Building version 1.5 of Mozilla’s Web Literacy Map


Alvar Maciel's thinking around representations of the Web Literacy Map at MozFest 2014

Mozilla’s Web Literacy Map constitutes the skills and competencies required to read, write and participate on the web. It currently stands at version 1.1 and a more graphical overview of the competency layer can be found in the Webmaker resources section.


Starting last week we began working with the community on updating the Web Literacy Map to version 1.5. This is the result of a consultation process that initially aimed at a v2.0 but was re-scoped following community input. Find out more about the interviews, survey and calls that were part of that arc on the Mozilla wiki or in this tumblr post. The feeling was that we should double-down on what makes v1.x useful before moving to a v2.0 later in the year.

Some of what we’ll be discussing and working on in the community calls has already been scoped out, while some will be emergent. We’ll definitely be dealing with the following:

  • Deciding whether we want to include ‘levels’ in the map (e.g. Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced)
  • Reviewing the existing skills and competencies (i.e. names/descriptors)
  • Linking to the Mozilla manifesto (where appropriate)
  • Exploring ways to iterate on the visual design of the competency layer

On the first call we focused on the top item in this list – namely whether we should include ‘levels’ in the map. You can listen to the recording and read an overview of the decision we came to here. The consensus was that what might be ‘beginner’ in one context might be ‘advanced’ in another. So we’re not going to be including skills levels in v1.5 of the Web Literacy Map.

Get involved!

Please do join us every Thursday at 4pm UTC for the Web Literacy Map community calls (what time is that for me?). These will run to the end of March, by which time we should have created v1.5. Details of the calls are posted to the Webmaker list, or you can bookmark this wiki page.

In addition to these calls, we’ll almost certainly have ‘half-hour hack’ sessions at the same time on a Monday. These may include re-writing skills/competencies and work on other things that need doing – rather than discussing. Pay attention to the Webmaker list for more details on these!

Can’t make the calls? Please do add your feedback and ideas to the relevant section of the #TeachTheWeb discussion forum!

Image of Alvar Maciel’s notebook at MozFest 2014 CC BY Doug Belshaw

What we’re working on this Heartbeat


Transparency. Agililty. Radical participation. That’s how we want to work on Webmaker this year. We’ve got a long way to go, but we’re building concrete improvements and momentum — every two weeks.

We work mostly in two-week sprints or “Heartbeats.” Here’s the priorities we’ve set together for the current Heartbeat ending January 30.

Questions? Want to get involved? Ask questions in any of the tickets linked below, say hello in #webmaker IRC, or get in touch with @OpenMatt. Continue reading …

Ahead of the game on Obama’s call for broadband


On Wednesday POTUS broke out his iPad and spoke about the critical need to ensure internet access for all in the U.S. As a preview to his State of the Union address, he wants to “clear away the red tape,” and “help communities succeed in our digital economy.”

The President highlighted two cities as models of progress: Kansas City and Chattanooga. Two places that are at the center of Mozilla’s Gigabit Community Fund effort . Through generous support by the National Science Foundation, this fund provides grants and resources for local innovators exploring the use of next-generation gigabit technologies in Kansas City and Chattanooga and are emerging as active communities of practice.

In 2014, Mozilla’s Gigabit Community Fund invested in 17 educational projects that were piloted in more than 40 learning spaces. On the ground, these projects leverage the network for learning in classrooms and other spaces across communities, put next-generation technology into the hands of learners and push innovation forward while also building critical web literacy capacity among our teachers, informal educators and students. All of this leads to improved connected learning experiences, in and out of the classroom, by providing young people and adults with skills to explore, build and collaborate on the web in meaningful ways.

Access Isn’t Enough
The President is absolutely on target with pushing broadband access for all. However, it’s only one part of the success equation that needs to ensure that all people have access to digital literacy. Through our work with the Gigabit Community Fund, our Hive Learning Networks and Webmaker, we are committed to combining access to technology with skills that are integral to modern society: the ability to read, write and participate in the digital world.

