Making 2012 plans: mozilla + web makers

November 22, 2011 § 24 Comments

Building a generation of web makers has been a big topic of conversation recently. This was the theme of our recent Mozilla Festival. And it was the topic of a conversation I led on my blog. Moving people from using the web to making the web is becoming a major focus for Mozilla.

At the most recent Mozilla Foundation board meeting, we dug into the question: what concrete things can we do in 2012 to tackle our big picture goals around web makers? I’ve pulled together board slides plus a summary of our emerging plans in this slidecast:

These slides (PDF / WebM video) represent a first cut at a Mozilla Foundation plan for 2012. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be hashing out more details and asking for ideas from people who want to get involved.

If you don’t have time for the full 30 minute slidecast, here is a summary of essential points:

  • What started out as Mozilla Drumbeat has evolved into a series of ‘learning labs’ for web makers: a mix of learning programs and software tools for people who create things on the web.
  • In 2012, we plan to grow the community and reach of the most successful of these learning labs: Popcorn (video); MoJo (journalism); and Hive (teens).
  • We also plan to strengthen our best software and learning offerings, such as PopcornMaker, Hackasaurus and School of Webcraft. We’ll integrate these into all of our learning labs.
  • A new effort for 2012 will be developing Mozilla web literacy badges: a way to get recognized for developing skills and contributing to a community within a learning lab.
  • For all of this to succeed, Mozilla will need to get better at making software for web makers need and also build up strength in the learning arena. We’ve got great people in both areas, but we’ll need more.

These plans are a direct result of a Mozilla Foundation program leads meeting this summer (‘the hedgehog summit’) as well as the feedback a series of blog postings I did earlier this fall (‘creating a web literate planet‘).

While this conversation has been going on for many months now, these are still early stage plans. They are very much designed to evolve as we dig into the details and start work over coming weeks and months.

If you have ideas and want to get involved, the best channel is our weekly web makers community call on Tuesday (formerly the Drumbeat call). Also, feel free to post comments here.

§ 24 Responses to Making 2012 plans: mozilla + web makers

  • It is a very good plan I would add a couple of points:

    ‘Teens’ is too late. From my own experience I have seen that the kind of projects that Hive make work very well with 9 and 10-year old children. You should start with that age group as well.

    There is a very good set of tools to handle teaching HTML/CSS. But, there needs to be inclusion of teaching Javascript. If you really want ot empower this new generation, Javascript is an essential part of this.

    • msurman says:

      Agree re: 9 – 10 — I have two kids that age and mentally including in ‘teens’ :).

      This is a bit hard from a communications perspective: when we say ‘kids’ people imagine kindergarten, when we say ‘teens’ it sounds too old, when we say ‘tweens’ it’s too narrow and sounds corny.

      On the JS piece, also agree although it’s definitely a next step. In 2012, but don’t have a full plan yet.

      That said: there is real value in the ‘aha’ that comes with just seeing that a web page can be edited and changed. That’s a huge conceptual building block for people, we take it for granted. HTML / Hackasaurus gets you this aha.

  • I love the plan and the focus on both learning program and webmakers community.

    I’m currently thinking how the learning labs would be adopted by public spaces, community centers and even schools.

    I think this is a unique opportunity for Mozilla to start building local communities of practice and reviving the community based learning.

    Both Hackasaurus and Popcorn Maker are bringing value to those learning Labs and I see them as a basis (and an important basis we should focus on).

    Though, I agree w/ Adil about the JavaScript and the more serious web programming learning. SoW may be a solution to this, the step from making to innovate.

  • [...] read and watched Mark Surman’s article about Mozila’s 2012 plan. It’s been a while that I’m preparing a blog post trying to explain why I disagree with [...]

  • There’s certainly a big challenge in onboarding new people into the challenging world of building the web. Lots of these efforts are some of the best concerted efforts towards that goal.

