Note: we're working on a new Webmaker whitepaper that will give more background/context around Mozilla's work on web literacy.
A Brief History
In early 2012, we started work on something that could conceptually underpin our work around Webmaker. We talked to many smart people - experts, beginners, educators and learners - and put together an alpha framework which then developed into our first white paper that was made available in January 2013.
In February 2013, we held a number of kick-off meetings to launch a project around creating a new, open learning standard for Web Literacy. Instead of creating yet another 'framework' we wanted to provide a call to action for stakeholders. The aim was to co-create something that educators and those teaching the web could align with -- no matter what their context.
Between February and July we met on community calls each week - occasionally adding ultra-focused hackjams on specific skills and competencies. The first draft of a 'Web Literacy Standard' was released in April with a beta release in July 2013. By the Mozilla Festival in October 2013 we were ready to release a v1.0 and started the planning to integrate it as part of webmaker.org. However, as part of this process and due to some the feedback received, we came subsequently to realise that 'standard' is a loaded term. We switched to 'Web Literacy Map' in early 2014.
Why there's a need
When we first began our work, we identified two concerns surrounding web literacy. The first is that existing web literacy frameworks have largely been extensions of digital, media and/or information literacy. The web is different from other mediums, meaning that the skills and competencies required are also different. Existing frameworks either were not specific enough or missed out the participatory nature of the web.
The second problem with existing frameworks is that the great work that’s been going on has happened in unconnected silos. There are a number of different organizations who offer to teach us web skills -- from formal learning organizations to informal groups like CoderDojo and DIY.org -- but there is no bigger picture to which they can align. There's no map of the territory. While a meandering path of improving your web literacy can be enjoyable, there are many casualties along the way. We've sought to remedy this by providing a single, co-constructed resource that anyone can align with.
What this is (and what it's not)
In its current form, the Web Literacy Map comprises a collection of competencies and skills that Mozilla and our community of stakeholders believe are important to pay attention to when getting better at reading, writing and participating on the web. Web literacy is about more than just coding. The web literacy standard covers every part of web literacy—from learning basic coding skills to taking action around privacy and security.
We've chosen a simple grid-like structure to represent the strands and competencies included in the Web Literacy Map to ensure that it is easy to read and compare/contrast with existing resources. We believe that knowledge should be accompanied by the ability to do something new. As such, the skills underpinning each competency are all verb-based and specific enough to be able to have meaning, while not being so prescriptive as to limit innovation.
Next Milestones: Aligning with the map
The Web Literacy Map is the raw material from which to build learning activities, pathways and curricula. As the web continues to change and grow, the Web Literacy Map will grow and change with it. It stands as a crowdsourced sense-check for teachers and mentors in both informal and formal education.
One way you can currently align your work is by looking for links between existing curricula and resources, and the the Web Literacy Map. For example, a gap analysis could identify if there is anything missing (from either side) followed by the development of additional learning materials to support learners working towards specific parts of the map.
We’re looking for feedback from educators, from policy makers and from learners. If you have an opinion then we want to hear from you! What have we missed? Can you map your work against it? What needs changing or tweaking?
You're very welcome to join us for our regular community calls in which we discuss the standard and issues around it. We also discuss use the Mozilla Webmaker discussion group for these purposes.
If you have private feedback about the Web Literacy Standard, please get in touch with Doug Belshaw. He will be able to answer your query/suggestion directly - or put you in touch with someone who can.