In the last few months I have been following and listening to some amazing groups of people who are working at the Mozilla Foundation on the Webmaker project..
And before I continue, - I realise that I have never learnt the art of the short post. But in my defence I don't usually post up here that often, but at the moment that is partly because I am also working on an open education resources mapping project, but right now there is a lot to shout about going on in the world of Mozilla.
It is hard to describe this project without getting really excited as I am both engaged in literacy, languages and at the same time open education as well. The goal of this project is nothing less than, to quote Mozilla’s page breifly:
“To help millions of people move from using the web to making the web. As part of Mozilla’s non-profit mission, we want to help the world increase their understanding of the web, take greater control of their online lives, and create a more web literate planet.”
In a nutshell the potential is huge for learning and for changing how we use and understand the web. This is obvious when you actually see the amazing tools that have been created for it by Mozilla. Three big tools are developed already that are simply loads of fun and are also extremely accessible:
- Thimble: https://thimble.webmaker.org/en-US/
- Popcorn Maker: https://popcorn.webmaker.org/
- And X Ray Googles over here: http://hackasaurus.org/en-US/goggles/
And lots of cool things have been happening – not least in 2012 the launch of these tools at Mozfest in London which was simply epic J - http://mozillafestival.org/
And while I was there I came across the fabulous Mozilla Open Badges initiative, and the gang at GoCodery working on Badge Bingo for the festival, which you might ask is what?
Well as part of this big project to change the how people see and experience the web, open badges are a key element. For the sake of simplicity the badges team explain it like this:
“Learning today happens everywhere, not just in the classroom. But it's often difficult to get recognition for skills and achievements that happen outside of school. Mozilla's Open Badges project is working to solve that problem, making it easy for anyone to issue, earn and display badges across the web -- through a shared infrastructure that's free and open to all. The result: helping people of all ages learn and display 21st century skills, unlock career and educational opportunities, and find new life pathways. “
As a teacher I can see the need, and there is so much potential too. Particularly for teaching young people to become digitally literate and learn to code and use the web in a totally new way. You can go and try them out for yourself: http://openbadges.org/en-US/
The purpose of this post is to share and encourage people to get involved in this. There is information here for those who are keen to do this: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Badges
At this point there are some exciting conversations going on about localisation and about translation of tools like thimble which people can get involved in. For more info see here: https://l10n.mozilla.org/
But for those of you interested in ICT for development, I think also check out some of the groups and communities in countries that have already been working hard with the Mozilla gang to get involved:
As you can imagine the potential is there to do really good things that are really empowering socially as well. The development community is one community that can reach out to people in majority world non-English speaking countries who might want to get involved. That would include teachers, coders, literacy specialists, kids, community groups, after school groups, libraries and …well the list is endless.
The side of the project dealing with this part of the work is called Nemo. Which is here:
As the Nemo page says this is about taking the message of Mozilla to people irrespective of their place and language. reaching out to new kinds of people – students, educators, filmmakers, journalists, scientists, artists or it can be any reader who is a normal Internet user and who might care about their online life.
For those of you who are really also interested in the thinking going on behind this all educationally and what the Mozilla gang are doing to build a model for web-literacy you need go no further than check out +Doug Belshaw on Google+ with his blog posts which are being distributed in a kind of crowdfunded way to make a book on the subject.
If you are interested in checking out a summary of ideas so far then also go to his blog where a presentation is posted up here and to follow either subscribe or follow his musings on twitter on @dajbelshaw
Of course feel free to leave comments here about information in this blogpost, and go and check out more info on twitter @OpenBadges or search with these hashtags on twitter: