Talking Web Literacy Map & getting schools/educators on board with Mozilla’s Doug Belshaw.
Kim Wilkens (a.k.a. TechKim) is the founder of Tech Girls, a non-profit dedicated to getting more girls interested in Computer Science and technology. Kim is based in Charlottesville, Virginia in the US and has a background in both the Computer Science industry and teaching. She shared her views on Mozilla’s Web Literacy Map as someone who is using it on a regular basis.
Kim has contributed to the Web Literacy Map in terms of thought leadership on community calls, but also in terms of resources that have been featured on Webmaker. She currently uses the Web Literacy Map to discover resources to use in workshops and classes, but wasn’t aware of the WebLitMapper.
At the moment, Kim believes the Web Literacy Map does a good job covering “pretty much everything” that people need to understand/comprehend about web literacy. The recent addition of ‘textbook’ like pages for each competency has been useful, she feels. Kim also mentioned that one of the reasons she uses the Web Literacy Map (and associated resources) so much is because she feels invested in the community and respected as a contributor.
However, Kim feels that we could make the Web Literacy Map more accessible to ‘non-techies’ by providing a better way to collapse, expand and search. One space to pull in all the resources needed to teach any of the skills and competencies from the Web Literacy Map would be useful, she mentioned.
Kim doesn’t feel that there’s anything missing from the Web Literacy Map, but it does need to be accessible to different audiences - especially schools and educators. Web Literacy isn’t embedded in schools, so we need to make it more useable in that context. Kim suggested different versions of the Web Literacy Map for different age groups or ‘comfort levels’.
Maker Party is something Kim sees as a great example of introducing web literacy in an appropriate way. However, jumping from Maker Party to webmaker.org in general is “a lot”, she says. Instead, we should scaffold people’s learning by showing them what’s possible in an hour / a day / in a six-week block.
At the moment, although we call it a Web Literacy ‘Map’, Kim feels we could go further with the metaphor. We could show next steps and different routes - or even have multiple maps with different representations. Another issue that came up was Open Badges. Kim found it clearer when, a couple of years ago, it was possible to unlock ‘automatic’ badges in Thimble. Although there are ways to earn badges now, it’s not clear. Putting badges on the competency pages would help with this.
In terms of organisations she’d like to see adopt the Web Literacy Map, Kim focused on schools. We need, however, to show ways in which the Web Literacy Map fits with curricula. By this, Kim says, she means that existing subjects “aren’t going to move out of the way for this”, so we need to make links between school subjects and web literacy skills/competencies. To effect change we should approach the problem on multiple levels - grassroots, state and national. We should have a forum to report back successes and failures.
When it comes to other organisations that could help get the Web Literacy Map into schools, Kim suggested:
- CSEdWeek / code.org