Let’s teach the web, offline!


Reposted from blog of Webmaker Curation and Co-design Lead Kat Braybrooke at kaibray.com.

At Webmaker, a group of us has been scheming and discussing potential solutions to a key design challenge — how can we empower educators to teach the web using peer-to-peer methods in regions where computers and web connectivity aren’t a given?

Enter this Design Canvas, an analog effort to help makers prototype Webmaker Teaching Kits together on paper before going online. I situate this Canvas within a larger hands-on prototyping exercise which implements some pretty radical participatory design methods, in the hope that it can improve the in-person experiences of mentors and participants alike…

Best of all, this Design Canvas and other activities like it will also help us build a brand new (and very salient) Lo-Fi Teaching Kit, codesigned with a team of Webmaker community members, that will highlight a series of remixable, modular group activities that empower educators to address different parts of the Web Literacy Map using analog materials.

Continue reading …

Introducing new resources making use of the Web Literacy Map


The Web Literacy Map is the collection of skills and competencies that the Mozilla community believe it’s important to pay attention to if you want to get better at reading, writing and participating on the web.

Web Literacy Map

We’ve been working on ways that people can use the Web Literacy Map in their particular context. Here’s three resources we’ve come up with:

  1. The Web Literacy Mapper (or ‘WebLitMapper’ for short)
  2. A Web Literacy Learning Pathways resource
  3. Draft guidelines for aligning with the Web Literacy Map

These three tools and resources are very much still in development at the moment but let’s take a closer look at them as we’d appreciate your feedback.


1. The WebLitMapper

Web Literacy Mapper

This prototype by Atul Varma is a way of tagging resources around the web with the competency layer of the Web Literacy Map. Once logged in with your Webmaker account, you can copy-and-paste the URL, choose which competencies it fits with (e.g. ‘Open practices’) and add some additional details.

For added convenience, the WebLitMapper can be used as a bookmarklet so that you can tag things as you browse the web. There are already a good deal of community-contributed resources in there! – go check it out!


2. Web Literacy Learning Pathways

Web Literacy Learning Pathways

This resource was put together by Laura Hilliger and focuses on the skills layer of the Web Literacy Map. Learners can click on one of the skills and choose either ‘What should I know?’ or ‘What can I learn next?’. This visually highlights a basic learning pathway. Check it out here.

As this was made using Mozilla Thimble, you can hit the Remix button as I did. We’ll be doing some additional work on the skills underpinning each competency in the run-up to the Mozilla Festival later this year.


3. Draft alignment guidelines

Draft alignment guidelines


This resource is an attempt to scaffold people’s alignment with the Web Literacy Map. We’re working on four key questions, some mini case studies and a Web Literacy Canvas. As it’s still early days, we’d very much appreciate feedback as well as any examples you may be able to give from your context.



We’d love to know what you think about these tools and resources. Please do bear in mind that we’re sharing them early for your feedback and they’re very much still in development.

What works? What needs changing? What else would help you in your efforts to #teachtheweb?

Oppi Festival


On April 11 & 12 Webmaker and Open Badges had teachers cutting, gluing, and sharing at the first annual Oppi Festival in Helsinki, Finland. Since “oppi” means “learning” in Finnish, this was the perfect place to have exciting conversations about celebrating learning; we challenged participants who came to our Mozilla Space to share what “open learning” means to them.

Open Learning wall

Over two days, we held 2 discussion sessions and 4 hands-on workshops about everything from Mozilla’s mission to web literacy’s learning pathways and the new Badge Kit (still in private beta). When we first arrived, we were excited at the prospect of building teaching kitOppi Festivals and sharing them with the Webmaker community. In reality, we were a bit too ambitious; the 50-minute sessions didn’t allow for thorough introductions to Thimble and designing teaching kits. Even so, we had rewarding conversations about the intersection of privacy and collaboration, and spoke with young people about how to best surface these ideas in the classroom. And by preparing an etherpad of links used throughout the unconference, everyone had access to all the resources as we went along; hopefully they’ll continue to use them beyond the Festival.

With exhibitors like Rovio’s Angry Birds Playground, speakers like Dr. Sugata Mitra of “Hole in the Wall” fame , and performances by talented artists like Finland’s deaf rapper Signmark, it’s no wonder the 1300 participants were buzzing with conversation and ideas as they came coming through the Oppi doors. We look forward to hearing from the organizers of the Oppi Festival during this week’s Teach the Web call on Thursday.

More photos from the Oppi Festival here.

