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Updates from the edge

Last week I was off work at a family event, and I was disappointed because I thought that maybe I wasn’t getting the rest I needed from a week off of work. Apparently, social stress and work stress are different. This week when I feel like I’ve been extremely productive and managed to make a bunch of things. First off, I was pleased to see that while I was away the work on the DRM and Net Neutrality Trainings launching July 28th had started, and that the team creating that content is excited about the possibilities. There’s still loads to be done, so if those topics interest you and you want to help out, there are plenty of opportunities. [caption id=”” align=”alignright” width=”311”] My brain was doing this all week. via Giphy[/caption] I collaborated with Doug to figure out the nuances of Webmaker Training and what it means for counting contribution towards the Mozilla project. I collected loads of data and wrote a couple of wiki pages that fully unpack the training that took place from May 12th June 8th. This debrief page talks about things went right, things went wrong and some ideas for improvement. This page explores how training is different from other types of programs in terms of how it relates to a contribution to the Mozilla project. Another thing that I accomplish this week was taking a good deep dive into MDN’s new Learning Zone that they’re putting together. I’m excited about this work because I think that the MDN community and Webmaker community have a lot of overlap. We can help each other in learning social and technical skills around the web, and we can help each other #TeachTheWeb too. I’d like to create more bridges, and the Learning Zone work is a step in that direction. The MDN is beginning to create articles and Makes that relate to the Web Literacy Map. They’re also starting to think about Thimble, Popcorn and X-ray goggles Makes that support active learning. They’re planning on making tutorials and other fun things for our community to remix or use to #TeachTheWeb. I’ve also just been added to an email chain about the new Connected Learning Course that is going to be coming out in September. I’m looking forward to exploring cMOOC challenges and spinning ideas about blended learning along with the team putting together this new experience designed to create better ties between academic classrooms and online learning initiatives. For more info on what I do every week, you can always check out my Weeknotes, and I’m all over the web, so get in touch!

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:For Librarians

The four modules of Webmaker Training are somewhat non-specific. They are mainly designed to be an on-ramp for people who don’t have much experience with trying to #TeachTheWeb or people who are new to our community and the idea of Connected Learning. The four modules are the basics of what we as a community care about and why. We’ve tried to gather information that is useful when people are beginning to think about their involvement in the Mozilla community and in Maker Party, and we’ve tried to help people develop digital skills by prompting them to make using free and open tools. Since we have a wide reaching and global community, we have lots of different interests to think about. With Webmaker Training, I feel like we’ve found a model that can work for any interest, so I’m excited to see if I’m right.

Enter the Librarian.

[caption id=”” align=”alignright” width=”200”] made for TV gone B Movie Franchise![/caption] In the fall, we will be running Webmaker Training: For Librarians as our first specific interest group. In thinking about the specific learning modules librarians would need, I felt like I need a little bit of backup. So I used me some connected networking skills and I reached out to some Mozillians who know libraries and librarians*.

Notes about this audience

1. Jennie said that one of her favorite quotes from the “sleep cell librarian crew” in our community was
“Librarians are trained by vendors.”
She explained that it’s normally proprietary software that ends up in libraries and, thus, librarians are helping people use that stuff. Solution 1: We’re a “vendor”, our software is the Web. Bam. 2. It was also pointed out to me that whether or not a librarian can justify his participation in #TeachTheWeb to a library director will determine if the modules are successful or not. Solution 2: Everything is open and free. I guess that most libraries in N. America are members of the ALA, but their e-learning resources are…uh…not free. Also, there’s not much in the way of information literacy or digital making in their e-learning catalog, so programs like Webmaker Training can augment. I don’t really know what a library director is looking for, but libraries are the perfect establishments for things like Maker Parties, digital skills workshops, web - ahem - literacy work. 3. There is a huge age gap in librarians, so there’s also a huge skill gap when it comes to technology. Solution 3: Karen suggested facilitating connections between generations, and I like this idea. I also think that modules for developing specific technical skills are a good idea. 4. There’s a difference between academic vs public libraries. [caption id=”” align=”alignnone” width=”300”] Public[/caption] [caption id=”” align=”alignright” width=”291”] Academic[/caption] Solution 4: I think we can solve this with modularity. Kaitlin and Greg over at the Mozilla Science Lab and Software Carpentry have been working with academic research librarians, so we have a jumping off place for things like data skills, indexing, unix, etc. I mean, look at these lessons. 5. There’s a difference between urban vs rural libraries. Solution 5: Oh yeah, I know! What can a rural librarian teach an urban librarian and vice versa? How does technology play a part in each library? What resources do libraries need? Let’s MAKE them together! 6. Librarians have some of the pedagogy stuff, so we need to have a stronger focus on the technical details. Solution 6: That aligns with my sense that we need some smaller more focused “skill” modules ;) It was also mentioned that Webinars, videos and anything people can consume at work world be helpful, so I’m thinking popcorn videos should make their way to http://ift.tt/PKLewa 7. This group needs to understand how they can use this network and why it’s valuable to them. Solution 7: This is a discussion we should have together, but we have lots of case studies we can put together in an easily digestible format. Webpage to ebook anyone?

