Reflections on Maker Party

On September 15 we hit a milestone for the **Mozilla [Maker Party](https://webmaker.org/party).** **With over 1,700 events in 330 cities worldwide,** the campaign to make and teach the web had really picked up steam.

As we transition from campaign-mode to **[an ongoing webmaker party](https://webmaker.org)**, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on what’s working, the people who are stepping up to teach the web, and what could be next.

# What’s Working

## Webmaker: The Tool Suite

If you compare the current **[Webmaker tool suite](https://webmaker.org/tools)** with what it was like [earlier this year](http://web.archive.org/web/20130402180852/https://webmaker.org/en-US/)–or more radically, what it was like during [last year’s Summer Code Party campaign](http://web.archive.org/web/20120924042158/https://webmaker.org/en-US/)–**you’ll be amazed to see how much more interesting and robust the site has become.**

The site now has **1 million users, 28K of them registered. 50K things were made since the new site came online.** The Webmaker team pushed changes to the site over 400 times, and **excitingly, loads of important features were shipped thanks to input from community members using the tools:**

* Localization
* Javascript in Thimble
* Improved tutorials
* Collaboration tools using [Together.js](https://togetherjs.com/)
* and tons of UX fixes to make the experience even better.

In short, **the Webmaker team is rocking it.**

## Hackable Teaching Kits

Here’s another fantastic outcome from the Maker Party: **[we shipped hackable teaching kits](https://webmaker.org/teach-templates).**

**A modular curriculum has long been the [dream of Laura Hilliger](http://www.zythepsary.com/techie/hacktivity-kits-and-modular-curriculum/)** and the mentor team, and with some user-testing and design love, we now have **great templates and [first wave of adopters](https://blog.webmaker.org/teaching_and_sharing) using the kits.**

These kits will continue to grow and improve, and **become especially powerful as they [align with the web literacy standard](https://wiki.mozilla.org/Learning/WebLiteracyStandard)** and get mashed up with curriculum from other networks and mentors.

## Making as Learning

**Since [kicking off the year](http://michellethorne.cc/2013/02/webmaker-mentors-in-2013/), we’ve been digging into a “making as learning” philosophy:**

> “Having fun, being creative and collaborating socially is, in the long-game, stickier for learners then replicating “drill and kill” lessons online.”

> β€” Chris Lawrence, Sr. Director of Webmaker Mentor team

**We wanted to bake learning into making.** This means putting enjoyment, creativity and social connectivity to the forefront of learning about the web. By focusing on **interest-driven projects and hands-on maker activities, learners would have more fun and be more likely to stick with it.**

**And importantly, the same approach works at the mentor level.** If people who teach the web have a **make-first teaching experience,** one that’s driven by collaboration with peers around their own passions, it will be more fun and meaningful for them to keep teaching.

## Teach the Web v2: Train the Trainers

As mentioned in the [recap about Reps + Webmaker](http://michellethorne.cc/2013/09/remo-camp-2013/), the **train-the-trainer event we ran first in Athens and then online as a MOOC called Teach the Web, have been big engines of Maker Party’s success.**

We’re seeing **participants who completed these trainings go on to run train-the-trainer programs of their own,** from [Bangalore](https://reps.mozilla.org/e/maker-party-bangalore-hive-pop-up-2013/) to [Kampala](https://reps.mozilla.org/e/webmaker-mentor-training-kampala/) to [Surabaya](https://reps.mozilla.org/e/maker-party-2013-surabaya-hive-indonesia/), [Paris](https://reps.mozilla.org/e/webmaker-training-for-french-speaking-remo/) and [more](http://webmaker.org/events).

