Mozilla Clubs: 2015 Half-Time Report

It’s been half a year since we set out in earnest to launch Mozilla Clubs. The goal was to make a program that offered a unique, sustainable way to teach the web in local communities.

Now with 17 volunteer Regional Coordinators poised to serve 128 Mozilla Clubs with more underway, I’d like to share a 2015 half-time report.

Wait, why are you doing this?

The Web is where our personal, civic, and economic lives connect. Knowing how to wield the Web is essential to success today.

There are 2.3 billion internet users today, and another billion coming online soon. It is critical that everyone knows how to read, write and participate in the digital world.

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So why Mozilla?

Mozilla is dedicated to protecting the Web as a global public resource that promotes openness, innovation and opportunity for all. This Web is as important to education as it is to economy, culture and society.

Mozilla, together with partners and collaborators, are striving for universal web literacy.

We serve that mission by cultivating and networking leaders who teach digital skills in their communities. Our volunteer leaders guide their learners’ personal interests through seriously fun activities to make web-enabled projects with friends and family.

By teaching others, volunteers learn how to be more effective leaders, unlocking more opportunity for all.

The Mozilla Learning Network offers programs for volunteer web literacy leaders to hone their craft through:

  • participation in city-wide professional networks (Hive)
  • organizing local groups to playfully explore web literacy (Mozilla Clubs)
  • joining convenings to celebrate, share and be inspired with other leaders (Mozfest).

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What’s a Mozilla Club then?

A Mozilla Club meets regularly in-person to learn how to read, write and participate with the web in an inclusive and engaging way.

A Mozilla Clubs has these key elements:

  • Connected learning in action. Research shows you learn best when you learn by making projects you care about, with peers who support and encourage you. That’s why our program is hands-on, production-centered and social. Learners gain confidence with the Web by actively shaping it together.
  • Curriculum that’s free & open and educator-tested. Our curriculum features hands-on ways to teach the Web, free of cost and free to reuse and remix. Each activity includes step-by-step instructions and tips for how to teach it, all underpinned by the Web Literacy Map.. What’s more, activities can be taught with limited or no connectivity, ensuring the Web can be learned anywhere and by anyone.
  • Best practices and community mentorship. Clubs are key nodes in the Mozilla Learning Network, which enables connections to other people teaching digital literacy. By connecting with others, individual Mozilla club nodes have access to best practices and mentorship around the world. Local clubs are more resilient and effective when they are networked with each other.
  • Regular engagement. Literacy doesn’t happen overnight. Learning takes time and application of both theory and practice. Through regular meetings, both learners and club captains grow and improve. This deepens peer learning within the local community and with each other.

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It’s all about the people, baby

The biggest lesson in the last months was renewed appreciation for the people that will make this program successful. That means a deeper understanding about who wants to participate, what motivates them, and what they need.

Authentic relationships matter. And there is no shortcut for good, engaging relationships if you want to empower leaders and have a healthy, happy community.

Our program relies on volunteers supporting other volunteers. This is part of the magic. Nevertheless, it takes time to grow that capacity.

Learning from initiatives like Mozfest and Hive city networks, as well as folks like the Obama campaign organizers, we know that to deliver a high quality experience to all, and to sustain the scale of our efforts over time, we need real volunteer-to-volunteer relationships in place.

There is a lot of interest in Mozilla Clubs. That’s amazing, But at the moment, there is too much interest to serve everyone properly right now.

So we decided to move slowly, quickly.

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The more you participate, the more you learn

From now until the end of the year, we are identifying and supporting Regional Coordinators.

This leadership role is dedicated to serving Mozilla Club Captains (the ones running the clubs) in realizing their full potential through on-going mentorship and leadership development.

If we are successful at this, there will be hundreds of Mozilla Clubs supported by volunteer-to-volunteer relationships.

If this sounds interesting to you, and you’d like to spread web literacy in your region while learning how to be a more effective, facilitative leader, then check out what it takes to be a Regional Coordinator and apply!

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