Pro tips on the Webmaker teaching kits
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This article gets into the nitty gritty of the Teaching Kits to help mentors understand the theoretical models underpinning them.
In essence, the Teaching Kits are baseline, blended learning curricula. They are designed to be remixed and shared. You can customize each activity or kit to be exactly what you need, and then share it for others to hack your hack.
The kits use the idea of Mass Customization. If you're not sure what exactly this means, it's the difference between buying a new pair of shoes and buying a kit that will help you make your new pair of shoes.
Mozilla Webmaker has a community of mentors who are co-designers of these materials. All community members have direct communication with the content creators through our various community calls, and, as a result, mentors have direct influence on the content itself.
Our tight-knit community allows us all to iterate on the structure and content based on feedback from one another as well as our learners. Our curriculum is product-oriented because we focus on improving the “product” in tandem with the people using it. We collect feedback through both informal methods as well as formal surveys – you are invited to give your feedback any time.
Modularity is Key
Although each kit has a suggested ordering and an underpinning educational model, everything about them is customizable. This is possible because the kits are modular. Mentors can change the ordering of activities, swap out one activity for another, add or delete activities, and otherwise rearrange the modules to develop courses or lessons that are suitable for their own target audiences.
Mozilla embraces Connected Learning, constructivism and other progressive pedagogies. Rooted in the concept of making as learning, the teaching kits encourage hands-on activities and peer-to-peer learning and exchange. They also promote webmaking as a tenet of open culture. Mozilla is deeply committed to identifying the skills, competencies and literacies necessary to read, write and participate on the web, and our teaching kits align with the Web Literacy Standard.
From a didactic standpoint, each Mozilla-created kit follows a model of Introduce, Explain, Explore.
The introductory activity is designed to break the ice, form connections between learners, introduce a topic and get peoples' creative juices flowing. The activity frames things, including the participatory, collaborative methods Mozilla uses, and should help learners understand what the topics of the session are.
The explanatory activity is designed to outline the steps in a particular process or provide opportunity for learners to play with tools. This activity is hands-on and learners will make something. However, this make is without a strict purpose – learners are encouraged to make anything they want, in any way they want. Before learners can practically apply new skills, they need to be comfortable with the tools they’ll be using and have a basic understanding of the skills they’ll be sharpening.
The third activity is an exploratory activity that allows learners to delve deeper into the essential questions of your session. By now, the learners know what the underlying themes of the day are, and they know how to use the tools. The exploratory activity is a make with a specific purpose and strict(er) design guidelines. These practical activities encourage problem solving, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and other cognitive and social skills. Learners are encouraged to work together to create something specific.
Mozilla-created Teaching Kits have an introduction that includes learning objectives and at least three activities laid out to follow the model above.
Some kits have more activities, doubling down depending on the length of the session. Some kits have readings or other types of independent activities. The teaching kits may also have cheatsheets, discussion guides, worksheets, crash course, print outs or other types of educational resources.
We've tried to keep this all as simple as possible by creating everything as modularly as possible. If you're looking for something specific, try the webmaker.org search!
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