MozFest 2014: Spotlight on “Open Badges Lab”

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This is the sixth post in a series featuring interviews with the 2014 Mozilla Festival “Space Wranglers,” the curators of the many exciting programmatic tracks slated for this year’s Festival.

For this edition, we chatted with Laurie Garrison, one of the Space Wranglers for the Open Badges Lab track. Participants in this track will challenge the conventional system of recognizing skills and learning, while celebrating achievements from Open Badge creators and issuers.

What excites you most about your track?
Last year our space was full of opportunities to create and design badges. This year we’re expanding on that by making sure that there will be lots of opportunities to earn badges throughout the weekend. We want to see badges escape from the Open Badge Lab and start interacting in the MozFest ecosystem, ideally providing inspiration for new connections amongst different disciplines, tracks and experts. There will be opportunities to earn a badge for connecting any device to the web on the Open the Web with Things floor, an Open Web Protector badge on the Policy and Advocacy floor, as well as a number of others.

Who are you working with to make this track happen?

We’ll have some impressive facilitators at work on our floor. The iDEA team (a new award for young entrepreneurs supported by the Duke of York and Nominet Trust) will offer the opportunity to create the badge that will be given to those who win the iDEA award. There will also be badge design with University College London staff, a workshop with the Think Big team, an opportunity to design a robot in Minecraft, Sci-Art storytelling with UNSA, mobile game design, wearable computing badges as well as sessions on the latest research and learning projects. We have something for all ages and every interest group!

How can someone who isn’t able to attend MozFest learn more or get involved in this topic?
Badges can be earned remotely before, during, and after the Festival. We’ll share challenges that will be recognized with badges in the lead up to MozFest. So badges will not only serve as documentation and mementos of participants’ experiences of MozFest, but will also help continue the momentum of MozFest after the event. In addition, we’ll be bringing a new, improved Badge the World website with us. We’ll be looking for more pledges to help us badge the world!

 

Inspired?

Head on over to the MozFest site to register!

Q&A with MOUSE

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MOUSE is an amazing organization that has been working with the Maker Party since the inception of the campaign in 2012. Through the MOUSE Squad program students learn to become digital media and technology experts in their schools and join a network of youth technology leaders. We had a chance to catch up with Senior Director Marc Lesser to talk more about the organization and how they’re participating in Maker Party this year.

MOUSE

What is your organization and what do you do?

MOUSE is a national non-profit youth organization founded in NYC that focuses on empowering learners from underserved schools to “have fun, do good, and make stuff.” Learners from MOUSE Programs build participatory identities by applying digital solutions to real-world problems.

What is the events will you be hosting or running during Maker Party?

MOUSE and Mozilla are joining forces to ready a WebMaking movement in schools across the US. 14 pioneering MOUSE program educators joined us in NYC for the first ever Summer WebMaker Institute – a 2-day intensive PD event preparing educators to return to their school community to integrate webmaking and empower your learners as mentors, too!

Why did you choose to get involved with Maker Party?

MOUSE has supported Maker Party from the start, and shares its mission to invigorate local and global efforts to help connect people and empower them by engaging with and participating through tools that help enrich learning and life.

Tell us what you’re most excited for at the event?

In 15 years working at the intersection of learning and technology, MOUSE has seen – and been an influencing part of – the field’s evolving obsession with “new literacies” emerging from the tools, practices, and culture of digital life. The Web, however, has long outlived mere faddism and yet the field of education has done little to help frame it’s tools, practices, and culture as a legitimate domain to help educators and learners focus on building critical skills and competencies. No group of educators is better prepared to help further the mission of building web literacies than the Coordinators of MOUSE’s program network.

Why is it important for youth and adults to make things with technology?

Beyond convenience and commerce, technology affords people an ability to extend the way they think and interact with their world. Changing the world will require both, for people to become smarter users and, most importantly to us, also makers::problem-solvers::producers of what comes next.

What is the feedback you usually get from people who attend or teach at your events?

That, while too often underestimated, there’s no substitute for the cognitive, community-oriented, and self-empowering outcomes of simply getting together and making things.

Why is it important for people and organizations to get involved in Maker Party?

