Mozilla has just made a big, ambitious announcement about our collective ability to use and manipulate the web: It’s launching a set of standards for web literacy.
Web literacy, according to Mozilla and its co-conspirators on the project, includes the ability to verify web-based information for truth and accuracy, the ability to maintain your personal security online, and a basic understanding of how intellectual property works online. Of course, there are also standards around web-building tools, such as HTML and CSS.
Too often, we see the Internet as just another consumer tool, something we use to buy stuff, talk to each other, or get our jobs done faster.
But Mozilla (and quite a few other organizations) are committed to making sure we all know it’s a platform, a non-mysterious, hackable machine intended to do our bidding.
As Mozilla chair Mitchell Baker has famously said, “The average consumer does not know the difference between browser, Internet and search box … Moving people from consumption to creation is Mozilla’s goal.”
To that end, Mozilla has invested a lot in tech literacy for normal folks. Projects like Thimble and Webmaker encourage people of all ages to build simple sites and applications, doing much to demystify the web.
“We soon realised that this work was applicable to many more projects than Webmaker,” writes Mozillan Doug Belshaw today on the company blog.
“There’s so many people and organizations doing such excellent stuff around web literacy, but it’s a fragmented landscape.”
To join these groups together, Mozilla is spearheading the effort to create a web literacy standard that uses Open Badges, another Mozilla project that uses digital badges to recognize real-world skills and achievements.
Right now, the standard includes a competency grid and descriptions. By June 26, 2013, Mozilla hopes to add a list of the skills required for each competency, an an explanation of how the competencies combine to form broader skill groups, and a visual explanation of the web literacy standard itself.
“Man, a lot of stuff has moved onto the web,” said Mozillan Jonathan Nightingale in a recent chat with VentureBeat. “It’s possible now to have a productive life, both personal and professional, living almost entirely in the browser with no software installed.”
And obviously, creating a better web browser is only part of that equation for Mozilla.
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