Hackasaurus attacks Long Beach

Mayhem and digital literacy ensue. The Hackasaurus team is psyched to unpack the hack at the Digital Media and Learning conference kicking off today in Long Beach. Here’s some new messaging Jessica, Atul and I have been working on. It’s an early draft we’ll be refining next week, so feedback, general comments, and dino stomps most welcome. (PDF version here.)

Helping youth hack and remix the web

Hackasaurus makes it easy for youth to uncover and mess around with the building blocks that make up the web — empowering them to move from digital consumers to active producers, and see the web as a space they can shape, remix and make better.

Through a set of hacktastic super-tools…

Hackasaurus tools help you start hacking in minutes. Designed around Mizuko Ito’s concepts of “hanging out, messing around and geeking out,” our open source tools include:

  • X-Ray Goggles: See what the web is made of. Expose the basic components that make up web pages, simply by mousing over them. Like seeing into the Matrix.
  • The MixMaster: Mix and match content from across the web. Swap tags and objects on web pages, as easily as magnetic poetry on a fridge door.
  • HTML Bootcamp: Mess around with code. See how changes in code alter web pages. Understand how computers interpret the words you input.
  • HTMLpad: Make a web page in seconds. Edit and publish in real time.
  • Plus more tools in development.

…and at “hack jam” events around the world.

Hack jams make hacking and digital literacy accessible, social and fun. In partnership with libraries, learning centers and youth media centers, learners take part in a flexible DIY curriculum of hands-on projects and online “missions.” Building off pilot events run by the Learning Network in New York and Chicago, the upcoming Hackasaurus Event Kit will make it easy for anyone, anywhere to organize their own jam.

Turning the web into a remixable learning environment.

Instead of using “kid-ified” sandboxes or artifical languages, Hackasaurus lets youth hack using familiar web pages and real HTML. This allows them to remix the spaces they already hang out in, and turns the web itself into a giant learning environment. Learners come away with fundamentals like HTML and CSS skills, web browser and add-on basics, prototyping and iterative design, and understanding the web’s conceptual building blocks.

Gaining hacker habits and life skills.

Beyond technical knowledge, Hackasaurus helps develop “hacker habits” — the combination of technical and social skills youth need to become active co-creators, shape their environments, and take charge of their own learning.

PDF version here.

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