Mozilla Web Literacy workshop at Darbar College

Almost a year ago, Mr.Praveen, an assistant professor at Darbar college reached out to me to guide his students to contribute to Mozilla. We did the very first Mozilla event in the whole of Bijapur last year.

It was amazing to receive an invite from Darbar college for the second time to conduct a follow-up workshop. The best part was to see the contributors grow in such a short span of time.

Some observations over time

  • Students had more awareness about Mozilla, what we do for web literacy, about Firefox being open source and even some of the contribution pathways.
  • The teachers and management was more welcoming because of the leadership opportunity they see in associating with such workshops.
  • For them , this is also an opportunity to add this to their showcase of events during admissions. Events like this give them an edge over other colleges in the city.
  • Mr.Praveen, the assistant professor who’s our point of contact from the college, is now doing a research paper including Mozilla Firefox in his test cases on  open source.
  • He is also working hard in spreading the adoption of open source and volunteers his time educating his colleagues on various internet related issues.

The session started at around 10 am with a quick overview about what happened during last year’s session(for the students attending this for the first time). The entire session was divided into two parts

  1. A brief idea about Mozilla, MLN and Mozilla Clubs.
  2. Prototyping and presenting teaching activities.

During the first session, we discussed about various topics trending on the internet such as privacy, surveillance and sharing personal data on the internet like Apple vs FBI, FreeBasics etc. The students agreed that there are lot of issues they are ignorant about, but need to build better awareness so that they can be vocal about these.

During the second half, we started prototyping and presenting concepts in a fun manner. The idea was to explain about technology and computer related topics in a fun and participatory manner to a 5th grade student.

Absolutely loved the energy in the entire room when they started ideating. I’ve tried to capture some of the ideas generated out of these sesssions below.

  1. Team 1:
    Members: Shanwaz, Vaibhavlaxmi, Sujuta, Ashwini, Sushma
    Idea:
    Explaining the concept of networking with the help of hoomans!<a data-flickr-embed=”true”  href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/116230719@N08/27747229754/in/album-72157670469998381/&#8221; title=”DSC_6409″><img src=”https://c3.staticflickr.com/9/8592/27747229754_c2f9a1b067_c.jpg&#8221; width=”800″ height=”534″ alt=”DSC_6409″></a>//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsDetails:
    The team explained the basic idea of networking along with the types (LAN, MAN, WAN) with the help of people standing inside a circle.
    First, they formed a small circle with a PC who would be inside the circle. This mean the PC is in the Local Area Network. After this, the PC moves out of the circle demonstrating that it’s no longer a part of the LAN. The circle then extends to form the MAN and the similar excercise is carried out to show WAN. This was a quick and easy way to show the different types of networks as well as the concept of networking to a 5th grade students.
  2. Team 2:
    Members: Pradeep, Anand, Vinod, Riyan, Madesh, Siddarth, Karthick and Manju

     

    Idea:
    A skit on ordering a custom assembled PC online.<a data-flickr-embed=”true”  href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/116230719@N08/28259755122/in/album-72157670469998381/&#8221; title=”DSC_6414″><img src=”https://c3.staticflickr.com/9/8699/28259755122_0d4e4c323b_c.jpg&#8221; width=”800″ height=”534″ alt=”DSC_6414″></a>//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

    Details:
    The team did a short skit on a website where you can order a custom PC with your own configuration and the process behind it. Everyone is aware that assembled PC’s are expensive. This offers a platform to order custom built versions. They demonstrated this by showing different students as different components like- PC, website, monitor, CPU, keyboard etc. in a very funny and interactive manner. Especially loved the way they showed Google loading the search results.

  3. Team 3:
    Members:Akshata, Rohini, Asharani, Jyoti, Pooja
    Idea:
    A skit on the contrast between an internet enabled teaching environment and one without internet.<a data-flickr-embed=”true”  href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/116230719@N08/27747610813/in/album-72157670469998381/&#8221; title=”DSC_6416″><img src=”https://c6.staticflickr.com/9/8657/27747610813_ddf5e54003_c.jpg&#8221; width=”800″ height=”534″ alt=”DSC_6416″></a>//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

    Details:
    The team did a skit in a government school setup with a teacher and two students. The teacher explains the students about the various generations of computers and the students ask questions on how it looks, why is it called that etc. This is when the teacher with internet enabled smart phones comes to the class and teaches her colleague to use the internet on her smart phone and that too in her local language. This impacted the students in a large way and they were now able to understand much better.

  4. Team 4:
    Members: Nasira, Amruta, Shreya, Arun, Pradeep, Akash, Varun, Shashikani
    Idea:
    A skit on how Online Shopping works.<a data-flickr-embed=”true”  href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/116230719@N08/27747597784/in/album-72157670469998381/&#8221; title=”DSC_6419″><img src=”https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8598/27747597784_db851b6c2d_c.jpg&#8221; width=”800″ height=”534″ alt=”DSC_6419″></a>//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

    Details:
    The team did a skit on how online shopping works. Right from the placing of order, to dispatching the same by the courier service. They also showed the availability or returning an order. This is used by ecommerce services like Amazon, Flipkart etc.

