I was extremely honoured to present ‘Integrate Web Literacy with Mozilla Webmaker’ , at the Canadian Open Data this past February 20th, one day before Open Data Day. The Open Data community has been a collaborative partner of Mozilla in British Columbia for a couple of years now, and definitely kindred spirits in promoting openness and digital literacy.

In 2013 our Mozilla community joined in for Open Data day at City Hall in Victoria BC. Herb Lainchbury organized the adult hackathon, and we brought a group of youth to hack on Webmaker tools with a focus on memories of their city. It was great event, made even better by the partnership of our two communities providing opportunity for youth to interact with adults making a difference in their community.

That’s the mayor of Victoria BC incase you’re wondering ๐Ÿ™‚

As a developer I am very keen to learn more about opportunity to bring open innovation to advocacy projects, and although i’ve long understood the value of Open Data – this conference really opened my eyes to not only the potential, but the work being done across Canada to make a difference in everything from how we evaluate neighborhoods and Real Estate, to how we can better hold accountable – our political leaders. Also Vancouver BC in Minecraft.The Open Data community is one to watch for innovation.

The connecting theme for Mozilla Webmaker was clear , three speakers before me expressed concern for missing or minimal Digital, Data, and Media Literacy. Literacy to grow a community, Literacy to free information, Literacy to empower citizens – all limited without the web, all made much more difficult without a web literate population. I found this great quote:

  1. There is a misplaced assumption that everybody knows what data is, and how useful it can be. Yet thatโ€™s not the case at all.- RSA Blogs

Which really reflected my own experience:

There is misplaced assumption that youth today are empowered in technology; that they understand the Web is their to make. Most Don’t -Me (based on my conversations with youth ages 8-18 in BC)

My suggestion is, that the future of open data advocacy depends on the next generation’s recognition that the web is theirs to make. Web Literacy is not a part of the curriculum in British Columbia (that still sounds crazy when I say it out loud), and so that invitation is entirely missing.

Dream: A merging of the Webmaker ‘Maker Party’ Map, and the Open Data Day ‘Hackathon’ Map. That as the Open Data community grows, we not only run more events together teaching the web, but that all of the cool things they’re doing grow into Hacktivity Kits – so that anyone interested in teaching literacy relevant to open data, can…

Webmaker Party Map Open Data Day Hackathon Map
webmaker opendata

Here’s the Open Data Day Hacktivity we created.

I met lots of inspiring, cool people doing amazing things – and EXCITED EXCITED – about teaching the web, including Sean from the City of Surrey who will be running teen hackathon with Mozilla Appmaker as a result of standing up and asking for ‘help’ after my talk ๐Ÿ™‚ Can’t wait to hear how that goes.


I PLAN on hacking for the next Open Data Day Hackathon <3

Here’s the link to my slideshare