Mozilla Makers

Mark Surman, Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation, has written a couple of posts lately about the role of Drumbeat and a possible future role for Mozilla in helping shape the idea of ‘webmakers’.

I have found this of particular interest because I’ve come to realise in the short time since I signed up to the #remo programme that actually it is the more general open web work of Drumbeat and the projects it has spawned that interest me and in fact I’m not really that concerned with some of the more core activity (i.e. Firefox, Thunderbird etc).

Funnily enough I really don’t think of myself as a ‘maker’ (web or otherwise) being more of an observer and reporter by nature I guess, but it is with this new-ish group of Mozillians that I feel I have the most in common.

Mark talks about widening the community to “teachers, filmmakers, journalists, artists, game makers and curious kids” by getting them involved with relevant projects where people feel like they are making a difference (but also building something).

Most interesting, maybe because of my JISC and research org background, was when he writes “I can imagine Mozilla as a new kind of learning institution and open research lab”. From my viewpoint Drumbeat is already moving towards this and in many ways it was sparked my interest at the very beginning. Originally I thought that Drumbeat might be something like a ‘Kickstarter‘ for the open web – projects would be pitched, build support and the best and brightest would be picked up and taken forward. In some ways I guess that was what happened though not really in the way I expected but I don’t think you could have any complaints about the projects that ended up being supported. The Open Video stuff, School of Webcraft and Hackasaurus are are all brilliant and the Open Badges work seems to be well thought of (but I’ll be honest I’m still unconvinced.) I’m also interested to see how WebFWD and Drumbeat interact going forward as somewhere between the two of them is a real ‘sweet spot’ to give the open web a real boost with Mozilla right at the heart of things (where it deserves to be).

Something I would really like to see in this space is the expansion of the Global Melt idea where representatives from most of the organisations that make up the framework for an open web (i.e. Mozilla, CC, Wikimedia, P2PU..) came together to share ideas and plans – I think we need to bring open source, education, content etc to together if there is going to be any real, lasting change of attitudes. In fact much as it know it goes against the ‘maker’, hands-on theme I’d like to see a pretty traditional conference that brought senior people from all those orgs (and more) to speak to decision makers and leaders from places where the open web could have an effect – rather than ‘preaching to the choir’!

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