Tag: Webmaker (page 2 of 3)

Weeknote 31/2013

This week I’ve been:

  • Talking with Robert and Liz from Manchester Creative Studio School about using Open Badges for their nascent curriculum.
  • Ordering Maker Party swag for Maker Party Newcastle.
  • Hosting the (now bi-weekly) Web Literacy Standard community call. You can catch up with that here.
  • Adding translation branches to the Web Literacy Standard on Github at the request of several community members.
  • Presenting to the weekly Mozilla All-Hands about the Web Literacy Standard on Air Mozilla. I also took up a good chunk of the weekly Webmaker call.
  • Tweeting as @WebLitStd in addition to @dajbelshaw.
  • Replying to those awesome people who have given feedback on the standard via this form.
  • Contacting Mozilla Legal to start the ball rolling for a potential contest to align with the Web Literacy Standard (in the style of the Mozilla Game On competition or MDN Dev Derby).
  • Checking out a co-working space in Newcastle courtesy of the good people at Ignite100.
  • Planning (with Michelle Thorne) for the v1.0 launch of the Web Literacy Standard at the Mozilla Festival. I wrote an overview blog post about what’s happening next here.
  • Advising the Open Badges team on my process for recording community calls and post them for others to catch-up.
  • Taking Friday off as holiday to travel down with my family to London(ish) for a 50th birthday party. That’ll be great, but what I’m really looking forward to is going to Legoland afterwards!

Next week I’ll be taking Monday off then I’ll be planning Web Literacy Standard-related stuff and talking to UNESCO and P2PU about various things. If you know of an organization that might be interested in aligning with the standard and being a judge for the contest I mentioned, get in touch!

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 28/2013

This week I’ve been:

  • Booking travel/accommodation for what my team are calling ‘Badge Camp’. It’s a work week up in the mountains in Maine, USA where ‘yoga’ and ‘sleeping in’ sit alongside ‘strategy discussions’ as official agenda items. Win.
  • Setting up the Eventbrite for Mozilla Maker Party Newcastle at the Centre for Life on Saturday 17th August. Tickets have been going pretty quickly so I’m going to see if there’s scope for extra room.
  • Running three Open Badges workshops at the ePIC eportfolios and identity conference in London. Slides here.
  • Talking to Robin Raymond, the lead developer of Open Peer about Firecloud.
  • Discussing aligning with the Web Literacy Standard with Paul Allison. I’ve realised there’s an issue for those without developers: most (all?) of the third party platforms lack the ‘alignment’ field in the latest version of the OBI specification.
  • Encouraging people to sign up for MozFest. It’s the best decision you’ll make this year.
  • Editing and posting the audio from the Web Literacy Standard community call that I missed this week. Thanks again to my colleague Carla Casilli for hosting it!
  • Sorting out my expenses for June. It was a busy month. 😮
  • Purchasing the firecloud.co domain name and setting up a blog. It’s trivially easy to do these days, it really is.
  • Inviting the major contributors to the Web Literacy Standard to ‘half-hour hackfests’. They worked really well and I’m thinking of running some more next week!
  • Meeting with Carla to discuss what’s left to do with the Web Literacy Standard before the beta launch. Also, plans for some kind of ‘contest’ for people to align with the standard in various ways between MozFest 2013 and MozFest 2014.
  • Attending the weekly Mozilla Open Badges and Webmaker community calls.
  • Talking with people about integrating with the Open Badges Infrastructure (OBI) as I do every week. 🙂
  • Taking Friday off to look after my two year-old daughter.

Next week I’ve got meetings but no travel so I’ll be cracking on with getting the Web Literacy Standard ready for the beta launch on July 26th. I’m flying to Maine on Sunday 21st so it needs to be pretty much finalised by close of play next Friday!

Weeknote 24/2013

This week I’ve been:

  • Presenting and running workshops on Open Badges at a CRA seminar (Monday, Birmingham).
  • Meeting lots of people/organisations at the Mozilla London office to explore ways they can use badges. People like Creative Skillset, OCR, Livity and Inspir.ed.
  • Booking travel for the coming weeks.
  • Running a webinar on Open Badges for Learning Pool (slides here)
  • Ordering more business cards. The other ones didn’t turn up and, as 20th-century as they feel, I’m often in a position where I need to give them out.
  • Catching up with the audio from the Web Literacy Standard community call, hosted by Carla.
  • Hosting the Open Badges community call for the first time for a while.
  • Talking some more and reaching out to various people within Mozilla about Firecloud.
  • Writing a post for DMLcentral about the NSA, Mozilla and privacy that I hope will go live on Monday.
  • Claiming back expenses for speaking at recent events.
  • Meeting with my newest colleague Meg Cole via Skype.
  • Getting some training on interviews with the media from Erica Sackin.
  • Participating in a great day of networking, sharing and planning for a new city-wide learning co-operative (potentially powered by badges!) hosted by the University of Salford.