Because everyone – people and organizations both – has the capacity to organize, host, teach things and learn things and it isn’t that often that, with such low barriers to entry, we can contribute to something so positive that matters to how we move forward as people.

How can people get in touch with your organization?

MozFest 2014: Spotlight on “Science and the Web”

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This is the fifth post in a series featuring interviews with the 2014 Mozilla Festival “Space Wranglers,” the curators of the many exciting programmatic tracks slated for this year’s Festival.

For this edition, we chatted with Kaitlin Thaney, the Space Wrangler for the Science and the Web track. Participants in this track will examine the potential of the open web to redefine how we experiment, analyze and share scientific knowledge.

What excites you most about your track?
This year we’ll build off the momentum of the global hackathon we had in July. We’re hosting a two-day sprint on projects around libraries, authoring tools for research, visualization, open data, and educational resources. I’m very excited to be experimenting with this format, since it worked so well during our summer sprint.

Who are you working with to make this track happen?

We have so many wonderful partners! We’re working with GitHub, CERN, the New York Public Library, iPython Notebook, Zooniverse, the Knight Lab, Propublica, School of Data, BioMed Central, the Wellcome Trust, and a number of others. We’re also thrilled to have mentors from our instructor community joining us.

How can someone who isn’t able to attend MozFest learn more or get involved in this topic?
We’ll be posting links to planning etherpads and repositories so that others can get involved. We’ll also be working to capture as much of the activity into teaching kits, resources, and write-ups to share after the event.

 

Inspired?

Head on over to the MozFest site to register!

Maker Party: private eye

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Create a Wizard of Oz moment by pulling back the curtain to see who’s watching us on the Web. Turn on our Lightbeam tool, visit a  handful of websites, reveal who’s tracking you, and learn how to fight back. You’ll never look at the Web the same way again.

MozFest 2014: Spotlight on “Art and Culture of the Web”

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This is the fourth post in a series featuring interviews with the 2014 Mozilla Festival “Space Wranglers,” the curators of the many exciting programmatic tracks slated for this year’s Festival.

For this edition, we chatted with Kat Braybrooke, Paula Le Dieu, and Erik Nelson, the Space Wranglers for the Art and Culture of the Web track. Participants in this track will explore the programs, practices and inspirations of open and networked digital art forms.

What excites you most about your track?
This is the first time that Mozfest will be featuring the extraordinary role of artists and curators in exploring the affordances of the open web, so we’re really pulling out all the shots to make this track something special. We have more than 25 artists and organisations bringing their work and provocations to Mozfest. Every one of them is creating work that not just invites but requires participation, and as such breaks down the walls between artists and audiences. This is a track that puts you in the middle of artistic and cultural practice with the open web as a lens. From Mozfest’s first ever gallery, OPEN STUDIO, to a set of very hands-on artistic and cultural heritage skillshares, we’re definitely going to be “breaking the Internets” together!

Who are you working with to make this track happen?
We are lucky enough to work with an amazing and eclectic set of artists and organisations at the forefront of arts and culture on the open web this year. Due to space limitations, we could only take on about 25% of the submissions proposed, so the ones we are featuring are of extremely high caliber. Whether it is the extraordinary folks at archive.org collecting web culture and making it available as the creative home of contemporary culture, or new kinds of collaborations between Europeana, London’s National Archives, Creative Commons and Rhizome holding interactive skill-share sessions, or the unique experiences created by ginger coon in Canada and the delightful playfulness of Parapara in Japan, the global workshops and experiences on offer will truly help everyone realise their own creative potentials.

How can someone who isn’t able to attend MozFest learn more or get involved in this topic?
Join us at our track’s hub where we will be collecting together the tools, featuring artist and partner collaborations and keep everyone up to date about the track leading up to, during and following Mozfest. We can’t wait to see the creative and crazy things everyone comes up with together in London!

Inspired?

Head on over to the MozFest site to register!

Webmaker and the MDN team up

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Mozilla WebMaker and the Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) are both projects that focus on the importance of web literacy. They do so in different ways, with Webmaker focused on teaching the web through making and the MDN focused on helping people learn the web. But Webmaker and MDN are two sides of the same coin, and as such, we’ve teamed up to help each other expand our offerings.

To begin building bridges, Webmaker is supporting the MDN in developing a learning area on MDN for beginners who wish to learn the web on their own.

