Tag: Mozilla (page 2 of 14)

Weeknotes 08/2015 and 09/2015

Last week I was in Dubai on holiday with my family thanks to the generosity of my Dad. Here’s a couple of photos from that trip. Scroll down for this week’s updates!

Dubai Marina

Giraffes feeding at Al Ain Zoo

Doug

This (four-day) work week I’ve been:

Mozilla

 Dynamic Skillset

Other

Digital Maker/Citizen badges

Next week I’ll be at home working more on the Learning Pathways whitepaper and Web Literacy Map v1.5. I’ll also be helping out with the Clubs curriculum work where necessary.

Finally, I’m considering doing more work I originally envisaged this year with Dynamic Skillset, so email hello@nulldynamicskillset.com if you think I can help you or your organisation!

All images by me, except header image CC BY-NC NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

An important day for the Internet

As I’ve just been explaining to my son, when he’s my age and looks back at the history of the Internet, 26 February 2015 will be seen as a very important day.

Why? The Mozilla blog summarises it well:

We just accomplished something very important together. Today, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted for strong net neutrality protections. This happened because millions of people — including many hundreds of thousands in Mozilla’s community — joined together as citizens of the Web to demand those strong protections.

Net Neutrality can be a difficult thing to understand and, especially if you’re not based in the USA, it can feel like something that doesn’t affect you. However, it is extremely important, and it impacts everyone.

Last year we put together a Webmaker training module on Net Neutrality. I’d like to think it helped towards what was achieved today. As Mitchell Baker stated, this victory was far from inevitable, and the success will benefit all of humankind.

It’s worth finding out more about Net Neutrality, for the next time it’s threatened. Forewarned is forearmed.

Image CC BY Kendrick Erickson

Weeknote 07/2015

This week I’ve been:

Mozilla

Dynamic Skillset

  • Working on pricing for on-demand, one-off, and ongoing consultancy.
  • Dealing with enquiries from various people/organisations.

Other

I’m going to be away on holiday from Monday 16th to Monday 23rd (inclusive) with my family in Dubai. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to that! 🙂

Image CC BY-SA Alan Levine

A visual history of the first two years of Mozilla’s Web Literacy Map

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” (African proverb)

Jamie Allen reminded me that February 7th marked the two year anniversary of the Web Literacy community at Mozilla. We’ve achieved a fair bit in that time. Here’s a visual history of how we’ve got (nearly) to version 1.5  inspired, in part by contributor Greg McVerry. There’s a list of all of the contributors so far at the end of this post and here.

2012

Mozilla’s web literacy work was actually kicked off by Michelle Levesque before I joined Mozilla. I helped with some suggestions and iterations as you can see from her blog. To begin with, it was just a list of skills that I suggested she might want to put into graphical form. So she did: v0.1 (alpha) - Michelle Levesque There was a few months of overlap between me joining Mozilla as ‘Badges & Skills Lead’ and Michelle leaving. I took over development of the web literacy work and wrote a whitepaper.

2013

Erin Knight, Director of Learning at Mozilla at the time, suggested we might work towards a ‘Web Literacy Standard’. We hosted a kick-off call in February 2013 which was well-attended. This is when the community work started, iterating towards a v1.0. The first draft (April 2013) looked like this: First draft of Web Literacy Standard The ‘release candidate’ in July actually had some design love (from Chris Appleton) rather than me messing about in Keynote. This was the ‘Request For Comments’ version from July 2013: v1.0 RFC (July 2013) We’d decided to lock things down for September so that we could launch a version 1.0 at the Mozilla Festival the following month. We were still hoping for it to be a formal ‘standard’ so we called it a specification: v1.0 (specification) As you can see, it’s very similar to v1.1 and the upcoming v1.5 – as you’d expect.

2014

I’d moved teams in late 2013 to become ‘Web Literacy Lead’ at Mozilla. This meant that the Web Literacy Map was one of my main responsibilities. As a community we decided to transition away from ‘Standard’ as the term carries so much negative baggage in North America. After some discussion and debate, we settled on ‘Map’  and took the opportunity to update it to v1.1. Cassie McDaniel provided the visual refresh: WebLiteracy Map v1.1 In April 2014 this was then used to underpin the Webmaker Resources section: Webmaker Resources section Clicking on one of the competencies takes you to a page listing the skills underpinning that particular competency. It was contains resources for teaching that particular area of the Web Literacy Map. This was curated by Kat Braybrooke. Webmaker Resources - Remix In addition, nine of the ten points of the Mozilla manifesto link through to appropriate parts of the Web Literacy Map when you click on them for more information. For example under the ‘learn more’ section of Principle 2 it says Explore how to help keep the Web open. This links through to the Open Practices section of Webmaker resources. Mozilla manifesto - 2

