Just an Update
Oh Snap, it’s been a month!? My, oh my, how the time flies. I won’t make excuses for myself, I’ll just tell you what’s going on in my world. There’s a lot of stuff, and there’s no way I can cover all of it in my scribble of reflections, so if you are looking for more information, comment or contact me!
Train the Trainer
Back in January, we tested a couple of train the trainer related things, which I wrote about in my East Coast Tour Reflections. This month we took another large step in the development of a train the trainer strategy. Reps Training Days happened, and it was huge. 30+ Mozilla Reps came together in Athens, Greece to learn about Webmaker, the Making as Learning pedagogy and help shape the future of the Mentor Community and Webmaker. First we attended the first Hive Athens popup and Reps hovered around to support the learning taking place and get their first glimpse into the structure and style of a Hive Popup. Besides their obvious excitement about the format of a Popup, Reps noticed important aspects of throwing one, including how important community relationship building is.
Photo by Pierros Papadeas
The next two days the attending Reps participated in a custom tailored event that was as nimble as it was delightful. We started the first day with a brain dump of all the things Reps wanted to know, make and do in relation to Webmaker. Using Gunner’s patented Post It note brainstorm, Reps created a library of tasks and things for both Webmaker staff as well as community to think about. All of their notes live in a digital document, where we’ll be checking back and referring often. After brainstorming and discussing the wall of notes, groups looked at individual contexts and situations, desired target audiences and potential learning objectives for the expansion of Webmaker in their areas. We started to think about local strategies for planning events and plugging into the upcoming campaign. We also held a round of speed geeking to get Reps up to speed with various pieces of Webmaker. That evening we ate a lot of food and then walked around the Acropolis while listening to Pierros narrate. Apparently, anything that is crumbling in Athens was built by the Romans. The second day of training we went deeper into local event planning. We asked Reps to think about whether they wanted to work with “Makers” or “Mentors” and helped them understand the difference (because there is certainly quite a bit of cross over). In the afternoon, we played an inspiring game of a Strong Wind Blows and broke a couple of chairs. Then we separated into working groups to plan sessions for the following day. The idea was to remix and hack a Hacktivity Kit, playtest running a Webmaker event and get pepped up for the following day, when Reps would be teaching 100+ youth webmaking. That night we ate more food and continued conversations surrounding mentorship and local communities. The last day was this “test event”, which was in no way a test. We organized a real event with 100+ real youth at the real British Council so that Reps could try out things that they learned during the previous two days. As with any real event, no matter how well you plan, plans will have to change. The Reps dealt with all the surprises with real grace, and I think each Rep learned a lot about participatory, collaborative workshopping during their four hour sessions. It was an amazing experience, the Reps were a million % of awesome.After the kids had gone, we circled up for our final debrief. So that’s what happened at Training Days, everyone learned a lot, people were able to test assumptions, try out new techniques and bond. For me the 5 events I’ve helped plan and run in 2013 have helped me distill a number of thoughts. With the disclaimer that these thoughts are truncated and incomplete (because this post is already massive) I’ll say:
- Webmaker Mentors should be offered tailored, blended learning experiences. Opportunities for both online and offline training need to exist, and we should help engaged community members design both.
- Every Mentor that comes into the community should be able to connect with other like-minded peers and feel supported in their local activities.
- Mentors should want to and feel empowered to create, remix, and share content, and they should have the opportunity to level up their skills both as webmakers and as mentors.
The ETMOOC experience carries on, but I’ve been rather quiet in it. The planning process for the various topics was rather intense, and the firehose of ETMOOC is unstoppable. I dabble in and out, but have been a bit too preoccupied to participate to the extent that I would like. I did do a panel on Open Education, wherein we discussed a lot about perceptions, localization, remix, meaningful participation and the sheer joy of taking part in open communities. The hour went by rather quickly, and I was wishing that the other’s in the panel had a real life meet up scheduled with me.
The Webmaker MOOC is still a hot topic, and I appreciate all the thoughts that were shared with me when I posted last. This is a definite go, and we’re thinking that it would be interesting to ask Webmaker Mentors to help moderate and lead it. I learned a lot from the way that Alec Courosstarted the #ETMOOC and the way he served as a sounding board and wrangler for that endeavor. I think our current community of Webmaker Mentors would be a great crew to help us plan and organize. We’re heading towards an end of April launch, so you’ll hear more about that soon!
Movement on the content side as well. Not sure if you noticed, but Webmaker Mentors now have a home at http://webmaker.org/teach Also the intial Hacktivity Kits are explained at http://www.webmaker.org/kits. On Friday I whipped up a quick graphic that I think might be helpful to anyone who is not quite sure about what a Hacktivity Kit actually IS. It’s called Anatomy of a Kit. Give it a quick look, even if you think you already understand the way the kits are build 😉 We’re still working on making these kits more easily hackable, but feel free to rip, read, remix and reshare. I’d love to know your thoughts, so please do reach out. Also, if you have a quick icebreaker you want to share, remix this Popcorn videoand send me your link!
Resources and Documentation
There are a number of resources that need to be created. It would be AUH-MAZING if you wanted to helpout with that! There are simple guides to be written, tip sheets, checklist, you name it. We can work together to get some resources on Webmaker and Events out there. Just let me know you’re up for it! Ok, that’s enough of an update. Hopefully I’ll be back on a regular blogging schedule again soon!
- Webmaker Mentors in 2013 (zythepsary.com)
- Mark Surman: Tinkering together (commonspace.wordpress.com)
- Webmaker/Teach/TrainingDays (wiki.mozilla.org)