  5. Team 5:
    Members: Mahadev, Vishwanath , Akash , Anand , Varunkumar , Vishal, Ravikiran
    Idea:
    A detailed explanation on what happens during software installation.<a data-flickr-embed=”true”  href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/116230719@N08/27747546123/in/album-72157670469998381/&#8221; title=”DSC_6420″><img src=”https://c4.staticflickr.com/9/8636/27747546123_b3e909e528_c.jpg&#8221; width=”800″ height=”534″ alt=”DSC_6420″></a>//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

    Details:
    This team gave a detailed step by step process of installing a software. From browsing, to installing to setup to packaged installer to admin permissions to files in the registry.

    Press Report:

    <blockquote class=”imgur-embed-pub” lang=”en” data-id=”UtlKnju”><a href=”//imgur.com/UtlKnju”>View post on imgur.com</a></blockquote>//s.imgur.com/min/embed.js

    <blockquote class=”imgur-embed-pub” lang=”en” data-id=”xkeHJgL”><a href=”//imgur.com/xkeHJgL”>View post on imgur.com</a></blockquote>//s.imgur.com/min/embed.js

    My day in Bijapur:

    Flickr link

Webmaker at Dayananda Sagar College of Engineering

Having reached Bangalore on 30th (March) morning from Kannur, I must say that sleep was something that I yearned. But no! The mind and body wanted two different things, so the body finally compromised with coffee. Got to the office at around 10:30 am to notice that there was no one inside. Opened it myself and started working on the slides for the event(yes, just few hours before the event because that’s the way I roll). As I was preparing the slides, I dropped a text asking Sagar and Sam (the super hero event organizers) what time I should be starting  from my office. I also had another Mozillian co-speaker, Shivika, who was supposed to reach on the venue since she was co-presenting. Status check with her and I figured that she already boarded the train.

The traffic sure decided to mess things but having taken their advice, I was wise enough to leave early just to reach there by 1:30 PM. Sagar accompanied me inside the venue and showed me around the college. Felt good to be back to college(like a real college COLLEGE). Little later, Shivika had arrived and we soon started off with the sessions.

Event poster
Kicking off with an introduction Mozilla, the manifesto and why we volunteer for Mozilla. This was followed by an interactive spectrogram(Hell yeah, because I love doing that).
Protip: Post lunch sessions are difficult for students. They tend to fall asleep even if the topic if really interesting and it’s upto the speaker to capture their interest.
Disclaimer: I can go to any extent to prevent you from falling asleep during a session that’s scheduled post lunch.

Talking about why I contribute to Mozilla and specifically to the Webmaker project was something that I loved doing(and hope the students liked it too, atleast they pretended to have :D). I contribute to Webmaker to #Teachtheweb because I believe that not everyone has the “luxury” to know how the web works. I believe this should be considered as a necessity, and not Luxury! Create more clubs in regions in your reach. Let the movement spread across the city, country and world. Empower regional leaders and create an impact which is evident to the educators, who in turn shape the curriculum for the future. Push them to feel that Web literacy should be a part of the educational curriculum in the country.

If you’re looking to read more about the event in detail, I’d save myself the pains of taking it from deep inside my highly unorganized memory(that’s what happens when you blog 3 months post the event date) and link you to two awesome blogposts.

  • Shivika, my co-speaker, blogged about her experience of the event. You can read it here.
  • Sam, one of the organizers wrote about the event here.

Photo with my co speaker and the event organizers

#MozLove to the wonderful organizers Sagar & Sam for the hospitality at DSCE and to Shivika for giving that wonderful talk on WoMoz, challenges faced by women in tech and how to contribute to Mozilla.

 

“Hi, I’d like to organize an event.”

It’s been a long while since I’ve last written a blog. Although not mandatory, I make it a point to blog my events whenever I can. I’ve got some amazing feedback from the community about how much some of my posts have helped them conduct events. Being a community builder, nothing made me more happier than this. People actually DO read my blog posts even though they are very big! Recently, I’ve been at the Portland Work week. I was a part of the Reps and the Community Building tracks. I met many amazing people from all over the world, interacted with them, brainstormed with them and got to learn about a lot of things. I had planned to use them all for an event recently and try some beta activities and starters. Although I very rarely make presentations for events, I did prepare one for this one. But yes, Murphy had his liking on me at that time and things that could go wrong, went wrong. But I must agree that I had the support of my mentors and the community members, without which, things would’ve been a lot tougher. I’ve been told that this never happened in any of the communities before. Or maybe it did and was not brought to anyone’s attention. Nevertheless, I decided to blog about this since this could be a learning experience for the community as a whole. They always say, we learn from our mistakes. I did too! A LOT! So this is a guideline I wrote. If you’re planning an event and want me to come over,  I would suggest you follow these. DISCLAIMER: The views and guidelines expressed in this post are that of my own and not of the community. Feel free to re blog this if you want. If you would like to refine this and add to this or want to pick on this, feel free to shoot me a mail. EVENT ORGANIZER: Who is an event organizer: An event organizer is generally a Mozillian/FSA who contacts an FSA/REP for a Mozilla event. This person is generally a point of contact in that area (which may comprise of a geologically, linguistically, or culturally different place). What the speaker or facilitator generally expects out of you: When the event organizer gets in touch with an FSA/REP/Mozillian me for an event, he/she I generally expect some basic things.