One of the goals of Mozilla’s literacy efforts is to grow the scope and scale of our education and empowerment efforts. To reach more people. We also want to increase the diversity of how people learn with Mozilla: building opportunities for people to get together to learn, hack, invent and innovate in cities on every corner of the planet. We need to take the seeds of what is being started in places like Chattanooga and Kansas City and bring it to more people in more places.

Join Us
It’s up to us to take the next step. To make sure all the citizens of the web have the skills they need to help shape the future of the web. To learn more about our work in education on next-gen networks, visit the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund blog or join the conversation on twitter @MozillaGigabit

Your Stories from MozFest 2014’s Community Building track


This is a guest post from Beatrice Martini (of and Bekka Kahn (of The Open Coalition), Community Building track wranglers from MozFest 2014.

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 10.40.33 AMThis year, MozFest hosted the first-ever Community Building track for participants. Wrangled by Beatrice Martini and Bekka Kahn, and rocked by a phenomenal team of facilitators, this track explored a wide variety of aspects of how to build communities, from what defines a community, to how to gather your crowd, finding funding, understanding how to include open working practices in your community’s day-to-day activity.  We were blown away by how many people joined our sessions, bringing a wealth of perspectives, experience, insights and opinions. We’ve collected a couple of their stories here – we hope they make you feel as inspired as we are to continue building powerful communities on the Web.

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 10.41.50 AMName: Alifiyah Ganijee

Session: Join! Types of diversity and inclusion

Twitter or Website: @alifyaganijee | @mozillamombasa | @MombasaTech |

What did you learn: I learnt that cultural diversity is a common and global challenge and that it is the simple perspective towards certain issues that can help us collectively overcome the challenge.  On the other hand, what might work in one country may not work in another it’s very important to study one’s community and identify what may work best and then give it a shot! It is equally crucial to appreciate people’s thoughts. The overall objective is to be able to fix the puzzle :)

What would you like to do next: I look forward to actualize some of the ideas shared within the groups on how to adopt a vibrant and culturally diverse community. I would also like to stay connected with the entire MozFestCB team to share my learning outcomes and experiences as time goes by and thus build a better, more connected, more diverse and stronger community.

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 10.42.38 AMSession: Join! Types of diversity and inclusion

Name: Cynthia “Arty” Ng

Twitter or Website: @TheRealArty

What is your project about: Accessibility (as part of the Diversity and Inclusion session)

What did you learn or make : We had a great discussion during the session about the different aspects to consider including online vs. offline, different types of disabilities, and variety of technology (both software and hardware). One of the major points that came up was that inclusion has such a large scope that it seems almost impossible to take everything into account, but that one method might be to attempt to design at a broader level to consider all types of diversity by thinking about universal design or universal usability.

What would you like to do next: I would love to create or contribute to a list of resources, especially around web based or online development.

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 10.44.03 AMName: Faye Tandog

Session: Student Involvement in Mozilla Communities

Twitter or Website: @fayetandog,

What is your project about: Student Involvement in Mozilla Communities

What did you learn or make (include details):

We have gathered feedback on how we can improve the FSA program and make Mozilla communities more interesting for students.

What would you like to do next:

I would like to focus on raising awareness first on the existence of Mozilla communities (as apparently, people still perceive Mozilla as simply another for-profit tech company), develop recruitment programs to spread the word to students and create programs to keep student contributors empowered in the community.

Name: Galaxy Kadiyala

Session: Student Involvement in Mozilla Communities

Twitter: @GalaxyK


What did you learn? Ilearnt about different community practices from the participants. Each of them had a different perspective regarding involvement of students in communities in general. An interesting find is that most of them won’t get involved because they think that they do not have much knowledge about the project/community.

What would you like to do next: We’ll be making use of the feedback in the Firefox Student Ambassador program. This program has vast number of students from different countries and think we can improve the program in a much more *easy to get involved* way.

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 10.44.48 AMName: Carl Ruppin

Session: Walking the talk – How to work open

Twitter or Website: @p2pu

What did you learn? ‘Open’ means quite different things when applied to governance or work-practices .  Working ‘openly’ tends to mean either working transparently or making decisions collaboratively which are two different things. Both are hard to implement and apply consistently across an organization, particularly one with many different sub-communities, like tech vs non-tech, managers vs staffers, open literati vs newcomers to the world of open etc. Making it work requires  discussion and building processes in advance, which can be hard to do.

