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Mozilla Clubs end of year goals

Julia Vallera

Wed Jul 20 2016 19:42:20 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Mozilla Clubs are excited to share our goals for the rest of 2016. We’ve come a long way since the program’s launch in 2015. What lies ahead for us is exciting and challenging. Below is what we will be working on and information about how you can join in the fun.

Curious to learn more about Mozilla Clubs? Check out our website, facebook page, event gallery, and discussion forum.

Mozilla Club leaders come together in June 2016 at Mozilla all-hands. Photo by Randy Macdonald

Mozilla Club leaders came together in June 2016 at Mozilla all-hands. Photo by Randy Macdonald

Our process

In June 2016, eight Mozilla Club leaders came together in London, UK for Mozilla’s bi-annual All Hands gathering. They participated in many conversations, one of which was a 90 minute deep dive session to identify objectives for clubs over the next six months. During the session we brainstormed topics, ideated in pairs and had a group share out. In addition to informing our goals for the rest of 2016, this session gave club leaders the opportunity to learn more about each other’s work and regional challenges.

In July, we shared the results of our deep dive session more broadly during our monthly call for club leaders and internal clubs info session. This allowed us to gather more feedback and ultimately votes on what goals we should focus on for Mozilla Clubs between now and January 2017.

Here is the list of goals that resulted, why they are important to our work how we plan to approach them.

Six Month Goals

Curate and/or create new resources for running clubs offline

  • Why: We want to build and curate more web literacy curriculum that can be used without internet access so that club participants can learn offline.
  • How: We will make our current offline activities and curriculum easier to locate, curate new resources and build new ones.

Connect the community through a global gathering

  • Why: Club participants learn from each other and feel connected to a global community when they have the opportunity to see each other face-to-face.
  • How: We will draw from event models across Mozilla like global sprints, state of the Hive and Mozilla Festival to connect club participants (virtually and/or in person) to work on challenges, share experiences and exchange knowledge.

Continue to localize content and resources

  • Why: As we translate more curriculum, activities and club guides into languages other than English more people can access and learn from them.
  • How: We will work with Mozilla volunteers, staff and partners to build localization into the process of content creation and start with translating current activities and creating new location-specific resources.

Reward and recognize club leaders

  • Why: Club leaders need rewards and recognition for their work so that they feel empowered to grow and spread web literacy in their communities.
  • How: We will recognize club leaders for their work through a formal rewards process and develop an agreement policy to create more clarity around the responsibilities of being a club leader.

Strengthen clubs as an organizing model for Mozilla campaigns

  • Why: Mozilla Club participants should continue to have an active role in Mozilla campaigns like Maker Party, Copyright, Take back the Web, Encryption, etc.
  • How: We will leverage club calls, office hours, the discussion forum, etc. to get input from club participants as campaigns take shape and will share campaign related activities that can be incorporated into their offerings.

Connect club participants across Mozilla

  • Why: Mozilla program participants have a lot of expertise to share and they should be able to connect with each other easily and frequently.
  • How: Create opportunities for community members in Clubs, Hives, Open Science and Advocacy to share work with each other, get feedback, build networks and more.

Assess club activity

  • Why: It is important that we maintain an accurate and up-to-date list of active clubs so that we can provide support where it is needed most.
  • How: We will identify which clubs are active by holding individual meetings, checking in via email and reviewing the club event reporter.

Join in the fun!

Here are some ways you can contribute to our work over the next six months and beyond.

  1. Connect with a Mozilla Club in your area. Don’t see any clubs in your area? Apply to start your own!
  2. Help us translate one of our web literacy activities into your preferred language.
  3. Use our offline activities, tell us what you think and suggest new ones.
  4. Join our facebook group to get updates about upcoming events and campaigns.

Dilemmas in Connected Spaces: Your Ideas for Mozfest!

Michelle Thorne

Fri Jul 15 2016 11:56:33 GMT+0000 (UTC)

banyan tree

As our lives and physical environments become even more connected, we’re faced with dilemmas. How will I decide when and where my personal data can be used if it improves my daily life? Which of my everyday objects should be online? If my profession calls for me to make connected products or services, how can I advocate for ethical practices with user data?

