Q&A with MOUSE

MOUSE is an amazing organization that has been working with the Maker Party since the inception of the campaign in 2012. Through the MOUSE Squad program students learn to become digital media and technology experts in their schools and join a network of youth technology leaders. We had a chance to catch up with Senior Director Marc Lesser to talk more about the organization and how they’re participating in Maker Party this year.

What is your organization and what do you do?

MOUSE is a national non-profit youth organization founded in NYC that focuses on empowering learners from underserved schools to “have fun, do good, and make stuff.” Learners from MOUSE Programs build participatory identities by applying digital solutions to real-world problems.

What is the events will you be hosting or running during Maker Party?

MOUSE and Mozilla are joining forces to ready a WebMaking movement in schools across the US. 14 pioneering MOUSE program educators joined us in NYC for the first ever Summer WebMaker Institute – a 2-day intensive PD event preparing educators to return to their school community to integrate webmaking and empower your learners as mentors, too!

Why did you choose to get involved with Maker Party?

MOUSE has supported Maker Party from the start, and shares its mission to invigorate local and global efforts to help connect people and empower them by engaging with and participating through tools that help enrich learning and life.

Tell us what you’re most excited for at the event?

In 15 years working at the intersection of learning and technology, MOUSE has seen – and been an influencing part of – the field’s evolving obsession with “new literacies” emerging from the tools, practices, and culture of digital life. The Web, however, has long outlived mere faddism and yet the field of education has done little to help frame it’s tools, practices, and culture as a legitimate domain to help educators and learners focus on building critical skills and competencies. No group of educators is better prepared to help further the mission of building web literacies than the Coordinators of MOUSE’s program network.

Why is it important for youth and adults to make things with technology?

Beyond convenience and commerce, technology affords people an ability to extend the way they think and interact with their world. Changing the world will require both, for people to become smarter users and, most importantly to us, also makers::problem-solvers::producers of what comes next.

What is the feedback you usually get from people who attend or teach at your events?

That, while too often underestimated, there’s no substitute for the cognitive, community-oriented, and self-empowering outcomes of simply getting together and making things.

Why is it important for people and organizations to get involved in Maker Party?

Because everyone – people and organizations both – has the capacity to organize, host, teach things and learn things and it isn’t that often that, with such low barriers to entry, we can contribute to something so positive that matters to how we move forward as people.

How can people get in touch with your organization?