Community Literacies #4: Happy dances, kitten rescuers and ed jams

Editor’s Note: Community Literacies is a series about Webmaker’s finest learning resources around the world, and the stories that bring them to life. Have something to share? Get in touch with Kat.

Three new educational creations from Maker Party

For a bit of inspiring reading over a cold smoothie by the pool, we bring you another round of amazing creations from learners and teachers! In the next two installments, we will explore some of the most inspiring teaching materials built for Maker Parties around the world.
This time, we start our adventure with Emma in South Africa by discussing a new remixable lesson plan made for girls at Code for Capetown. We’ll fly to London and meet Dee and Joe to learn about a game that teaches web design through saving kittens in a fantasy world. And we’ll finish our time together by traveling to the heart of Texas to speak to Julia and Karen and hear about their crazy open education party in San Antonio. Let’s get started!

Teaching girls how to hack happy dances in South Africa

Image thanks to Code4CT
teaching kit by Code4CT
In South Africa, the Code For Capetown project aims to help young girls consider careers in tech as exciting and viable options. The program runs over 3 weeks in the summer holidays, and introduces grade 10 and 11 girls in the region to the big world of web development for social impact. And this summer, the Code4CT girls have been learning how to become webmakers together for inspiring results.
“Code4CT girls had been having so much fun discovering how the web works, and actively participating in building web content,” says Director of New Initiatives Emma Dicks, “that we decided to share this with our friends by hosting our own Maker Party! We told each girl she could invite one friend, who she then helped teach basic HTML to using Codecademy, Made with Code and Webmaker resources.”
At the event, friends immediately set to work making memes and learning about HTML tags, and even learned the steps to Pharrell William’s dance Happy for the Hack the Happy Dance activity, followed by an activity by Creative Commons for Kids. “This lead to a great discussion on hacking,” adds Emma. “We asked the girls to talk about when they are allowed to take and change images, and when it is illegal because of copyright.”
What’s next for the Code4CT girls? “After putting together a teaching kit to share what we did at our Maker Party, we also built a full lesson plan to introduce human centered design to a group of young learners,” says Emma. “Both have worked excellently, and we would love to see others use these plans and remix them!” For feedback, makers are invited to share their experience and remixes with Emma on Twitter.
The Human Centered Design teaching kit will soon be available on Webmaker’s Design and Accessibility Literacy page.

Saving all the kittens with code and creativity in London

Image thanks to Erase All Kittens
teaching kit by Erase All Kittens
E.A.K. (Erase All Kittens) is an open source game that teaches kids to code and create on the web by saving kittens with HTML and CSS. Inspired by a teaching activity for the game put together by its creators Joe Dytrych, Dee Saigal and Leonie Van Der Linde at DrumrollHQ in the UK, we got in touch to find out more about all the kitten-saving happening in London.
“We created the activity so that kids can be taught basic coding skills by playing E.A.K. in code clubs, classrooms and at home,” explains Dee. “The pilot version of Erase All Kittens is free online and gives players an introduction to HTML and CSS skills, so we wanted to know more about what the Webmaker community thought of E.A.K, regardless of whether or not they’re already familiar with coding. We’re big fans of Mozilla, so it’s been really great to help out with Maker Party.”
We asked Dee about her experience working with the Thimble tool to create the teaching activity, and Dee told us she found it to be fairly simple. “I’d used similar methods to create a Cargo Collective website for my own portfolio,” she explains, “so while I didn’t understand some of the code, I was still able to make the teaching kit without experiencing too many problems!”
Because Erase All Kittens is open source, Dee and Joe are looking for others to get involved in the game’s code, too, by helping develop, translate and animate it together. “We are especially looking for help translating the game,” adds Dee, “so as many people as possible can play it! And we’re creating tools to help players build their own levels, which we’ll show off at this year’s Mozfest.” Dee and Joe encourage anyone interested in getting involved to get in touch and start saving those kittens.
The Erase All Kittens teaching activity is now available on Webmaker’s Coding and Scripting Literacy page.

Holding open education jams with Makey Makeys in Texas

teaching kit by Julia Vallera and Karen Smith
While a lot of great webmaking happens online (with kittens!), other great moments happen in-person with a group who has come together to make things for the first time. This summer in San Antonio, Texas, experienced webmakers Karen Smith and Julia Vallera hosted an interactive workshop for the software track at OpenEdJam.
From the beginning, the process was all about openness and sharing. “To prepare for the event, Karen created the kit and asked for collaboration from Mozilla’s #teachtheweb team,” explains Julia. “She also sent it to OpenEdJam as the proposal itself, which was brilliant. The kit is a working example of what participants can do with Webmaker tools, and how the remix function can create a truly open process.”
On the day of the Maker Party, all kinds of making were facilitated. Makey Makeys were brought out, memes were built (and tweeted!) and digital creations of all kinds were shared. When we asked Karen and Julia about their limitations for the event, the main issue was not having enough time to make everything.
“Kits can take a lot of time,” says Julia. “They have a lot of content, and are very well thought-out. 2-3 hours might not be enough to finish one.” Julia suggests creating teaching activities instead, or starting with a basic Thimble starter resource like Meme-Maker or Book Cover, and running with it. “The response to kits was great in San Antonio,” she adds. “Educators loved the Webmaker tools, and they were very excited to learn how easy they are to use.”
How can others get involved with this work? “We would love to see people remix the kit and make changes to it!” says Julia. Makers of all kinds are encouraged to get in touch with Julia and Karen on Twitter to share their own open educational jams.

A big thanks to our featured makers

We end this issue with many e-hugs and skydiving cat gifs for webmakers Emma, Dee, Joe, Karen and Julia for sharing their great educational creations with a Maker Party flavor. We hope this issue has left you feeling inspired to remix, reflect and create your own! Have a great piece of content you want us to feature? Get in touch. And stay tuned for Part 2 of Community Literacies: Maker Party edition to learn about three more Maker Party teaching activities, this time from India. We already look forward to the making yet to come…

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