Tag: Laura Hilliger

My CC Superheroes

As part of the Creative Commons certification project that We Are Open have been involved with, a request is going around with the #CCquest hashtag to name your ‘CC superheroes’.

The idea is to tag five people who are ‘defenders of the commons’:

What are the virtues of someone who is an advocate for Creative Commons? How does what they do support the philosophy and spirit of The Commons? Think about what it takes to become this kind of person, and how we might wrap that into the Certification project.

It would feel like cheating to name three of the five as my co-operative co-founders (Bryan Mathers, Laura Hilliger, and John Bevan) so I’ve cast my net wider. Even so, it took me all of about three seconds to think of the people I’d mention! Do bear in mind, however, that these are five people out of perhaps ten times as many who I could have mentioned.

  • Alan Levine — it’s entirely fitting that Alan is a member of the #CCquest team, as in the 10 years I’ve known him, he’s been a living, breathing example of the power of working and sharing openly. An inspiration.
  • Audrey Watters — a tireless advocate of all things open, especially in education/technology, an important critic of the ‘Silicon Valley narrative’, and someone who tolerates bullshit less than anyone I’ve ever known.
  • Cory Doctorow — I’ve only met Cory a couple of times in person, but seen him speak many, many times. He’s one of the most eloquent speakers I’ve ever had the privilege of hearing, and his work actually goes even wider than ‘open’, encompassing the totality of our lives online.
  • Jess Klein — I had the great privilege of working with Jess at Mozilla, and still find it difficult to explain the range of her talents. She’s a designer, but also an educator, a facilitator, and a prototyper. And she does all of this in the open. Check out the Open Design Kit she recently helped put together!
  • Jim Groom — a legend in his own lunchtime, I rely on Jim’s company, Reclaim Hosting for this blog and my other presences on the web. He’s the force behind the monumental ds106, tells it like it is about making a living in the open, and great fun to be around, to boot.

Who are your CC Superheroes?

Image CC BY-NC-ND giuliaduepuntozero

Do only yogurt-knitting vegans start co-operatives?


(image CC BY-ND Bryan Mathers)

Despite the best efforts of the London Underground to crush us into submission before we even started, weareopen.coop had a great first planning session at Ravensbourne in London today. John Bevan and Bryan Mathers were there with me in person, and Laura Hilliger joined us via the magic of appear.in from her home in Germany.

We’d come up with lots of questions in our pre-planning meeting, as well as some aims for things we’d like to get out of the day. You can see our planning Hackpad here.


Once we’d all arrived and we’d figured out the tech to allow Laura to participate fully (which involved my ever-handy Sony XRS-11 bluetooth speaker) we dived straight into the principles by which we want to work. John, Bryan and I worked on a nearby whiteboard, while Laura took a photo of the piece of paper she worked on:

weareopen.coop - principles (whiteboard)

weareopen.coop - principles (paper)

Riffing off Laura’s three-part structure, we formulated three questions to answer:

  1. What do you do?
  2. How are you different?
  3. What do you create?

The answers to these are on the hackpad, but I’ll share where we ended up after much discussion around the second point:

  • Nimble / Limber / Acrobatic
    • Experimental
    • Bold
    • Curious
    • Improv
    • Disciplined
  • Participatory
    • Collaborative
    • Co-operative
    • Share all the things
  • Co-operative character/spirit
    • Solidarity
    • Surplus, not profit
    • Anti-individualist
  • Knowledgeable
    • Considered
    • Competitive
    • Illuminating
  • Connected
    • Old/new ways of doing stuff
    • Inclusive
    • Eclectic

We particularly liked the notion of being ‘acrobatic’ (although without using the metaphor of a circus). There’s something about it that suggests discipline with flexibility.

Bryan + Laura


We spent some time both ‘silent hackpadding’ and discussing the questions we’d come into the day focused on, but this led quickly to considerations around tools. From that we found that a really nice metaphor emerged around tools in a workshop.

