Mozilla and the web makers

September 7, 2011 § 6 Comments

When I say ‘maker’, most people understand what I mean: a DIY ethic, a hankering to create. Often, makers are into robots and gadgets. Physical things. But the web is also filled with people who love to tinker, create and make.

In my last post, I argued that Mozilla should engage these ‘web makers’ as we refine and evolve what we started with Drumbeat. Which begs the question: who are the web makers?

Looking at the people who have joined our community recently, I see teachers, filmmakers, journalists, artists, game makers and curious kids who a) want to be part of what Mozilla is doing and b) are making things using the open building blocks that are the web. I believe Mozilla has alot to offer these people, and vice versa.

To understand this, it’s worth looking at the people who have gotten involved Mozilla as a result of Drumbeat. Here are three examples:

Jess Klein is a designer who teaches kids about technology. She’s designed games. She’s worked for Sesame Street. And now she’s helping Mozilla bring Hackasaurus to life, designing a whole new way for kids to learn about the web.

Kat Cizek is a documentary filmmaker. She’s chronicled the participatory media org Witness. She’s won an Emmy for a web documentary she made in Flash. And now she is making a whole film with Popcorn and WebGL, a film made for the browser and solely with the open building blocks that make up the web.

Cathy Davidson is an iconoclastic professor at Duke University. She let’s her students choose their own grades. She wrote a book about how the web is rewiring our institutions. She also built out a huge part of last year’s Mozilla Festival, and now is helping us figure out where to go next in education.

These people have some things in common. They share Mozilla’s open spirit and maker ethic. They see the open web as a canvas for their ideas. They are building things with the web. And they are all actively contributing to Mozilla.

I like to think Mozilla offers these people something special: a chance to build — and learn– alongside people from Mozilla’s more traditional community who are creating the cutting edge of the web. This is what we’ve started with Drumbeat.

On the flip side, these people clearly have something to offer Mozilla: help building a world where millions more people understand that the web is about making things.

This is why I want these people actively involved in shaping where Mozilla goes in the future. In my next few posts, I will talk about how these people can help us build on the work we’ve started with Drumbeat, especially how we teach and build tools for web makers.

A question in the meantime: what do others think about the role the people I am describing here can play in Mozilla?

§ 6 Responses to Mozilla and the web makers

  • Mozilla is a lot about collaboration and sharing, so the people you are looking for will be able to help Mozilla refine and reshape their programs and methods as technology, art and culture advance. It’s the web makers that are helping Mozilla create learning initiatives and advocate for openness.

    These people certainly give Mozilla qualitative proof that the movement to protect the open web is worthwhile. The evaluation of successful programs supported and championed by Mozilla could serve as quantitative proof as well. By creating a body of work that supports and underscores the Mozilla Mission, Mozilla (and the web makers out there supporting Mozilla) has the opportunity to show and tell the mission to a wider audience.

    In short, I think the people you describe can increase Mozilla’s reach.

  • [...] Surman, Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation, has written a couple of posts lately about the role of Drumbeat and a possible future role for Mozilla in helping shape the idea of [...]

  • [...] This achievement is even more remarkable considering that prior to this partnership, none of the Factory students had any experiencing in authoring web pages. The realization that the web is not simply a medium of consumption, but one of participation, is key to Mozilla’s mission – and underscores our designer to help a generation of “web makers” use the web as their canvas. Mozilla’s Executive Director Mark Surman summed up our efforts in this direction in this blog post. [...]

  • [...] Post #2: The people I am calling web makers are teachers, filmmakers, journalists, artists, scientists, game makers and curious kids who a) want to be part of what Mozilla is doing and b) are making things using the open building blocks that are the web. [...]

  • [...] canvas. Mozilla’s Executive Director Mark Surman summed up our efforts in this direction in this blog post. We invite you to explore the work that these talented individuals created, and to share them with [...]

  • [...] This achievement is even more remarkable considering that prior to this partnership, none of the Factory students had any experiencing in authoring web pages. The realization that the web is not simply a medium of consumption, but one of participation, is key to Mozilla’s mission – and underscores our commitment to helping a generation of “web makers” use the web as their canvas. Mozilla’s Executive Director Mark Surman summed up our efforts in this direction in this blog post. [...]

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