Technology. Education. Youth. Webmaker is a glorious opportunity to meld the three together. The two of us brothers, Kin Ming Li and Ho Ming Li have been around the technology scene and had been working with youths as a scout leader for many years. We love technology. We love making and hacking the web in a fun, friendly, non-intrusive way. The concept of open web immediately garners our attention and we really want to be a part of it.
HOW IT HAPPENED
We recently reunited with our good friend, Helen Lee, and learned of the webmaker initiative along with the readily available webmaker tools. Cool stuff! Let’s use them to teach youths how to take part in the open web. With the help of Dethe Elza at Mozilla YVR, we facilitated a hack jam titled “A New Hero Emerges” couple weeks ago.
A NEW HERO EMERGES
For this hack jam, we have invited around 20 energetic youths from RCCS Youth Group to participate and learn about the web in a fun engaging way. We were once youths, and we actively engage youths in many of our activities, so we knew exactly what they’re into – gaming. Games are a big part of their life. A mega-popular game, League of Legends (LoL) by Riot Games captured plenty loyal fans in recent years. In each LoL game, each player chooses a game character known as a champion with its own unique set of skills, and two teams are formed, 5 on 5, to battle it out with the ultimate goal of destroy the other team’s home base. There are many champions for the players to choose from and more are introduced as Riot Games releases new champions from time to time to keep the gamers excited. That’s where we found our core theme for the hack jam. Let’s have the youths come up with their own champion!
The hack jam starts off with brief introduction to the topic and the X-Ray Goggles tool. We demonstrate the capabilities of the tool, and allow everyone to get familiar with the tool. Not to waste any hacking time, we dive right into remixing existing LoL champion pages with our youths’ very own creative champions. Everyone is encouraged to alter every part of the champion page, from the basic info like names, title, descriptions, to combat statistics such as health points, and attack damage. We also encourage them to remix all the skills and every picture related to the champion. Just imagine all the possibilities! The youth participants put their heads down and type frantically with their fingers, and come up with some truly amazing champions. We have had animal themed champions, cartoon based ones, champions created base on brands, and many more!
Next, after all these unique new champions have been created, we have tasked each individual with using the Thimble tool to create a promotional page for their champion. A few templates are provided, but youths can build their own web page. We introduce Thimble to the group, provide some web making resources, and continue to hack the new champions together with good promotion materials.
Why did we ask for the promotional page to be created? That is because each of the youths have to promote their own champion to the group! We have all the youths give a two minute presentation introducing their new champions. We then, as a group, determine which new champion would emerge as the best of the best champions. The undisputed favorite for the evening was the “Penguin Boss” hacked together by Nicholas Lee, president of RCCS Youth group. He has won himself the hidden prize of a cool gift card. The award ceremony brought the group into a frenzy, clapping and cheering for the president, as the event draws near its end.
HOW YOUTHS FELT
We are always looking to improve our event, regarding the choice of theme or the method of delivery to the participants. We therefore asked for the all important feedback from the youths. The comments that came back were all very positive. It feels very rewarding, and really motivates us to continue creating events similar to this. Be on the lookout for us hosting a similar event in the future.
Thanks to everyone who participated. Hope you enjoyed yourselves, and it really looked like you did. Thanks to our sponsors RCCS Youth for the gifts, and Mozilla YVR for being the host to a great work area. We most definitely enjoyed this opportunity to interact, engage, and work together with youths to teach them about the open web.
There’ll definitely be more to come. Next one will be more exciting, more fun, and more awesome. Bigger and better, up up and away we go…
As for us, the organizers of the event, you can find us with our twitters below.