Tools in a workshop

We used the improv approach of ‘Yes, and…’ to build out the metaphor. For example, tools both old and new sit alongside one another in a workshop; there’s times when you need to ‘sharpen your saw’; and there’s times when you know you haven’t got the right tool for the job, so you have to borrow one from a neighbour.

Thinking of our own tools, we had a back-and-forth about what we should use to collaborate. The tension was between wanting to use Open Source technologies wherever possible, and recognising that clients will not always have the skills or motivation to sign up to a new platform. In the end, we decided to abstract away from specific tools to think about the type of technologies we need:

Those with an asterisk* come with a one-click install process via Sandstorm.io.

Telling the story

Bryan had to head out at lunchtime, so Laura, John, and I dug into setting up Loomio and helping tell our story through a basic pitch deck. We used The Writer’s Journey, which is a modified version of The Hero’s Journey:

After about 45 minutes of hacking and a spectacular brain dump from Laura, we ended up with this. We need to get really clear on our single product for new clients: the Thinkathon. This is a one-day facilitated thinking session that helps clients untangle problems, provides them with a ‘shopping list’, provides clear next steps.

Doug + Bryan

Next steps

A combination of factors meant that we ended up about 4½ hours of time together today. Still, that was enough to get a significant amount of work done towards building weareopen.coop. Things we need to do next include:

  1. Updating the website
  2. Creating a compelling description of the Thinkathon
  3. Setting up the tools we’ll use amongst ourselves and with clients

We’re open for business right now. Part of any new venture involves building the plane while you fly it; the difference is that we’re sharing that building openly. Get in touch if you think we can help you: hello@nullweareopen.coop

Three of the best people I’ve ever worked with…

…were colleagues at Mozilla. Like me, they’re all doing their own thing now. It would be remiss of me not to point you in their direction, on the off-chance you’re not already aware of their work.

Laura Hilliger (@epilepticrabbit)

Laura Hilliger

I’ve known Laura for a while as she wrote her Masters thesis on web literacy. She left her position as Education & Training Lead at Mozilla last week to pursue the next chapter of her career, explaining her move in this post.

Laura is an American living in Dresden, Germany. You should hire her to do anything learning related as she’s has the creativity and capacity to get anything done that anyone throws at her! She’s super-talented.

Laura’s LinkedIn profile

John Bevan (@bevangelist)

John Bevan

John seems to know everyone. It was kind of his job to do so when he was on the Engagement team at Mozilla, getting the word out and raising money. Since then, he’s been at Nesta, and he’s also worked for the BBC, The Guardian, Rewired State, you name it.

His current focus of attention is dotcomrades doing something about trade unions in the networked era. I went to the alpha launch event in London last week and he’s definitely onto something. Find out more and get involved via his blog post.

John’s LinkedIn profile

Kat Braybrooke (@codekat)

Kat Braybrooke

Kat is one of those people – like many I worked with at Mozilla – who defies categorisation. She’s talented technically, but driven by cultural endeavours and her sharp designer’s eye.

Leaving Mozilla in February, Kat upped-sticks from Vancouver and moved to London. She’s “taking on small contracts with value-based projects that aim to make the world a better place” and particularly interested in “web development, curriculum design, participatory research or community curation.” More about that in this blog post.

Kat’s LinkedIn profile

There’s so many talented people who have left Mozilla over the last year that this could have been a fairly long list. I wanted to point you towards Laura, John, and Kat as I think there’ll be some of you who could benefit from knowing them better.

As for me, I couldn’t be happier at the moment. I’m working primarily with City & Guilds around digital strategy and Open Badges, as well as the occasional workshop and keynote for other organisations. I’m designing a little bit more capacity into my schedule from September onwards, so if you’re interested drop me a line: hello@nulldynamicskillset.com or let’s connect via my LinkedIn profile!