    However, I feel like this completely leaves impressive web content in the cold. Intermediate and advanced developers still strugging with building the sort of sites and apps they want to. Sparse documentation, a difficult cross-browser landscape, and a web platform that is tough to keep track of. Certainly the MDN is critical to this audience, and I’m a big contributor there, but I’d like to see Mozilla assist developers building compelling content that makes the web win.

    Developer tools, documentation++, onboarding folks onto HTML5, guidance on building web apps, building games, etc. Mozilla has work going on in all these areas, but there is so much more room for effort.

  • Leon Cych says:

    A few points.

    I think it entirely right that you focus on media this year – actually being able to shape intervention or break points within media or making it searchable and semantic are going to be the outcomes of this process eventually. Making it “social” is another whole plateau within that but it underpins all Mozilla seems to be seeking to do.

    How to do this through “badges” does need serious reflection, then, as has been pointed out by others – what is the exact function of the badge – to stamp achievement, to show proficiency – can those badges exist in a vacuum without some form of social context around the learning, achievement?

    Also enabling social velcro around events and achievements is an inspired move – how to create those agile channels are the key to scaling up at both local and global level. Again the learning will always have a local context, a particular patina of the community where it is seeded that shapes it. This will feed into and out of the more aggregated web based activity as well. Looking at the projects with HTML5 and partner organisations that have been showcased by Mozilla it does seem that the focus around real time geographically based projects provides enrichment that can be used to roll out authentic narratives in this learning space.

    I wouldn’t worry about the iterations of agegroups and generational learning if you get this right – it will seed itself locally. Exciting times an a wonderful initiative.

  • [...] Mark Surman has been writing a lot lately about creating a generation of web makers with Mozilla. [...]

  • [...] Building a community of Webmakers with an ethics stance at its core (build web using native web technologies, work in open, share, respect the user) is one of the long-term goals Mozilla has. And there are lot of things to do to achieve this, a lot of things to change and some exciting upcoming years for designing this community. In the next blog posts I want to highlight some of my experiences and share some concrete steps on how we might do this, at least at the local level. [...]

  • [...] exist today if it weren’t for Mozilla’s technical know-how and non-profit mission of turning web users into Web makers working in conjunction with the MacArthur Foundation’s plethora of research on informal [...]

  • [...] excited to be part of Mozilla. I’m excited about our plans to teach and equip millions of webmakers. About the open web apps technology we’re releasing. And about all the renewed energy around [...]

  • [...] We are currently in Tokyo, Japan for the Mozilla Vision 2012 conference and hack day. For two days Mozilla Japan with friends from the other locations are putting up an amazing effort to encourage people to help us educate the next generation of web makers. [...]

  • [...] We are currently in Tokyo, Japan for the Mozilla Vision 2012 conference and hack day. For two days Mozilla Japan with friends from the other locations are putting up an amazing effort to encourage people to help us educate the next generation of web makers. [...]

  • [...] grammar to create and “build stuff” using new technologies. It about raising a generation of “web makers” as Mozilla trumpets. It is also about teaching the fundamentals of publishing in the new media [...]

  • [...] the world to participate in the project of going from using the web to making the web — building a generation of webmakers — but doing it together, at events. Briefly, the idea is to try and apply something akin to [...]

  • [...] blogged about the Popcorn Maker vision in July of last year. Since then, it’s moved to the center of the Foundation’s “Maker” strategy for [...]

  • [...] blogged about the Popcorn Maker vision in July of last year. Since then, it’s moved to the center of the Foundation’s “Maker” strategy for [...]

  • [...] dreams need practical plans. Late last year, we agreed that ‘building a generation’ of web makers‘ should be one of Mozilla’s main goals for 2012. For the last six weeks, people across [...]

  • [...] radical transformation. They are poised to tackle the exponentially growing global literacy gap by building a generation of WebMakers. Now they are doing things that look less like software and more like an education focused [...]

  • [...] are many practical and immediate reasons to want to teach web making. Skills and jobs and so on. But encouraging creativity and stewardship of the web are equally [...]

  • [...] Presentatie “Building a generation of webmakers” [...]

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