Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Week to Crush all Weeks(tm)

We just returned from a crazy packed week that I’ve now dubbed the Week to Crush all Weeks(tm). Last week crushed all other weeks in: productivity, output/achievements, networking and exhaustion. ;) Here’s a little peek into everything that went down:


Some Learning Group and Engagement folks locked themselves in a room (with snacks and an amazing view of the Bay Bridge (see below)) for 3 days to come up with a way to easily and efficiently support folks in running events around webmaking learning content. I was only able to drop in for part of one day, but lots of cool ideas were surfaced. I won’t try to dive into the details since there are so many good posts about it by Jess here, MichelleT here, Ben here and MichelleL here.  

Note: this awesome mockup was developed at the sprint by the equally awesome Jess Klein - more on her blog

Highlights / Takeaways:

  • Event menu - help people pick the best format for their event
  • Layer on the learning - pick the skills/topics that you want to teach through the event and find resources from us and other folks
  • Get support - lots of checklists to help streamline organizing
  • Hack the process - use the resources to create your own event or experience to fit your own needs.
(you thought I was kidding about the view, didn’t you? This is from the new Mozilla SF office)


The DML Competition (focused on Badges for Lifelong Learning) culminated in 2 days of awesome work at the California Academy of Sciences. What better place to get together to think about how to capture and extend the value of informal learning experiences, than this fantastic space full of school groups exploring science?! I was so impressed by the quality of badge systems that were pitched - this whole badge idea has come a long way since Barcelona. The funded projects were announced on Thursday evening and now we roll into a year of development and implementation of the badge systems.

Highlights / Takeaways:

  • A sense of “we’ve come a long way, baby” - in just a year and a half, this exploration of badges has gone from a ‘what if’ discussion with a small group in a dusty corner in Barcelona, to a movement with real potential.
  • Rockin’ badge system ideas with badges covering a wide range of skills including STEM skills, digital citizenship, manufacturing jobs, financial planning skills, etc. 
  • Lots of buy-in and momentum around badges and coming together around common issues of supporting learning of all types across all ages. 
  • Huge community potential - we want to capitalize on all of the momentum and community around badging and help support groups - funded or nonfunded - moving forward. 


The Open Badges team produced a slick demo and new openbadges.org site that allows folks to come in and not only better understand Open Badges, but also start earning badges themselves, check out their Backpacks, etc.

Highlights / Takeaways:

  • Cool new spiffy look and feel
  • Quick and easy entry points for various audiences - funnel people directly to the info that is relevant to them.
  • Learn about badges and earn your first badge in the process!
  • Push the badge to your Backpack and check out all the features


The week ended at the Parc55 hotel for the DML Conference. Per usual, lots of energy and excitement - I really dig these people. They think like me, like Mozilla. They care deeply about democratizing and opening up learning, especially through the use of technology. There were only 6 sessions across 3 days with lots of good stuff each session (and I left after day 2), so I know I missed out on a lot. But the networking was probably even more valuable which is common with conferences but on a whole new level with DML. 

Highlights / Takeaways:

  • Occupy Badges: we had a make shift session to dive even deeper on badges. More to come on this in a separate post. 
  • Learning to make by making has traction in this crowd. Lots of excitement around the Mozilla Learning work.
  • "Make" is a loaded word and means lots of different things to people so we need to take that into consideration for the branding.
  • Lots of focus on supporting informal learning for youth - which is super important. But need to build in ideas around adults as well. Lifelong learning FTW!

Schew! Oh and did I forget to mention that I also traveled with my 4 month old as well? Just to make things as high energy as possible? ;)