When we all met last November in Berlin for the p2pu.org annual workshop we agreed that one of the most remarkable things about working together has been the amount of work we are able to produce when we all find ourselves in the same coordinates. You see 90% of our time we work remotely dispersed in various and exotic locations of the world. I realize this reads a bit like marveling at how bright it gets when the sun is out but bear with me.
This past week we met with our friends from Mozilla’s Hackasaurus in Toronto. For a while now we have been talking about the exciting possibility of using the “P2PU Challenges” as a model for scaling social learning for a range of Mozilla Webmaking projects. So we started by
testing ”hacking” out how that would work, by spending three full days in Mozilla’s offices in Toronto (thank you for hosting us!) designing curriculum and developing new features that will allow us to launch a Set of Hackasaurus Challenges by the end of January. Even though we had been working remotely for a month prior to meeting , it was phenomenal to see the great work we accomplished in just a few days;
Here is a summary;
- We designed a Set of fun Hackasaurus Challenges for teens, tailored for the p2pu platform, that will be first tested with members of the Hive Network. Here is a sneak preview of what they will be about.
The world of the open web is full of opportunities for you to create serious cats, planking videos and mindcraft empires. However deep within the trenches we are threatened by the evil nemesis of firewalls and parental controls, which prevent free and open webmaking for all. The world needs you, a superhero of the web to save the day! In the Hackasaurus Challenges you will go through basic super hero training to learn how to create your own webpages in the battle for the open web.
- We started developing some key new features that will allow for an improved learning experience; the Hackasaurus tasks will be interactive, users will be able to apply for a badge within the task page and there is going to be the ability to group challenges together. Here are a few screenshots of how it will look!
Apply for a Skill Badge within a Challenge Task
Card that includes a Set of Challenges
- We also tested a curriculum that can allow anyone to get started making their own challenge at p2pu.org. We realized that people have different approaches when putting together a challenge; some might want to devote more time to fleshing out their curriculum and some are looking for a “fast and furious” version of how to make a challenge. To cater to the later group, we got busy working on a series of story-lines that can help anyone understand a) what is a challenge b) how do I make one?
Screenshot from “What is a challenge storyline”. Check out the full deck here
Screenshot from “How do I make a Challenge” storyline. Check out the full deck here
- Some of the community members like Heather Payne, founder of Ladies Learning Code designed their first challenge during the meeting. In her challenge she used the context of making a “MadLips” game to have her peers learn how to code in Python.
Check out Heather’s Challenge here
Our next steps after Toronto, include further development of the above key features, refining our curriculum, testing it with a group of teens from the Hive Network and releasing a set of animatics that guide you through what is a challenge and how do you make one. As we move ahead in 2012 there are things in our to-do “Making Awesome Challenges” list, like adding new assessment features and improving the Challenge creation experience. So consider the above just a preview of all the good things that are yet to come.
In conclusion, we spent three days accomplishing more than we would have done by being remotely connected. But that was not the best part about taking a plane and heading to Toronto sometimes from places as far away as Germany or California. The best part was having the opportunity to work in person with friends and meet new ones like Matt Price, Luis Zarrabeitia, Greg Wilson, Sarah Wigglesworth and Heather Payne who so kindly offered their time volunteering to work with us during the meetup.
In P2PU we often talk about friendship -especially the one aligned with shared passions and interests -, as a driving force that helps us explore new ideas together, share the risk of making them and most importantly learn from each other. So If I had to make a wish for what I would like the new year to bring that would be more opportunities to come together and “hack” with friends.