This sweet video from PBS on the history of animated GIFs struck us a great example of the kind of creativity and webmaking we’re seeking to inspire. Recommended viewing.
This morning, the Mozilla Toronto community space is packed full of fired-up girls aged 11 to 14. Their mission: spend the next week learning how to hack with Mozilla.
Local entrepreneur and Mozilla community member Heather Payne is the driving force behind the “Girls Learning Code” camp, springboarding from her hugely popular Ladies Learning Code web development workshops.
The kids will spend the week learning about HTML and the basics of webmaking, using Mozilla Hackasaurus and other tools to get started.
Tackling the gender divide in tech
Heather says it’s the only just-for-girls camp of its kind in Toronto. The goal: get more girls interested in tech.
“I don’t want them to see coding as nerdy and geeky. I want them to see it as cool and empowering.” –Heather Payne
Or as The Toronto Star put it:
“While men may rule the technology industry, there are no boys allowed at Girls Learning Code…. Women only represent 22 per cent of the natural sciences and engineering workforce, according to a Research Council of Canada 2010 report. Despite efforts by alliances such as Canadian Women in Technology, that proportion has increased just 2.2 per cent since 1994.”
Building a more web literate planet
“We need a more web literate planet. Part of that is getting more and more kids to learn how to code,” Mark Surman, Mozilla’s executive director, told the Star.
Interested in learning more about the Girls Learning Code camp — or how to host your own?
- Check out the Mozilla Hackasaurus event kit for hosting your own youth hack jam
- Attend tomorrow’s Mozilla Webmaker community call to hear from Heather and some of the participants to hear how it’s going
- Check out the Ladies Learning Code blog to learn more about the mentors behind the project
Mozilla Webmaker weekly update for Feb 14, 2012
Getting practical on webmakers
This post from Mozilla’s Executive Director Mark Surman ties together the various roadmaps and blog posts now underway, tying them back to our overall goals for the year.
Mozilla events menu and strategy
Michelle Thorne continues to test and simplify her event menu, working with Ben Simon on how we can create a scalable, self-organized model for events to take over the world. More on Mozilla Webmaker events:
- Mozilla Event Menu: Testing Continues
- Feature requests for webmakers (more about event platforms)
- Mozilla Popcorn Hack Jams
Tow Truck Demo
Knight-Mozilla OpenNews news
The “Webmaking 101 for Journalists” sprint this week in NYC was a big success. Read all about it in Jess Klein’s week-in-review blog post. Plus more detail here, here and here. The Open News team wants to sponsor journalism hack days with YOU — so let us know what you’re up to here.
Mozilla Popcorn roadmap, heatmap and upcoming fireside chat
How can Mozilla Popcorn serve as a starting point for deeper webmaking skills? The Popcorn team is looking for feedback on these user stories.
Bobby Richter is also looking for feedback on the developer “heat map” he developed to see where work load falls with each new release of Popcorn. The Popcorn team is also planning a special online fireside chat later this month to discuss their user stories and roadmap — look for a date and details on that soon.
Mozilla Hive Toronto Pop-up on Saturday
- Got kids in Toronto? Want them to learn how to hack? Sign them up free here.
- If you can come and volunteer (even for a few hours), please sign up as a volunteer
- If you’re coming as a volunteer, please bring a laptop and flipcam or digital camera. On an ongoing basis, we’ll need access to laptops that we can use for more of these Mozilla events. Let us know as a comment here if you have suggestions.
Software Carpentry in 90 seconds
Software Carpentry‘s mission: help scientists be more productive by teaching them basic computing skills. The project is looking for help and ideas in three key areas:
- 1) Volunteer developers to model their work. We’d like to screencast developers’ desktop as they code and work, so learners can see what they do.
- 2) What happens after the workshops? Where do participants land after the intro workshop? This is a common challenge across our projects — see Greg’s proposal in this “Stack Underflow” post.
- 3) Evaluation. How do we demonstrate impact? We need a way to make a case in terms that a prof or lab director relates to.
Africa Open Days
Africa Open Days is an event designed to help in explaining, encouraging and promoting the use of open source tools. It’s the first of its kind in Africa. Check out the wiki and get involved here.
Love bomb blitz
It’s Valentine’s Day. Why not take a moment to send a love bomb to someone you love?
- February 13-17: Open Badges Sprint (NYC)
If you are in NYC and want to participate, get in touch with Mozilla’s Sunny Lee
- February 15: Connexions Conference (Houston / Rice University)
Mozilla’s Open Badges project will be there
- February 18: Hive Pop-Up Toronto Hackjam for youth
Hosted by Mozilla Toronto (see above)
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
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!