This space will allow makers and learners to explore these dilemmas through a series of interactive experiences and mischievous interventions. Think connected and disconnected, public and private, privileged and disadvantaged, inclusive or exclusionary.

Participants might:

  • Arrive in a disorienting immigration queue like at an airport and make decisions about their identity and what they will declare.
  • Join a tour as seen through the eyes of dead scientists and poets.
  • Have a tea in a temporary camp and chat to nomadic algorithms.
  • Nap on a squishy chair sculpture that generates sleep data.
  • Cook a snack in a connected kitchen where appliances will only sometimes do as you say.
  • Hop on the gondola and learn magic tricks as you travel above the Thames.
  • Dig into oh-so-cool hardware to make and break the garage.
  • Stroll through a secret garden and see if you can make it out again…

We’re seeking fellow pranksters who want to create these kinds of memorable moments.

We’re less interested in sessions and more interested in experiences: dance-offs, exhibits, interactive comic books, newly invented sports, crazy sets and drama of all kinds.

In the Mozfest call for proposals, we invite you to describe how you would make these tales come to life, or share you suggestions for new ones. Submit your suggestions by August 1.

Many thanks to my fellow wranglers: Ian Forrester, Michael Saunby, George Roter, Dietrich Ayala and Jon Rogers!

Mozilla’s Open IoT Studio: the first half year

Michelle Thorne

Thu Jul 14 2016 16:50:35 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Earlier this year, Mozilla launched a program exploring the Internet of Things. This is an update of what we’ve made since then. We’ll soon publish more about what we learned and how we’d like to take this program forward.

Why is Mozilla interested in IoT?

The internet is changing forms. Today we live in a network of physical objects and services that continuously gather data and exchange it over the internet. These connected systems are increasingly invisible, inaccessible and immutable to us.

Take for example personal data in IoT. It is extremely vulnerable, due to:

What’s more, IoT innovation is highly unequal in access and participation. Many consumer IoT products are targeted at affluent users. Or, if designed for the economically disadvantaged, then citizens lack the skills and tools needed to see what data is being collected, how it is being used, and how they can advocate for themselves. Like much of the tech industry, this disparity in IoT innovation reflects a lack of diversity in the offices, incubators and board rooms.

Across Silicon Valley there’s an obsession with “fail fast.” However, it’s failing fast with other people’s lives. The Internet of Things is a rapidly growing field, with a lot of promise if done well. Yet we’re also at risk with its failures. That’s why it’s important to establish professional practices and leading products that take these concerns into account and shift the ecosystem for the better.

That’s why Mozilla is getting involved in IoT. We believe that as the internet evolves, it must remain a global public resource that is open and accessible to all. To achieve that, we all must take action now.

What is Mozilla doing in IoT?

Mozilla has several efforts related to IoT. One is the Connected Devices team, which is building connected products with Mozilla’s values. There’s also the Innovation and Participation team, supporting Mozillians to learn and apply open innovation practices.

Working together with those teams is Mozilla’s Open IoT Studio, a global network of professionals committed to open IoT, working alongside Mozilla to make IoT more open, accessible and empowering. It’s a program within the Mozilla Leadership Network, which offers a series of programs striving for similar change in the fields of education, science, gender issues and more.

What does Mozilla’s Open IoT Studio do?


Group photo of Scotland design sprint participants

Mozilla’s Open IoT Studio invites professional participants to collaborate on prototypes that serve local communities and celebrate the unique affordances of physical places. We test and critique best practices for embedding privacy, digital literacy and diversity & inclusion in IoT. We publish and exhibit our results as a way to reflect and advocate for these values as the internet evolves into more physical and ubiquitous forms.

We’re working with professionals who are currently active in IoT: product designers, web developers, hardware manufacturers, data scientists, user researchers, and internet activists. We believe these professionals are critical to IoT’s development and together they can champion change in the field.

To put these ideas into practice, we’ve hosted three events so far in 2016. The results can be seen in our Github repositories at, where you’ll also find a calendar of upcoming events.