Digestion.

I’ve had quite a bit to think about in terms of how :For Librarians can fit into overarching visions of what Webmaker Training is or should become. These are my initial thoughts after digesting everything the “Mozillarians” had to say. I’d appreciate it if you collaborate with me on this by giving feedback, adding thoughts, curating content, donating ideas for good make prompts and otherwise help me push :For Librarians further.

Ideas for NEW modules

  1. Logistics (how to organize a Webmaker event / Maker Party - could be an education remix of the Event kits!), maintaining and developing free public spaces (finding funding and programming opportunities, understanding distribution).
  2. Building Online Networks (setting up a blog, HTML basics, online networking)
  3. Privacy and Security for Public Spaces (How to make online anonymity default, 3rd party cookies, https, do not track, Lightbeam)

Ideas for Building :For Librarians

As I said, we have lots of amazing baseline content. We don’t need an entirely new Building module, we need learning activities that would be valuable to lots of librarians. So what does each librarian want to make that would immediately benefit his/her library? A couple ideas for make prompts:
  • Make your typical learner profile (who are your largest group of patrons? Marginalized teens? Seniors? Children?)
  • Teaching Kit for Computer Basics (click, double click). I found this resource, got excited about what the community could do with it.
  • Top ten programs at your library
  • Top ten problems your library has
  • Teaching Kit for Searching (Especially in North America, library patrons are often elderly or disadvantaged who need basic training in everyday internet usage. Librarians are teaching people how to find health info, filing taxes, etc. How can we teach those basic skills in a way that people to keep coming to the library to level up?)
  • What else? Help!

Discourse discussions we should have

  • Best practices for encouraging critical literacies Honest and Open communication; (Exploring - could be based on typical learner profile) Community building (Connecting - could be based on “top ten programs”)
So that’s where I am in my :For Librarians thinking. What do you think? Leave a comment, or better yet, join the discussion. * Thanks to Emily, Jennie, Kaitlin and Karen for brain dumping for me, and to the folks feeding me ideas in email ;)
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This Week in Webmaker Training: Building

Last week, we launched a new online learning experience, Webmaker Training, and you can see how that first week went here. This week in Webmaker Training we concentrated on building open educational resources. We used the Webmaker Teaching Kits to document activity ideas and learning objectives for teaching the skills and competencies on the Web Literacy Map. [caption id=”” align=”alignnone” width=”615”] via azharfeder in Webmaker Training[/caption] Participating in this kind of open, online learning experience is like learning to ride a bicycle. It might be difficult to get used to how this thing works and to stay on it, but once you’ve learned to ride, there are endless possibilities of places to go and people to ride with.

We are making interesting things:

And having interesting discussions:

It’s never too late

Come collaborate and make things with this engaged community. We all have something to teach and something to learn, so join us now in Webmaker Training! You can see all the live sessions on the calendar and schedule your own by announcing your topic in the Live Sessions category in the #TeachTheWeb discussion forum. [caption id=”” align=”alignnone” width=”196”] via Maha4Learning and bestgifever.com[/caption]

Here’s how YOU can participate:

You can join in any time to ask questions, provide feedback and have fun learning and making with the entire community. Next week, we’ll talk about facilitating participatory learning experiences and playtesting our events. Thanks to all the participants, I’m loving teaching and learning alongside you!
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This Week in Webmaker Training: Exploring

Connected Learning Graphic from http://clalliance.org/

Over at Webmaker Training we’re working together to learn how to #TeachTheWeb. On Monday, May 12th, we launched the first course on Exploring the methodologies behind Webmaker – including Making as Learning, Connected Learning and the Open Web.