This week I’ve done loads of stuff myself, but my colleagues have been even busier. This week Mozilla has, well done pretty much everything:

Next week I’m presenting at the Learning and Skills Group (London, Tuesday) and moderating a session on ‘Digital Skills for Work and Learning’ at the EC Digital Agenda Assembly 2013 (Dublin, Wednesday). I’m also looking forward to working with the Mozilla comms team on next month’s beta release of the Web Literacy Standard.

Weeknote 18/2013

This week I’ve been:

Next week it’s Bank Holiday (woo!) then I’m in London on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning for a meeting with Lord Jim Knight. Then on Friday I’m in Salford to talk to the BBC about Open Badges for their CPD programme(s).

Roundup of some stuff I’ve been involved with recently

The following things didn’t really warrant a blog post in their own right, but I thought they were worth sharing somewhere on this blog.

1. Nesta ‘One Day Digital’ video

I ran a Mozilla Webmaker workshop in Edinburgh on Easter Saturday as part of  Nesta’s One Day Digital series of events. The video they produced afterwards is below and I make a brief appearance at around 1:00. Check out that beard!

One Day Digital events from Nesta UK on Vimeo.

2. Connected Learning TV

I’ve appeared on a number of these webinars and the archive is a CPD resource in its own right. This time I was standing in for Howard Rheingold as host. Interesting stuff about Liz Lawley’s attempts to add a ‘gaming layer’ on top of the university curriculum:

3. Open Badges presentations

I presented at SETT, the Swedish equivalent of BETT, last week. My presentation, along with one from PELeCON the week before can be found below. Unfortunately, the animated GIFs are not so animated on Slideshare, so click here if you want to see them in action!

 

Image CC BY-NC-SA funadium

Weeknote 03/2013

Here’s what I’ve been up to this week:

  • Talking to Audrey Watters about web literacies. She’s a very smart person and I was impressed by what she had to say. I tried to capture most of what she said in this blog post.
  • As my colleagues are such a talented and productive bunch, an important part of my working day is spent in co-ordination. When you’re not co-located it’s important that you get your thinking out there, which is exactly what Brett Gaylor’s done with his post on New Webmaker Prototypes. Exciting stuff! My response is here.
  • I continue to contribute to both the Mozilla Webmaker list and the Open Badges Google Group. I’m looking forward to the latter splitting into two equally-weighted technical/learning groups!
  • This week I’ve been invited to over 10 events (including Estonia twice!), which is a little insane. I said no to pretty much all of them, as I’m trying to travel less (and be more strategic when I do travel) in 2013.
  • I’m trying to comment on more blog posts, especially when people are sharing the awesome work they’re doing around badges. Most notably, I commented on posts by Chris Sharples, Zoe Ross, Robert Weeks, and Grainne Hamilton. You should go and read them (the posts, not necessarily my comments!)
  • Interestingly, the post by Robert Weeks was stimulated by a virtual presentation to the Bristol ‘weelearning’ group on Wednesday. Formerly a badge skeptic, Robert is now a badge enthusiast. Job done. 🙂
  • My work around web literacies is going to end up as a ‘learning standard’. I’ve been discussing this with Erin and Carla. More on that soon.
  • I spent Thursday in Leicester in the company of Josie Fraser, Lucy Atkins, Richard Hall and David White. I was advising on a new digital literacies framework for teachers in Leicester which should, hopefully, lead to badge-infused CPD. That was a bit of an epic journey: 4.5 hours each way in a day. Except the train was delayed on the way after a suicide on the line. 🙁
  • I’ve done lots of reading this week, including the excellent book A Small Matter of Programming, a new DML Connected Learning report, the Peeragogy Handbook, and a new version of the IDEO Design Thinking for Educators resource.
  • The ILTA invited me to write up my keynote last year into a journal article. I’m about half-way there, I reckon, and should finish it on Monday. It will have the title Zen and the Art of Digital Literacies.
  • Thinking about the way that I and most of the people I know live in the future.
  • When I wasn’t doing the above I was clearing the drive of snow, spending time at the gym (no running this week!), and sledging, snowman-making, and generally spending time with my family before…

Next week I’ll be escaping the snowy hinterland of Northumberland and heading to sunny California to meet my colleagues. We’ll be participating in a DML conversation around, you guessed it, Open Badges. On that note, I’m delighted to have been asked to do more work around learning and assessment related to badges – so look out for more posts of that nature in the near future!

Image uploaded originally by Cory Doctorow on Twitter

Mozilla Thimble + Popcorn Maker: a productive Webmaking partnership

Yesterday Brett Gaylor, our newly-minted Senior Director of Webmaker.org and all-round awesome guy, posted New Webmaker Prototypes. In it he featured some work by Bobby and Atul on an experimental build of Popcorn Maker, a web native HTML5 video editor that integrates with Thimble, an HTML/CSS editor.

The reason I’m highlighting it is because it’s a taste of things to come in 2013 from Mozilla. And because I got to make this (see below) which you can remix/hack/fork (try clicking some of the underlined words!) 🙂

This is what it looks like when you’re editing/remixing:

Thimble in Popcorn Maker

 

This greatly improves our ability to allow people to level-up in their webmaking skills not only through fairly static activities but through engaging video-based content. Now we just need some learning activities that map onto the emerging Web Literacies framework!

