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Supporting a Generation of Digital Makers

This week I’m over in Austin, Texas for a session I’m running today with Kate Stokes from Nesta at SXSWedu. Entitled Supporting a Generation of Digital Makers, it’s ostensibly a panel session, but we’re hacking the format a bit to include some discussion activities.

Summary:

Technology is shaping our world, yet most people still only consume it. To harness its potential, learners need to understand how it works and what is possible. Going beyond theoretical instruction, young people can be empowered to gain new digital skills by making things they are passionate about – from web pages to robots. So how do we encourage a generation of young people to be digital makers?

In the UK, Mozilla, Nesta and Nominet Trust are working with partners to spark a digital-making movement.

Why?

To connect existing opportunities and amplify impact. To make more activities available to learners. Most importantly, to change perspectives on what we learn (digital skills are more than coding), how we learn (not just transmitting theory) and where we can learn (anywhere!).

Sharing experiences from this collaborative work-in-progress, we will bring participants into a lively discussion on how digital making can become a core educational experience for youth everywhere.

You can find out more about the Digital Makers programme on the Nesta website with additional commentary on the Nominet Trust and Mozilla blogs. Also, check out the short video montage I created from some of the application videos:

Because obviously I’m a male chauvinist pig.

Update: I feel like I’ve grown a lot since writing this angry post. I don’t feel like I’m the same person that wrote this, but have kept it up as an example of how sometimes I get things very wrong.


Last week I keynoted the DeFT OER dissemination conference. I enjoyed the event, received good feedback afterwards and thought it was well-received. Certainly no-one raised any major issues either in the opportunities for question-and-answer, nor during the rest of the day when I was visible and around to talk to those in the audience.

That’s why this blog post (on the official JISC-funded project blog) caught me by surprise. Now, I know that what I probably should do is ignore or perhaps downplay it. But I’m not going to, because I’m actually outraged that the author feels like she can get away with misrepresenting me in this way. You can find out what I actually said (I recorded it) by going to my conference blog.

I now have the ‘my mother test’. My mother reached the grand old age of sixty a few months ago and now if I can explain it to my mother, then I think that the average person can understand it. So I thought how could I explain ‘openness’ to my mother in a way that she could understand? Because ‘Open Educational Resources’ is kind of a supply-side term.

Note that I equate my mother with ‘the average person’. The author fails to quote me at any time in the post, claiming that I’ve ‘dissed’ my elders (particularly my mother). Why, she wonders, did I use a female example here?

I’ll tell you why.

I used my grandmother as an example of a digital refusnik because both my grandfathers died before I was five, and she’s the only person of that generation that I know well enough to comment upon. I used my mother as an example not because she’s female but because my father has perhaps slightly more advanced skills than others of that generation. I also showed a video at one point showing the (male) rapper DMX as an example of someone who’s less than digitally literate. But he’s black, so presumably I’m a racist as well as a misogynist.

Using the not-so-subtle device of rhetorical questioning the post goes on to ask whether it was fair that I implied that my mother was intellectually challenged. Really? Is this not just a case of someone getting on their hobby horse and riding it off into the distance (whilst I’m left stranded on a scapegoat)? I’m genuinely shocked that, if they felt so strongly about the issue, they didn’t raise it with me on the day.

So I’m not overly-deferent to my elders. So I don’t venerate academia. So I don’t engage in hand-wringing over the gender of the examples I give.

So what?

MozFest!

Yesterday I emailed some people who I thought would be interested in the Mozilla Festival. But then I realised, pretty much everyone who reads my blog would be (or should be!) interested in it.


Seeking Educators Who Get the Web: Let’s work together at MozFest!

If you’re an educator, instructor or student working at the intersection of learning and the web, Mozilla wants to work with you at MozFest. Education and digital literacy are a key focus of this year’s Mozilla Festival in London, Nov 9 – 11.

The goal: unlock the full educational potential of the web, help learners move from digital consumption to digital creation, and grow a global movement for teaching web literacy to the world. You can learn more or register at http://mozillafestival.org/

Key sessions and themes for educators:

What are we inviting you to do?

1) Bring your expertise, curriculum and content

  • Contribute your educational expertise to MozFest themes like badges, mobile, coding for kids, hackable games and digital literacy.
  • Bring your existing digital literacy projects, curriculum and content. Connect with colleagues and  leaders to refine your project, further your educational goals, and  share resources.

2) Bring students and youth

  • This year’s Festival includes an entire theme of sessions and activities just for youth, including a game arcade and content from Hive NYC, WYNC’s Radio Rookies, DigitalMe, O2 Think Big, Global Action Project and more.

3) Help build Webmaker tools and resources

  • Collaborate with Mozilla. We want to build a “big tent” of like-minded edudcators to teach the world the web.
  • Learn more about and help shape the future of Webmaker tools, projects and curriculum.

How do I get involved?

You can register here now: http://mzl.la/mozfest-register

There are also complimentary tickets to the Festival available for educators or instructors who:

  • bring youth or students with them
  • bring specific ideas, projects or lessons they want to share and work on at MozFest
  • volunteer to run mini-sessions at the Festival
  • spread the word about the Festival and Webmaker to your networks
  • volunteer to act as a youth manager for a few hours

Interested? Get in touch here: http://mozillafestival.org/contact-us/

I’m looking forward to seeing you at MozFest! 🙂

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