2015

Towards the end of 2014 we began work as a community on scoping out what we originally called ‘version 2.0‘. There was a series of interviews, a community survey, and a small number of community calls in the run-up to Christmas deciding on what we should focus on in 2015. Ultimately, we decided to re-scope to version 1.5 with the potential to go for a v2.0 later in the year. In the community calls we’ve held this year, we’ve already decided to combine ‘Web Mechanics’ and ‘Infrastructure’ to create a new, re-scoped Web Mechanics competency. At the same time, we’re separating out the two parts of ‘Design & Accessibility’ to create Designing for the Web and Accessibility. Changes in competencies from v1.1 to v1.5 We should have v1.5 ready by the end of March 2015. 🙂

Conclusion

This is a visual history, but behind the simplicity we’ve aimed for is so much debate, discussion and complexity. I’ve been in awe at times at the nuanced thinking of contributors to this project. Some have showed up since the beginning of the project, others have given their precious time for just a couple of sessions. But either way, we couldn’t have come this far without them. If you want to get involved in this work, you’re very welcome! Here’s where to point your attention:

Community

Here’s the community, in alphabetical order by first name. They’re all rockstars:

  • Alina Mierlus
  • Andrew Sliwinski
  • An-Me Chung
  • Ani Martinez
  • Alvar Maciel
  • Ankit Gadgil
  • An-Me Chung
  • Atul Varma
  • Audrey Watters
  • Beth Ayer
  • Bex Lewis
  • Bobby Richter
  • Bon Stewart
  • Brendan Murphy
  • Carla Casilli
  • Cassie McDaniel
  • Catherine Cronin
  • Chad Sansing
  • Chloe Varelidi
  • Chris Appleton
  • Chris Mills
  • Chris Wilde
  • Christian Briggs
  • Christina Cantrill
  • Clint Talbert
  • Cynthia Lieberman
  • Darren Alexander
  • Dave Cormier
  • Dave Crusoe
  • Dave Steer
  • David Ascher
  • Diana Graber
  • Doug Belshaw
  • Dumitru Gherman
  • Elizabeth E Charles
  • Emil Ahangarzadeh
  • Emily Goligoski
  • Erica Sackin
  • Erin Knight
  • George Station
  • Grant Russell
  • Greg McVerry
  • Gus Andrews
  • Hannah Kane
  • Honor Moorman
  • Howard Rheingold
  • Ian Cooper
  • Ian O’Byrne
  • Ibrahima Sarr
  • James Buckingham
  • Jamie Allen
  • Jane Bozarth
  • Janet Laane Effron
  • Jen Moore
  • Jess Klein
  • Joerg Lohrer
  • John Bevan
  • John Martin
  • Josie Fraser
  • Joyce Seitzinger
  • Justin Crawford
  • Karen Smith
  • Kat Braybrooke
  • Kathryn Meisner
  • Kevin Turner
  • Kim Wilkens
  • Larissa Shapiro
  • Laura Hilliger
  • Leah Gilliam
  • Liesl Scheepers
  • Lucy Harris
  • Majda Nafissa Rahal
  • Marc Lesser
  • Marcius Herbert
  • Marco Perez
  • Mari Huertas
  • Mark Power
  • Matt Hannigan
  • Matthew Willse
  • Michael Greene
  • Michelle Levesque
  • Michelle Thorne
  • Mikko Kontto
  • Oliver Quinlan
  • Paul Allison
  • Paul Oh
  • Pekka Ollikainen
  • Roz Hussin
  • Sara Carter
  • Sarah Horrocks
  • Shreyas Narayanan
  • Simon Grant
  • Srikar Ananthula
  • Stephen Downes
  • Stephen Judd
  • Sunny Lee
  • Terry Hodgson
  • Thomas Farrow
  • Tom Salmon
  • Vicky Teinaki
  • Will Barkis
  • William Duyck

Have I missed your name? Apologies! Let me know. Finally, there’s a few people I want to single out for their extraordinary help. I can’t overstate how important Carla Casilli was as a thought leader to the community from 2012 to 2014. Ian O’Byrne has stepped up time and time again and has led when I’ve been away. Greg McVerry has been a tireless champion of the Web Literacy Map. Laura Hilliger has been inspirational, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Marc Lesser has been the voice of reason and wisdom. Gus Andrews has been thoughtful and questioning. Alvar Maciel has opened our eyes beyond the English-speaking world and been a indefatigable translator. It’s been such an enjoyable couple of years. I can’t wait to get v1.5 ready and then move on to version 2.0!