In the coming months, there’s **huge potential to mash up the in-person training and online MOOC into a blended learning Teach the Web experience.** Together with Laura Hilliger and the mentor team, I’m really looking forward to **testing and improving our train-the-trainers program and to rolling it out in new languages with new communities.**

# Who’s Stepping Up

To understand more who’s stepping and teaching the web, I really recommend reading **Mark Surman’s post on [“Who wants to teach the web?”](http://commonspace.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/teach-the-web/).**

In it, Mark features **11 kinds of mentors:**

* **The curious.** People who love the web/technology and are curious how to share this passion with friends and family.
* **Learner-turned-mentor.** Someone who enjoyed learning to webmake that they’re lit up about teaching others how to do it.
* **Teacher.** A person who’s already teaching and wants to integrate more digital making and web literacy into their lesson plans.
* **Youth IT clubs.** Lots of great youth clubs are teaching code and also encouraging youth to become leaders and mentors, too.
* **Youth mentor activator.** Passionate and young mentors themselves looking to activate their peers.
* **Partner in crime.** Organizations and individuals who team up with mentors to offer skills, spaces, and other resources.
* **Kindred spirits, more broadly.** Folks working in similar domains and with aligned values, like openness or making.
* **Super Mentors.** An amazing segment of people who care about teaching the web, but also helping other mentors learn to teach.
* **Webmaker country lead.** Dedicated Mozillians who think strategically and operationally about Webmaker in their country or region.
* **The elders.** Long-time contributors to Mozilla who’ve been critical in bringing Webmaker activities to their region and encouraging their teams.
* **The posse.** Community members who are interested in all kinds of things and are willing to help out.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s **very helpful in illustrating the range of mentors and their motivations.** In the coming weeks, we’ll be working closely with these groups on developing a ladder of engagement, or perhaps more accurately, **an ecosystem of engagement.**

# Next Steps: Mozilla Summit

This weekend, the [Mozilla Summit](http://summit.mozilla.org/) will take place across three cities: Brussels, Toronto and Santa Clara. It’s a **perfect moment to meet with Mozillians around the world and to reflect on how our mission is informing what we do today.**

I’m especially honored to have helped curate the “Purpose and Strategy” track, heavily informed by [Mitchell Baker’s Nature of Mozilla framework](https://blog.lizardwrangler.com/2013/09/27/getting-ready-for-summit-2013-fun-and-productive-already/).

We [developed sessions](https://wiki.mozilla.org/Summit2013/AgendaAllDays) that look at:

* The Web We Want
* Building a Web Literate World
* What does “Mozillian” mean?
* Practicing Open
* What would a million Mozillians do?

The facilitators and track owners put together **great participatory sessions** on these topics, and the Summit will be an amazing place to dig into what it means to be a Mozillian, how we can involve and empower more people, and excitingly, **how teaching the web is central to what we do.**

## Mozilla Festival

Just a few weeks after the Summit, we’re hosting the **[Mozilla Festival](http://mozillafestival.org/), Mozilla’s largest public-facing event.** 1500 makers and mentors will meet in London for 2.5 days of hacking and teaching the web.

There are **[9 themes which explore how to teach and make the web](http://mozillafestival.org/themes)** from various perspectives. We’re looking at science, games, journalism, physical objects, mobile, privacy and much more.

More than any Mozfest before, I’m really **excited and proud of our Space Wranglers,** who curate each track. The federated program committee means that we’re diversifying the curation and expertise of the event.

In particular, the **Build and Teach the Web track** will examine the above initiatives (Maker Party, the Webmaker tool suite, the trainings, the MOOC, etc.) and together with veteran community members and new contributors, **it will synthesize, test and improve the Webmaker program for the coming year.**

There’s a lot going on, but a whole lot of it is promising and very fun. Check out some [epic photos](https://secure.flickr.com/search/?q=makerparty) from Maker Parties around the world:

If you’re curious to plug in, say hi to [@webmaker](https://twitter.com/webmaker) on Twitter or [subscribe to our mailing list](https://lists.mozilla.org/listinfo/webmaker). You can also just start [making](https://webmaker.org/) and [teaching the web](https://webmaker.org/en-US/teach) right now on webmaker.org. Tell us what you think!

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