Awesome.

Image CC BY Daniela Vladimirova

A conversation with Audrey Watters about Web Literacies.

Update: For the latest information on the Web Literacy standard work, head to http://mzl.la/weblitstd


TL;DR version: Amongst other things, Audrey reckons Mozilla should: show potential Webmakers cool stuff that it’s possible to do with HTML, CSS and (especially) JavaScript; work backwards in deconstructing a cool project; pass over the ‘why?’ for some learners; show what’s happening ‘under the hood’; focus on individual autonomy as a reason to care about being able to write the Web; use terms like ‘making’ and ‘building for the Web’ rather than ‘programming’.


One of the awesome things about my role at Mozilla is that I get to talk to extremely smart people about interesting things. Today I had the opportunity to talk to Audrey Watters, whose writing and thinking I greatly admire. And when she speaks, I listen. We caught up via Skype to talk about the Web Literacies framework and white paper I’ve been working on: http://mzl.la/weblit.

By way of context, before going any further you should go and read this post by Erin Knight, Senior Director of Learning for the Mozilla Foundation (aka my boss). In it she talks about our vision for an ‘open standard’ for Web Literacy:

In addition to all of the flashy tools, content and branding we’ve been launching over the last year, we’ve also been doing some considerable ‘underbelly’ work to define the thing we are ultimately after: a generation of web literate people.

[…]

I think this is important work for more reasons than just enumerating the things that Mozilla cares about or may provide learning pathways and badges for, but as a definition that we, as in the royal we of the web world, can all get behind and all teach to.

In 2013 we want to work with other organisations, interested groups, and individuals who are interested in helping people not only be able to elegantly consume, but write parts of the Web.

Programming

My conversation with Audrey was focused on what works in the current iteration of the Web Literacies framework and what needs changing or removing. We ended up spending the majority of our time talking about the next step up after people learn some HTML (structure) and CSS (styling) – the interactivity. Audrey made a great point in that we usually talk about JavaScript (JS) as being an introduction to ‘programming’ but that many programmers don’t really understand the Web. They deal in non-Web programming languages like C#, for example.

Recommendation 1: It may be better to talk of ‘scripting’ than ‘programming’ in a Webmaker context

Epic stuff

Another problem with JS is that you don’t know what you don’t know. If you don’t know what JS does then why would you want to learn it? We need, therefore, to surface great examples and allow users to ‘look under the hood’ of web pages, much as we do with X-Ray Goggles for HTML and CSS. Although I forgot to mention it during the call, I think we’re on the right track  with the not-yet-released semi-official hackagame.org where you can use the Thimble interface to hack the classic game Pong.

Another thing we could potentially do is create an amazing video-based project in Popcorn Maker and then deconstruct the JS (along with the HTML and CSS). Reverse-engineering all the way to a blank page, the learner would then be able to build their own modified version. They would learn that HTML, CSS and JavaScript is a powerful combination negating (in many cases) the need to learn specific programming languages for different platforms.

Recommendation 2: Show learners epic things they can do with Web-native tools

Powerful tools

Although Audrey is a big fan of the visual programming environment Scratch she talked of giving learners tools ‘that real programmers use’. As an aside, I’ve always found it really disingenuous that some educators add a lot of structure to learning activities and try to make learning ‘easier’ by making the tools available less powerful. After all, it’s highly unlikely that the educators themselves learned in anything other than a fairly ‘messy’ way.

Part of the problem is that we don’t really have a pedagogy around Computer Science (CS) which makes a lot of this suck-it-and-see. I thought Audrey showed real insight when she talked of those who are highly skilled in programming often being highly self-motivated. These people can make great teachers, but (in both our experiences, I think) often don’t. Certainly a lot of the online places you can learn to code seem to be overly-structured and focus on procedural, rather than conceptual, stuff.

At the end of the day, the procedural stuff (especially around syntax) can be learned through tinkering. It’s the conceptual stuff, arguably, that’s the most important.

Recommendation 3: Give learners industrial-strength tools and don’t overly structure what they can do with them

Misc.

Audrey also mentioned lots of other stuff that would turn this into an epic post. She talked about the importance of real project-based learning, where the learner decides what they’re learning, not the teacher/website. She mentioned why Webmaker as a ‘brand’ is important as it focuses on the Web rather than the (sometimes) closed ecosystems of native apps in the mobile space. And, interestingly, Audrey talked about the importance of users understanding the politics of ‘Open’ and why it matters.

Note to self: talk to Audrey more. 🙂

TeachMeet Mozilla Webmaker Edition: 6 October 2012

Next Saturday I’m organising an event down at the Mozilla London office with some teachers, educators and parents interested in sharing what they’re up to. You should join us if you can.

There’s no need to be a web ninja. If you’re at all interested in educational technology and how the web can be used in education, then please do come along!

Date: Saturday 6 October 2012

Time: 1pm – 4pm

Location: Mozilla office, Leicester Square, London

Signup: http://bit.ly/TMmozLDN12

Questions? Ask away in the comments. 🙂

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