“We want to move people from using the web to making the web.”
-Mark Surman, Executive Director of Mozilla
(photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/paul_clarke/)
It’s been over a week since I returned from the Mozilla Festival in London and it is still the only thing I can talk about to anyone (apologies to friends and co-workers). And so! To continue to spread the nerdy post-#Mozfest joy, here are some of the highlights, tools, and projects that will hopefully inspire you to join the Mozilla Webmaker movement too.
What is Mozilla Fest?
First, you need to know Mozilla if you don't already. You’ve heard of Firefox, right? Well, Mozilla is the nonprofit organization - and open-source software pioneer - who built the Firefox web browser and so so much more. Mozilla’s mission “is to promote openness, innovation & opportunity on the Web.” The annual Mozilla Festival brings together programmers, educators, developers and anyone else who’s interested learning about and playing with the future of the internet.
(photo credits above and to the right: hacktivate learning tumblr)
Why was MOUSE there?
MOUSE joined our friends in the Hive Learning Network NYC (including the Global Action Project, Rev-, and Radio Rookies) to each host working tables in an area of the festival called the “Hacktivate Youth Laboratory” for anyone who agrees that web literacy is a critical addition to the "3 R's" (Reading, Writing, and aRithmatic). To find out more about all of the Hive member projects in our MozFest area, check out Hacktivate Learning Tumblr.
At MOUSE's table, I teamed up with fellow educators and Mozilla programmers to brainstorm new tools, activities and methods for teaching young people how the web works. Our session ended up with with tons of amazing ideas including a quick and fun “SEO Battle” lesson-plan (available on the MozillaWiki as a Hacktivity Kit here) where you practice Search-Engine-Optimization by competing to design a website in Thimble that becomes the top search result in Google. In addition to adding webmaker tools like the Hackasaurus X-Ray Goggles to MOUSE Squad curriculum this past fall, we look forward to using the ideas sparked at this session in more MOUSE curriculum and beginning to build a Webmaking Specialist Badge in the future.
So, how can my squad start Webmaking?
There were so many ridiculously awesome projects at MozFest that it is impossible to share them all, but here are a few tools that your squad can start playing with now to make the web your own.
Mozilla’s X-Ray Goggles and Thimble:
These easy-to-use, no-download tools let you remix existing websites (X-ray Goggles) and build and share out your own (Thimble). MOUSE Coordinators: Want curriculum to help you integrate these tools into your squad meetings? Check out the Hacktivate Learning section of the Mozilla Wiki for activity ideas and lesson plans.
Ever want to “view source” on videos the way you can with websites? Well, Popcorn lets you remix and enhance video - building interactive, easily shareable and collaborate-able media online. The brilliant Georgiana from Rev- taught me how to use Popcorn and in 15 minutes we released this silly ‘popped’ video about dinosaur extinction (which you should immediately hack and add to yourself).
Meemoo is a web-based, open-source creative tool maker that lets you open, hack, and remix web apps - like Arduino but for the web. Folks at MozFest used it to make hilarious animated gifs, but the possibilities to make awesome webstuff are limitless. Check out this demo to learn how to use Meemoo. Or click here to make a flipbook (like the MOUSE Squad one to the right that I did in 3 minutes).
Still in its "alpha" stage, Waterbear is an open-source web-app that makes programming fun and easy. Similar to Scratch, you use drag-and-droppable blocks of code to make apps that you can use and share anywhere with an internet connection. It even works to program Arduinos - so Garage Robotics Specialists should definitely check it out. So so amazing.
For everyone who has ever wanted to use a banana as a spacebar (I know you’ve all thought about it) or buckets of water as a game controller - MaKey Makey has the invention kit just for you. Turn the random stuff around your school into touchpads that can play with the Internet using the MaKey MaKey board and some alligator clips.
No more downloading the 1,000,000MB Processing app to get started on your Arduino projects - Codebender lets you program Arduino code online! Hooray! They are working on building tutorials - but there are plenty of sample libraries to learn from here.
For more info about Mozilla, the festival, and international community of makers and educators who attend every year - go to www.mozillafestival.org.
Remember way back at the beginning of October when we posted the Enter the 3rd Dimension microproject? It's been a little longer than usual, but we're ready to announce the winners! In October we asked you to create a unique 3D object and we got some great submissions. Here are the winners:
The winner of a print out of their submission and a $60 Best Buy gift card is karim from Wagner Middle School Squad in New York, NY. We think it's great that this object both represents the school and is a functional picture frame. Check it out here.
First Runner Up:
The first runner up and winners of a Papertronics Lunar Module is Michael and geekgurl from C.H.I.P.S. Squad 2012 in San Lorenzo, CA. Their squad submitted an amazing number of entries this month but we especially liked Michael's Rudy the Robot submission and geekgurl's laptop submission (check it out here on Thingiverse) both created using Sketchup.
Second Runner Up:
Thank you to students and coordinators who submitted their 3D objects this month! We love seeing the creative things all of you come up with every month.
Be sure to check out our November Microproject: Get Your Game On. Remember, we have extended the deadline for that project to December 15 but it's never too early to start working on your winning entry!
Submissions are due by 12/14
Wow, do we have a treat for you this month. If you like video games you're going to love this! Have you ever wanted to design your own video games? Well now’s your chance with the MOUSE Squad November MicroProject: Get Your Game On!
Using the amazing free tool Gamestar Mechanic! you can learn how to design and create your own video games. Then you can play and share them with everyone in your MOUSE Squad!
Check out our game by clicking on the picture below!
Gamestar Mechanic is fun, free, and lets you make awesome games. So let your imagination run wild and see what kind of crazy video game adventures you can dream up!
To make your game...
In order to create a game in Gamestar Mechanic you first have to sign up for a free account. There is no cost but you do need to have an email address.
Once you have an account you need to complete the single player missions. This will take you some time, but it will teach you how to use all the tools available on Gamestar Mechanic and some of the basic concepts of game design. Make sure you leave plenty of time to make your game after you’ve finished learning how to use the program.
- Games should have at least 3 levels. Try to make it so each level is harder than the last one.
- Nothing inappropriate for school, of course.
- All games must be submitted by December 14th to be considered
- Remember, the winning Squad gets a $60 gift certificate to Best Buy!
- To earn extra points, design your game to tell a story. Use text at the beginning of each level to set the scene, and have each level relate to the one before it.
- One note about Gamestar Mechanic: though it is free to use, some features are only available if you pay for the premium version. You do not need to use any of these more advanced features to make a great game. In fact, we encourage you to get really creative with the free tools they offer.
- If you want to have greater control over how your game looks and feels and think you are up for an advanced challenge, try creating a game with Scratch, another free game design tool thats built with programming in mind. Scratch is much more advanced, so this is only for those of you who want a SERIOUS challenge.
Make a blog post with the title "November MicroProject." Be sure to include a link to your game in the blog post. To get a link to your game simply go to your game and click the "share" button. Remember all submissions must be made before December 14th.
Leave a comment here on this Wire post with the link to your post