  • Make sure the date of the event is confirmed. Especially if the speaker or facilitator requires traveling and staying at that place.
  • Give an estimated number of attendees or participants for the event so that he/she could prepare accordingly. It’s NOT THE SAME when there’s an event for 20 people and for 100 people.
  • Make sure all the permissions for the venue are got in prior(preferably in writing) to confirmation with the speaker so that there won’t be any last minute hassles.
  • Mozilla events REQUIRE internet! Do not assume that since he/she didn’t specifically mention Internet, so they don’t require it. In some cases, the speaker might do necessary arrangements, however, it’s always best to re-check.
  • ALWAYS have a back up! The internet could always malfunction especially when there are many people connected to it. Make sure you have a plan. The cable to connect the projector might be different so prepare your laptop just in case.
  • Make sure that you tell the participants or attendees what the event is about so that they have an idea what to expect. A speaker or facilitator is more like your class teacher. He/she prefers 5-10 interested students rather than 100-120 people who are least interested. It’s not the crowd that matters, it’s the interest.
  • Confirm the arrival and departure details of the Speaker or facilitator very well in advance and ask him/her if any assistance is required on accommodation and travel options. It is more likely that you know the best routes, venues and hotels in your place.
  • If you are busy, MAKE SURE that you arrange some responsible people with the logistics, accommodation and travel. We all know that for a big event, it’s tough to manage everything on your own and things might go wrong, which is very understandable. It is always advised to have some helping hands to reduce your work burden and move things smoothly.
  • Do not panic when things go wrong. The speakers or facilitators who are coming for your event have conducted various events and know very well that things could go wrong. They do understand that and it’s always a good idea to ask for help rather than “hiding” things from them.

SPEAKER/FACILITATOR: Who is a Speaker/facilitator? This is generally an FSA/Mozillian/Mozilla Rep who has been invited as a domain expert to talk about something particularly in Mozilla or to introduce Mozilla and build a community. What is expected out of the Speaker/Facilitator:

  • Be prepared on what you’re going to talk about. Yes, we know you might be a fan of Joker and not Batman, but sometimes planning has it’s own perks.
  • Make sure you don’t run your session over time. People don’t like it! Always make sure your timings are such that you get time to cover what is required. In universities and schools, make sure that you schedule your session such that the students don’t miss their break times.
  • If you’re running a workshop, make sure that you deal with people at different paces. Be all over the place whenever required. It’s good to ask the event organizers or volunteers to help out people who are stuck.
  • Make sure you get in touch with the event organizers and confirm the event dates, venue and estimated number of attendees well in advance. This should also be done before booking the tickets if travel is required.
  • It is always advisable to think of a backup plan just in case things go wrong. If there is any other friend or acquaintance from the place, do get in touch and inform them too. This could be done even if the event organizer has a good track record of organizing events before.
  • If you’re going to a place where you don’t know the language they speak,the Internet is your friend. Do research about the place you’re going to, so that you know what to do, where to go and what to eat. Wikitravel and Tripadvisor are good websites for this. Also,if you’re on Couchsurfing.com, do check out verified people from the area for help around the city and AirBnB for staying.
  • Share your preferred medium of contact with all the participants so that they could get in touch whenever required.
  • If you’re not sure or don’t know something, feel free to admit it!

Common Goals for both: Pre-event: It’s a good idea to keep track of the metrics of the event before the planning. This helps analyze the required resources for the event and helps plan the event with less resources and more output. Post event: The success metrics of any event in general is defined by the number of contributors after an event and how we can sustain them. The approach differs from event to event but is always best discussed so that the organizer can think of ways in which there could be a follow up on the participants interested in contributing. Okay, So I just realized this was a huge post and you’ve survived till the end. So here’s something for you 🙂

Webmaker Super Mentor

I started my contribution towards Mozilla by getting involved with the Webmaker project.
I still remember, being the club lead of Sathyabama Firefox Club, our very first event was a small little Makerparty. I subscribed to all the mailing lists and IRC as well to chat and get my ideas about Webmaker clear. I explained all about the 3 super awesome tools back then- the Thimble, X Ray goggles and Popcornmaker.
Here is something that I made with popcorn:
I still remember the reaction of my team after knowing how easy it was to create a video when compared to Adobe Flash, or event M$ Movie Maker. We had a lot of fun hacking memes available on the Webmaker website.

Later on, I started attending the teachtheweb calls on Thursday. I got to know a lot of people, webmakers from all over the world. I must also admit that this would be my very first interaction with people all over the world simultaneously.
It was then that I got to know about Webmaker Mentors. Meanwhile, we conducted a lot of Webmaker events and I too was a Webmaker Mentor.
Untitled
Webmaker grew to be my most favourite project when contributing to Mozilla that I started advising all the newbies to start by contributing to Webmaker. We set up Booths in different colleges and were evangelizing on Mozila. It was a really different experience to explain Webmaker to a moving crowd and getting their feedback on various products and their interests in contributing to Webmaker and Mozilla at large. We had such a lot of feedback by the end of it.

