Ich bin ein (Pfannkuchen) Berliner and other (Open Web) Thimble tales

Last week I flew to Berlin to work with the Peer to Peer University (P2PU) folks out of their pop-up office at the (amazing) Agora Collective co-working space. I also learned how to pronounce “Pfannkuchen” and discovered Club Mate, the absolute drink against heat and long working hours.



My focus for the week was to develop and play-test a set of Mozilla Thimble projects that teach youth best practices about using Open Web resources, in collaboration with  Jane Parker from Creative Commons as part of the newly launched P2PU School of Open. (Find out what went on the rest of the week with School of Open here.)

But first a bit of background; During the past two months we have created a variety of projects in Thimble ranging from mini games and internet campaigns to tutorials and awesome animal builders. For this project me and Jess Klein tinkered with the idea of a playful narrative, almost like a hackable comic strip under the title “Open Webville.”

Our  learning goals were;

a) get a better understanding of how to use open materials, such as CC licensed images, videos and songs.

b) Takeyour first steps in creating your own open licensed content.

c) Teach others how to do  a) and b)

But the question remains; Open Webville! Qu’est que c’est?

The Open WebVille isn’t just your run-of-the-mill “Ville”. You see,  it’s managed by Madame Lille a former french politician and robot who is relaunching her career in a new  direction so she can focus more on velvet bird painting, organic  producing and protecting the Open Web.

In this series of Thimble projects your goal is to help Madame Lille by visiting various location in the town such as an Art Gallery, a Movie Theater and a Disco and contributing open content such as CC licensed images, videos and songs. Moreover you are asked to put together a guide book for Open WebVille to help others understand how to use open materials.  By the end of your adventures, you have to contribute your own open creation to Open Webville.

Below screenshots, summaries and test links for each of the three Thimble projects

Art Gallery in Open Webville; Madame Lille is a robot with a knack for the arts who has recently opened her own Art Gallery in Open Webville. Her passion is collecting velvet bird paintings but she is looking to expand her collection; In this project you will help her fill in her Art Gallery with images of your choice. Mais attention! the images you choose need to be under a Creative Commons License.

Project test link here: https://webpagemaker-dev.allizom.org/en-US/projects/dropbox/gallery/edit

Cinema in Open Webville; One of the most popular spots in Open Webville is the Cinema! Madame  Lille  wants to bring to the citizens of her town some new screenings from the  Web. Can you help her find a good clip from Le Web?It can be anything  you want a music clip, a film trailer or even a minecraft video. Just  remember to give attribution to the creator. Oh oui, and you will have  to show the rest of the Open Webville how to upload their own clips by filling the guidebook section of the page so  they don’t have to watch the same screening forever! That would be “quel domage”!

Project test link here: https://webpagemaker-dev.allizom.org/en-US/projects/dropbox/cinema/edit

Disco at Open Webville: What  a great day you had so far in Open Webville. You visited the Art  Gallery and then watched a movie at the Cinema. It is time for some  dancing! Welcome to Open Webville’s very own disco. Rumor has it that  you are an incredible DJ, can you play the next song?  And don’t forget  to credit the creator and fill in the guidebook with tips so the rest of  the citizens of Open Webville can take the decks too!

Project test link here: https://webpagemaker-dev.allizom.org/en-US/projects/dropbox/disco/edit

We also created a (draft) version of a course that incorporates these projects at the P2PU School Of Open that you can check out here https://p2pu.org/en/groups/open-webville/ . Once we have the final working links we hope to attach badges and peer assessments to the course. ( Check out some of the badges we begun discussing at this etherpad )

If you have followed this blog, you know by now that as Mozillians we are all about working in the open, prototyping fast and play-testing our projects in order to integrate feedback and iterate based on the input we get from the community.

So naturally we concluded our project with a School of Open Mozparty at the Agora Collective to playtest the Open Webville projects.

Despite the rainy weather a good group of people showed up ready to create something in the open web and eat some Pfannkuchen Berliners (obviously).

The energy around the table was great and we got some feedback for improving the Open Webville Thimble projects.

Also the hacks were really imaginative, with this Open Webville Disco shown below being priceless; it is featuring our beloved Bakery Bash dancing cat gif and David Hasselhoff, courtesy of Michelle Thorne. Also it was great to see people using Thimble to code a webpage from scratch.

We also included an ice-breaker dancing activity at the beginning of the mozparty to get people to know each other and introduce them to the concept of the open web. The activity was based of the game zip-zap-zoom and Jess Klein’s Hack a Dance extravaganza.

Here is a version of the rules;

  1. Make a circle and start the music (we used Call Me Maybe due to Mozilla Foundation IRC obsession over the best remixes of that song last week)
  2. The goal of the game is to pass dance moves around the group. To make things harder, you can only pass a move using the instructions “Zoom” or “Zap.”
  3. "Zoom"= copy the move exactly as a person next to you has performed it
  4. "Zap"  = remix the move that a person who is sitting across you has performed
  5. The game is played in two rounds; the first round is played using Zoom and then Zap until everyone is dancing
  6. In the second round, ask everyone to get a coin or something valuable in their hands. Then designate one person to perform all the dance moves.
  7. Each time a player wants to either Zoom or Zap that person, they have to give them money or the valuable object of their choice. 

The goal during this activity was to make the participants reflect on the difference between the experience of being able to use openly and freely each others creativity versus a copyrighted and closed experience.

In conclusion, this was a great prototyping and play-testing experience with participants enjoying making things on the web using different Thimble projects and us gathering valuable feedback that we will be incorporating on the next iteration.

In the meantime extra thanks go to the "always on top of everything" Michelle Thorne and Bekka Kahn for their support during the mozparty event, to the “School of Open musketeers" Jane Parker, Pieter Kleymeer & Molly Kleinman  for their input and inspiration as we developed the content and activities, to the “fast and furious" Laura Hilliger who helped code the projects, to Francesco Ferrante for providing me with inspiration when drawing Madame Lille and of course the wonderful P2PU community who I was lucky to get to hang out with for a week.

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