September Mentor Community Call

Well one thing is for sure, holding the Mozilla Webmaker Mentor Community call once a month is quite simply not enough. Each month we come together, we laugh, we share stories, we talk about what we want to come next, and every month the hour is over long before we’re done hanging out and learning from each other.


New Faces

Some of our most active community members were unable to attend (we missed you!), but having brand new folks call in to fill up those squares on the video screen was really nice. A couple faces/names were familiar to me because they’d participated in #teachtheweb or had shared things through #MakerParty, but a couple people were really brand new, and I’m so happy that they took the time to join the call.

We started off with our typical silent etherpadding prompts – What was your favorite experience since the last call? What’s been frustrating you lately? We do this because the silent, collaborative writing is a great way to celebrate successes and find common ground. Plus, Michelle and I love being invited into what people are doing! This month we learned that:

  • @dougrwalters is teaching adults webmaking and sharing his Teaching Kit for the course.
  • @toolness is prototyping a security adventure that teaches programmers how to write code that can’t get hacked by evil people
  • @reinmaker15 (dressed as Kenny Rogers, but unfortunately having video issues) attended and volunteered at Software Freedom Day where he spread Webmaker tools and the idea of openness
  • Luis Frias launched the project, a webDoc on food, territory and crisis with the support of the Lisbon Architecture Trienal
  • Dumitru is super excited that his Webmaker class at Year Up in San Jose will start again in November.

The biggest frustration lately, beyond the typical technical issues, was about fear. A few of the mentors said that convincing people to get over their fear of failure and just make stuff was difficult. Apparently, the pressure to be creative overwhelms, something I quite understand. So for me, the question becomes, how can we as a community encourage the mental space necessary for creativity? It seems like with the making as learning mantra, we need to find ways to teach, learn and spread a state of mind that is relaxed and uninhibited enough to make. At the same time, I wonder if some folks just aren’t makers…interesting idea to explore.

After our standing “cheer then bitch” item, Michelle did a quick run through of the Webmaker tools, community and resources. There were quite a few new folks, so we hacked the agenda to give a brief overview. Afterwards we shared some of our favorite makes, and Jacob included this incredible resource.

Then Miguel, a new participant on this call, told us about an exercise he runs with his kids: He installs an application called “Deepfreeze” on a set of computers. Deepfreeze basically saves your OS state so that no matter what happens to the computer, you can revert back to the most recent working system. Once all the computers have Deepfreeze installed, Miguel lets his 7 or 8 learners browse the web with no popup blockers or fear. He tells them to install anything they want. After some time installing any and everything they find, they inevitably “break” the computers. Miguel uses the exercise to teach privacy, security and responsibility on the web. After the class is over, he uses Deepfreeze to return the computers to a working state. Deepfreeze is proprietary software, if anyone knows an open source alternative, let us know!!

Webmaker on (aka SUMO)

After we applauded Miguel for such an inventive and fun way to teach the web, Jacob introduced the brand-spanking-new Webmaker Support documents on Jacob has done amazing work trying to get some documentation up for mentors and users. We could really use YOUR help in extending and correcting these resources! 

We want your feedback:

  • Are the articles helpful for the average frustrated user?
  • What’s missing that we should include?
  • Which parts are overwhelming and need to be cut back?

Quick Announcements

Then we introduced JS Geekouts and some people were interested in running Geekouts for the rest of the community (YAY!! I still need to follow up!)

We talked about Mozfest for a few minutes and then Amira told us about the newest Battle of the Remixes – All you have to do is remix the sound on this video

Finally, we updated one another on offline Webmaker tools. By then there was only time for a little tiny bit of goofiness.

Next time in costume?

“Maybe we can have dress code theme next mentor call???+1”

“Formal wear! LolSuits + Ties, Ball gowns, etc… TiarasWe could call it webmaker goes to the proms! i like this lets show some prom related makes”

“Superheroes! this one too! your make a hero!”

Next Month (with or without costumes) will be Super Special

Our next Mentor Community call is on the 4th Thursday of October. IMPORTANT TIME CHANGE: We’re moving the TIME up an hour to 14:00UTC, 3pm BST, 4pm CET, 10am EST, 7am (sorry) PST. The date is October 24th, and if you’ll already be in London for the Mozilla Festival, we invite you to come to the Mozilla office and do the Mentor call with us LIVE AND IN PERSON! If you are planning on coming to the Mozilla office, you’ll need to let us know.


Enhanced by Zemanta

  1 comment for “September Mentor Community Call

  1. Atul Varma
    September 27, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    That call was great! Thanks for hosting it.

    Regarding DeepFreeze, another possible alternative is to use a virtual machine with Ubuntu Linux on it. The Oracle VirtualBox VM software is open source, as is Ubuntu… You’d basically have to make sure the users don’t escape the VM and wander into the host operating system, where they could potentially do damage.

    Another alternative might be teaching users to create a new limited user account for their “experimental” web browsing. I do this on my own Windows system when I really want to run software that I don’t entirely trust.

    Regarding encouraging the mental space needed for creativity–one way I’ve tried empathizing with this situation is by trying to learn things that I’m normally afraid of. I’m great at learning anything computer related, but non-digital things like knitting and cooking are scary to me, so I’m learning a lot just trying to “take my own medicine” by applying the psychological philosophies to DIY things that I’ve historically shied away from.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.