Category Archives: Mozilla Drumbeat

NEW DATE and TIME: Teaching the fourth ‘R': a fireside chat with Cathy Davidson

Technical difficulties last time around forced us to reschedule this event.  Please join us on our new date and time:

A virtual “fireside chat” with author Cathy Davidson:
Thursday, Feb 16 | 1pm PST / 4pm EST
Sign up on Lanyrd here

How do we teach the web?

You’ve heard of “the three ‘R’s:” reading, writing and ‘rithmetic.

But author and noted academic Cathy Davidson says the 21st Century demands a fourth: “algoRithms,” as in the underlying threads and logic that shape our digital lives.

More than just “teaching people how to code,” Cathy sees “algorhtmic thinking” and webmaking as a vital antidote to the passive, assembly line model that still dominates most traditional education.

“Algorithmic thinking:” iterative, process-oriented, constructive

As Cathy argues recently in the Washington Post and in her most recent DML blog post:

We need to reform our learning institutions, concepts, and modes of assessment for our age. Now, anyone with access to the World Wide Web can go far beyond the passive consumer model to contribute content on the Web…. That Do-It-Yourself potential for connected, participatory, improvisational learning requires new skills, what many are calling new “literacies.”

Like other literacies, algorithmic thinking is foundational, “a set of rules that precisely defines a sequence of operations.” She sees it as the opposite of the “bubble-thinking” ingrained through decades of highly standardized, multiple choice tests. “It provides an alternative to fact-based mastery and proposes, instead, iterative, process-oriented, constructive, innovative thinking.”

What is marvelous about algorithmic thinking and Webmaking is that you can actually see abstract thinking transformed into your own customized multimedia stories on the Web, offered to a community, and therefore contributing to the Web. Algorithmic thinking is less about “learning code” than “learning to code.” Code is never finished, it is always in process, something you build on and, in many situations, that you build together with others. Answers aren’t simply “right” guesses among pre-determined choices, but puzzles to be worked over, improved, and adapted for the next situation, the next iteration.

Mozilla’s Michelle Levesque: “Teaching algorithmic thinking”

In her own blog post response to Cathy’s argument, Mozilla’s Michelle Levesque considers how we can put Cathy’s principles into practice here at Mozilla, as we focus on creating tools and resources for a new generation of webmakers. Michelle will join Cathy to discuss how we can all work together to create a more web literate planet. We hope you’ll join us!

This Valentine’s Day, drop a love bomb on someone you love

Here at Mozilla, we like to drop “love bombs” on our favorite friends and colleagues. To reward great work and show we care.

The good folks at the Mozilla Hackasaurus team have taken it a giant step further. As part of their ongoing mission to make webmaking fun and easy for the planet, they’ve created this lovely “Love Bomb Builder” protototype. Making and sending hand-crafted love bombs has never been simpler! (See Jess Klein’s “On Inspiration and Lovebombs.”)

How does it work?

Simple! Choose a template, say a little about who and why the love bomb is for, then fire away! Your mom, dogwalker or special someone can click on the link you send them for a lovely digital token of your affection — lovingly handcrafted in HTML and CSS. I got one from my wife the other day, and it made me blush.

WARNING: Love Bomb Builder is an early prototype and still a little rough around the edges. May prematurely detonate. May cause blushing and/or spontaneous emotional combustion. No webmakers were harmed in the creation of said love bombs.

Some samples of what your customizable love bomb can look like:

  • Atul’s love bomb to Tim Berners Lee for creating the world wide web.
  • A fist bump for Vint Cerf for thinkin’ up the whole “open Internet” thing.
  • A wrestler mask for Madonna. Cuz she’d look great in one!

So what are you waiting for? Go make one now and send it your geekiest Valentine!

What are we working on this week? Popcorn vision, learning roadmap, OpenBadges re-design + more

Working open… every week

I’m excited by how our Mozilla Webmaker calls are evolving. Most meetings tend to suck. This one increasingly doesn’t, in large part because we’re committed to sprinting together in etherpad instead of just passively listening to others talk. As our team grows rapidly, we have the dual necessity of both increasing participation and co-ordinating effort, to avoid left-hand vs. right-hand issues. We’ve got a ways to go, but having a look at the etherpad each week provides a decent (albeit blurry) snapshot of what the heck is up.

Notes and audio recording from the Feb 7 call
This post provides a quick summary of what we’re working on right now, as outlined in today’s call.

What’s on our radar this week?

Mozilla Popcorn: Vision & Roadmap

Got a sneak preview at some new slides and roadmap for Mozilla Popcorn today. Outstanding presentation from Ben Moskowtiz, Brett Gaylor and the Popcorn team. Not yet ready for wide sharing — look for a blog post and tweets on this soon.

Mozilla Learning Team Roadmap

What specific skills do we need to teach to create a generation of webmakers? How do we get there?

  • Blog post on Mozilla Learning Roadmap from Erin Knight.
  • Roadmap. With goals broken down by quarter

Re-designing the site

Mozilla’s Open Badges project is going to get a more robust online home. Blog post and preliminary wireframes are here.

Hive Toronto:  Hackjam for youth

Happening in the Mozilla Toronto office February 18th, from 1 pm – 4:30 pm. Heather Payne is working with others to hone the event plan. Registration is here. 54 people already registered so far (24 kids, 16 parents, 14 volunteers). Aiming for 60-75 kids to register total.

Data Journalism Handbook: version 1.0 coming soon

The Data Journalism Handbook was born at November’s Mozilla Festival in London. They’re aiming to have a version 1.0 done by the end of February. Learn more and get involved here. Or re-tweet something like this to help spread the word:

Final call for contributions for the Data Journalism Handbook v 0.1 . Help to finish it by end of Feb! #ddjbook #ddj

How do we make it easier for webmakers to host their own events?

Ben Simon and Michelle Thorne have outlined thinking and proposals in a pair of blog posts. Are these the right features? Are we missing any?

Awesome blog post and visual storytelling on Collusion

Who’s watching the watchers? Don’t miss this inspired post and comic-style explanation of  Collusion.

Shout out to Pat Imlay and Open Attribute

Shout Out to Pat Lockley who continues to update the Open Attribute plugins. It’s attribution made ridiculously simple. Updated plugins for Firefox, Chrome, WordPress, Drupal, Opera.