Mozilla’s Open IoT Studio is here to learn by making and shape professional practice, especially in technology, because we want IoT to be more open, more accessible. Therefore, we have to think about learning and advocating in more holistic and reflective way.

Sheer market forces alone shouldn’t determine what happens to our homes, our neighborhoods and our cities. Let’s examine what brings us joy, what truly connects us and what we really need. My hope is that we can find humane voices to shape emerging technologies. Let’s make meaningful interventions that can inspire and shift IoT for the better. Let’s rapidly prototype using a slow philosophy. Let’s take the time to listen, observe, be in a place, be present in our practice.


To read about what we’re learning and making, check out these publications, in particular:

Prototypes and Process

Below are examples of the prototypes and process we’ve tried out so far:


How might we repurpose public infrastructure to strengthen social connections among rural youth? Painting a phone booth as part of the Anstruther Teen Local Information Network prototype made during our design sprint in Scotland.


The Haarmonic. When the haar (fog) rolls in, you can physically connect to the cloud by walking to a special location. There you are treated to a unique song, poem or story by a local artist.

Visiting local manufacturers and craftspeople to create shared products.

Visiting the workshops of local manufacturers and craftspeople in Ahmedabad, India to create products together.

connected kitchen

What role does the kitchen play in the social connections among neighbors and families in the pols of Ahmedabad, India? User research and insight gathering with local communities.


How might trust be brokered among two parties? A conductive contracts prototype made with notaries in India at the Unbox Caravan.


Kids visiting the Museum of Conflict in Ahmedabad play with connected objects and create bubbles.


Participants at the design sprint in Anstruther, Scotland.

tea towel

Where do superstitions sit in a connect world? Inspired by the ‘Tea Towel of Fisheries Superstitions’ in the Scottish Fisheries Museum, we have made our own as a way to see thoughts and new myths.


Interviewing local farmers in Anstruther, Scotland.


The Wayback Machine, a prototype for how to control the level of connectivity in your home, developed at the design sprint in Berlin.

invisible bearing

Invisible Bearing plots invisible data with a centuries-old navigational technique.

agrigator sketch

Sketching the Agrigator, a self-hosted tool agricultural data including IoT farming equipment and radio communication throughout a huge farm space. Low power/old technologies are juxtaposed with new ones in the aim to put the farmer in the middle of the conversation.

code screenshot

A screen of the code powering the Colour Harvest, which tracks the level of nitrates in crops by measuring the shade of green.


The Colour Harvest brings visibility of the health of farming fields in Scotland as they transition to organic practices.


Creating a color palette from the farm field and painting boats to bridge the Anstruther communities on land and sea.


The Made Near You project includes labels, a map and a website. The labels aim to show consumers in a visual way how far away their food has come from and where it has been processed. The map and website allow you to enter your postcode to generate an easy-to-print map of local food producers who sell to the public.


Bubble, offering basic geolocation AR in the browser. An open, autonomous, anonymous messaging board for public places. Using a wifi hotspot, Bubble creates an invisible layer for hyper-local conversations in disconnected spaces.

team at work

The Shutupify team at work at the Berlin design sprint.

Participants introduce themselves at the Unbox Caravan with our smiling host Babitha.

Participants introduce themselves at the Unbox Caravan with our smiling host Babitha.

Increasing developer engagement at Mozilla {Science|Learning|Advocacy|++}

Abigail Cabunoc

Thu Jul 07 2016 11:27:46 GMT+0000 (UTC)

I love watching a community come together to solve problems.

The past two years, I’ve been testing ways to engage contributors on open source science projects. As Lead Developer for the Mozilla Science Lab, I built prototypes in the open with our community while mentoring others to do the same. We’ve seen exponential growth in contributorship and mentorship, and I am incredibly proud of the work we accomplished.

I’m excited to be moving into a role where I’ll be extending the contributor pathways we’ve built in the Science Lab to other programs within the Foundation. As Lead Developer, Open Source Engagement at the Mozilla Foundation, I will be shaping how we interact with the open source community not just in Science, but also in Learning, Internet Policy & Advocacy and newer efforts like Internet of Things and Women & Web Literacy.