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 10.45.37 AM

Name: Jessica Kaminsky

Session: Using a Spectrogram for Stakeholder Mapping and Power Analysis

Twitter or Website: @jesskaminsky and @hear_me_project

What is your project about:  An initiative of the CREATE Lab at Carnegie Mellon University, Hear Me asks students to contribute their voices to meaningful conversations through media-making projects. Hear Me’s platform connects student voices to audiences to inform policies and practices and raise awareness around youth issues.

What did you learn or make? I worked with Mikva Challenge ( to create a stakeholder map on a project about implementing restorative justice practices in Chicago Public Schools.  The workshop helped us identify stakeholders and other interested parties, and discuss the power relationships between these groups.  We created a spectrogram that visualized these relationships. The session also covered the different engagement tactics that we should use for each stakeholder based on where they were within the spectrogram.

What would you like to do next:  I’d like to continue to work with Mikva Challenge to figure out how to get more schools to implement restorative justice practices, in Chicago and beyond!  I would also like to unify efforts with groups like Mikva to challenge policies, like restorative justice practices, at the local and national level.


Want to know more about the Community Building track? Check out the track’s documentation here!

Also, the Open Coalition is happy to host our upcoming conversations – join the mailing list to stay in touch!

10 Amazing Makes from 2014


2014 has been a record setting year for making and learning in the Webmaker community. People from all over the world learned new skills by creating on the web and sharing with friends and family. We didn’t have space to list all of the creations that blew us away this year, but here are 10 makes that we felt really captured the creativity and spirit of 2014:

10. This Business Card thimble make from @tanay1337 helped us make and personalize our own business cards while teaching us HTML and CSS.

9. We saw so many amazing event reports from Maker Party this year, we particularly loved the pictures and videos in this one from Hive NYC’s Make and Mingle. Screen Shot 2014-12-29 at 10.38.17 AM

8. Making music videos with Popcorn was all the rage this year, we particularly liked this funny compilation by @tokyogetter: No! The Video.

7. This creative Foxy invitation from @aurorafirefoxclub to their Maker Party in India, made us smile and got us excited for their event.

6. We really enjoyed re-living our favorite Harry Potter moments through this gif music video made with Popcorn by @onewhoneversleeps.

5. Net Neutrality was an important topic in 2014. It made us think about preserving the openness of the web and inspired makes like this Net Neutrality poster from @shelleyvadams.

4. We loved reading about international events like this Womoz Warnagal event report by @ajay-jogawath from Mozilla Club Warangal and Mozilla India.

Screen Shot 2014-12-29 at 10.34.28 AM3. We had a lot of fun with the new Webmaker tool, Appmaker, this year and especially enjoyed remixing Friendly Fire, an app by @mcbeckster that lets you keep score of your fighting pets.

2. Tech Girls made us laugh when they remixed this two-sided holiday card as part of the Hour of Code.

1. MozFest 2014 brought us together as a community and inspired us to make new things. Lots of great makes came out of MozFest but Appmaker this Zombie Adventure Game by @techkim took the cake. Try it out!

Find even more makes to inspire you and get you excited for making and learning in 2015 in The Gallery.

Teaching And Learning In 2014, As Told By Our Community


As the year comes to a close, we’re feeling extremely grateful for the many individuals who have been able to learn, teach others and contribute to our tools, products and curriculum in 2014. Whether it was on their own, in small groups or at large events; people from all around the world stood up and showed their support for a web literate universe.

We recently asked community members to share their stories on how they taught web literacy in 2014 and their responses made us proud to be apart of this movement with such an amazing group of people. Below are some of the responses, as told by each individual. If you have a story to share, leave it in the comments for others to read!

We saw individuals learning and teaching basic literacy for the first time with family members, educators, and classmates.


“At our Maker Party we worked together with a group of learners to share  information on how to keep kids safe on line by making a meme on Thimble  and publishing an online leaflet – “Use SafeNetwork” in various community languages including English, Bengali and Somal.”


