Open Thinkering


Tag: webmakers

What we’re up to with Mozilla Webmaker (Open) badges.

Update: I don’t think I make it clear enough in this post that this is an example of Mozilla ‘eating it’s own dogfood’. We’re using a Mozilla-developed technology (Open Badges) for a particular purpose (to badge Webmaker skills). Hope that makes sense!

Mozilla Webmaker Badges


I work for the Mozilla Foundation as part of the Learning team. More specifically, I’m part of the recently-created Open Badges subset of that team. In practice, however, there’s enough cross-pollination to make the boundaries between sub-teams very hard to see.

Mozilla wants to create a generation of webmakers. As it states at

The goal:help millions of people move from using the web to making the web. As part of Mozilla’s non-profit mission, we want to help the world increase their understanding of the web, take greater control of their online lives, and create a more web literate planet.

That web literacies piece is at least half of my time as Badges & Skills Lead. But what does that mean in practice?

It means a lot of Skype calls . That’s for sure. Oh, and more Etherpads than you can stick a shake at. 😉

Mozilla Webmaker Badges

The Open Badges ecosystem is a new way of signalling and credentialing achievements on the web. You can see me attempt to explain it quickly and concisely in this video.

What we’re trying to do as a Learning team is to identify Web Literacies, Competencies and Skills that can be badged. We’re organising these into ‘constellations’ as my colleague Chloe Varelidi so eloquently puts it – learning pathways that allow learners to follow their interests.

Webmaker badges mindmap

(click on image to enlarge)

Chloe’s post has more gorgeous visuals than mine, but the mindmap I above (made using XMind) gives a widescreen view of what we’re trying to do:

  1. Granular skills badges are awarded for micro-achievements whilst using, for example, Mozilla Thimble (e.g. adding three <p> tags)
  2. The granular skills badges count towards accumulative Web Skills badges (e.g. HTML Basics)
  3. These Web Skills badges collectively count toward Web Competencies badges
  4. In turn, these (after peer assessment) lead to the awarding of one of five different Web Literacies badges

We’re going to be iterating this in the open, because that’s how Mozilla rolls. So we’ll have some Web Skills badges ready for the Mozilla Festival 2012 (London), with Web Competencies badges in place for the DML Conference 2013 (Chicago).

At the same time as all of this, Jess Klein has been working on the user experience (UX). She’s got a great idea for what she calls Webmaker+ (inspired by Nike+) which would provide a dashboard for learners within their Open Badges backpack. She’s working on the first sketches (including the one below) which you should definitely go and take a look at:

Mozilla Webmaker Badges dashboard

The dashboard would suggest badges to learners as well as show them various analytics and data about what they’ve achieved so far. The inspiration here is (to my mind) Khan Academy’s knowledge map and Duolingo’s learning pathways.

I think it all looks awesome. I hope you agree. 🙂

Top image CC BY-NC-SA Chloeatplay

Dashboard image by kind permission of Jess!

What a weekend! (#MozParty Newcastle & #GreatNorth10k)

I’ve had a great weekend.

Not only did people actually turn up and enjoy themselves immensely at #MozParty Newcastle, but I managed to complete the Great North 10k two minutes faster than a couple of years ago. No mean feat given my lack of training…

#MozParty Newcastle

(video not showing? click here!)

Anyone can attend or create a #MozParty. Go to and sign up for free!

I did just that when I created #MozParty Newcastle. Thankfully, I had the ‘Army of Awesome’ to help me:

  • Steve Boneham
  • Steve Bunce
  • Ricardo Carolas
  • David Easton
  • Bill Gibbon
  • Jacquie Kelly
  • Andy Stewart
  • Chris Wilde

Around 35 people attended altogether, the youngest being seven years old. It was a fantastic event with some great informal learning, sharing and encouragement going on.

Check out the creations here:

I’d like to thank Ian, Sheela and Tom from the Centre for Life as they helped the event to happen. Check out the additional photos and videos below or directly on Flickr.

Chris Allan has also written up the event on his blog.

Great North 10k

The long hill back up to Gateshead Stadium was a killer, but I reckon I can go even faster than 47:23 next year. In fact, I bet I can go sub-45 minutes in 2013!

Doug Belshaw's Great North 10k time - 47:23