MozFest 2013: Teach the teachers how to code and wait for the digital ripple!

By Sophia Koniarska, Think Big Programme School and Youth Integration – European Lead

‘Imagine, Build, Teach’, the call to action from Mitchell Baker, Chair of the Mozilla Foundation at this year’s Mozilla Summit 2013, an ambitious plan to reach millions of users, consumers and Makers of the Web.

Mozilla are no strangers when needing to reach huge numbers of people. They have the technology and tools to do so but in order to engage a whole new generation to make the move from consumers to the web makers of tomorrow, the focus on enabling people to teach is a priority.

There is a need to create a multiplier effect to connect and support large audiences with digital skills but conventional one-to-one tuition will not reach the critical mass needed to fill the many job roles that require such levels in digital literacy. There is a need then to create an army of mentors and teachers backed by tools, curriculum, community support and resource to answer the call.

The European Commission recently launched its ‘Opening up Education Strategy – making the 21st Century classroom a reality’ in which they deliver a clear message on the need to ‘stimulate teachers and educational institutions to test innovative digital approaches’. Such an approach requires strong partnerships between those with the digital knowledge and tools and those employers, educators, policy makers and young people with an appetite to learn. The Make Things Do Stuff Partnership – designed to mobilise the next generation of digital makers – is a great example of this.

In most EU countries, fewer than 30% of children aged 10 -15 are taught by “digitally confident” teachers, with good access to ICT.  At Telefonica and through Think Big, we believe there is a role for us to play in addressing this need, but it is one that can only be achieved through collaboration; to ensure we empower and support educators whether they are teachers in a traditional classroom setting, employee mentors, young people who can provide peer to peer support, parents and the wider community.

Such collective action has the potential to accelerate and deepen our impact on creating a generation of digitally confident young people.

Sophia Koniarska, Think Big Programme School and Youth Integration – European Lead

For more on what Think Big are doing to inspire a new generation of web makers, click here.