This is how YOU can participate:

[caption id=”” align=”alignnone” width=”500”] how to participate in Webmaker Training[/caption]

Here’s how others are participating

I strongly encourage you to go check it out. Here’s some interesting things that have been happening: People have been stepping up and planning live sessions. We have video live sessions and Twitter chats scheduled on the calendar, including: You can see all the live sessions on the calendar and schedule your own by announcing your topic in the Live Sessions category in the #TeachTheWeb Discussion forum. This morning Doug and I were pleased to find that of the topics that emerged organically in the Discussion, many reflected the actual Make prompts from the Exploring module. You can see these make prompts here, and be sure to continue submitting your makes and thoughts! There are a lot of thoughtful interactions happening inside the #TeachTheWeb discussion: [caption id=”” align=”alignnone” width=”420”] Casual Awesomeness via Doug Belshaw and giphy.com[/caption] You can join in any time to ask questions, give feedback and have fun learning and making with the entire community. Next week, we’ll start building open educational resources in a collaborative fashion and working on giving each other constructive criticism. It’s been a great week, looking forward to MORE!!
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Webmaker Training Starts May 12th!

Join our free, online Webmaker Training!

This learning experience is all about connection. It is about connecting with other people who are passionate about spreading digital and web literacies. It is the interaction with the people around you that will make this a successful learning experience. Webmaker Training is meant to be a social collaboration, rather than a solo deep dive into content.

There are four modules, think of them as separate courses, to help people master the theory behind Webmaker, the Webmaker tools and curriculum, the art of participatory learning, and the technical and social skills necessary to collaborate and work in the open.

Each module will be facilitated by Webmaker and P2PU for a week, but the fun never stops! You can participate however you wish and receive notices only for the module(s) you’re interested in. In the end, Webmaker Training is what you make of it!

Join us LIVE:

  • Each week we will host a Twitter Chat using #teachtheweb.
  • Each week we will host a HOMAGO session that will be broadcast live and archived on YouTube.
  • Each week will use a large section of the TeachTheWeb call to discuss the content and concepts.

 Webmaker Training:

  • Exploring Module: Starting May 12th and facilitated until May 18th
    Learn about the theoretical frameworks and pedagogies (teaching methods) behind Webmaker. This module helps you understand the web as an ecosystem and why an open web is so important
  • Building Module: Starting May 19th and facilitated until May 25th
    Develop open educational resources that embed web literacy and making skills with other topics, such as history or biology (or that you might already be teaching). Using open practices, you’ll make learning materials that are relevant, free and designed for others to use and remix.
  • Facilitating Module: Starting May 26th and facilitated until June 1st
    Put theory into practice. In this module, you’ll learn how to use open and participatory learning techniques to teach digital and web literacy skills in your classroom, during a workshop or at an event.
  • Connecting Module: Starting June 2nd and facilitated until June 8th
    Amplify your work and reach more people by making connections in your local community as well as within Webmaker’s global community. In this module, you’ll learn how building relationships can help you achieve greater impact.

You can sign up here, and choose the module(s) you want to participate in!

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Training with Friends

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.

The NCS has been great to work with

I expect the young people who participate in the NCS Community are amazing as well. The partnership started when one of our Sr Directors, the fantastic Paula Le Dieu, opened a conversation with some folks at the NCS to explain that Mozilla isn’t just a technology company, and the Web is not just a delivery mechanism for content. She talked to them about what it truly means to be part of the Open Community and our values resonated. We were asked if we could teach some of the values and skills around openness and web literacy while overlapping with NCS values around social action, personal responsibility and leadership. Spoiler Alert: Yeah, we totally can and will!

I’m truly excited to share what I love about the open source community with the NCS Digital Champions, while helping them level up their social and technical skills. I’m excited to hear their ideas, push them to think bigger, and introduce them to the support networks on the web. I’m excited to learn from them.

As an educator, I view the goals of this partnership (and future partnerships centered on Training) as being less about specific skills and more about big brained theories of education that say things like “You are educated when you can confidently and empathetically participate in society and the world.

