Building a big tent for teaching the web

Mozilla, Nesta and Nominet Trust announce new digital literacy partnership in the UK

Today, on the eve of the Mozilla Festival in London, Mozilla is proud to announce a new partnership aimed at spreading digital literacy in the UK.

Mozilla together with Nesta and Nominet Trust are creating a new fund and umbrella group focused on teaching digital making, web literacy and tech.

Our goal: build a “big tent” in the UK, and invite other organizations and community groups to join us. Together we’re offering financial support, shared resources, and the opportunity to collaborate and learn together.

£225,000 are available in the first round of funding to help support organizations and community groups working on digital making in the UK.

Tackling the digital literacy gap

Why now? We believe digital skills and webmaking are vital 21st century skills, the fourth pillar to reading, writing and arithmetic. But we face a serious challenge in making this a reality in the UK and around the world: there’s a digital literacy “gap.”

Youth and digital natives increasingly know how to consume with technology, but lack the skills and knowledge they need to create with it. When it comes to the web, we’re at risk of teaching an entire generation how to read, but not how to write.

New survey results

This is borne out by new survey data from a YouGov poll of UK parents and youth, commissioned by Mozilla:

  • 67% of British 8 – 15 year olds say they’re interested in learning to program and write computer code. But only 3% are currently being given the opportunity to do so.
  • 60% of British parents say they would like their children to learn about coding.
  • Parents now place digital literacy amongst their top four educational priorities, alongside English, Mathematics, and Science.

Join us

That’s why a diverse group of partners are coming together to tackle this challenge, in a fresh new way that stresses creativity and learning by making. That’s the driving ethos behind our Mozilla Webmaker program, and why Mozilla is excited to work with local educators and partner organizations in the UK and around the world.

“By equipping children and young people with the necessary skills early on, we can help them not just to use and consume digital technologies but also to create them – to be Digital Makers,” says Geoff Mulgan, chief executive at Nesta.

Annika Small, CEO at Nominet Trust, says “These skills of content creation, collaboration and communication are vital if young people are to cope with — and contribute to — a rapidly changing, complex global society. The Digital Makers fund is designed to recognise and encourage the development of these critical digital skills both in the classroom and outside school.”

“This is just the beginning,” says Mozilla’s Executive Director, Mark Surman. “The major call to action is: join us. We’ll be working together on details and next steps at this weekend’s Mozilla Festival, a literal example of our ‘big tent’ in action.”

To learn more or get involved in the UK, please get in touch here. Or if you’re interested in our digital literacy work around the world, get involved at webmaker.org.

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