Connect: Participate, Share, Grow

How to keep connect to our global community, learn from each other and teach others.

Participate: Building our Culture

Co-design, networked learning, playtesting and feedback--we invite others to participate in everything we do. As mentors, it’s our responsibility to invite others to learn with us.

Mozilla, P2PU, Wikipedia, YouTube, and Instructables are all cultures of participation. As a network, we can solve large-scale, unique, complicated and new problems together. We can be socially creative, inspire each other and overcome obstacles.

By inviting others to participate, they climb the first rung of the “ladder of engagement.” In our online communities, we all participate at different levels of passion and experience. Scholar Gerard Fischer, in his study of online communities, shows how participation evolves:

Source: Gerhard Fischer, “Understanding, Fostering, and Supporting Cultures of Participation”

As Webmakers, we all entered the community at different levels of engagement. For example, you might have started out as a learner at a maker party or in the last iteration of #TeachTheWeb. Then you might have shared a remix or make with the wider Webmaker community and found it retweeted and shared again by the #TeachTheWeb team. After that, maybe you taught a few colleagues some basic HTML for a class project or held a small maker party to remix a starter resource on Popcorn or Thimble. As you increased the frequency and depth of your involvement with Webmaker, the Webmaker community increased its engagement with you.

Together, are building our own community of Webmaker mentors. How can you continue to be a part of the contribution ladder, leveling up your own skills and contributions as you reach out to help others along the ladder, as well?

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Just as we work to design purposeful, participatory, and fun events for learners, we need to remain connected with one another up and down the contribution ladder in purposeful, participatory, and fun ways. In thinking about how to connect further with others working for an open Web, and in thinking about how to help others begin this work, as well, you might:

  • Learn GitHub and post your code (for makes AND events) there, as well as on Webmaker, for developers and educators to 'fork' into their own work.
  • Talk with local educators in formal spaces - like schools and libraries - about starting a Webmaker club with an institutional co-sponsor.
  • Level-up another local contributor to mentor status and work together to scale up your events from the kitchen table to larger venues like maker spaces or libraries.
  • Push your work into a new place for new audiences - run a live session using Together.js, write an e-book on coding in the classroom or learn how to make an online or print-and-play game that teaches the web.

Ultimately, we connect with one another to make this work real. An open Web depends on open societies, and those societies are full of living, breathing people like us who can best latch on to ideas of diversity and freedom when given the chance to see and make things of tangible worth and personal meaning like any number of Webmaker and open source projects around the world. Connecting at a human level, face-to-face and online, low-fi and hi-fi, to help and ask for help - this is what it means to stay connected in an effort to write the Open Web and open societies.

We’ve put theory and practice to the test and seen first hand that shifting dynamic of mentor/learner relationships. It’s time to help each other as we create local communities of practice that tie into a global movement.

To recap:

  • We are building our own participatory culture in our Webmaker mentor community
  • Together we can solve large-scale, complex problems
  • You can continue to level up through teaching yourself new things, asking others to participate, and sharing your successes and lessons learned

Sharing in the Offline World

Online and face-to-face maker communities amplify each other's work and the work of their participants. By sharing what we do in the offline world with our networks in the online world (and vice versa), we create resources, examples and case studies that can help us identify which methods work and how we, as a global community, can support one another.

Welcome to Maker Party!

We celebrate Maker Party once a year during July to September. Maker Party is a way to put the lessons we've been learning through #TeachTheWeb into action. It's an opportunity to make, connect, celebrate openness, use interest-driven, learner-centric activities and methods to teach web literacy skills, provide mentorship and empowerment to people, get feedback from our peers, and experiment.

You can teach and make the web anywhere, with anyone. There are people teaching in parks, in internet cafes, in libraries, in classrooms and around their kitchen tables. Maker Party is a way to connect and celebrate with other learners, makers and mentors. You can be part of it too! How do you want to teach people?

The only thing you have to do is ask people to participate. Chances are, once they understand your aim, they'll be excited about participating in some way. Just explain your goals, what you want to do, and ask for help. The worst that can happen is that someone says “no,” in which case, you can find someone else to ask.

A good place to start is by searching the directory of Mozilla volunteers and finding out if there are any in your area. You should also see what kinds of hacker spaces, maker clubs, digital literacy programs, community spaces, libraries, etc. are in your area. Get creative and use broad strokes; there are people out there, we know it!

Throwing a Maker Party doesn't have to be time intensive or difficult. You just have to decide how much time and energy you have to #TeachTheWeb and then organize something that fits your schedule. If you're already teaching digital skills in your classroom, running a Maker Club or otherwise gathering learners on a regular basis, you can participate by simply sharing with us what your learners are working on.

If you haven't yet gathered a group of participants to #TeachTheWeb to, Mozilla has developed three types of event formats that make it easy for anyone to get started:

  • A small event is a very easy way to #TeachTheWeb – you don't need to plan much/anything, just invite people to meet at a particular day and time and start making things together. The How to Host a Small Maker Party Guide explains step-by-step how to run this easy event.
  • A medium-sized event requires a bit of preparation and planning. You decide to organize an event where between 10 and 50 people come to learn about the web and make things. The How to Host a Medium Maker Party Guide can help you think about what to do in your event.
  • Finally, a large event is for those who are looking to form real world networks in their local area. It's a good way to get your community excited about the types of offerings available. A large event can bring multiple organizations together for a day of hacking. Each organization sets up a station with a lightweight activity that participants can do in a short amount of time. The Large Maker Party Guide covers this format in detail and points to some great resources that will help you understand it.

To recap:

  • It's easy to take the Webmaker methods, ideas and tools into your community
  • Mozilla's volunteer network can help you identify your team and groups to work with
  • We've got some snappy templates to help with face-to-face meetings :)

Grow: Methods + People + Involvement

Until learning web skills, openness and learner-centric methods are inherent in our educational systems, until collabortion and connectivity are integral parts of our learning pathways, until we can recognize learning no matter where it happens, until people all over the world can read, write to and think critically about information in the global knowledge ecosystem that is the World Wide Web – our work is not done. We can't expect that someone else, some other organization, some other community to change the world for us. WE have to make commitments to ourselves and each other that we will spread web skills, the open ethos and maker culture in our communities in whatever ways we can.

Continuing to #TeachTheWeb

Think about all you've done in this #TeachTheWeb experience. Why are you here? Who have you connected with? Why is this interesting to you? What did you learn? Do you want to #TeachTheWeb to people in your community? Do you want to support others by making content or spreading the word? How do you want to be involved in the spread of Web Literacy?

Whether you run a Maker Party or create content for other party hosts to use, whether you talk about the importance of web skills to your networks or research applicable frameworks for teaching the web in public schools, whether you make design assets, write blog posts, donate food or space to people trying to #TeachTheWeb... There is value to whatever kind of contribution you are willing to make.

We cannot #TeachTheWeb alone, the task is too great. There is an entire community of people that care about this work and are eager to keep you involved. Be inspired by this amazing community, and make your own commitment to #TeachTheWeb, then share your commitment with the rest of us.

Where to next?