Labs;
  • University of Arizona Foundation and The Feminist Wire’s LoveMaps;
  • GlobalGirl Media’s Summer Training Academies;
  • New York Public Radio (WNYC)’s “That Could Be Your Sister” Design Challenge;
  • Colorado State University’s Making Equity;
  • Racquet Up Detroit’s RU Connected;
  • Digital Harbor Foundation’s WebSlam;
  • Filipino American Human Services’ Connected LYFE;
  • Neighborhood Associates Corporation’s Our Community, Our Environment; 
  • Catholic Social Services Out of School Time Programs’ Cyber Cadets Summer Workshop;
  • The Jacob Burns Film Center's Reel Change: Community Vision;
  • Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation’s Connected Messages;
  • Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion’s Digital Media for Social Justice;
  • Appalachian Media Institute’s Digital Citizenship Lab;
  • ThreeSixty Journalism’s Journalism and Communications Lab; and
  • Eyebeam’s Digital Day Camp.

Read more about each project.

From July through September, the winning organizations will host local hands-on events where young people collaborate and compete to build a better web through activities such as hackathons, digital learning labs, maker spaces, badge development workshops, and digital journalism and mentoring workshops. All the events are part of the Summer of Making and Connecting, in which dozens of organizations are engaging young people, parents, teachers and others in creating learning opportunities designed for our times.

Assisting with judging were members of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, which partnered with MacArthur’s YOUMedia this past year to create the Born Brave Bus, a national bus tour committed to empowering youth and inspiring bravery in communities across the country.

The Project:Connect Summer Youth Programming Competition and all Digital Media and Learning Competitions are administered by HASTAC through grants from the MacArthur Foundation to the University of California at Irvine.

Since 2004, MacArthur has invested more than $100 million in research, design, and practice to better understand how digital media are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize, and participate in civic life, and what that means for learning and the institutions that support it. More information is at


About the MacArthur Foundation

The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places and understand how technology is affecting children and society.

About the Born This Way Foundation

Led by Lady Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta, the Born This Way Foundation was founded in 2011 to foster a more accepting society, where differences are embraced and individuality is celebrated. The Foundation is dedicated to creating a safe community that helps connect young people with the skills and opportunities they need to build a kinder, braver world.


HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory) is an international network of educators and digital visionaries committed to the creative development and critical understanding of new technologies in life, learning, and society. HASTAC is committed to innovative design, participatory learning, and critical thinking.


Press Contact: Sean Harder, MacArthur Foundation, (312) 917-0205,

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