NEW DATE and TIME: Teaching the fourth ‘R': a fireside chat with Cathy Davidson

February 10, 2012 § 1 Comment

Technical difficulties last time around forced us to reschedule this event.  Please join us on our new date and time:

A virtual “fireside chat” with author Cathy Davidson:
Thursday, Feb 16 | 1pm PST / 4pm EST
Sign up on Lanyrd here

How do we teach the web?

You’ve heard of “the three ‘R’s:” reading, writing and ‘rithmetic.

But author and noted academic Cathy Davidson says the 21st Century demands a fourth: “algoRithms,” as in the underlying threads and logic that shape our digital lives.

More than just “teaching people how to code,” Cathy sees “algorhtmic thinking” and webmaking as a vital antidote to the passive, assembly line model that still dominates most traditional education.

“Algorithmic thinking:” iterative, process-oriented, constructive

As Cathy argues recently in the Washington Post and in her most recent DML blog post:

We need to reform our learning institutions, concepts, and modes of assessment for our age. Now, anyone with access to the World Wide Web can go far beyond the passive consumer model to contribute content on the Web…. That Do-It-Yourself potential for connected, participatory, improvisational learning requires new skills, what many are calling new “literacies.”

Like other literacies, algorithmic thinking is foundational, “a set of rules that precisely defines a sequence of operations.” She sees it as the opposite of the “bubble-thinking” ingrained through decades of highly standardized, multiple choice tests. “It provides an alternative to fact-based mastery and proposes, instead, iterative, process-oriented, constructive, innovative thinking.”

What is marvelous about algorithmic thinking and Webmaking is that you can actually see abstract thinking transformed into your own customized multimedia stories on the Web, offered to a community, and therefore contributing to the Web. Algorithmic thinking is less about “learning code” than “learning to code.” Code is never finished, it is always in process, something you build on and, in many situations, that you build together with others. Answers aren’t simply “right” guesses among pre-determined choices, but puzzles to be worked over, improved, and adapted for the next situation, the next iteration.

Mozilla’s Michelle Levesque: “Teaching algorithmic thinking”

In her own blog post response to Cathy’s argument, Mozilla’s Michelle Levesque considers how we can put Cathy’s principles into practice here at Mozilla, as we focus on creating tools and resources for a new generation of webmakers. Michelle will join Cathy to discuss how we can all work together to create a more web literate planet. We hope you’ll join us!

Mozilla DML Science Fair: prepping for blast off

February 6, 2012 § 2 Comments

Mozilla is hosting a giant “Science Fair” at the March 1 “Digital Media and Learning” conference in San Francisco. Our mission: gather folks doing amazing work at the intersection of learning, youth and the web, have them set up 20+ booths and interactive show-and-tell stations, then invite educators, youth and local SF VIPs to all mingle, chat and get their hands dirty.

You can learn more or have a look at how the DML Science Fair is coming together here.

Cool re-usable “open branding” elements for all our events

As Mark wrote last week, we were blown away by the terrific job the Mozilla Japan team did in creating a fun physical presence for the Vision 2012 event. So we want to try and replicate their work for the Science Fair.

Mozilla Japan’s Tetsuya Kosaka was kind enough to send us their original assets, and we’ve simply tweaked the language on them for the event (below). We’re hoping to re-use and re-purpose them at other upcoming events.

I like the way these signs contain clear Mozilla branding, but also open whiteboard space for exhibitors and friends to decorate and put their own stamp on it. Feels very Mozilla — like “open branding.” Plus a lot more versatile and re-usable.

We may eventually update the visual language beyond the “space” theme, but for now it seems great and very “Science Fair-ish.”

We are indebted to the work of Eriko Saito (CNS Inc.) as the creative designer on this project. CNS Inc. is a company Mozilla Japan worked with for planning and executing
the Mozilla Vision 2012 event in Japan. Eriko was in charge of designing key
visuals, and did an amazing job.

Science Fair exhibitor whiteboard

...in six different versions

Plus cool little stand-up elements like these

...in the same six versions

Generic Mozilla whiteboard sign

11 x 17" wayfinder signs

Name badge stickers for presenters

Statement of Work for Printing

  • PDF document outlining specific deliverables, along with rough dimensions and quantities (Feb 2012)

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