My current Mozilla workflow: Trello, Google Mail, and GitHub

Like Clay Shirky, I think that over-optimising your setup and workflow for now can lead to long-term anachronism. He says:

[S]ince every tool switch involves a period of disorientation and sub-optimal use, I have to make myself be willing to bang around with things I don’t understand until I do understand them. This is the opposite of a dream setup; the thing I can least afford is to get things working so perfectly that I don’t notice what’s changing in the environment anymore.

In this screencast I show how I’m using Trello, Google Mail, and GitHub as part of my current workflow. This may change by next month – or even next week!

I’d love your comments and questions, particularly if you share your workflow or have any tips/tweaks for mine!


PS In 2015 I’m writing a book in my spare time called #uppingyourgame v2.0: a practical guide to personal productivity which you may find interesting…

On working remotely

As I mentioned recently, I’m a regular reader of Hacker News. Yesterday one of the links on the front page was to a blog post by a UK-based employee of Etsy. He (Jon Cowie) was explaining what it’s been like to work remotely for a tech company over the last three years.

The post resonated strongly with me and I just wanted to pick out some parts from the post and compare/contrast with my own experience working for the Mozilla Foundation for almost the same amount of time.

Logistics

We’re a heavily distributed team with people spanning 4 time zones, although I’m currently the only person outside the US, which means my work day is between 5 and 7 hours ahead of the rest of my team.

Mozilla is even more distributed than Etsy, it would seem. Normal working hours start for my colleagues in San Francisco, Portland and Vancouver at the same time as they finish for my colleagues in Germany. Needless to say, there’s a need to be flexible! (I’m based in the UK, in a market town in the North East of England.)

The Good

The fact that I’m 5 hours ahead of the rest of my team has also turned out to be a benefit to my productivity here too – because I’m usually the only person on the team at work until 2PM or so in the UK, my entire morning is a block of time without any interruptions where I can get through tons of work. I’m also a morning person, so my brain is freshest when I start work.

This isn’t quite the case for me – my colleagues in Germany are an hour ahead of me – the majority of my colleagues are still asleep when I start work. If you’ve never experienced this, then it’s wonderful. You can get so much done without meetings and other interruptions!

I often joke that a bad commute for me is having to walk around a clothes dryer on the way to my desk, but there’s a serious point to make here – rather than spend 2 hours a day commuting as I did when working in London, I have a 10 second walk to my desk. This also gives me an extra 2 hours a day to play with

The commute thing is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, I kind of miss the liminal space inbetween home and work – especially for listening to podcasts, gathering my thoughts, etc. On the other hand, being able to work when you want from pretty much anywhere is amazing.

Another major plus point to remote working is the flexibility that it affords – I’m always at home to receive deliveries. Car needs to go to the garage? No worries, I can pop by…. Individually, these are all very small things, but the cumulative effect makes the trials and tribulations of daily adulting much easier to deal with.

As Jon says, this is difficult to explain on an individual level, but it makes life so much easier. (I love the phrase ‘daily adulting’ – even if it does sound a little seedy…)

The Bad

The fact that your home and your office are in the same physical building can often lead to cabin fever in varying degrees. In my case I don’t find this too problematic due to my aforementioned tendency to naturally avoid crowded and noisy places, but there are occasions where I just need to get outside of these four walls.

I don’t have quite this problem as my home office is physically separate from our house. Still, I mix it up a bit by spending part of the morning working from either the local library or Wetherspoons (cheap, unlimited coffee; decent free wifi; comfy seats). Like Jon, I also exercise before lunch, ready for my colleagues to come online.

One of the toughest parts of my particular working situation, and that which I’ve had to be the most disciplined about, is stopping work at 6PM and not starting again until the next day.

Taking an “almost militaristic” approach to this (as Jon says he does) would be difficult for me. I certainly aim not to work after 6pm, but circumstances sometimes dictate it. For me, with two young children, I’m more interested in being around for them between 6pm and 8pm than I am protecting 8pm to 10pm. It’s horses for courses.

I’d really like Mozilla to implement something like timezone.io (the code’s on GitHub!)

When you have people working across physical locations, timezones and even countries, communication gets harder. People aren’t able to gather around the water cooler, it’s easy for people to feel left out if they’re the one who isn’t in the office, and including remotes in meetings and discussions can often be tricky.

The way that I always explain the difference to people is that, when your communications are mediated by technology, every interaction is intentional. What I mean by that is you can’t just wander over to a co-worker and ask how they’re doing, or bump into them in a corridor. Sometimes this is great and a real aide to productivity. But sometimes it can feel isolating.