It was after this that we came up with the initiative called KidZilla that aims at teaching school kids about Webmaking, coding basics, Web privacy etc. I was randomly asking community feedback on IRC one day when Laura told me about Emma Irwin, who initiated Webmaker Clubs. We later chatted to discover more super awesome possibilities of collaborating.
It was awesome!

Recently, after working with Kat, we prepared a teaching kit for KidZilla as well. Here is the link: https://dunebuggie.makes.org/thimble/LTE5MzM3MDUyMTY=/kidzilla-teaching-kit
KidZilla activities are always fun since you can never expect anything when it comes to kids.

My first event under Mozilla India would be the Hive Makerparty Pop up in Vizag. I was really happy to have been invited as one of the Super Mentors. It was then that I actually felt that I’ve contributed something to the community and having this automatically puts a lot of responsibility on me. I felt proud of myself!

It was an event where we not only worked a lot and helped the attendees, we also had a Train the trainer event where I was fortunate enough to interact with a lot of students.
After the Hive event, we had a series of Makerparties in Sathyabama University.
The series started with a WoMoz makerparty organized by Damini.

We had around 100 girls from Computer Science and IT department with a lot of super awesome makes! Women in Technology was a centralized topic.

After the WoMoz Makerparty which were restricted to the girls, we had a lot of request from the boys to conduct an event. After repeated requests made to the staffs, we were told to do a makerparty only for the guys! And we named it the BroMoz makerparty! Although the event was restricted to 60 students, we had around 100 makes from the event!

During the Thursday TTW calls, there were discussion by Doug Belshaw on Web Literacy and the web literacy mapper. It was really nice to get the community thoughts on Web literacy and why they think its important. Web literacy Mapper was one of the greatest online resources with so much potential and I was so happy to have contributed by mapping many websites.
I was also a part of the Webmaker Super mentor discussion which included the criteria that define and distinguishes a mentor from a Super mentor, the benefits the super mentors shall have as well the badge design for the Super mentors.
During the Community India meetup, the Webmaker Taskforce were busy on how to promote makerparty and answering queries of the Mentors. We decided to focus more on Web literacy, Appmaker and Privacy and Security perspective of Webmaker rather than just Thimble, Popcorn and X ray goggles. We also discussed about the Collaborate function and hacking together is really fun!

Recently, at the MozCamp Beta in Bangalore, I was lucky enough to meet Bobby, Amira and Michelle from the Webmaker team. Interacting with people you’ve only mailed or chatted on IRC is always amazing!
We had a breakout session and lots of interactive stuff!

I also showcased my Popcorn video featuring Mozillians from 19 states in India, at the MozCamp. Here is the link:
https://dunebuggie.makes.org/popcorn/24hg
Having initiated a Firefox Club in my university last year, today I am a proud Mozilla Rep who has two Webmaker Super Mentors from my club:

  • Shashank Gaikaiwari: Shashank is an awesome webmaker and an active localizer who is really enthusiastic about making teaching kits that he has even made a super awesome kit for the Super mentor application too!
  • Achyuth KP: Achyuth is a frequent participant at the Webmaker geekouts and does some super amazing makes like this one here. You can read more about him here.

Something I learnt while contributing to Webmaker: If something doesn’t work, File a bug!
And that’s just what I did. Here are my bugs that I filed for Webmaker:
957989
958488
958805

Contributing to webmaker is really rewarding. Which reminds me-I do have a neat little backpack of webmaker badges too. 😀
rsz_2untitled

Community Speaks #2 -Rebecca Billings speaks

Hello all, as a part of Community speaks, we recently started- “Breaking the stereotypes”. Through this initiative, we try to break the stereotype that people have-Mozilla is all about code. We try to showcase contributors/staffs, who don’t contribute through code.

If you’ve missed out on the first one, here is the link.

We’re lucky to have Rebecca Billings for this session of Community Speaks.

Rebecca is a Senior QA Engineer on Mozilla’s Web QA team and also a certified homeopath.


Q. How would you describe your journey from being a certified homeopath to contributing to one of the biggest organization that advocates for an Open Web?

R: I’ve worked in software for many years now- I had my first QA job in the mid-90’s. I didn’t begin studying homeopathy until much later. I have worked as a homeopathy the entire time I’ve been at Mozilla. It’s an interesting question because my journey was never from one to the other- it’s more that I’ve developed parallel interests!

Q. “Technology and Medicine go hand in hand”. Thoughts?

R: I’m not familiar with that expression, but it makes sense. Technology is a branch of science – as is medicine. There is no question that technology brings opportunities for new tools for greater understanding of medicine and the human body.

Q. Is there anything you feel similar between Homeopathy and Mozilla?

R: I was wondering if you’d ask me that! Homeopathy is open source medicine in my opinion. There aren’t patents on the medications which keeps it affordable and available to everyone. The goal is greater freedom in health. Mozilla’s goals are about freedom of the web and being open to everyone. In that sense they are similar, but there aren’t any solid overlaps between the two.