Webmaker Training with Friends


reposted from Laura Hilliger’s blog at zythepsary.com

This weekend, I’ll be leading a Webmaker Training for the National Citizens Service (NCS). NCS is an organization in the UK that provides learning opportunities for young people living in England and Northern Ireland – young people who are encouraged to lead positive change within their communities. For the first time ever, NCS has invited graduates from their programs to become Digital Champions, a group of people who will lead social action projects and spread web literacy skills in their local communities.

This is the Teaching Kit we’ll be using to guide us during the event. Let me tell you why I’m SO EXCITED to be doing this:

This is the first official “Webmaker Training”

I run trainings all the time, but they’re always one-offs, offshoots, and truncated versions of my dream learning scenario. In 2013 we ran two prototypes – a live training for Mozilla Reps called Training Days and an online training called Teach the Web, both were hugely successful. My dream learning scenario combines these two initiatives. I think a blended-learning program that is open, inclusive, and pedagogically sound – something that helps people teach the culture, mechanics, and citizenship of the Web – is what a Mozilla professional development program should be. Why? Because open. Continue reading …

Changes to Thimble URLs: goodbye naming conflicts, hello bit.ly


Creating web pages in Thimble? You may notice some changes to your Thimble links.

What’s different?

Your Thimble URLs now have an extra bit in the middle: a unique identifier made up of random letters. So for example, in the past your URL might have looked like this:

Why did we do this?

To prevent naming conflicts. Previously, the lack of any project identifier meant you could only ever create one page with a specific title.

Say, for example, you needed two pages with the title “my projects” or “test.” Or maybe you made a page called “School project” a year ago, and now you want to make a new one with that same title. Before, you couldn’t do that, because the URLs would have confllicted. Now you can.

We’ve basically taken the same strategy we were already using for Popcorn and applied it to Thimble. And following the same convention as sites like Twitter, Medium and You Tube.

Coming soon: shorter, shinier links with bit.ly

We know these URLs are longer, and maybe a little harder to share. That’s why we’re working on bit.ly URL shortening next, so that you can publish your page and get a super short URL for sharing.

The new short URLs will use “mzl.la,” and look like http://mzl.la/shortcode — so that everyone can see your URL is special, and spread some Mozilla pride. :)

We’re also working on fixing up Thimble sharing for Twitter. If you have underscores or spaces in your Webmaker account name, you may have noticed problems when you try to Tweet about your makes. This problem has to do with how Twitter parses URLs. Luckily, this issue will disappear once we get bit.ly integrated, so we should have a fix coming for you soon!

Questions or comments?

Planning Super Mentor Badges to encourage contribution within the Webmaker community


This year Webmaker is using the Open Badges Infrastructure (OBI) – and the newly-minted BadgeKit – to issue Webmaker badges. The first of these will be a Super Mentor badge.

(note that the badge won’t look like the image to the left!)

The aim with Super Mentor badges is to empower and equip those people teaching the web within the Mozilla community. Super Mentors will work with paid contributors (aka staff) to badge Mentors, who in turn will be able to issue Web Literacy badges.

A recent community consultation suggested that Super Mentors should be required to provide evidence of the skills and expertise listed on this Mozilla wiki page.

We have taken these skills and created the following metadata which would be included a Super Mentor badge. Please note that this is subject to review and only a first pass.

Badge Name

Super Mentor badge


This badge is issued by Mozilla to ‘Super Mentors’ within the Mozilla community.

Super Mentors are very active community leaders. They are very knowledgeable and experienced in web literacy, how people learn and have strategies to teach skills to others.


The earner of this badge:

  • has a solid understanding of several competencies featured on the Web Literacy Map (https://webmaker.org/literacy)
  • uses Webmaker tools extensively
  • is familiar with other web literacy and digital making methods and tools
  • has a solid understanding of key learning methods and concepts
  • remixes, or creates teaching kits to help teach learners
  • teaches Mentors how to teach web literacy
  • organizes Webmaker events and helps others organize as well
  • contributes to the strategy and core offerings of Webmaker through testing and working in the open
  • recruits, coaches, and organizes Mentors in their community




(link to Webmaker portfolio)

Date Issued



#supermentor, #mentor, #contribution, #mozilla, #community, #webliteracy, #learning, #education

We’d love your feedback on this, so please do leave a comment below or in the Webmaker Google+ community.

The scrum never stops: building a better workbench for Webmaker


As we head into Q2, let’s build a better “workbench” and online scrum board for Webmaker.