The Digital Champions will help us grow

Last year, the Training Days graduates and the Teach the Web participants ran hundreds and hundreds of events, spreading Webmaker and digital skills. Our community’s honesty, participation and drive has made Webmaker what it is today. The 42 NCS Digital Champions are committing to running their own Maker Parties later this year. They’re also committing to spreading web literacy within their local communities and among their peers in the NCS community.

We’ll be inviting them to become mentors within our online training initiatives. In May, we’ll be inviting any and every one to participate in an online learning experience that will help you teach the web and become part of the open community. I’m hoping that this weekend seeds enough interest for the NCS Digital Champions to want to play around with the new and improved Training content and discussion platform*.

It’s going to be fun!

People who know me, know that I don’t really get invested in things that don’t entertain me. One of the reasons I love teaching is because I think it’s fun. It’s fun to watch people learn, see what people make, share ideas and talk about stuff. I even think it’s fun to watch myself fail at relating to people. It’s fun to learn about myself, other people, the world, technology…Our agenda has random, fun activities (ahem) that are designed to get people moving, thinking and growing. I’m enthusiastic about what I do, and enthusiasm is contagious. So, yeah, it’s going to be fun for everyone involved.

All of this means more people will become web literate, more people will spread openness, more people will champion the values we have.

*If YOU’RE interested in helping made the online components of Webmaker Training better, help us test them!

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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. In any case, my suspicion has been that in order to activate people to teach the web, Mozilla would need to help people learn how to participate in an open community. Connecting to a specific community online requires a certain…persistence. There are also social skills at play that weren’t necessarily encouraged in our formal school systems. [caption id=”” align=”alignnone” width=”500”] photo by Doug Belshaw[/caption] It isn’t necessarily that I think people don’t know how to teach or even that they didn’t know how to teach digital skills, it’s just that in order to be intentional about teaching the skills and competencies that make up the Web Literacy Map, people need to understand concepts that underpin all of the work that we do. People also need to understand how to use web technologies in support of openness, and those two things together are, perhaps, more complicated than they sound. I want to help people teach the web in an open and participatory way, which means that process would have to be opened up. 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. Our people - 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. Our community members 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. [caption id=”” align=”alignnone” width=”500”] TeachTheWeb MOOC was an online prototype we ran last year. Click the picture to learn more about it![/caption] Our Training program is designed to give people an easy in to the types of online communication and participation I’m talking about. We want to design a way for people to experiment and fail forward. We’d like the online component to support the offline actions and vice versa. This is the reason that everything in Webmaker Training is optional and that it’s all centered around making and connecting around what you make. This is also the reason that we are trying to encourage the peer to peer aspect of learning. To help us do that, Mozilla is once again partnering up with P2PU, a group of incredible connected educators who are helping bake peer to peer interaction into the Webmaker Training content. Together, we’re working on a Training platform and program that will make it easy for anyone to jump in and see what the Webmaker community is making to support learning web competencies. We’re running ongoing feedback and testing sessions through this open Wiki and by talking about this program in the Teach the Web Community Calls. To get involved, you can join our community calls or post your interest to any one of our monitored channels (#teachtheweb, #makerparty, @webmaker, the G+ Group, the Webmaker Newsgroup…). And if those options don’t appeal to you, you can send me an email and I’ll help you get started! I see a lot of potential in the modular, remixable way we’re designing our trainings to be. We’re building the content hosting platform using GitHub Pages, which will make it easy for us to bake in YOUR feedback early and often. It also means that anyone can contribute to Webmaker Trainings by sending a pull request. You can already build teaching kits for your specific organization or audience, and in the future, you’ll be able to build entire courses via remix. Using GitHub pages will allow us to build modules (e.g. courses) so that enthusiastic community members and partner organizations can remix them to run modified versions. Imagine if you could easily copy a single module, remix it to add your own lens, branding or curriculum and publish it. Then imagine that that action earned you a badge. Ideally, you will be able to save your new module to your Webmaker Profile, thereby giving you a URL where your module exists. When this functionality is working, we’ll have an Open Educational Ecosystem (OEE, I just made up a new term!) that has learner-focused resources (starter makes), full scale lesson plans for in the classroom (Teaching Kits), and a courseware platform (Training Modules) for online learning. And the icing on the cake? It’s all remixable, it’s all truly open and it’s all built with the Webmaker Community. We’d love to know what you think about this idea, so leave a comment or get in touch using the channels listed above!
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Webmaker Training: Why Modular?