Q. Were there any difficulties when you first started contributing? If yes, how did you overcome those?

R: Starting at Mozilla always involves the “firehose” of information. There is a lot to learn! Not only how to do things, but how to find them and who to ask for what. That’s something that I try to help contributors with, as I know it can be confusing. There weren’t any real difficulties as I found everyone in the community to be very helpful.

Q. Something we ask all the SuperWomen out there: How do you manage time between work, consulting and family?

R: It is a challenge. Balancing work and home is a common problem in this day and age- and having more than one job makes it more complicated. Having two jobs that have very flexible hours is the only way I can make it work- going from one to the other and back again. I have also set limits on how much time I am willing to work in the evening or on weekends. Ultimately it’s my choice to be this busy, and it’s for things I love to do – so that makes it easier to make it work.

Q. How crucial do you think is the QA and Testing in Mozilla? What would be your advice to new contributors in QA?

R: I’m obviously biased, but I believe QA is crucial to any technological project. It doesn’t have to be done 100% by QA Engineers, but people need to have a QA mindset for testing- that’s the only way to really use the product as a User would, and to make sure it does what it’s supposed to do. Everyone in a project has their own priority for getting the project done well and on time, and I think QA sees from the User Advocate point of view. My advice to new contributors is to be willing to learn, and to be persistent. It can be frustrating to learn how teams do things, and to figure out how best to help- so keep trying! Getting to know the team on IRC also helps a lot.

Q. Could you tell us more about “One and Done” ? What is Mozilla’s vision on the same and what could we expect to see in those in the future?

R: The idea behind One and Done is to have one place to direct new contributors to. All of the people who want to help, but don’t know where to begin. You can see a variety of QA tasks that need to be done. They cover all of the QA teams, all of the products, all of the types of testing. It’s a good place to try new things and learn what you like to do. Coming up soon we’ll have a new version that will include more content, with some design and usability improvements. We want to make it fun and easy to use.

Q. Being with a community like Mozilla would certainly have its perks. Could you List out 5 things that you like at Mozilla?

R:

The number one thing is the people! All of the people who make up the Mozilla community. It’s filled with smart interesting people from all over the world, who all have different skills and talents.

Number two would be innovation. There are so many projects and ideas at Mozilla. Everything moves really fast, and everyone is really busy- so it’s fun to work at, and never boring.

Number three would be Community. I know I said people were the number one thing, but this merits another slot. I love working on community building- watching people get to know each other, learn new things and grow their skills with contributions. It’s really cool! Helping people get started is one of my favorite parts of the job.

Number four is learning. You never stop learning in this job! We work on new projects, new tools, new languages, new styles of development. To stay here is to build your skills and career, and I really appreciate that.

Number five is working with a mission statement. I really believe in. You don’t always get to work for a place that shares your personal values, and I feel really lucky to be here. I have a deep appreciation for the Mozilla value of openness- accessibility, transparency, valuing privacy. It’s hard to limit the perks to just five! I’ve worked here for four years now and am still glad to be here, and I know how rare that is!

Q. We’re sure that you would serve as one of the best examples of contributors who don’t contribute to code. How important do you think is the role of such contributors to Mozilla?

R: I do actually contribute to code by doing test automation – but it isn’t what I spend the majority of my time on. Doing work with SUMO and in community building I’ve had a lot of experience working with contributors who don’t add code. They are invaluable! Mozilla relies heavily on contributors to help with L10N translation – for websites, documents, help questions, test events and more. There are the people who do UX and other design work- like those who design badges. We have contributors who do project management. There are people who help primarily with community building and communication- no code is required! Mentoring is another area where the help you give is all one-to-one.  Participating in IRC or mailing lists, doing One and Done tasks, taking charge of projects. And all of this is in addition to one of the main QA activities- manual testing! All of these things are extremely important, and the people who make these contributions help Mozilla every single day.

Q. Do you think it is important to show that Mozilla is not all about coding? What would be your advice to such Mozillians?

R: Mozilla is about a lot more than coding- just read the manifesto [http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/about/manifesto/]! It’s about openness, innovation and opportunity. I really believe that. For anyone who wants to help there is a place for you, regardless of your coding ability. Being a Mozillian is about believing in Mozilla and what we do, and helping advance Mozilla’s goals. The trick is being willing to get involved, meet new people and do new things.


Thanks a lot Rebecca for taking time to chat with us. We really appreciate your thoughts.

If you have any suggestions for Community Speaks, please let us know by tweeting @dun3buggi3 or dropping a mail at dun3buggi3@gmail.com

Mozilla India Community Meet up

Mozilla India Community Meet!!This was the stuff going on in my head since a long time after I got the invite. On 2nd of April I started off from home sweet home, Kannur, Kerala to Chennai.

Though every single time, when I sit in the railway station and see the train coming to take me from Kannur to Chennai, I always have second thoughts of running back home. But this time, it was very different. The very thought of meeting many Mozillians and having an awesome time, got be running inside the train with joy!

I reached Chennai at around 6 am in the morning, came home, freshened up and got a call from Damini, “Do I have to take anything specifically?” , Nah, not required.
Fastforwarding the other parts, I reached the station, met a friend of mine who lives near Chennai Central, went to the compartment. After a while Naresh reached. Damini also reached soon.