“I thought my parents how to use popcorn by showing them what I learned  in  class which was  awesome!! I showed them how to download pictures and put them in an  order so that you can form a video I also showed them how create pop up texts and titles.”


“I co-led a Webmaker training on 11/18/14 for over 45 afterschool program staff for the PASE Explorers program, to give them the tools and skills  to teach the youth they work with to build neighborhood websites. We  taught X-ray goggles using this template that I remixed and Thimble, using these templates with tutorials that I remixed. “


“One of my friends from school was interested in how HTML worked. I tried to explain it to him and he got it for the most part but he still didn’t understand. The next day, we were both in the library so I whipped out the X-ray goggles and gave him a lesson in HTML. We changed pictures, colors, and links until our abilities were equal. By the end of the hour, we had turned our school webpage into Pyroland.”


“I have taught my friends to understand the process of P2P sharing and the  dangers, benefits, and precautions that come from them. I am only 14  and have allowed others online to follow in my footsteps to understand  the fundamentals of technology to begin teaching others in my legacy. I  am proud to have learned computer and internet technology and have  become the internet literate person I am today.”


There was resounding success with our networks where Mozilla networks, Hive Learning Networks, Science Lab, Open News and our partner networks have seen tremendous growth and impact.


“Hosted an event at Toronto City Hall with Hive Toronto for 120 school age children from across the City to participate in webmaker/maker activities such as Thimble,  HTML coding, toy hacking and 3D printing. The event was a great success! As a result, City of Toronto departments such as Parks, Forestry and Library have continue to explore and expand their digital literacy/making programming with specific strategies.”


I took part in the Europe  Code Week initiative, as ambassador and  mentor. The  biggest take-away  from the whole  organizing-teaching-mentoring-providing  support frenzy  was the  get-together feeling, the way parents worked  together with  their kids  in a new family activity and the eagerness to  take coding to  the next  level :-)”


“I’m  helping the community  of webmakers in Brasil grow strong. And to do that I’m organizing Reps events and doing talks about the importance of  Web Literacy. I also do  hackjams to teach how to make cool things with a little bit of HTML and CSS using Thimble, and how to make awesome  videos with Popcorn Maker. Here in my hometown I do regulary hackjams at  UNAERP University every Saturday.


The first global Mozilla Science Lab sprint happened! Over 22 cities were represented in the sprint (18 official sites with  a number of other individuals joining us virtually) for two jam-packed days of round-the-clock sprinting on tools, lesson materials and  resources for open science. It was a fantastic way of uniting the open  research community around the world to collaborate on projects that  further science on the web.


Towards a new version of the Web Literacy Map


Visualization of WebLitMap by Sabrina Ng

Image from a concept sketch by Sabrina Ng

The Web Literacy Map details the skills and competencies that the Mozilla community believe are required to read, write and participate on the web. It can be seen in visual form in the Webmaker resources section.

Earlier this year we began work on what we termed ‘Web Literacy Map v2.0′. We interviewed stakeholders, ran a survey, collaborated in sessions at MozFest, and hosted a series of seven community calls. This post is to share the outcome of that process. Everything related to this process can be found on the Mozilla wiki.

The five proposals

From the stakeholder interviews we came up with 21 emerging themes, boiled down to five proposals for the community survey. We discussed the results of the survey and made the decisions listed below during the community calls.

Proposal 1 – “I believe the Web Literacy Map should explicitly reference the Mozilla manifesto.”
We decided that we should reference the Mozilla Manifesto in the introduction to the Web Literacy Map, and link to the particular relevant principles where appropriate.

Proposal 2 –  “I believe the three strands should be renamed ‘Reading’, ‘Writing’ and ‘Participating’.”
We decided not to make a decision relating to this proposal for the time being. There are other, related, issues that we need to resolve. For example: who should we prioritise in terms of audience for Web Literacy Map v2.0?

