Teach the Web Community Call Recap, March 13, 2014

In our last Teach The Web call, we heard from community members who are empowering others to become web creators in New York City, Pittsburgh and India, and also celebrated the 25th birthday of the world wide web!
First, Jaimie Li from NYC Generation Tech joined us to talk about their first student hackathon, where high school students were challenged to develop digital prototypes that address local challenges like increasing student engagement in school, promoting healthy lifestyle habits, and connecting youth with employment opportunities. GenTech offered Webmaker training to the participants who had no prior coding or web development skills, which in turn enabled them to learn new HTML and CSS skills, and also to create and remix webpages to promote their teams’ digital prototypes. You can read more about their event and see all of the student projects including the winners.

Image from Huffington Post

We were excited to learn that this all came about after Jaimie had come across the TASCasaurus curriculum, which was created by Mozilla’s Hive NYC Learning Network and The After School Corporation. It was developed by Julia Vallera and geared towards educators in after school programs at middle schools to increase student’s digital literacy and interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), and uses X-Ray Goggles to teach youth about remix as well as the basics of HTML and CSS. Jaimie found this open education resource helpful in planning the GenTech hackathon and she said the X-Ray Goggles were a huge hit! They plan to continue using Webmaker tools at upcoming events, and if you’re interested in volunteering and mentoring NYC students, please get in touch with Jaimie directly.

Next, Ani Martinez from Sprout Fund and Hive Pittsburgh shared details about their Remake Learning Digital Corps. It’s a Pittsburgh-based network of makers, educators, community members, and students working to demystify robots, code websites, investigate privacy issues, and pair mentors with teenagers in an effort to catalyze digital learning for youth in out-of-school time.
Their focus is on helping youth create in digital environments, teaching them how to be good digital citizens, while also building their logic and computational skills. Currently, Digital Corps members are being trained on how to teach using Thimble, Scratch, and a locally-developed robotics kit called Hummingbird. The team will then be facilitating programs at schools–as part of their existing extended-day programming–as well as at libraries and makerspaces, and also creating shareable and remixable lesson plans with a choose-your-own-adventure style. Feel free to join their G+ community to learn more and find out how to get involved.
Thimble remix for the first cohort of the Remake Learning Digital Corps

Thimble remix for the first cohort of the Remake Learning Digital Corps

Shreyas Kutty, Firefox Student Ambassador and Webmaker Mentor extraordinaire, also joined us to talk a bit about KidZilla and his efforts to start a Webmaker School Club in Khammam, India. He recently hosted an event at a local high school where 300 students learned about basic web mechanics, HTML and CSS, then did some paper prototyping and got to see X-Ray Goggles and Thimble in action. We loved reading his blog post, which outlined all aspects of the event, including an important session with teachers to help them understand the purpose and benefits of starting a potential Webmaker Club at their school. We were also inspired by his beautiful photos, which provide a true, behind-the-scenes look at this event and also illustrate ways to teach the web offline, in cases when Internet and computer resources are scarce.

Image by Shreyas N. Kutty

Last week also marked the official 25th birthday of the world wide web! Mozilla has joined with Web at 25 and the Web We Want campaigns to enable and amplify the voice of the community and to celebrate how the web has become an integral part of all our lives, shaping how we learn, how we connect and how we communicate. While we know the web has and will continue to provide new opportunities, it also faces new challenges. Read more in Mitchell Baker and Mark Surman’s recent blog posts, and share your vision for the web you want by adding your voice to our interactive quilt.

Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 3.04.11 PM

How to get involved:

  • Weigh in on what makes a great Webmaker Super Mentor! We’d like to build more formal support structures and pathways to describe what Super Mentors do and how to become one, and would love your input here.
  • Help test our new events platform. We’re enhancing the system for posting and finding events in time for Maker Party 2014 and appreciate help testing and providing feedback.
  • Join a weekly Teach the Web call! They’re hosted every Thursday–check the wiki for details on call times and an archive of previous agenda and notes.

Next up:

We’ll hear about progress towards building Hive communities in India and Berlin!
Note that our next call is Thursday, March 20th, at 10:00 ET / 14:00 UTC, and we’ll be using a new conference line, so check the etherpad and wiki for  details.