We started discussing random stuff and having fun on the way. Stories about each other, to events we’ve conducted to random facts like “Did you know that the eye sight of people does not really change after 21 years”. Not mentioning the person who said that 😛

We reached Secunderabad in the morning after a fun filled journey. Soon enough we reached The Park Hotel.

On reaching the hotel, we checked in at the reception. We met Ankit at the reception. Later, we saw Gautham, Sayak and Vineel too. We then proceeded to our room. The view from the room was pretty good, and so was the room. We could see the beautiful Hussain Sagar lake from our room.

As soon as we kept our bags, we went for breakfast because we were told that the session would start soon. We hurriedly ate our breakfast and got in to the conference hall.

We entered the room to find out that it had already started. We grabbed our seats next to Brian King. I looked to my left to see Gen Kanai and Madalina Ana. It was great to see these wonderful people.

Discussions were going on about the Stepping down of Brenden Eich . Mozilla hitting the media for the wrong reasons in the past week. There were sharing of views from the Community and Gen, Brian and Madalina made us aware of the importance of standing together as a community and dealing with such delicate issues.

After that, Vineel briefed us on the agenda for the day and the task force that were working.
Myself and Damini joined the Webmaker Task Force while Naresh joined the Localization, which was lead by some amazing people from Red Hat.

The Webmaker taskforce discussion was started by Ankit. Gauthamraj , Vikas and Tripad were the others present in the discussion apart from myself and Damini.

General Idea:
The general idea in the first half was to give a brief on what is the particular taskforce about and it’s achievements from January 2013 to April 2014. The second half of the discussion was to  brainstorm and build a roadmap for the future and set specific target and goals.

The brainstorming resulted in elaborating the types of events we conducted until now, issues we faced during the events and how we could enhance the quality of the events in the future by implementing new stuffs to teach the web.

After the webmaker session was done and the taskforce Mentors Gauthamraj and Ankit presented a brief session on what is the Webmaker Task force and all the activites conducted till now.

After this session, there was a discussion about FSA’s by Umesh. We discussed on the problems faced by the FSA’s now and the possible ways in which we could overcome these problems.

Two of the major issues that were listed out were:

  • Lack of swags and budget for an event for some Firefox clubs.
  • Permission for FSA’s to conduct events in their colleges.

Solutions to these above problems:

  • Swags  and Budget are a very important factor. Hence, the FSA’s are initially requested to  conduct few events without these so that the Local Reps in their region are confident about requesting Swags or budget to support them next time when they are in need.
  • Perhaps Mozilla India could have a template of an official letter stating that the particular FSA is authorized on behalf of Mozilla India to conduct the event in their University or College.

After that , Galaxy discussed about the Events , Campaign and Logistics task force.
Jafar gave insights on the  Design as well as Social media Task force.
The details about Technical and Documentation task force was given by Kaustav.

The day got over really quick. At night, the Mozillians walked to Ohri’s for a wonderful dinner.

After the dinner, we all returned back to our rooms and retired for the day.

Next day morning I woke up and saw a reply for the mail I had sent to Doug Belshaw about the “Community Speaks”. I was really happy that he had replied, after which, I completed the blog post : https://dunebuggie.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/community-speaks-from-mozilla-india-doug-belshaw-speaks/

As I was taking a shower, I heard the doorbell. I opened the door to see Sujith and Sajeev. I told them that I’ll catch up with them in a while. I got ready and went to their room to see Varun and Gaurav. We were joined by Damini and Diwanshi for breakfast.
After breakfast, we all went to the Panoramic Hall for the meet.
The session started off with the I am a Mozillian video. Each time the someone the face of someone present there was shown, we cheered!


Gen gave a talk on Million Mozillians, which was on building a strategy to reach a Million contributors focusing on the transition from Users to contributors.

After this, we went back to our respective taskforces for the discussion for the day and building the roadmap.
The webmaker team got back to work!

Discussions for webmaker:

  • What exactly is Webmaker?
  • It’s more than just Thimble, Popcornmaker and X Ray Goggles
  • The fourth element we’re gonna add for webmaker events: Appmaker
  • Makerparty 2014 from July 15th to September 15th.
  • Web Literacy as  a major part of Webmaker.

Tracks:

  • Theme based makes. Example: Independence day
  • Tagging the makes with regional tags or #india so that it could be easily remixed when needed
  • Web Literacy Mapper: Including Web literacy in future events and taking up Mapping activities.
  • Webmaker Mentor Tasks: All the webmaker mentors in India should prepare atleast one Popcorn or Thimble make every month so that it can be used as a template. This ensures activity of the mentors and increases the number and quality of the makes.
  • After each event, the organizer of the event could be given access to a Google docs form where he nominates best makes from his event. Assessing the number and quality of makes, the best makes could be featured on Mozilla India Blog or maybe creating one called webmaker.mozillaindia.org(Over to technical taskforce).
  • Ensuring the importance of Offline activities :
    Considering a country like ours, where Internet and other things might not be stable, offline activites plays an important role. Some of the existing offline activities could be found on Webmaker.org with tag ‘#offline’. Importance to activities like Paper prototyping and other physical ones is needed.
  • Demo of Together.js, a collaborative and fun way to learn by making. This is another concept which will be showcased in upcoming webmaker events across the country. http://i.imgur.com/C48Dyra.png
  • Privacy and Security using Webmaker:http://blog.mozillaindia.org/823
    This would also include clear definitions of the words “Hacking” and “Remixing” which is often mistaken, especially when using tools like X Ray goggles.
  • Hive India and collaborations with Webmaker
  • Appmaker to be showcased in upcoming events. This would be able to sort out the issue of advanced users who want to get involved with webmaker. Considering the level of expertise, we could even ask them to contribute to Webmaker by giving them the link to Github.
  • Proper process to follow up to the participants after the event is done, which would benefit in getting more contributors.
  • Webmaker L10N: Translating the basic landing page of Webmaker into local languages.