TLDR version:

  • Check out the freshly udpated Webmaker Wiki. It’s one-stop shopping for key roadmaps, planning documents, tickets, and scrums. And will help provide more transparency and co-ordination across teams going forward.
  • It clearly lays out Webmaker’s key components. And how they all fit together. From teaching kits and training to localization, badges, and Maker Party. These will provide the main tracks for our scrum board as we go forward.
  • Shifting to real time production, instead of static documentation. The new wiki is a production document. The main goal is to provide a clear view of *what we’re building now.* Week by week, quarter by quarter. Instead of a static repository for documentation that quickly goes out of date.
  • Project scrum boards. To that end, each individual project page will lead with a virtual scrum board at the top of the page. We’ll embed Bugzilla tickets to do this, and use Bugzilla components and whiteboard tags to do it in a smart, automated way. (If you don’t use Bugzilla, just include links to wherever you’re tracking the work.) Continue reading …

Thimble Recognized as a “Gamechanger” and Wins 2014 ON for Learning Award


We are thrilled to share that Thimble, our code editor for beginners, has been recognized by Common Sense Media as one of the best educational tools online with the 2014 ON for Learning Award. The awards celebrate the year’s best in digital media products designed to educate and engage young people, and have become the most comprehensive tool that parents and teachers rely on for understanding the true educational value of digital media resources.

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 5.37.01 PMThe award is being announced at a ceremony in San Francisco tonight, featuring 50 other educational apps, games and websites signaled out as game changers.

Thimble also received a 5-star rating from Common Sense Media for its educational value — the highest possible rating available from the organization. A few highlights:

  • Engagement – Kids experience the delight of learning to write their own webpages with side-by-side windows that instantly show the effects of their coding tweaks.
  • Learning Approach – Authentic coding practice comes alive through fun, community-generated projects. Whether they learn through guided remixing or start a project from scratch, kids can find the right entry point into web design.
  • Support – Immediate feedback, baked-in help, and a supportive community all help kids persevere and publish their webpages.

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 5.38.15 PM

It’s Webmaker’s goal to help people understand the mechanics, culture and citizenship of the web. We created Thimble, along with X-Ray Goggles and Popcorn Maker, to provide free, open source tools that help educators, technologists, makers, and anyone move from consuming to creating the web, in a way that enables creativity and encourages empowerment.

We’re honored to receive this award from Common Sense Media, and really want to thank our Webmaker community for making Thimble what it is today, and continuously working to help make it better. Whether you playtested the earliest version created by Jess Klein and Atul Varma (remember the Love Bomb?), or watched as Kate Hudson, Scott Downe, Michiel”Pomax” Kamermans, Jon Buckley, Chris DeCairos, Thomas Park and others continued to improve it day by day, you know Thimble has come a long way. And if you provided feedback on an open community call, filed or closed bugs, created or remixed content for others to use and learn and share… we’re celebrating this award with and for you!

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 5.45.14 PMHow to get involved:

Week of win: looking back at Mozilla’s contribution to Open Education Week


Last week was Open Education Week. As part of it, I helped moderate an online discussion on behalf of Mozilla about Open Education and the Open Web.

We provided a new prompt every day in our Webmaker Google+ community and asked for responses via comments, blog posts, or using Mozilla’s Webmaker tools.

You can find the prompts below:

Day 1: http://goo.gl/2cNlCC
Day 2: http://goo.gl/MzpY5D
Day 3: http://goo.gl/yKsXX6
Day 4: http://goo.gl/jTEw8Y
Day 5: http://goo.gl/mgSIse

There were some great contributions, but I’d like to highlight the following in particular:

The Webmaker Google+ community is now over 3,000-strong and a great place to get involved in Mozilla’s role in promoting open, innovation and opportunity on the web.

In addition, if you have any curriculum that teaches web literacy, we’d love you to share it. We want to use the power of Open Education and the Open Web to make the world more web literate.

Will you join us?

Webmaker: An Open Educational Ecosystem (OEE)


Often it’s difficult to get contributions to open projects because some people aren’t quite sure what contribution means or how to go about doing it. Other folks don’t know what “open” means, and thus they don’t know they can contribute at all. Perhaps it’s the nomenclature of “open” that confuses people. Perhaps it’s just an “open” marketing problem.

I want to help people teach the web in an open and participatory way, sharing their processes and ideas online. I was thinking about what a kind of technical training program for the web would look like, and to me, it looked like an open community.

Photo by Doug Belshaw

Our community–a globally diverse group of passionate educators and technologists–believe in the web as a platform for learning, sharing, connecting and making, and they believe that open practice and participation are key elements to becoming a citizen in the digital world. They are eager to spread web literacy in their local contexts, but participating in the global movement means that one needs to navigate through a complex and sometimes confusing ecosystem of digital-human communication.

We’re planning and designing a new training program to give people an easy in to the types of online communication and participation I’m talking about. We want people to experiment and fail forward. We’d like online components to support offline actions and vice versa. We want the experience to be centered around making and connecting around what you make. This is also the reason that we are trying to encourage a peer-to-peer aspect of learning.

Continue reading …