Mozilla Festival Day 1: Notes from Opening Plenery

Start of Mozilla Festival 2014 with opening circle.


Mary Moloney, Global CEO @marydunph @coderdojo

  • global community of free programming clubs for young people
  • each one of you is a giant, because you understand technology and the options it can give people
  • how can I reach down to a young person and put them on my shoulder? How do I share my talent, knowledge, and understanding?
  • est. 3 years ago, started by 17 year old, who was lonely
  • the corporations are not doing enough to bridge the knowledge gap
  • it’s about equal opportunity, to get the skills to be successful
  • volunteer lead initiative, open environment, child-led learning
  • we have a duty to those who don’t understand it yet, need to encourage others to participate
  • start as young as 7 years old, by 9 years old, they think of themselves as coders, not just kids that are learning technology
  • 500 dojos that meet weekly, where 40 kids get together to build
  • have a common language (i.e.) code, sharing in a global community
  • 3-4 dojos open every week
  • community built of kids, mentors, champions (setup & run dojos), parents
  • kids are empowered and they are asked to investigate by asking 2 peers and searching online first, not told the answer by mentors
  • not everything is traditional “coding” (e.g. Scratch) but they help kids to learn computational thinking
  • truly tackling big topics and big problems e.g. 8 and 9 years old built game to help kids with dyslexia learn the alphabet; 11 year old built PizzaBot, which knocked AngryBirds out of #1 spot in Ireland
  • encourage participants to mentor each other, closest in age and experience
  • want to reach more kids, so please get involved

Being Citizens of the Web

Marc Surman, Executive Director of Mozilla Foundation

  • talked about web literacy, and achieved a lot, this group has built out with partners like coderdojo
  • very practical thing we can do
  • teach people skills, what they can do with the web
  • not just the practicality
  • this work is suddenly political
  • not just giving skills, giving them a sense of independence and agency
  • freedom, control, citizenship

we are all citizens of the web

People get excited of their first computer. Very empowering to be able to express yourself rather than the machine expressing itself to you. It creates the same set of values of independence and agency.

We can shape the world around us.

Want all 5 billion people to have that feeling, but increasingly worried that it’s not how it will work out.

Control is a point of tension

  • the internet is a public square = place to gather, commerce, etc. that is owned by all of us
  • but the internet feels more like a shopping malls
  • shopping malls are tricky, feels similar but someone else sets the rules
  • people who own systems like Android, Facebook, they set the rules
  • they decide who can buy, what platforms we can use for an app
  • the rules are not set by us, no set of common building blocks
  • increasingly people do not perceive the choices
  • want them to know what is possible
  • corporations want people to keep thinking it’s the only option

At the global level

  • worry at a global level, especially in places where countries are coming online
  • Android 91% marketshare in India vs. 68% in North America
  • Android becoming the Windows 98 of the developing world
  • imaginative monopoly, don’t understand what is the “internet”, only know what’s facebook and whatsapp
  • if that’s all there is to the internet in these minds, then that restricts what they think is possible
  • these companies are becoming empires, they become what’s possible, imaginable for these socities
  • they don’t have choice in how they can express themselves
  • little opportunity to build local businesses, all the money goes back to US & China

How do we change the trajectory?

  • we don’t know yet, but we have theories on how to start
  • got people to participate
  • build software that delight and empower people
  • teach others that they have a choice
  • we didn’t make the empire disappear, that’s not the point, but to give people choice
  • we did it with Internet Explorer, and we need to do it with the emerging markets
  • we all need to take one piece, and make it happen
  • MozFest is doing the practical work to make that happen; creating intersections with people who have a common cause, but don’t necessarily talk to each other every day

Imagine everyone as a citizen of the web.

We’ve done it before, the people here today are the people who will do it again.

Author: Cynthia

Technologist, Librarian, Metadata and Technical Services expert, Educator, Mentor, Web Developer, UXer, Accessibility Advocate, Documentarian

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