Webmaker Institute

Developing tools for educators to more effectively teach web literacy


As an organization with a mission to empower youth to learn, lead, and create with technology, one of MOUSE’s main goals is to frame the web’s tools, practices and culture as legitimate opportunities for both educators and learners to build essential twenty-first century skills and competencies. New literacies are constantly emerging from the digital world – skills that, when mastered, are important to young people’s success in higher education and the job market. In an effort to bring educators up to speed with these emerging tools, MOUSE created a space for educators to learn the concepts first-hand. Through the Webmaking Teaching Kit and Webmaker Summer Institute, adult learners gained experience with the basics of creating, sharing and exploring on the web, which can in turn be applied in their classrooms across New York City.

MOUSE piloted a set of eleven new activities with supporting resources, media and materials that aligned to Mozilla’s Web Literacy Map. These foundational educational activities came in the form of the Webmaking Teaching Kit. The kit helps educators teach concepts across the three key strands of the Web Literacy Map, allowing them to begin creatively aligning with globally-identified standards of web literacy and knowledge. These playful, hands-on activities include everything from web design basics, to search engine optimization techniques, to defining online identities, to analyzing the credibility of websites.

The Webmaking Teaching Kit can be widely applied, and is suitable for distribution to Hive organizations and the larger Mozilla Webmaker community. The activities and resources can also be scaled to MOUSE’s national network of nearly four-hundred participating program sites (with over four-thousand youth and educator members). MOUSE distributed the new activities under a Creative Commons license through webmaker.org. Within the context of MOUSE’s national program network, completion of these resources and activities culminates in the awarding of a Webmaking Badge.

Tag Tag Revolution!

Tag Tag Revolution!

On July 10th and 11th, MOUSE held the first-ever Webmaker Summer Institute. The Institute was an opportunity to pilot the Webmaking Teaching Kit activities with 14 MOUSE educators (from five states) at NYU Polytechnic’s Media and Games Network (MAGNET). The Institute was a joint effort between Mozilla, Hive NYC and MOUSE. With inspiring call-to-action video keynote addresses from author and documentarian Douglas Rushkoff and Mozilla Webmaker Vice President, Brett Gaylor, Institute participants spent two days exploring, building and sharing with the Mozilla Webmaker tools,Thimble, X-Ray Goggles, and Popcorn. Participants became versed in competencies outlined in Mozilla’s Web Literacy map, and piloted MOUSE’s new webmaking curriculum, in addition to planning integration of their newly gained skills into their classrooms. By the end of the professional development experience, MOUSE educators were not only fired up and enthusiastic about sharing what they had learned with their communities, but intent to inspire others to get involved with the Webmaker movement.

Webmaker Institute continues through spring 2015.

Educators from CA & NY remixing subject-area curriculum to include web literacy competencies at the Summer Webmaker Institute

Educators from CA & NY remixing subject-area curriculum to include web literacy competencies at the Summer Webmaker Institute

Organizational Impact & Discovery

MOUSE led a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT) analysis activity with the Webmaker Institute participants, which provided important feedback on the practical barriers to implementing the Webmaking Teaching Kit in a school environment. In addition, the activities and resources built for this project helped MOUSE create a new Webmaking digital badge for MOUSE’s national network. By releasing these resources on the Webmaker site with a Creative Commons License, MOUSE is also exploring a new model for reaching learners and spreading impact.

A main discovery of the project was that many Institute participants who were working in a K-12 school infrastructure had strong reservations surrounding the pedagogy and ethics of the Open Web, ‘remix’ culture and digital citizenship. Project leaders found it necessary to openly discuss participant concerns around youth and the internet, which helped reframe the conversation away from security and towards positive identity building. Resource-sharing around contemporary pedagogy and current research was also an important part of getting educators fully equipped and on board to bring web skills into the classroom.

SWOT analysis: "Beam me up, SWOT-y"

SWOT analysis: “Beam me up, SWOT-y”

Lead Organization:

Partner Organizations:
Hive NYC Learning Network , YMCA , Girls Write Now , Queens Library , Brooklyn Library

Project Goal:
MOUSE planned to build foundational activities and their media assets for each of three key strands of the Web Literacy Map that can be plugged into the webmaker.org ecosystem for distribution to Hive organizations, the wider webmaker community and, separately, scaled to MOUSE's national network of nearly 400 participating program sites of over 4000 youth and educator members.

Project Tags:
Professional Development, Webmaking

Project Portfolio