Embedding Webmaking

Background: There’s a beautiful piece of land across the street from my house, 13 hectares, undeveloped, unspoiled, natural biotope in the middle of Dresden North. It’s home to a number of protected species, and it’s the only park-like land in several neighborhoods. My neighbors and I founded a citizen initiative in July, 2011 after a developer submitted plans to build a bunch of horribly ugly buildings with no purpose. We’ve been fighting (and winning) against the implementation of those plans. I’m organizing an event with the nonprofit my citizen initiative founded in December of last year.

The event is a street festival with a little make contest for kids. We’re inviting preschools and elementary schools to participate and build dragons with their kids. There will be a exhibition of the dragons and prize money for the most creative dragon as well as the best documented make process. We’ll be posting their documentations online, with images and artifacts from the festival, to show the world what Dresden schoolchildren are making.

Along with the documentation of the make process, one of the program points is a Hackasaurus kitchen-table-like session. I’m going to show kids how to use the XRay Goggles and remix the nonprofits website to become a website of Dragon something something. I’m going to introduce whomever wants to learn to the underlying structure of the WWW. This session is alongside of things like shooting a bow and arrow, painting, glass blowing, soap box derby, etc.

I had to FIGHT for the Hackasaurus session. I wrote the initial program including the documentation point for the contest as well as the Hackasaurus session for the day of, and everyone in the planning committee said “That’s too much Internet, this is a street festival.” “No one wants to have computers at a festival!” Oh? Really?

I told them that from Tokyo to New York to Kenya, kids have loved playing with Hackasaurus. I explained to them that the web fits in everywhere. I told them that documenting the make process was necessary for the nonprofit and our own press.

I told them what I know to be true – Webmaking can be embedded in anything.

The discussion carried on. It made me realize just how much work we have to do. A lot of people simply do not see the possibilities of webmaking. These people are computer literate, but they are far, far away from web literate. They don’t understand webmaking, so they don’t think it’s an important concept to teach. I am extremely interested in reaching this group.

There are a lot of people doing awesome things online and with the web and they’re showing others how to participate. We definitely have a responsibility to them. We need to support them, help them find learning materials that work. For sure. But I think we also need to get outside of our own comfort zone and evangelize to those people that are not yet converts to the community. I’m pretty confident that the Summer Campaign will have a real effect here.

In the meantime, I’m doing three separate kitchen tables to spread the love (and test the format). Two of them are now directly targeting the group called “Adults that are a little resistant to change”.

And on May 12, 2012 – there will be Webmaking sessions at a street festival in Dresden where kids can remix the web, and I’m sure they’re going to dig it.

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Embedding Webmaking

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