Webmaker Workweek: So Wow.

Just coming home from a truly fantastic week in Toronto with the talented Webmaker team. This was the first time the Webmaker product + community teams, plus Mozilla Foundation’s engagement and operations teams, met face-to-face to hack on Webmaker.

There’s only one way to describe it (hat tip, Brett!):

Webmaker Meta

In addition to trampolining, ax-throwing and general revelry, we also shipped a lot of things. Guided by a beloved scrum board, we got in small group to tackle big, interwoven topics.

Our new-and-improved wiki page shows how we’re building and improving the various aspects of Webmaker. (Thanks for meta-wrangling this, Matt!)

What’s also emerging is a helpful way to describe Webmaker’s offering. Lifted from Geoffrey’s notes, here’s a summary of the components that make up Webmaker:

We are clear on who Webmaker is for (people who want to teach the web), what we offer them (tools, a skills map, teaching kits, training, credentials), and the ways people take these offerings to their learners and the broader world (events, partners, a global community).

These are increasingly more interconnected and aligned than ever before. That is really exciting.

Towards More Contributors

The Mozilla Foundation’s collective goal this year is to collaborate with 10,000 contributors. A big portion of these contributors will engage with Mozilla through Webmaker.

A Webmaker contributor is anyone actively teaching, making or organizing around web literacy. What we did the last week was get clearer on what those actions are and how we might be able to count them.

MOAR Teach the Web

In addition to shaping the engagement ladder and metrics, our small group (aka the Teach the Web team) focused on three major deliverables:

  • i) teaching kits
  • ii) the Web Literacy Map
  • and iii) training.

Here’s a recap of what that means and what we shipped:

Teaching Kits

Teaching Kits are a modular collection of activities and resources about how to teach a web literacy competency or competencies.

The kits incorporate activities and resources that live on webmaker.org, as well as external resources that are tagged with the Web Literacy Map. Mentors learn how to use and make these kits in our training. Kits are also co-designed online and at live events with partners and community members.

What we shipped:

  • With a new UX and simplified taxonomy, users will soon find it easier to i) rip and read, 2) remix and 3) create new kits that align with the Web Literacy Map. The kits have always been modular (that’s their genius), but it’s been hard to use and remix them in practice. An improved layout and a simplified taxonomy means that users better understand the structure and modularity of these offerings. There are also lots of important features to make it easier to edit, such as writing in Markdown.
  • Thanks to Webmaker’s insightful localization team, David Humphrey and Aali, we’ll better prepare the kits for localization using Transifex, a powerful tool already helping Webmaker be translated into 50+ languages.
  • Furthermore, we realized that teaching kits are best created in a co-design process. We made an example agenda for how to run an in-person co-design sprint with partners and community members, as well as how to user test the results afterward. We want to roadtest the co-design process with a few partners over the coming weeks.

Year goal:

Hundreds of new teaching kits. Tens of exemplary kits.

Web Literacy Map

The Web Literacy Map is a flexible specification of the skills and competencies that Mozilla and our community of stakeholders believe are important to pay attention to when getting better at reading, writing and participating on the web.

The map guides mentors to find teaching kits and activities for the skills they care about. It provides a structured way to approach web literacy while also encouraging customization and expansion to fit the mentors’ and learners’ interests.

What we shipped:

  • A bookmarklet that makes it easy for users to tag any resource on the web–such as a Webmaker “make” or lesson plans on an external URL–with the Web Literacy Map.
  • These tagged resources will soon be discoverable and searchable on webmaker.org, as Web Literacy becomes the heart of the site’s UX. It will make it easier for users to find and use these resources, as well as create new kits that put the resources in context. Down the line, there will also be badges that align with the map.
  • Furthermore, we’re drafting a whitepaper about the Web Literacy Map and how it’s part of Mozilla’s overall webmaking efforts and the general web literacy landscape.

Year end goal:

Thousands of tagged resources. An oft-cited whitepaper and influence in web literacy discourse.

Training

Training for Webmaker is a modular offering that mixes online and offline learning to teach mentors 1) our pedagogy and webmaking 2) how to use, remix and create new teaching kits and 3) how to align resources with the Web Literacy Map.

The trainings include additional “engagement” sections about how to run events, conduct local user-testing and even for mentors to lead a training themselves. Mentors will move seamlessly between the training content and webmaker.org, as key assignments include using and making things on Webmaker.

What we shipped:

  • A course syllabus that merges the best-of content from our previous trainings while becoming more modular and interlinked to Webmaker.
  • A brief for a staging platform that runs on Github pages to be ready for an “alpha” online training in March. Importantly, this platform should give users the ability to copy an existing training, remix it and run it for their own community. Also, we will link Webmaker logins and design to the site, so that training feels like a natural extension of webmaker.org.
  • After a massive kickoff training in May, Maker Party will be ablaze with community-led trainings and targeted in-person ones around the world. We developed a timeline and event-driven model that shows an arc from our initial training to growing a circle of Super Mentors who can facilitate their own trainings as well as partnership pathways to run bespoke trainings for certain groups.

Year end goal:

Thousands of Webmaker mentors.

Thanks!

All of these incredible outcomes were shaped and shipped by the stellar the Teach the Web team: Laura, Kat, Doug, and William. A big thank you! So wow.

Also, thanks so much to the people who joined our sessions and made this work come to life: Karen, Robert, Julia, Chris L., Paula, Atul, Cassie, Kate, and Gavin. We’re hugely indebted to your help and contributions!

We’d also love to hear your thoughts about the above ideas and how you’re interested to plug in. Leave a comment here or post to our mailing list.

Got something to say? Go for it!