Weeknote 29/2013

This week I’ve been:

  • Editing the skill descriptors and examples in preparation for the beta launch of the Web Literacy Standard next week
  • Writing about the Web Literacy Standard launch (including listing all the competencies and skills)
  • Talking to David Ascher and Vinay Gupta about the future of Firecloud (and getting our ‘pitch’ right).
  • Helping Wikimedia UK think through how they could use Open Badges.
  • Mapping the links between the Web Literacy Standard skills using post-its.
  • Trying to get the intermittent fault with the DisplayPort of my MacBook Pro fixed. Unsuccessfully.
  • Getting ready to sell our house. More on that soon.
  • Sorting out my expenses.
  • Giving feedback to Chris Appleton on designs related to the Web Literacy Standard.
  • Attending the Webmaker, Open Badges and All-Staff calls.
  • Preparing for a work week with my colleagues in Maine, USA that we’re affectionately calling ‘Badge Camp’.
  • Planning to update the Mozilla/P2PU School of Webcraft with Vanessa Gennarelli, Chloe Varelidi and Laura Hilliger.
  • Updating the Mozilla wiki to ensure a consistent structure for the Web Literacy Standard.

Next week, as I’ve already mentioned, I’ll be in Maine, USA for Badge Camp with my colleagues. I’m planning to travel as little as possible for the rest of the school summer holidays.

Weeknote 27/2013

This week I’ve been:

Next week I was going to be in Berlin to run an Open Badges workshop with Tim Riches, but now I’m just going to be in London on Sunday night/Monday for ePIC conference (where I’ll be running three workshops). I also need to get planned a Maker Party event at the Centre for Life that I’ve booked for August 17th.

Mozilla Webmaker MOOC kicking off May 2nd for 9 weeks!

I’m delighted to announce that there’s going to be a Mozilla MOOC! The Massive Open Online Course starts on the May 2nd for 9 weeks with the focus being upon learning how to teach digital literacy and HTML/CSS/JavaScript skills. Happily you don’t have to know anything about the topic(s) before you start. 🙂

>>>SIGN UP HERE! <<<

While I’m not one of the organisers of the Mozilla MOOC I’m excited to be involved as a Super Mentor! Further details (kindly provided by my colleague Laura Hilliger) can be found below:

As part of our non-profit mission, Mozilla believes that web literacy—the understanding of how digital things work—is an essential life skill for the 21st century. We want to empower users of the web to become makers of the web.

So we’re kicking-off a free online course called Teach the Web: a Mozilla Open Online Collaboration, where we’ll explore new ways of teaching digital literacies through making and learning together.

The #teachtheweb course will run from May 2 – June 30. You can participate in weekly guided discussions, tackle hands-on activities, develop and remix teaching resources, and compare notes with a global community of makers, mentors and educators.

Find more details or sign up and get started at http://webmaker.org/teach

Participants will learn how to:

  • teach digital literacies through making, remixing and sharing
  • incorporate openness and online innovation into teaching practices
  • adapt educational resources to meet your learners’ interests and needs
  • receive feedback from peers on your own resources and lessons

We hope you’ll join us!

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out via Twitter @mozteach or the G+ Webmaker community at mzl.la/gpluswebmaker.

Be sure to sign up and I look forward to learning together!

Weeknote 15/2013

This week I’ve been:

  • Creating two new grids for Mozilla’s Web Literacy standard work with the community. The first one’s here and the second (updated) one is still just on Flickr at the moment.
  • Planning my PELeCON keynote presentation. You have no idea how long it takes to collate, choose and organise animated GIFs.
  • Hosting the weekly Web Literacy standard community call. You can catch up here.
  • Catching up with people like Laura Hilliger, Tim RichesLucy Neale and StJohn Smith.
  • Editing the Wikipedia article for Open Badges. Only a bit, though. Must revisit.
  • Moderating a Connected Learning TV webinar featuring Liz Lawley and her work around a ‘gaming layer’ for students and academics.
  • Travelling to Plymouth by train, plane and automobile (literally) for PELeCON.
  • Attending, keynoting and running a workshop at PELeCON. The animated GIFs from my keynote aren’t so animated on Slideshare, so you may want to try this Evernote notebook. Photos are here (when they’ve finished uploading)

