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Sunday, 8 December 2013

Maker Party - Mozfest - What we learned

The end of the year 2013 nears and does the Maker Party 2013. The Maker Party being the most successful Webmaker collaborative event till date, saw a lot of teaching, learning and making. The shear idea of making what you want - the way you want strikes untouched chords of interest in many across the globe. 

The web is open and free. We should care about it by understanding it and building our own version of the it, drives the amazing phenomenon of the maker fair.

This year in 2013 it all started with the announcement of theMaker Party 2013 (formally known as the summer code party). 

Webmaker : The idea of Mozilla, teach the web to the world with the core motivation of web literacy using connected learning is the birth concept of Webmaker. The whole idea behind the “view page source” where we can view, copy, paste and tweak the code to make it our own made the internet the revolutionary tool it is today. Webmaker follows the same idea. Webmaker enables people to make, remix and build upon the works of others by exploring the endless possibilities the internet offers. The easy to use Webmaker tools viz: Thimble, Popcorn maker and X-ray goggles offer learning and understanding of the technologies the web is built in while creating great content.

Get involved - its an easy 4 step process :)
  1. Visit
  2. Claim your user name.
  3. Create an original, remix something fun or start from a template.
  4. Help us test and improve the site.

Webmaker mentors: With webmaker the mission is dedicated to keeping the web open, accessible and free. To accomplish this, there is a need of more than technology: there is a need people who are empowered to build and take control of their own online lives. The synergic working of a global community of teachers and learners makes webmaker a big collaborative effort. The teachers here become mentors and these mentors are the people who are interested and motivated to teach the web to others in an interest based peer-to-peer learning method.

Mark Surman -Executive director @ Mozilla. says  When we talk about a global community of mentors, we’re talking about a global community of people who want to teach the web. We’re talking about formal educators, we’re talking about people outside the school system, we’re talking about techies, and we’re talking about parents.

I feel lucky being a part of the mentor structure. By teaching the web and evangelising the open web & open standards I can feel the positive contribution I am making to the betterment of the internet, the society and ultimately the coming generation.

The Maker Parties: Mozilla kicked off the Maker Party 2013 with a bang on June 15 2013. Webmaker task force India decide to kickstart the maker party in India on the same day with Maker party Pune event. For the next three months, people around the world gathered at great events, making cool stuff and sharing it all online. The goal was to host a worldwide party celebrating all the amazing things we can make and learn thanks to the web. 

Being a part of this amazing collaborative effort called the Maker Party 2013, I had an amazing learning experience. Many event hosts were not formal educators, hosting successful maker parties they proved that teaching the web was easy, fun and very productive. By connecting with other web enthusiasts eager to share skills, Maker Parties were a great way to gain experience and form networks.  Near to 1700 Maker Parties were held in 330 cities across the globe. India was called the epicenter of the webmaker activities by one of the Webmaker’s community engagement personnel. 

Maker parties I attended, facilitated, organized or mentored this season: 
Getting involved was easy:
Maker Party ran from June 15 to September 15. Visit to:

The Mozilla Festival: We visited, We made and We hacked together at the Mozilla festival. The world’s biggest maker party was all-n-all fun for the attendees.

1,300 hackers, media-makers and educators gather in London to invent the web’s future – said the headline of the blog by Matt Thompson about the MozFest

The Mozfest was a three day festival in London of making and learning. I was fortunate enough for being able to be a part of this amazing gathering of webmakers from around the globe. A big thanks to Michelle Thorne and Laura Hilliger for inviting me to the mozfest in the #teactheweb track. The venue Ravensbourne in East London was full of hacking and inventing together, building prototypes and curriculum for teaching everything from basic coding, to protecting online privacy, to integrating the open web into fields like journalism and science.

From talking about why I teach the web, Hacking some Tshirts, Playing with the LEDs on a biker jacket, earning open badges, mentoring at the webmaker tools pod to having the awesome #mozfest coffee the complete experience was overwhelming. 



