Reflections on learning from #Mozfest #mozbug

This weekend I spent quite a lot to time glued to my screen, but I was interacting with people from all over the world through the marvel that is Mozilla Fest. This is a conference and event, celebrating all the things which Mozilla do (the festival ran in London, but I was able to interact via Twitter and also through watching the Keynotes online (live stream video), and audio on SourceFabric).

I deliberately sought out ways to get involved from afar, as I wanted to learn some new things and find out about all the great things which people were doing around the web.  I love projects which integrate analogue and digital elements, I recently did a project which retraced the steps of my family history using illustration, photography, writing and a book on iBooks (look under the tag “are you here” on this blog for more info). With this in mind, when I found out that there was a Mozilla scavenger hunt at the event, which allowed for remote participation, my first challenge was to draw the Mozilla Fest logo:

This was an easy one for me… and a few points!  I also started following others who were taking part and browsed some of the great online info.  The evening keynotes had some really interesting points about the concept of digital natives, yes, many people who have grown up with the internet (and never done homework without it) are comfortable with using all sorts of online platforms and sharing posts with friends, but do people look underneath “the box” and see what is going on?  (Mozilla makes it easy to do this with various online tools such as Webmaker, Thimble and Xray Goggles).  You can view this (and other evening keynotes, including the launch of a new tool called Lightbeam for checking where your data is being shared) here.

That evening I also tried out some code in a collaborative storytelling project.  I am not a natural coder (I know the simple things like embedding codes, changing fonts and links etc, which I have learnt from years of tinkering with things like basic web design editing alongside  WYSIWIG tools as early on as Netscape Composer up to Adobe Muse combined with Dreamweaver but I have never been “taught” it in a structured manner, I’ve just picked things up here and there and like to play with the results, which is why I like Mozilla Webmaker so much as it gives you challenges to remix or start from scratch).  I have not yet made my Github project join up with others, I think I am a little stuck on the terminology at the moment, but one learns over time, so any hints how to make this work, add and collaborate welcome!

The Twitter feed #mozfest was really busy all day, and people were getting creative with the Firefox logo in their coffee:

One off the challenges was find a fox.. soon a new papercraft analogue-digital Firefox will be gracing my desk:

If you would like to make one, there are a few variations on a theme here

I also tried out the challenge on HTML poems, using mixtures of code I know, an HTML cheat sheet from web monkey and the visual interface which highlights things when you make errors (forgetting “/” to end things, or putting things in slightly the wrong place) but also changes as you edit on the right hand side of the screen so you instantly see the results of your input.  It was fun to try and make things rhyme and add the real text to make code.

The next challenge was to open source your food.  As I couldn’t give away a coffee and muffin to a fellow conference attendee, and wanted to do something digital, I used Webmaker postcard creator to make a recipe card.  I uploaded a photo to Flickr, then worked out how to embed this with the instructions in the remixer… I rather like the results and reckon I might send a few more of these.  You can remix it yourself too, it’s open source… go play!

Amazingly, I found myself with a little short lived mozbug glory at the top of the leaderboard at one point.. please don’t think I’m boasting, I just hope others will see more of the project and join in! There’s still time… go to  #Mozbug on Twitter or check out the Mozbug adventures for more details on the challenges.

I am hoping to have a play with some more of the challenges before the end of the day, it has been a lot of fun trying out creative ways to respond to the scavenger hunt, and explore more of the amazing things going on.  Thank you Mozilla and all the volunteer Mozillians for a great interactive weekend of inspiration and web making, but most of all learning through play; I do like a challenge.

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