Proposal 3 –  “I believe the Web Literacy Map should look more like a ‘map’.”
(not enough people on the call to make a decision)

Proposal 4 – “I believe that concepts such as ‘Mobile’, ‘Identity’, and ‘Protecting’ should be represented as cross-cutting themes in the Web Literacy Map.”
We decided that:

  • our audience is teachers and learners in the upcoming Web Literacy Clubs
  • we’re not going to include cross-cutting themes in the map itself (the text), but explore them in representations of the map (the visuals)

Proposal 5 –  “I believe a ‘remix’ button should allow me to remix the Web Literacy Map for my community and context.”
We decided that we shouldn’t explicitly encourage remixing of the Web Literacy Map itself, but encourage remixing of the curriculum layer for Web Literacy Clubs.

Re-scoping our efforts to v1.5

As a result of this process we have decided to iterate towards a v1.5 of the Web Literacy Map in the first half of 2015. We can then explore v2.0.

Planned updates for v1.5 and/or v2.0 include:

  1. Making links to the Mozilla Manifesto (where appropriate)
  2. Improving supporting material to provide context
  3. Reviewing and updating competencies and skills (add, remove, rename, merge)
  4. Shifting the Web Literacy Map towards being slightly more ‘opinionated’ (e.g. “the skills and competencies required to read, write and participate on the open web”)
  5. Exploring other (multiple) ways to represent the skills, competencies, and strands

Get involved!

We’ll be hosting community calls and hack sessions in 2015 to get v1.5 out of the door as soon as possible. This process has been extremely useful to allow us to hit the ground running in the new year.

Timings of the sessions are yet to be decided as we’ll be polling the community in the first week back after the holidays. There are several ways you can keep up-to-date and get involved:

Make the web: start with an Hour of Code


Kenya - November 2014

Making the web in Kenya. Photo Credit: Laura de Reynal

For the second year in a row, Webmaker and Hive Learning Networks will be participating in the largest learning event in history–the Hour of Code, running from Dec. 8-14, 2014. launched this global campaign in 2013, to align with Computer Science Education Week, and to demystify code and show that anyone can learn the basics. Last year, 15 million students participated, and the campaign was supported by education and technology leaders, celebrities and even teachers in your hometown. This year, the goal is to reach 100 million students, to introduce them to an hour of computer science as a means to helping them become better problem-solvers and logistical thinkers, and to explore new outlets for creativity.

This is a chance to be part of something big. Whether in classrooms, afterschool programs, or at home with friends, you can achieve and learn a lot in one hour.

Webmaker Hour of Code Activity

We put together a few fun activities that you can do with others to celebrate the Hour of Code this year. Try coding your first app using local weather data, or remixing your local newspaper’s website. No previous coding experience is required–all you need are a computer, access to the web, and some eager learners (note these activities may be best for ages 8 and up).

In addition to helping to build hard skills like HTML, CSS, JavaScript and app development, these activities have other important skills baked in–like critical thinking, problem-solving and collaboration. It’s this combination that results in a fun learning experience, especially important when introducing new concepts.

Hour of Code in your Hometown
With millions of people participating in this year’s Hour of Code campaign, there are sure to be some events happening near you. These could be great opportunities to learn new skills while also meeting new people, and being introduced to ongoing programs offered in schools, at libraries and other community centers in your hometown.

Continue reading …

Community Literacies #5, India edition: Club recipes, IRC parties and trains that teach!


Editor’s Note: Community Literacies is a series about the Webmaker community’s finest teaching kits and learning resources around the world, and the user stories that bring them to life. Have something to share? Get in touch with @codekat.

Community-made curriculum, from Africa to India

In the last few issues of this series, we explored the most inspiring teaching materials that have come out of Maker Parties and other community gatherings around the world this summer. Most recently, we looked at curriculum made in Africa, the United Kingdom and the USA. And this time, we’re heading to the beautiful land of India!

We’ll start by looking at a Webmaker Club recipe made by a talented group of Mozillians in Hyderabad. We’ll fly to Sathyabama University to learn about a Webmaker Open Online Train the Trainer (WOOTT) activity, and we’ll learn how to create our own digital business cards in Bapatla. We’ll finish our time together by learning about a Net Neutrality for Newbies teaching kit built from an Indian perspective, and a fun train game accompanied by an even more fun card generator from New Delhi that anyone can use to learn HTML. Namaste!

Image thanks to Mozilla Club Hyderabad

Continue reading …