Mozilla’s mission is to ensure the Internet is a global public resource, open and accessible to all. People are key and necessary as we work towards Mozilla’s mission through the lens of each program.

 Starting in Science

Starting this experiment among academic researchers in Mozilla Science helped prepare us to reach the broader Mozilla community.

The Science Lab community is a cross section of Mozilla’s community. Within Mozilla Science, we’ve hosted projects exploring IoT, research policy, women in STEMM, education and more. These projects helped us learn how to engage a diverse community.

Bringing the concept of working openly to academic research has helped us understand a wide array of complex challenges. The research world is full of competition, private data and a cutthroat need to publish. These challenges forced to us articulate why open matters and emphasize a scalable mentorship model as we work towards culture change.

 Contributor Pathways

Modelling the contributor pathways we used within the Science Lab, we’ve found four stages needed to create a cohesive pathway for contributors.

contributor pathways

  1. Sourcing: Finding new contributors. This can be passively on a project or more actively at an event or in a specific ask.
  2. Onboarding: Intentionally onboard new contributors to answer:
    • WHY: Why Mozilla? Why open source?
    • HOW: How do they practically contribute? What steps or skills should they know?
  3. Prototyping: We need to build with our community. This gives contributors a chance to learn and practice collaborating while building new features or tools.
  4. Training & Mentorship: While prototyping, work is constantly acknowledged, rewarded and refined. As contributors learn to bring others into their work, they may take on the mentor role to newcomers.

Taking these ideas, I’ll be working to see how we can define and measure a contributor pathway across the Mozilla Foundation.

 What Next?

Over the next few months, we’ll be studying how different programs across the Mozilla Foundation work with their contributors. At the same time, I’ll be continuing to work with the volunteers and mentors in the Science Lab.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback on the idea of setting contributor pathways across the Foundation. You can reach me on twitter @abbycabs or email me directly at abby at

We’re entering an exciting time at the Mozilla Foundation as we break out of our prototyped, siloed programs and share how we’ve been successful. The Mozilla Science Lab - and our other community centred programs - will be so much stronger as we collaborate across our combined networks. Together, let’s build a better internet!

My Parting Thoughts, Updates and Thank Yous to Hive NYC

Julia Vallera

Sun Jun 26 2016 14:09:13 GMT+0000 (UTC)

This post was written by Julia Vallera and is cross-posted from

Guest facilitators get prepped for State of the Hive 2016 - photo by Christian Rodriguez

Guest facilitators get prepped for State of the Hive 2016 – photo by Christian Rodriguez

Dear Hive NYC,

As I step away from my role as Hive NYC Network Manager, I leave you with some reflections, parting thoughts, updates and thank yous. My time with this network has made a huge impact on my life and I will forever be grateful for all of the positive experiences it’s given me.

My Hive NYC Story

In October 2011, I started part-time contract work with Hive NYC. I had just finished a Masters degree in Design and Technology and was teaching as an adjunct professor while pursuing an art practice that I still dabble in today. An organization called Girls Write Now (GWN) introduced me to Hive NYC during a project I helped them launch called Digital Remix Portfolio, which has since grown into their current Digital Media program.

GWN was one of several Hive NYC member organizations who received funding that year to develop innovative, connected educational projects for youth. The collaborative and experimental nature of these projects inspired me. Eventually, I met Chris Lawrence, who at the time was the Director of Hive NYC. He introduced me to other organizations and invited me to work on projects with Hive NYC member organizations such as The After School Corporation, Partnership for After School Education, Radio Rookies,Parsons, DreamYard and Girls Write Now. During this time, I had the pleasure of collaborating on:

  • Words on Walls – Youth-produced performance of music, spoken word and projections.
  • Digital Remix Portfolio – Mastering the craft of writing through digital media creation.
  • TASCasaurus –  STEM-focused webpages about biodiversity in local neighborhoods.
  • Brooklyn Explorers – Youth document their neighborhoods with digital tools and media.
  • Summer Quest – A free summer camp for elementary and middle school students.

