We need more Mozilla in international development
This week I’m in London to attend MozFest. I learned about Mozilla because a good friend of mine started working there. Before, like many of you, I thought of them only as the-people-who-make-Firefox. But they’re way more than that.
And directly relevant to development: Mozilla — through its Webmaker initiative — creates resources and teaching tools that advance digital literacy and lay the foundation for economic growth and democratic development. And because of their open ethic, their products are generative (hackable!) and easy to localize. The key thing here is that they don’t just teach a specific type of software. Instead, they focus on helping folks understand the DNA of the web: so they can become creators and shapers of its future. This is the difference between learning the basics of proprietary productivity software versus learning how to create and customize software — and being able to critique internet policy.
Mozilla has also led the development of a framework — OpenBadges — that provides a practical way to accredit skills, and aggregate proof of learning from various sources. Think about all of the training we do in development. At the end participants get a nice and totally useless certificate. But what if instead they received a badge (an image with metadata encoded into it) that they could display wherever they want on the web? Behind this badge would solid evidence that potential employers or partners could use to assess skills and credibility.
And finally: There are Mozillans around the world. Technologists and innovators that we can connect with our projects and partners. (Here’s a partnership I had a small hand in brokering in Cambodia. #proud)
This week, I hope to articulate these connections more. And specifically to create a guide for librarians doing development work around the world — to provide an easy way in to the world of Mozilla.
If you have specific questions please let me know and I’ll answer them here.