The MDN Learning Area aims to provide simple but complete documentation around many of the Web Literacy Map’s skills, written to help beginners learn the web. It is divided into a glossary of terms and a set of learning articles.

The glossary provides simple definitions for the jargon techies use. This glossary will help those who are interested in the web to start a journey on any topic. Learning the vocabulary of the web is one of the first steps towards web literacy.

The learning articles provide more in-depth information for self directed learners. We are beginning to organize various articles into pathways, which will help guide learners towards a specific goal.

To help support learners, we’re building and improving tools like:

We are currently working to build out the MDN articles that can lead a learner through the many resources the Webmaker and MDN communities have. We are looking for people to contribute to the MDN wiki. Help us make sure our beginner learning content is engaging or help by building projects that focus on specific Web Literacy skills using the Webmaker toolset.

Everything you need to know to help build the Learning Area on the MDN is available on MDN. If you have questions or comments, do not hesitate to reach us on our mailing lists or IRC channels:

  • MDN: dev-mdc@lists.mozilla.org or #mdn on irc.mozilla.org
  • WebMaker: webmaker@lists.mozilla.org or #teachtheweb on irc.mozilla.org

See you soon :)

MozFest 2014: Spotlight on “Source Code for Journalism”

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This is the third post in a series featuring interviews with the 2014 Mozilla Festival “Space Wranglers,” the curators of the many exciting programmatic tracks slated for this year’s Festival.

For this edition, we chatted with Erika Owens, the Space Wrangler for the Source Code for Journalism track. Participants in this track will design next-generation web solutions to solve critical issues facing news organizations and help journalism thrive on the open web.

What excites you most about your track?

It’s been awesome to see the journalism track evolve over the past few years, and continue to build connections across other tracks at MozFest and between events. This year was the first time OpenNews hosted our own conference, SRCCON, which was heavily inspired by MozFest. Several sessions are coming to MozFest from SRCCON or from last year’s MozFest, so it’s going to be great to see how these sessions take shape and expand beyond the conferences.

Who are you working with to make this track happen?

Our growing community of Knight-Mozilla Fellows is contributing several sessions (plus, we get to welcome the 2015 class of Fellows at MozFest). News nerds from organizations around the United States and Europe are also participating, as well as several folks from the civic hacking community.

How can someone who isn’t able to attend MozFest learn more or get involved in this topic?

Keep up with our community calls for updates before and after the festival. We’ll recap parts of the event and have follow up on our site Source as well.

 

Inspired?

Head on over to the MozFest site to register!

Webmaker at World Maker Faire New York – Day 2

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The second and final day of World Maker Faire New York 2014 was humid and hot, but the swampy weather couldn’t dampen the energy of the thousands of makers swarming the grounds of the New York Hall of Science to explore, create, and learn.  Perhaps nowhere at Maker Faire was this energy more palpable than in our Webmaker tent, where representatives from all over Mozilla’s global Hive Learning Networks gathered for another day of making and teaching the Web.

Assemble, from Hive Pittsburgh, creates wearable electronics and explores electricity through creative expression.

Sunday’s activities – which garnered two World Maker Faire Best in Show ribbons! – got makers of all ages hacking and creating through a variety of hands-on projects.  Attendees remixed websites with X-Ray Goggles, combined fashion and technology by braiding fabric and LED headbands with Brooklyn College Community Partnership, and produced shadow puppetry stop-motion animations with BRIC.

Braiding LED headbands in a workshop combining technology and fashion

“I’ve been back to this tent a couple of times this weekend because these activities are fun, but I guess I’m learning stuff about the internet, too, so that’s cool,” said Ruth, a middle schooler from Ohio, as she hacked a newspaper website to show her own custom headlines.

Hacking websites with X-Ray Goggles

Attendees were not the only ones learning from all of the activities happening in our space, however.  Because our Webmaker exhibitors and workshop teachers were drawn from all over the global Hive network, activity leaders had the opportunity to learn from and engage with new peer organizations from all over the world.  The Toronto Public Library created flip book animations next to the aquaponics garden created by Chicago’s Sweet Water Foundation.  New York’s World Up and Carnegie Hall made music next to sculptural game controllers created by Pittsburgh’s assemble.  New cross-city connections were formed, creating the opportunity for the activities we shared here to be scaled across our network.  Hive organizations will be building Chicago’s robot hands in Chattanooga, sharing Chattanooga’s coding games for elementary schoolers in Chicago,  and expanding the work we started at Maker Faire well beyond the 70,000+ people who have passed through over the last two days.

