Mozilla Maker Party
by Willow Brugh and Rogelio Alejandro Lopez
Cambridge Event: https://webmaker.org/events/328
Organizing Doc: Link
What Mozilla Web Maker parties are about: learning how to not only use the web, but also how to make and share it. This summer saw an initiative to build up the community around Web Maker, and Boston’s took place at the MIT Media Lab. Events fell into Kitchen Party, Hack Jam, or Hive Popup. The Boston event was a Hive Popup, with the aim not only being sharing our tools with kids and parents, but also between the creators of those tools.
The day started with stations for each project showing, which a steady stream of parents and kids cycling through. With Scratch, they learned about the logic structure of code and programming. With App Inventor, they extended that knowledge onto Android phones. With Mozilla Thimble and Popcorn, they learned about how the web is constructed and how to remix it. With Vojo, they learned how people with access to feature phones can tell a communal story. Many cat videos were made. There was a steady stream of mewing.
Projects on Display:
Vojo: a hosted mobile blogging platform that makes it easy for people to share content to the web from mobile phones via voice calls, SMS, or MMS. Smartphones and data plans allow users to publish a variety of multimedia content to the web, especially through the use of apps, but Vojo provides similar features for those with basic calling and texting plans on feature phones, and even landlines. With Vojo, anyone with basic phone access and inexpensive calling plans can post content to the web. For more information, or to try Vojo yourself, visit vojo.co.
Scratch: an interactive programming language created by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab. Scratch incorporates the fundamentals of programming through an accessible visual “building-block” interface. Scratch has been used to create games, interactive art, and other programs and applications. More information can be found on their website: http://scratch.mit.edu.
App Inventor: Also at the Media Lab, but in the Speech and Mobility Lab, App Inventor extends the building block interface of Scratch onto Android platforms. You can control sounds and LEGO Mind Storms with your phone! We, of course, made cats meow.
Mozilla Thimble and Popcorn: Thimble does a side-by-side display of your code and what that code renders. The removal of barriers between compiling and troubleshooting encourages more creativity and deeper understanding of what small changes in code can make happen to what is showing (or not). Popcorn similarly reveals the workings of video mixing and caption adding. Each component of the Web Maker suite is made with the intention of showing how malleable and sharable the web is – helping people not only to use tech, but also to be creators of it.
Willow’s perfect storm moment went like this:
D: “We should get cookies. Is there anywhere around here to get cookies?”
W: “No. Kendall is a food dessert.”
D: “Harvard has one.”
W: “Harvard believes in feeding its students.”
R: “MIT built a cookie-making robot.”
R: “Youtube. Better with Technologic.”
W: “I now have a Popcorn Project.”