Specifically talking about one such experience: It was day 1 at mozfest and at the teach the web track we had a webmaker learning booth. With a screen showing the live makes by the attendees it was one of the busiest booths. I was at the Student Ambassador’s booth, Jacob Caggiano (one of the most active contibutors to webmaker) came running in towards me and said “Ankit, checkout this amazing feature in popcorn its called hacking together ” (it was popcorn maker fussed with together.js to give it a new dimension of collaborative making. This was already implemented in Thimble and worked wonders.) I went with him to the now empty webmaker booth, we started hacking a popcorn make together and soon many eger and interested people started storming in. Many said “Wow this is such a cool tool, how can we do it?” and me and Jacob started teaching them the same. The mozfest attendees kept on hacking with the webmaker tools and sharing with an awe! I did feel the amazingness of the tools at that moment, with webmaker the maker gets the superpower of altering and remixing the web he/she wants.


With 10 key tracks mozfest did induce a sense of belonging and care towards the open web.

  • Teach the Web. New approaches for teaching digital skills, coding and webmaking.
  • Connect Your City. Building local digital learning networks around the world.
  • Skills and Badges. New ways to recognize skills and learning that happen anywhere.
  • Look Who’s Watching. Privacy, surveillance and tracking. How do we protect transparency and user sovereignty online?
  • Open Games. The web as an open gaming console for the world. Play and create next-generation web-based games.
  • Source Code for Journalism. Creating the tools news organizations needs to thrive on the open web.
  • Science and the Web. Redefining how we experiment, analyze and share scientific knowledge.
  • Open Data for the Open Web. Uncovering and building with data from the web and everyday world.
  • Making the Web Physical. Hacking on physcial devices and gizmos connected to the web in exciting new ways.
  • Webmaking for Mobile. Making apps and tinkering with your own phone. The web as platform.


 I as all other participants at the mozfest earned Open Badges, as part of Mozilla’s open source project to reimagine credentialing on the web. Many also issued their own Open Badges on-site using community-created tools like and A lot of badges, stickers and the awesome customized mozfest swag were the takeaways. 

 The after event parties are always filled with fun and creativity. Singing the Lungi Dance I had a lot of fun making every body dance at the Alphabet in the O2 arena.




Visiting the creativity & make filled mozfest and the awesome monuments & heritage filled London was indeed a dream come true.

What we learned: 
 # Reflection:
·         What's worked for Webmaking in 2013?
o   The new website.
o   The featured makes (gave a lot of confidence to makers to do more and make more).
o   Mentorship structure.
o   The webmaker swag (ordering it was accessible to all)
o   Anybody can host a makerparty anywhere.
·         What have we enjoyed?
o   Inclusion of Javascript and together.js in Webmaking.
o   Hive and Webmaker party fusion.
o   Themed maker parties.
o   Facilitating and speaking about why we should care about open web.
o   Mentoring on webmaker.

·         What made the most impact?
o   The mentorship structure has installed a sense of belonging  towards webmaker and making, the maker party attendees also felt motivated with mentors around.
o   Themed maker parties made a huge impact, especially in India maker parties with theme produced more makes than non-themed parties. Eg: Independence Day Maker party.
o   Webmaker Swag.

Whats next?
·         What we are excited about for 2014?
o   Offline webmaker tools.
o   JS teaching kits using webmaker.
o   Openbadges in webmaker
o   Maker Party 2014
·         Where are the biggest opportunities for Webmaking?
o   Science + Webmaking
o   Openbadges + Webmaker
o   A defined common Structure for maker parties (this can be hacked to be practically possible in your region).
o   Focus on children and school students, teaching them to become mentors.
o   As online courses/demos for learning HTML-CSS-JS    
·         What can be done better or differently to get there?
o   Science + Webmaking – learning templates for easy understanding. Eg: Converting programing concept documents to thimble/popcorn templates. 
o   Prioritise after event follow up.
o   Inclusion of open badges using step wise badge awarding process. Eg: Beginner, expert, theme maker, Yay your first maker! badge and more.
o   Easy event and mentorship guides for newbies.
o   Creation of slides and information templates for speakers and organizers (this will help them answer questions during maker parties). 

Pictures from the maker parties:
Pictures from Mozfest 2013:
Webmaker + together.js:


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