Geoff from Hive Chattanooga is a living billboard for our activities at Maker Faire.

This ability to share and scale programs across cities is part of what’s so exciting about Hive’s ever-expanding network. Indeed, the potential impact of Hive Learning Networks on how we create, grow, and scale connected learning experiences for youth is staggering. That’s why we’re continuing that work at MozFest 2014, joining forces across Hive cities next month in London to solve shared challenges and scale web literacy and digital skills.

If our World Maker Faire tent was a microcosm of the global Hive network, MozFest will be Hive at scale, bringing together hundreds of organizations, leaders, and future catalysts. We hope you’ll consider joining us.  In the meantime, follow along online with hashtag #HiveBuzz on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook because, even though Maker Faire is over, the making never stops!

Webmaker at World Maker Faire New York – Day 1

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The fifth annual World Maker Faire in New York is happening this weekend, and Mozilla is one of the sponsors of the “greatest show (and tell) on Earth,” helping teach the 70,000+ expected attendees how to make and create on the Web. The Mozilla tent is jam-packed with people of all ages hacking websites with Webmaker tools, diving into hands-on activities led by organizations from across Hive Learning Networks, and taking a deeper look at making and learning through a series of 30-minute workshops.

Day 1 at World Maker Faire kicked off with a high energy HTML Dance Party led by Hive NYC member MOUSE.  This unplugged activity got the early morning crowd clapping, stomping, and shaking, teaching participants basic HTML tags through movement.

Omar from MOUSE advertises the HTML Dance Party, the first Webmaker activity at Maker Faire

Omar from MOUSE advertises the HTML Dance Party, the first Webmaker workshop during World Maker Faire.

The energy in the tent continued as organizations from Hives in New York, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Toronto and Chattanooga joined in the Maker Faire madness to facilitate activities and workshops.

Monica Moore, representing Hive Chicago member LevelUP Youth Maker Space, gave event attendees a lesson in anatomy, physics, and robotics as she helped people of all ages construct robotic fingers using straws, fishing wire, tape and paperclips.

Monica from Hive Chicago member LevelUP leads an activity building robotic straw fingers.

Monica from Hive Chicago member LevelUP leads an activity building robotic straw fingers.

“We’ve had a great group of all ages and from all over the world.  I think what’s really cool about this activity – and about a lot of what’s going on here at Maker Faire – is that it takes something that sounds really complex like robotics and makes it accessible,” she said, “Any kid can do this, and any teacher can remix this activity using really inexpensive materials.”

Making technology accessible  was indeed a recurring theme of activities during the first day of Maker Faire.  The creators of DevLearn, a project being developed as part of Hive Chattanooga’s Gigabit Community Fund, led an afternoon workshop teaching programming basics through gaming.  Mozilla volunteers showed off Appmaker, the newest Webmaker tool that makes it possible to create a custom mobile app in just seconds.  Jennifer Cross from Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute joined with Hive Pittsburgh team members to share Arts&Bots, a program that engages broader group of students in STEM topics through connections to art and creativity.  We were also joined by Brooklyn Public Library, Toronto Public Library, Sweet Water Foundation, Carnegie Hall with World UP, Iridescent, Hopscotch and Willie Mae Rock Camp. All of their activities kept our Mozilla tent buzzing with activity throughout the day, showing the steady stream of Maker Faire attendees who passed through that learning web literacy skills can be not only approachable but also fun!

Mozilla volunteers share Appmaker, the newest Webmaker tool, with the Maker Faire crowd.

Mozilla volunteers share Appmaker, the newest Webmaker tool, with the Maker Faire crowd.

Are you in the New York area?  Join us tomorrow for Day 2 of World Maker Faire where we’ll be hosting another busy day of workshops and hands-on activities. Find us in Zone 3 next to Robot Row, but even if you can’t make it to Maker Faire, you can follow along with all of the excitement via the hashtag #HiveBuzz on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.