This post was written by Julia Vallera, an artist and educator working with Hive NYC on Brooklyn Explorers and other youth-serving projects.
This year, Hive NYC is partnering with PASE (Partnership for After School Education) to add a Mozilla Webmaker component to the Brooklyn Explorers Program. The program provides 4th-6th graders attending Brooklyn-based afterschool programs with experiential learning activities that explore different neighborhoods and expose them to the rich assets in these areas. Hive NYC will help them turn their experiences into dynamic web content via tools like Thimble and Popcorn. Six Brooklyn-based schools and centers are participating.
Our initial training was back in January and lasted for two days. It was a thorough introduction to the curriculum, activities and tools. Last week we held a follow-up training for the educators running the Brooklyn Explorers program. We practiced using the Webmaker tools and talked about the process of getting content from the students’ activities onto the web. This flow chart was a guide through that discussion.
After a brief recap we jumped right into the webmaking tools. A few of the participants had been practicing Thimble, so they already had great questions for me related to HTML, browsers and CSS.
The training was divided into two parts: Thimble Lab and Popcorn Lab. Each were about 45 minutes. Three templates were provided for the educators to hack. They chose which one they wanted to use based on difficulty level.
Everyone was hard at work for the rest of the session, and it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop! It was great to see everyone having “ah-ha” moments as they were getting the code to do what they wanted.
We talked about how the students will be going through the same exact process and will dig into the code the same way. Through April and May, I will be visiting each site to assist with the Webmaker tools. MOUSE youth (also known as digital ambassadors) will be joining me to assist as well. I am excited to see the student’s work in the coming months!
Go Brooklyn Explorers!