Here is the link to the etherpad: https://india.etherpad.mozilla.org/Mozilla-India-meetup-Feb14-Tracks-Webmaker?

Before the end of the session, during the breaks, we got some awesome swags!
After the session, we parted ways-some to their rooms, some went out, some stayed back.
Me and Sujith went to his house to meet his parents. Unfortunately, they weren’t home. On our way back, we bought the thing that Hyderabad was best known for! Not pearls! It’s the Hyderabadi Biryani ! How could one come to Hyderabad and not have the Biryani!
It was indeed a travel through 3 different Biryani Zones in 2 days: From Thalassery Biryani to Dindigul Thalappakatti Biryani Chennai to Hyderabadi Biryani !

At night, we had an awesome time with Komal, Jafar, Naresh, Sujith and Damini.

Discussing stories, and making fun of each other, the day was almost over. But we always have time for nightwalks. And nightwalks, means selfie time!

We forced ourselves to go and sleep since we had an awesome session awaiting us the next day same day.

The next morning we got ready in our super awesome Mozilla India tees. Which again meant we had to take a selfie.

We first had a session by Deb and Kaustav on Developer Engagement and Evangelism task force.

We then had recap and highlight sessions by the taskforces.
Post lunch, Madalina talked about SUMO, and the contribution from India.

Gen talked about the launch of Australis. Yes! We’d love to have a launch party in India!

Brian and Jane talked about Firefox OS and Market research.

Post the sessions, it was group pic time!
The making here
The normal one:

The crazy one:

The webmaker team:

Fortunate enough to meet these awesome people! The Malayalees present at Mozilla India Community Meet have a click together

MozAliyans with Deb:

Seriously awesome time with y’all. The thought of getting back to Chennai and preparing for exams was just horrifying.
But then they say, good times are short lived. They also do say, When winter comes, can spring be far behind?

Looking forward to meeting you all again soon…

Flickr link to images : https://www.flickr.com/photos/mozillaindia/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/king-molan/sets/72157643390438705/

“Community speaks” from Mozilla India-Doug Belshaw speaks

We recently started of with this initiative called Community Speaks. This is an initiative in which every week, we would be interviewing one Staff/Community contributor at Mozilla. Every week, the team would be getting in details of the person who would be interviewed and Mozillians can send in the questions they want the the person to answer. These would be moderated by the team and selected questions would be answered by the person being interviewed.

This week, as we started off with this initiative, we are proud to have with us, Doug Belshaw.

Doug is Web Literacy Lead for the Mozilla Foundation. In this role he works on the Web Literacy Map and Webmaker badges as part of the #TeachTheWeb team. Prior to this, Doug evangelised Open Badges for Mozilla, having come across them in 2011 during his time working in Higher Education. Doug started his career as a teacher and then Senior Leader in English schools.

Below is the excerpt from the interview with Doug Belshaw.

 

 


 

Q. From a History teacher at High school, to the Web literacy lead at Mozillla, how was your journey?

 

Doug: Hi Shreyas, thanks for inviting me to do this. I find other people’s questions about my life a great chance to pause and reflect on who I am and what I’m doing. I don’t think we get enough of a chance to do that in our normal, busy, working days.

 

To answer your question, it’s been a fairly indirect, meandering journey. My first degree was in Philosophy and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do afterwards. My father was a teacher, and he encouraged me to do my teacher training. I ended up loving it and then moving into Senior Management as Director of e-Learning of a large (3,000 student) academy.

 

Teaching while being a senior leader and doing a doctorate is tough, and it came to a point where something had to give. In the end, I decided to finish writing my thesis while working in a non-teaching role in Higher Education. It was during this time that I found about Mozilla’s (then) new Open Badges project. I started finding out more about it, showing up to community calls, and telling others.

 

To cut a long story short, I was eventually invited to be a judge for the DML competition around Open Badges. There was a job going on the Open Badges team and I was invited to apply for it. The rest is history. 😉

Q. Of course it wouldn’t have been a been a bed of roses even though you make it seem easy, what were the difficulties and challenges you faced and how did you overcome it?

 

D: I guess the main shift was moving from a education-focused organisation where I was interested in technology, to work for a technology-focused organisation where I’m interested in education.

 

Working from home has also been more of a challenge than I expected. It’s better and worse than I thought it would be at the same time. Better because I see a lot more of my family than I thought was possible with a full-time job. Worse, because my home is now my workplace and there’s always things to do! It’s difficult to separate the two. Something that’s neither better nor worse is the way that I interact with colleagues. Interacting primarily online rather than face-to-face is sometimes good, sometimes bad, but certainly different.

