Exploring “Open Fluency” and “Teach Like Mozilla”

Don’t let the lenses you own blind you to the world we see. I have to repeat this mantra all the time as I consider how we democratize education and use education to democratize the world.

Follow the leader. Leadership is seeing a parade and getting in front of it.

Creative Commons licensed ( BY-NC-ND ) flickr photo shared by TassieEye

Laura Hilliger, a scholar in building  global classrooms, recently wrote a post about Open Fluency. She, as a contributor to Mozilla Learning Networks, is tasked with developing professional development materials around “Teach Like Mozilla.” Basically networked open pedagogy but branded.


I started by reading her wonderful post. I think trying to define Open Fluency through the lens of the Web Literacy Map is a stupid idea that may not be fruitful to our endeavor. As Laura noted this is a round peg and a square hole issue.

This would be like training flight instructors with a Driver’s Ed manual. Yes they are both transportation but flying a plane is vastly different than driving a car. The Open Web is no different. Open Fluency, which Laura defined as:

What do we need to cognitively understand? What behaviors do we need tomodel? How do we unite with one another locally and globally?

will require many of the Competencies in the Web Literacy Map (V 1.5) but we need to be informed by and not blinded by previous work.

Why this lens is problematic:

  • Humans for some reason are driven to write in threes (think 5 paragraph essay). There maybe more than three strands in Open Fluency.
  • Some of the connections are a stretch. Why waste time trying to fit old paradigms. Make up new ones.
  • Teaching and Learning involves much more than understanding, modeling, and uniting.

Oops I just wrote in threes. See driven to do that.In fact the Teach Like Mozilla training materials will probably involve three modules.

Leadership and Learning

I worry we are trying to not find a unicorn but build a unicorn farm. Laura pointed out the Marc Surman in his original post called for leadership development and labeled this as fuzzy. I should know a little about Leadership Development. I spent my life in Boy Scouts, served in leadership roles in 100’s of organizations through college, and now play in online spaces. But I don’t. Marc is write it is fuzzy. Leadership is like porn. You can’t define it but know when you see it.

I do know leadership is central to networked learning. If we are going to deschoolify and democratize learning we need a system to develop leaders. As Illich wrote:

A good educational system should have three purposes: it should provide all who want to learn with access to available resources at any time in their lives; empower all who want to share what they know to find those who want to learn it from them; and, finally, furnish all who want to present an issue to the public with the opportunity to make their challenge known.

To me this captures what we are trying to do with “Teach Like Mozilla.” I just don’t know how. Want to help? Join Laura and a group of scholars as we try to define “Open Fluency” and create the training materials that will empower others to #teachtheweb.

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