Mozilla Education, a scribble

January 23, 2009 § 8 Comments

As I mentioned earlier in the week, education is one of the first program areas where Mozilla Foundation wants to experiment in 2009. I spent some time this afternoon scribbling out an overview the ideas we’re bouncing around. This is what I came up with (bigger version on Flicker):


Frank and I have also updated the Mozilla Education planning wiki with explanations of the ideas in this scribble, and detailed info on each of the activities we’re considering. The high level summary at the top of the wiki page says:

During 2009, we want to experiment with Mozilla Education — helping people learn about Mozilla through an open, participatory and distributed approach to education.

Building on Mozilla’s 2010 goals, our big picture aim is to:

Make openness, participation and distributed decision-making more common experiences in Internet life

We think that education can help us reach this goal by helping more people to:

  1. Understand and use (Mozilla’s?) open source work methods
  2. Learn about and build with open web and Mozilla technologies
  3. Participate in Mozilla and other open source projects

In 2009, we’ll test out a number of small programs aimed at reaching these objectives. They include:

  1. Seneca Expansion / Virtual Seneca offering Mozilla learning resources and support to students everywhere.
  2. Madrid Summer Course at URJC, establishing the first formal Mozilla course beyond Seneca and establishing an educational foundation in Europe.
  3. Online Mozilla Courses that provide learning and engagement opportunities directly to potential Mozilla contributors.
  4. where all Mozilla courseware and learning information can be found.

Over time, we hope these programs will also make a broader contribute to creating a new participatory learning model based around open source contribution … and to work with others who share this vision. However, for now, we want to start with something doable: making a formal link between education, learning and the Mozilla community.

I am posting this in the hope that people will offer initial reactions. While we plan to act quickly on some of this (especially Virtual Seneca), the overall plan is still very much in flux. It’s evolving pretty much daily as we figure out how to put things into action. So, slings, arrows and offers of help very welcome in the form of blog comments (we’ve already got a good list of Mozilla people who want to help). Also, feel free to dig into the wiki. Much more detail there.

Next week, I’ll post more thoughts on why this approach to education is interesting for Mozilla and what sorts of things we might be able to achieve in 2009. This should give people even more to work with and respond to.

§ 8 Responses to Mozilla Education, a scribble

  • Alex Faaborg says:

    I would love to teach an online course about HCI and user experience design hosted on

  • skierpage says:

    I was hoping “Mozilla Education” would encourage the development of next-generation educational materials that takes advantage of Mozilla technologies:

    * interactive graphics using SVG and JavaScript
    * dynamic mathematics and physics simulations using MathML, canvas tag, and JavaScript libraries
    * interactive testing using offline app mode that students can later submit
    * etc.

    But that doesn’t seem to be your focus.

    The web is woefully behind in taking advantage of HTML 5 technologies in education (and nearly everything else). But if everything remains compatible with crappy MSIE there’s a vicious circle where the new technologies don’t matter because no sites use them. What will change that?

    Many people think of next-generation education as putting Wikibooks and Wikiversity on laptops, but you can’t create advanced interactive web pages on a wiki.

  • dafi says:

    We at the Italian XUL community, want to spread Mozilla technologies.
    What you have done and your vision is amazing and we agree with you.
    We are mainly focused on XUL but every other technology is under the radar.

    The Mozilla Education planning sounds very important and maybe we can try to coordinate activities and share experiences.
    At FOSDEM 2009 I would discuss with Paul Rouget about this important topic.

    Focusing on education and knowledge would make Mozilla Technologies more familiar on Enterprise market segment (IMHO)

  • Joe Solomon says:

    This is fantastic! It made me think of how Greenpeace trains students – with skills that help students become environmental leaders.

    Greenpeace goes beyond Greenpeace in the sense that their focus (at least in branding) is on helping build environmental leaders and not Greenpeace leaders.

    I think this approach – in branding and substance – could go a long way for Mozilla. If in the scribble you flipped “Learn About and Build w/Mozilla and Open Web Technology” to “Learn About and Build with Open Web Technologies, including Mozilla” – What would that look like? What ideas would arise that would unite and empower the open source community?

  • Hi Mark. Looks pretty exciting! As another avenue to explore, I was browsing 826 Valencia recently which Dave Eggers set up to support the development of writing skills in students age 6 to 18. I wonder if there is an analagous opportunity for teaching students about open source, open hardware, etc. Kind of a drop-in Open centre. Just thinking out loud.

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