In October 2013, I joined Hive NYC full time as Network Manager. I worked closely with Chris Lawrence, Lainie DeCoursy and Leah Gilliam to strengthen and grow Hive NYC’s ecosystem. My job was to support community members and create spaces for them to collaborate. I facilitated monthly meet-ups and community calls, led workshops, represented Hive NYC at various conferences, held weekly office hours, ran sessions at Mozilla Festival and so much more.  Some highlights of this work are captured here:

What’s Next

Mozilla Clubs at Mozilla work week, London. 2016 - Photo by Mozilla

Mozilla Clubs at Mozilla work week, London. 2016 – Photo by Mozilla

In June 2016, I transitioned into a new role within the Mozilla Foundation. I am now managing a project called Mozilla Clubs where I am helping a global network of community members share Mozilla’s mission to ensure the Internet is a global public resource, open and accessible to all. In this role, I will help club participants use hands-on, interest-based learning to grow digital literacy in community spaces such as schools, libraries, coffee shops, internet cafes and universities around the world.

Last week, the Mozilla Clubs team spent a week together planning our goals for 2016. We outlined several objectives aiming to advance Mozilla’s ambitious plan to help people everywhere feel empowered, safe and independent as they experience the next wave of openness and opportunity online. Here are some goals Club leaders want to focus on in the next 6 months:

  • Teach where the internet is not available
  • Organize an international Mozilla club gathering
  • Support club leaders and empower them to be successful agents of change.
  • Localize curriculum and resources

I see a lot of similarity between my work with Hive NYC and Clubs. Both are community-driven networks that share a passion for education, inclusivity, collaboration, openness and innovation. The main difference is in size and scale. Clubs are smaller, ranging between 3 and 30 people. Each has a different culture and focus. Some Clubs choose to focus on things like developing safe spaces for learning, others choose to focus on hard skills like video editing and programming and everything in between.

I am very excited to share what I have learned from Hive NYC with Club communities around the world and look forward to potential collaborations between Clubs and Hives. I am so grateful for my time with Hive NYC and believe this transition will allow me to contribute in new and even better ways.

Thank You

Hillary Kolos, Julia Vallera and Ariam Mogos at the annual Hive NYC holiday party - photo by Hive NYC

Hillary Kolos, Julia Vallera and Ariam Mogos at the annual Hive NYC holiday party – photo by Hive NYC

To all Hive NYC members, thank you all for your patience, flexibility, availability, honesty, kindness, thoughtfulness and willingness to jump right in. I am constantly amazed at your brilliance and passion for the work that you do. As I tackle new challenges with Mozilla Clubs, I will forever keep you in my thoughts and ask myself “what would Hive NYC do?”

Thank you Chris Lawrence, for your guidance and leadership with Hive and beyond. Dr. Dixie Ching, for your continuous input and for constantly bringing a layer of sincerity and context to our work. Rafi Santo, for your deep investigation and reflections on our work.  Marc Lesser, for rallying Emoti-Con! and for bringing a layer of FUN to everything! Ariam Mogos, for Young Innovator Squad and always putting youth voices in the forefront of what we do. Hillary Kolos, for providing constructive feedback to every topic we throw at you! Armando Somoza, for your work on the “Digital Divide” and service to students from under-represented communities. Yvonne Braithwaite, for driving the work on PASE Explorers and the Spread and Scale workshops! Erika Kermani, for Playable Fashion and always being ready to innovate and collaborate. Zac Rudge, for bringing CRC’s into the mix and jumping in at Mozfest 2015! Naomi Solomon, Leah Gilliam, Steve Ausbury, Merle McGee, Delia Kim, Meredith Summs, Brian Cohen, Lori Benson, Tali Horowitz, Sanda Balaban, Courtney Stein, Virgilio Bravo, Steven Goss, Jess Walker, Devin Dillon, Kevin Miklasz, Tina Shoulders, Aaron Lazansky, Tahir Hemphill, Jerelyn Rodriguez, Chris Amos, Lainie DeCoursy and so many more! Thank you!