Q. Was the transition from a teacher(a person who interacts a lot with students) to leading one of the projects for an organization like Mozilla(a job that would require you to sit behind the desk) difficult? What do you miss the most?

 

D: Well first of all it’s worth saying that I don’t sit behind a desk a lot. I try to vary where and how I work. So, for example, although I have got an office that’s separate from the house, I don’t always use it. In fact, associating different tasks with different places can be beneficial and focus the mind. I’ve started using a DIY standing desk while I’m on calls, and I’m writing this in the armchair next to the bay window in our bedroom. Other places I work include coffee shops, our dining room table, and the library!

 

I do miss teaching, but not necessarily teaching in the context of formal education. The hours were crazy, and there was a lot of bureaucracy and ‘jumping through hoops’ that you had to do. It used to really frustrate me when you couldn’t do things that you knew were in the best interests of students.

 

But, yes, I do miss interacting with young people at a formative stage of their lives. While I might have a shallow impact on a global scale, when I was a teacher I could have a much deeper impact on a local scale.

Q. List out 5 things that you like at Mozilla

 

D: Oh… where to start?

 

  1. The community – without which we wouldn’t be ‘Mozilla’

  2. How talented and committed my colleagues are.

  3. The way we are treated equitably, as people who are acting out of the best intentions for Mozilla.

  4. Travelling. I wouldn’t have said this last year when I was doing too much, but I do enjoy meeting new people and seeing new places.

  5. Working in an open way. It’s such a refreshing change from how I’ve been forced to work in previous organisations!  

  

 

Q. Open Badges was a project that you worked on. How did the concept of Open Badges come into existence? Where do you see the future of Open Badges?

 

D: Well I wasn’t there right at the start, but I understand that the idea behind open Badges began at the Drumbeat Festival in Barcelona in 2010. Mozilla, P2PU and some other folks came together to re-imagine credentialing on the web.

 

I found out about in 2011 when Mozilla was testing the idea with a P2PU course. Looking back, it was such a simple (yet brilliant) test and paved the way for everything that’s followed. The technology behind it is impressive, but that hasn’t been the biggest stumbling block. That would be how long it takes people to realise that the way things are is necessarily not the way they have to (or should) be.

 

Excitingly, Open Badges is such a big thing that there’s no need for me to go out and evangelise it on behalf of Mozilla. In fact, while the technical work will continue at Mozilla, there’s a newly-formed non-profit Badge Alliance headed up by Erin Knight (co-founder of Open Badges) that’s working on growing the ecosystem.

 

What’s next for Open Badges? Well, I suppose once BadgeKit is launched and it’s easier for organisations to create and issue badges, we’ll see them being used instead of – or as well as – certificates, diplomas and the like. It’ll take a while before people use them really innovatively in important settings, I suppose. That’s the nature of innovation!

Q. Your current project is the Web literacy map. Could you brief us about the general concept of drafting a Web literacy map? Also, what is the status of this project as of now?

 

D: Yes, I’m really excited about the Web Literacy Map. Just as my experience as an educator drew me to the revolutionary potential of Open Badges, so I think there’s some exciting work to be done around Web Literacy.

 

The original idea was to come up with a Web Literacy ‘Standard’ – and, in fact, I started working on that with the community  while I was on the Open Badges team. We quickly realised that ‘Standard’ was the wrong word, however, and what we were actually doing was provided a map of the territory of web literacy that others could use.

 

Right now we’re at version 1.1.0 of the Web Literacy Map. As it currently stands, the competency layer is relatively mature and stable, but we need to do some work with the skill layer underpinning those competencies. Working with the community to produce this has been such as successful experience that the competency layer of the Web Literacy Map will soon be used to form the UX (user experience) of webmaker.org/explore.

Q. Having been involved with Mozilla, there sure would have been some awesome moments where even though you did something small, you might’ve felt really happy and consider it as your personal achievement. Could you tell us about one such instance?

 

D: It’s difficult to point to something that’s a personal achievement because almost everything I do is in collaboration with a colleague and/or the community. However, something I’ve been very pleased with recently is a new prototype that Atul Varma and I have been working on.

 

It’s called the WebLitMapper. Just as you’d use a bookmarklet to add things to social bookmarking sites like Delicious, Diigo or Pinterest, you can add resources relevant to the web literacy to the WebLitMapper. The tags you use are from the competency layer of the Web Literacy Map.

 

I mentioned it in a meeting a couple of months back and some people thought it was a good idea while others were skeptical. It turns out that, after testing and iterating with the community, it’s something that people teaching the web really value. So I’m very pleased about that.

Thanks a lot Doug. We would like to thank you for spending time to answer our questions. We are indeed proud to have you as our very first member under the “Community Speaks”. Kindly let us know if you have any suggestions/tips/wishes for us.

 

D: I’d like to thank all the Mozillians around the world for their efforts, especially those in India who seem to be doing such a great job at teaching the web!

 

Thanks very much for inviting me to be the first in this series. I’m very much looking forward to further contributions to ‘Community Speaks’.  🙂