Mozilla's Vision for Web Literacy
Written by Sue Gee   
Monday, 29 October 2012

The Mozilla Foundation has posted a white paper on web literacies that outlines a vision for the web in which not only is  the web accessible to all, but  everyone should have the ability to contribute to it.

We've previously reported on Mozilla Webmaker, an online project  providing tools for creating web pages. Mozilla has followed up this initiative with a white paper that looks at what is required in order to create a generation of "Webmakers", that is people who can "write as well as "read" the web, clarifying:

We’re not talking about everyone becoming a fully-fledged programmer, but we do believe that everyone should have the skills, competencies and literacies to be able to tinker and make things with and on the web.

A premise of Mozilla's white paper is that:

The web is becoming the world’s second language, and a vital 21st century skill. Digital literacy today is as important as reading, writing and arithmetic. Mozilla believes it’s crucial that people develop the skills they need to understand, shape and actively participate in that world, instead of just passively consuming it.

According to the document,  web literacies are at the intersection of digital literacies, media literacies, computational/algorithmic thinking and computer science:


Achieving Web Literacies is seen as a three-level process. First come Web Skills, these combine into Web Competencies and multiple competencies equate to Web Literacies.


Using a "bottom-up" approach of looking for skills. i.e. the ability to perform specific actions, and by using crowd sourcing to group these into competencies Mozilla has identified four Web Competencies - Exploring, Creating, Connecting, Protecting and has devised a framework of skills at two levels, Beginner and Intermediate as shown in this grid:

(Click grid to expand)



Given Mozilla's other concern, Open Badges, it comes as no surprise that its idea is to award Webmaker badges in recognition, and as motivation for acquiring skills, competencies and literacies. In this context badges, which are seen

"as a way to connect tools with learning experiences, as well as learners to other community members",

are provided to give a structure to learners and teachers.

The white paper presents an example of one Web Competency badge, the HTML basics badge, listing twelve skills for which badges could be gained along the way. It then gives an example of an "interest-based pathway" indicating how skills badges could be earned en route to gaining competency badges with the ultimate goal being a Web Literacy badge. In the diagram colored badges have already been gained and greyed-out ones have yet to be achieved.

(Click chart to expand)


Mozilla has already sought input from inside and outside its organization and is now looking for wider participation, concluding:

This Web Literacies white paper is the beginning of a conversation: we’re not attempting to create a ‘canon’ of knowledge or skills. Instead, we’re looking to create a flexible framework of Web Skills, Competencies and Literacies that can evolve along with the web itself. And we’d very much like it if you could join us in that journey.


More Information

Mozilla Wiki - Web Literacies White Paper

Related Articles

Mozilla Webmaker

Mozilla Open Badges API in Beta

Learners Earn Open Badges from Mozilla






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Last Updated ( Monday, 29 October 2012 )