User:Fuzzyfox/Notes/Thoughts from our mentor community

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Below is a copy of my original notes for the "Thoughts from our mentor community" blog post series. Things marked in italics are my original comments on those notes.

Additional: For the sake of easy linking, etc... I've split sections out under headings


  • Relatively easy to setup.
    • Due in part to the event guides which help provide a framework.
    • As well as the teaching kits which provide activities to use/work from.
  • Swag request process needs to be a little more discoverable.
  • "The biggest challenge is planning for people you don't now" -- Jeannie Crowley
  • Small/short events are great for introduction to skills, concepts etc… however longer sessions build stronger bonds between mentor/learner and reinforce learning, understanding, and values.


  • Learners are wanting to share their skills after some exposure to the tools.
    • First steps to becoming mentors? YES
  • Better recognition/discoverability would be nice
    • This is something that may well be solved by the new profiles in
    • The Mozilla Festival would be a nice way to connect 1:1 / face to face with other mentors.
      • I believe this is already happening to some degree though maybe this could be leveraged even more in future large Mozilla events overall. i.e. mozcamps.
  • "I can't learn that" is a bad mentality to have, mentors must have the ability, and encouragement to learn new things, and self improve.
    • Maybe this could be wrapped into a badge or two?

Communication channels

  • Facebook has a lower entry barrier in terms of process for getting involved than G+ for many.
  • The mailing list provides lots of motivation for sharing, making, and learning. However the signup process could do with a little streamlining.
  • Comms seem are context dependant.
    • Twitter/Blog = Good for announcements
    • Email = Insane for most things (inbox overload) but has value
    • Async Comms work best for most things. (platform agnostic view)


  • Thimble + Goggles are preferred in rural areas as they're not so bandwidth intensive.
    • The bandwidth / offline support is a recurring theme in terms of issues with our tools. Its one of the most requested features I get. Though this is not feasible w/ current tools we could improve support for it using things like local storage. Popcorn is obviously not possible offline however.
  • Need more examples of the "next step" so to speak.
    • This is now much easier w/ the addition of JS in Thimble, though this is only part of the discussion. (Setting up own website, blog, etc…)
  • Could do with some more makes/guides on the basics of HTML/CSS not only for the learners, but also for the mentors, to suggest ways of introducing these technologies to the learner.
  • It needs to be highlighted more that kits are remixable, and should be remixed.
  • Popcorn has low entry barrier (this is good for the less confident). Thimble is a little more difficult and requires a knowledge of code from the mentor in order to use effectively. This is not always the case. However x-ray goggles has the best of both worlds, and makes the value and understanding of webmaking easier and quicker to pick up for the learner.
    • Guides/Kits that tie all three tools together are a must.
      • good part of the "next steps" discussion
  • Localisation is a must, as it causes issues for those trying to use the tools that are non-native en speakers.
    • This is being combatted already by the localisation efforts, this just reinforces its importance.
  • The blog, and event roundups are a great resource for first time/newer mentors/facilitators, and could do with being packaged up a little better.
  • Tool introduction paths recommended/used:
    • xray > thimble > popcorn
    • popcorn > xray > thimble
    • Thimble is never the first tool used, and this is likely due to the requirement for some code exposure first, hence X-ray before Thimble in both cases?

Reasons for being webmaker/mentor

  • The Mozilla Mission
  • "Making the web is easy, and more people should know how to make [it] their own" -- Meraj Imran
  • Curiosity and a desire to contribute back to the field.
  • The two-way flow of information to/from the community as well as the skill sharing.

Onboard route

  • Mozilla Reps
  • MoFo Staff
  • WoM / Blog posts
  • #TeachTheWeb

Other key points

  • It feels like there is a lack of cohesive message for why people should be remixing/webmaking
    • The answer varies depending on audience, however a generic cohesive message would go a long way to solving the problem, and provide a basis for the audience specific answers.
  • Year up is an interesting case study for filling the gap in events that last more than a day.
  • #MakerParty = great followup to #TeachTheWeb
  • The target audience is unclear. A lot of the content appears to be geared to teens/young adults, but the homepage makes it look like its more for children.
    • A clearer definition of who our key audience seems to be required.