Mozilla Web Literacy Pilot

Over the summer, Mozilla Learning announced eight pilot programs to train library staff and students in adapting Mozilla’s web literacy curriculum for use in public libraries and librarian-training programs. The pilot programs are part of the IMLS-funded Web Literacy Skills for Library Staff project, designed to test and refine Mozilla’s web literacy curriculum and tools. I was fortunate to participate in one of the pilots developed by METRO (and more specifically, Davis Erin Anderson and Nate Hill), and it was a valuable opportunity to explore Mozilla’s existing tools. The three-part workshop series also helped me think about how to teach some of the digital literacy skills I take for granted, and also how to incorporate web literacy into existing library programs and instruction.

The workshop audience included librarians with a range of responsibilities and job descriptions from Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library, and Queens Library. The first session mostly consisted of introductions, networking, and plenty of offline, hands-on activities. Each activity was followed by a discussion of how it supported web literacy curriculum objectives, and how it might be remixed for different user groups. I really liked the kinesthetic activities—I think using physical analog activities to represent abstract concepts can help support different kinds of learners and maybe even provide a better conceptual understanding for everyone.

Some of the other activities we covered in the workshops included CSS Building Blocks, remixing projects using Thimble, and HTML puzzlebox manipulatives for teaching abstract concepts. The Fair Use Free-For-All was one of my favorite activities, and it’s one I can definitely incorporate into a teen program to teach about copyright and fair use. Hack the News is another one that could start as a digital skills program but lead to fruitful discussions on media literacy and source reliability. We ended the sessions with a discussion of how to teach and facilitate workshops in our own library settings, including specific challenges and strategies for adapting the curriculum for adults, children, teens, college students, and so on.

screen-shot-2017-02-24-at-6-15-36-pm
Web Literacy Framework via Mozilla

For me, the biggest question I had at the start of the workshops is why I should use the Mozilla web literacy curriculum specifically over other tools and products. The “wheel of web literacy” wasn’t immediately clear to me as a usable framework, but I think the read/write/participate divisions are useful entry points into the curriculum. The activities themselves are fun and accessible, and once you start diving in, the wheel becomes a little more understandable and even helpful. I think librarians are particularly well-suited to diving into and teaching the read and participate categories, but I’d be interested in assessing the needs and interest level of librarians in the write portion of the framework.