Feb 28 2012

Hive NYC & The Mozilla Learning Group

Badges, Events, Guest Post, Mozilla, News

This blog post was co-written by Mozilla Sr. Director of Learning Erin Knight and Mozilla Hive Learning Network NYC Project Director Chris Lawrence.

Since the molecular interaction between Hive NYC and Mozilla initially took place, we’ve had the opportunity to both shape and be shaped by Mozilla’s overall efforts in learning.

As Mozilla Foundation Executive Director Mark Surman describes it, the last 6 months have been like when the Power Rangers assemble their individual powers into the elite  fighting force that is the Megazord. He is referring to the superficially disparate projects that previously made up Mozilla’s non-profit work but have recently done some thinking and hacking about how we all fit together to go “big in learning” in 2012/13.

As part of becoming a lean mean learning machine the Mozilla Learning Group has been created and is led by Erin Knight. In this blog post we hope to share how we view our team’s working relationship toward a unified vision and mission as we set out to  revolutionize learning.

What is the Mozilla Learning Group?

The Mozilla Learning Group is a new team within Mozilla that is focused on defining the webmaker skills and building out Hackasaurus around these skills. Additionally, the Learning Group will build the Webmaker badge system, and support broader learning and badging efforts through the Open Badge Infrastructure.

What is Mozilla building?

Bottom line, Mozilla is working to build generations of webmakers. We define a webmaker as anyone who makes things using the open ethos and building blocks of the web. The skills involved in webmaking are top-tier skills that are important in today’s world for not only making, but for fostering creativity, developing a voice, becoming an active citizen, controlling identity and building careers.

Therefore, we want more people have these skills,  and to do so, we are developing:

  1. a definition of a core set of webmaker skills
  2. curriculum and content to provide learning pathways for these skills. This will include some content developed by Mozilla, as well as partnerships and pointers to external content that is compelling, effective and aligns with our core values.
  3. a Mozilla Webmaker badge system to recognize the learning and extend the value
  4. a set of tools and software to help people make things and learn in the process. Our goals are to not only provide initial pathways for learning, but to make this massive by building and supporting a community of people who want to teach and learn this.
  5. a human and organizational infrastructure that inccubates Learning Labs around the world.

How does this relate to the Hive?

Hive NYC and the Hive Learning Network model will be inextricably connected to this work. The innovation, content and network model that has already come out of Hive NYC is an inspiration behind much of this work, and will be leveraged as much as possible. The expertise and knowledge throughout Hive NYC will be critical to help us build our learning offerings and find ways to evaluate our effectiveness. Hive NYC is an efficient and powerful distribution channel for everything that we are building.

How does this relate to Hackasaurus?

Hackasaurus was in many way the proto-project that created the blueprint for how and why Hive NYC and Mozilla needed to merge and a Learning Group launched. This shared DNA still informs us on how our work both aligns and allows focus on our unique talents and directives. Hackasaurus was initially a set of webmaking content – mostly focused around HTML and CSS – for youth. This work is building on Hackasaurus to cover more skills and more activities, for more audiences. Hackasaurus is the branding for our broader learning offering.

The Hackasaurus experience was also the blueprint that informed Hive NYC and Mozilla the power of doing learning events (Pop-Ups, Hack Jams, Learning Parties…) and towards this has broadened our thinking about how that model expands way beyond the initial learning goals of a Hackasaurs Jam. Read more about ways to take our event model and use it.

event-model-litev031
How can we work together moving forward?  Hint: A lot!

  • Share resources as they are being developed.
  • Distribute resources and content through each other.
  • Serve as a distribution channel for the Learning Group’s work – we’ll share new content and tools with you as they are developed.
  • Hive NYC will be proactive in bringing innovations, programs, tools and methods to the Learning Group.
  • Cross promote success stories and opportunities for improvement. Combined we have the access to learners, makers and educators. Let’s us know what to collaborate on, what’s working, what’s missing, etc.
  • Serve as a vetting community for both Hive NYC and the Learning Group’s work.
  • Collaborate on whitepapers, conference submissions, etc.


How can you get in involved right away?  Hint: In many ways!

  • Join our Learning Community call on Thursdays at 10am ET.
  • Share your resources and ideas around building webmakers on our mailing list: hackasaurus@googlegroups.com and/or here
  • Help us build our community site (first iteration coming by the end of March) to:
  1. Get access to our content to use to run events and teach webmaking in your community
  2. Hack on our Design Principles of Learning
  3. Build on our content to make it your own
  4. Find peers and collaborators
  5. Help us shape the community itself

Well we have certainly typed a page full here, we would love to get your reactions, questions, concerns and amens!

Erin & Chris

Image credit: http://powerrangers.wikia.com/wiki/Megazord


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