Mozillians have been beta testing the Kitchen Table format. After reading a lot of good write ups about individual tests (from Joe, Jess, Lainie, Peter and others), I was inspired to start distilling lessons. I’m sure we’ll do more in depth reviews, but for now here are some things to think about if you’re going to run a kitchen table event.

Overall

  • Follow the KISS principle – a couple people (including myself) have written that they tried to do too much in the session.

Adult Newbies

  • Generally find the Goggles cool, but really need the instructional and explanation layers.
  • Need a specific ask
  • Need real motivation (“Why should I care about CODE?”)
  • Generally more interested in using the web better
  • Willing to play, but seem to crave a little more in-depth instruction and understanding (“Why am I doing this?”)

Teen/Young Adult Newbies

  • a very loosely structured remix ask seems to work well (even if they spend too much time collecting assets)
  • quick on the uptake of how to use the tool
  • questionable deeper understanding – having fun playing, but probably need the instructional and explanation layers for retention of tags, attributes, etc. Interest driven learning + some guidance works really well.

Adult/Young Adult/Teen Intermediate

  • Quickly bored with the Goggles, quickly bored with the sandbox
  • apparent disinterest can be fought with more immersive games
  • need activities to inspire further learning, more advanced content for “almost webmakers”

Kids (pre teen, or early teen)

  • an “assignment” like Inanimate Alice or a specific remix seems to be the way to go
  • younger kids need a theme and specific ask

All that tells me that:

  • we should be figuring out a way to build in instructional and explanation layers in the web maker/learning tools
  • adult newbies with low or non existing intrinsic motivations will be a hard sell (even if they have extrinsic motivations)
  • we’re right on the money with our approaches for teens
  • we need to figure out next steps, new projects and resources for intermediate coders (activity/mission scaffolding)
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