Webmaker: An Open Educational Ecosystem (OEE)

Laura Hilliger

Often it’s difficult to get contributions to open projects because some people aren’t quite sure what contribution means or how to go about doing it. Other folks don’t know what “open” means, and thus they don’t know they can contribute at all. Perhaps it’s the nomenclature of “open” that confuses people. Perhaps it’s just an “open” marketing problem.

I want to help people teach the web in an open and participatory way, sharing their processes and ideas online. I was thinking about what a kind of technical training program for the web would look like, and to me, it looked like an open community.

Photo by Doug Belshaw

Our community–a globally diverse group of passionate educators and technologists–believe in the web as a platform for learning, sharing, connecting and making, and they believe that open practice and participation are key elements to becoming a citizen in the digital world. They are eager to spread web literacy in their local contexts, but participating in the global movement means that one needs to navigate through a complex and sometimes confusing ecosystem of digital-human communication.

We’re planning and designing a new training program to give people an easy in to the types of online communication and participation I’m talking about. We want people to experiment and fail forward. We’d like online components to support offline actions and vice versa. We want the experience to be centered around making and connecting around what you make. This is also the reason that we are trying to encourage a peer-to-peer aspect of learning.

To help us do that, we’re working with a group of incredible connected educators at P2PU, who are helping us plan and test a platform that has peer-to-peer interaction baked in. We’ll be running ongoing feedback and testing sessions through this open Wiki and by talking about this program in the Teach the Web Community Calls.

We’re imagining what remixing learning to help people teach the web looks like. Imagine if you could easily copy a single module, remix it to add your own lens, branding or curriculum and publish it. Then imagine that that action earned you a badge. Ideally, you will be able to save your new module to your Webmaker profile, thereby giving you a URL where your module exists.

When this functionality is working, we’ll have an Open Educational Ecosystem that has learner-focused resources (starter makes), full scale lesson plans for in the classroom (Teaching Kits), and a courseware platform (Training Modules) for online learning. And the icing on the cake? It’s all remixable, it’s all truly open and it’s all built with the Webmaker community.

To get involved, you can join our community calls or post your interest to any one of our monitored channels (#teachtheweb, #makerparty, @webmaker, the G+ group, the Webmaker Newsgroup…). And if those options don’t appeal to you, you can send me an email and I’ll help you get started!

You can also read more about our Webmaker training plans on Laura Hillger’s blog.

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