Thankfully I have some colleagues who regularly ping me on IRC and Skype just to talk through various things (work and social stuff). We also have a Friday meeting which is at the end of the day for Europeans and midday for those on US Eastern Time (New York / Toronto). This usually involves talking about non-work stuff with alcohol for us and lunch for them. It’s a nice end to the week.

Conclusion

Be prepared to work at it, and be awesome to each other. Remote working can be an amazingly empowering and positive experience, but it doesn’t come for free. Effort in, results out – from both company and employees.

Like any position in any organisation, there’s ups and downs working remotely for Mozilla. As Bryan Mathers commented when I interviewed him this week it doesn’t work for everyone. It takes a level of maturity and emotional stability that, to be honest, I sometimes struggle with. When most of the signals you’re getting are text-based you can read too much into things. I’ve heard that more than half of face-to-face communication is non-verbal which I can definitely believe.

But despite all of this, working remotely is absolutely fantastic. It means I have no excuse not to be insanely productive. There’s nowhere to hide when it comes to carving out time to go to the gym. My time is (largely) my own to get on and get stuff done. I’m judged by what I produce rather than when I do it.

It may not fit with all industries but I think that, if you can make it work for you and your organisation, it’s a huge bonus.


Do you work remotely? Would you like to? I’d love to read your comments and questions in the section below!

Weeknote 04/2015

This week I’ve been:

I wasn’t at BETT this week. It’s a great place to meet people I haven’t seen for a while and last year I even gave a couple of presentations and a masterclass. However, this time around, my son’s birthday and party gave me a convenient excuse to miss it.

Next week I’m working from home as usual. In fact, I don’t think I’m away again until our family holiday to Dubai in February half-term!

Image CC BY Dave Fayram

Join me this Thursday for a Connected Learning webinar: An Introduction to ‘Teaching the Web’ and ‘Web Literacy’

This Thursday (15th January 2014) at 5pm UTC* I’m leading a webinar on behalf of Mozilla’s #TeachTheWeb team. The title is An Introduction to ‘Teaching the Web’ and ‘Web Literacy’.  Click through to sign up for event reminders.

The webinar is the first in a series of three our team is running under the banner of Empowering Lifelong Learners by ‘Teaching the Web’.

An Introduction to ‘Teaching the Web’ and ‘Web Literacy’

What is “web literacy” and why should we teach it? How does creating/remixing the web help strengthen learning?

How the Webmaker Community Is Helping Youth Be Creative and Curious

What are “web literacy clubs,” and how are they helping youth develop lifelong learning mindsets?

 Ongoing Learning Opportunities with Mozilla Webmaker

What are some of the easiest ways to get involved in the Webmaker community? Where do you start?


During my webinar I’ll be going through introductory stuff around Webmaker, the Web Literacy Map, and the Webmaker whitepaper. I’m also interested in any questions you’ve got, so please do ask them as comments below! I’ll try and answer as many as possible during the webinar.


* That’s 9am PT / 12pm ET / 5pm GMT / 6pm CET / 10.30 IST / 4am AET

What (some) people think about ‘radical participation’

Yesterday I was in Durham presenting on Radical Participation. At the start of the session each participant was given a couple of index cards. During my keynote I stopped and asked them to write or draw something on one of the four sides.

Today, I scanned in three of the four sides (the final one involved personal info that people may not have wanted to share more widely) and uploaded the images to this Flickr album. The header image is one person’s view of their institution’s ‘architecture of participation’. Interesting!

I did use Quicktime to record my screen during the presentation. That can be found on Vimeo. However, the audio is difficult to hear in places when I strayed away from the microphone.

1. What’s your organisation’s mission?

What's your organisation's mission?

2. What would constitute ‘radical participation’ in this session?

What would constitute 'radical participation' in this session?

3. Draw your organisation’s architecture of participation.

Draw your organisation's architecture of participation

Many thanks to Malcolm Murray and team for inviting me to take part in such a great event. Also: I got to stay in a castle! 😀

Radical participation: a smörgåsbord

Today and tomorrow I’m at Durham University’s eLearning conference. I’m talking on Radical Participation – inspired, in part, by Mark Surman’s presentation at the Mozilla coincidental workweek last month.

My slides should appear below. If not, click here!

I was very impressed by Abbi Flint’s keynote going into the detail of her co-authored Higher Education Academy report entitled Engagement Through Partnership: students as partners in learning and teaching in higher education. In fact, I had to alter what I was going to say as she covered my critique! Marvellous.

After Abbi’s keynote I was involved in a panel session. I didn’t stick too closely to my notes, instead giving more of a preview to what I’m talking about in my keynote tomorrow. As ever, I’m genuinely looking forward to some hard questions!

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