I’m a serial MOOC dropout. My most recent dropout experience (though I keep saying I’m going to go back) is from Harvard’s CS50 course. I never took Computer Science, I just taught myself how to make the web. I had a knack for it, I accessed and consumed thousands of articles and tutorials and tidbits about CSS and Javascript and server stuff. A month or so ago, Harvard launched the 2014 version of it’s famous CS50 (which is basically computer science 101) MOOC, and I eagerly went through the intro videos/readings and even completed all of Problem Set 0. I submitted it, and I filled out a survey wherein I said
“I intend to take the entire course, complete all 12 problem sets and earn the CS50 Certificate from Harvard University.”
I haven’t been back. It took me about 6 hours to complete the intro and first project. Mainly because I spent a lot of time falling in love with Scratch, another thing that I’d had in my peripheral but never actually learned. I skipped a couple years of school because I got bored and wanted my freedom ASAP. I went to 5 universities before I earned my first degree. In my personal learning experience, I’ve found that my idiosyncrasies, my culture, my interests, my history, and more have led me down learning pathways so individual it’s difficult to imagine that there’s someone out there who is following the same path. If you combine that understanding with the universe of information on the web and try to imagine designing the perfect learning pathways for someone else, what you have is a damn near impossible task. [caption id=”” align=”alignright” width=”250”] Modular Origami. Image Credit Ardonik[/caption] All of these reflections have played into the work I do at Mozilla. These thoughts have influenced the learning design Teach the Web stuff for a while now. The vast majority of my work in education has been about constructing and testing modular learning models, and it all comes back to my understanding of my own learning pathways and the crazy chaos that is the World Wide Web. With the new training piece of what we’re doing, we have another chance to provide modularity as a method for individual growth. In the Mozilla community, we have people who have been throwing Mozilla branded events for years. They know how to get a venue and invite people to attend. They know how to file a bug to request swag and remix Mozilla slide decks. They know how to present information. What they might not know is how to throw a Maker Party. Maker Party isn’t just a brand, it’s an event that uses participatory pedagogies to help participants learn while they interact and make tangible things. Often, we see people in our community who are branding their events Maker Party, but not actually making or partying. Then there are people who are adept at using progressive pedagogies and interests to spur learning. There are educators who throw Maker Parties for 45 minutes during 3rd period every single week day, but they don’t consider their endeavors part of this global movement. They don’t see themselves as Webmakers, or maybe they just don’t know how to plug into the global community. There are people floating on the peripherals, all we have to do is pull them in. In order to build a training program that speaks to a great many potential Mozilla contributors, we have to assume that each person has varying skills and interests, and we have to help them learn how to teach the web in ways that speak to them. [caption id=”” align=”alignright” width=”250”] the structure of the teach the web training content[/caption] The new training program will begin by addressing the theory and practicalities behind how you teach the web and get involved with the Webmaker community. It will expand to help level up different skills for people who are already contributing. We’ll organize the training content in a way that allows people to come and learn the thing they want without forcing people to focus in on things they’re not interested in. Technical and social skill building is pulled throughout, whether you’re interested in learning about the educational theory behind Webmaker or if you want to learn more about the practical work of event organizing. You don’t have to know theory to teach, but understanding theory can make you a better teacher. You don’t have to be good at pitching projects to get funding, but understanding how to talk to a potential funder can improve your pitches. You don’t have to share online to participate in the global community, but airfare will get pretty expensive :P Learners will make, explore, communicate. And when the training is not applicable enough to a specific community due to cultural, social, or linguistic differences, we’ll encourage folks to read, rip and remix those parts of the training that the local community is most in need of. The global community will help individual local communities redesign pieces of the training to speak to their growing audiences. The vision is complex, but the execution doesn’t have to be. The long and short of it is, we don’t all need the same lessons to learn how to contribute to the global movement of digital and web literacy. We all have different things to contribute, and a good training program is one that allows people to focus on the pieces they want to contribute to and customize experiences for their individual learners. It’s my firm belief that this kind of modularity leads to individual as well as organizational growth. It allows us to move more quickly, iterate and innovate systematically, analyze more succinctly and, best of all, it allows us to put learners in control of their own learning.
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