Next week I’m in Sweden keynoting and running a workshop at the Swedish equivalent of BETT. Better get planning…

Weeknote 14/2013

This week I’ve been:

  • Spending time at home – a whole week without an event or a conference to go to!
  • Resting as Monday was a public holiday and I’d spent Friday and Saturday working.
  • Catching up with my colleague Laura Hilliger for the first time in a while.
  • Hosting an Open Badges in K12/schools community call featuring James Michie and Zoe Ross.
  • Feeding back on the Webmaker call about the workshop I ran at Nesta’s One Day Digital event in Edinburgh at the weekend.
  • Listening, reading and generally catching up with last week’s Web Literacy standard stuff. I wrote a modest proposal.
  • Writing a post about Open Badges and the Web Literacy standard which should hopefully appear on DMLcentral soon!
  • Turning down trips to Seville and Brussels because (unfortunately) they didn’t fit in well with my schedule.
  • Working out my expenses for March. <yawn>
  • Talking with my new colleague Mari Huertas.
  • Interviewed by Faiz Abdelhafid as part of his MA programme.
  • Conversing with organisations like the Open University and JobScout as well as people like Simon Gough and Guy Shearer about Open Badges in their particular context.
  • Writing a proposal with my colleague Emily Goligoski on Open Badges for the Libre Software Meeting.
  • Composing a blog post about how to align with the Web Literacy standard using Open Badges.
  • Planning a new ‘napkin sketch’ for the Web Literacy standard (like the Open Badges one) with my colleague Chris Appleton.
  • Hosting this week’s Web Literacy standard community call. Listen again here. Note we’re moving to Mondays from next week!
  • Collating a whole load of animated gifs kindly submitted by my MoFo colleagues for my PELeCON keynote. Have a look here!
  • Creating a NEW new grid for the Web Literacy standard based on community feedback.

Weeknote 09/2013

This week I’ve been:

  • Preparing for the session I’m running with Kate Stokes (Nesta) at SXSWedu.
  • Calculating my expenses.
  • Explaining to quite a few people that Mozilla doesn’t usually ‘partner’ with other organisations on bids (but that I’m happy to be listed as an advisor).
  • Playing lots of games as part of the nomination committee for Mozilla’s Game On competition.
  • Writing a book chapter overview for Dave White about the philosophical implications of simultaneously inhabiting physical and virtual worlds.
  • Adding descriptions to the articles, blog posts and books in the Web Literacy standard ‘library’.
  • Collaborating with my colleagues Carla Casilli and Erin Knight on a vision document for the Web Literacy standard work.
  • Discovering Firefox tab groups, courtesy of Laura Hilliger.
  • Meeting with builders to discuss my shoffice.
  • Responding to conference organisers asking for titles for presentation, preferences for food, accommodation, etc.
  • Updating my Lanyrd profile and adding conferences I’m attending over the next few months.
  • Sorting out my corporation tax for the now-defunct Synechism Ltd.
  • Leading a webinar on Open Badges for the Centre for Recording Achievement. Slides here.
  • Hosting the inaugural Mozilla Web Literacy standard community call.
  • Speaking to people thinking of using Open Badges for various projects.

Next week I’ll be in Austin, Texas for SXSW 2013. I’m flying out on Sunday and arrive back on Friday. So next week’s update is likely to be a bit shorter…

Thinking About Web Literacy, Making, & Sharing with Mozilla [AUDIO]

Yesterday my colleague Laura Hilliger and I had the opportunity to talk to the good people at the National Writing Project about Mozilla’s work. We discussed the Web, Mozilla’s mission, and Web Literacies.

You can check out the audio at the link below, or click here or here. 🙂