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Mozilla Webmaker - Learn, Play & Experiment for Free

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by fyrefly trayle (subscribe)
Enjoying life in the West
Published February 1st 2015
Screen time can be family time
I'm the kind of person who is on a first name basis with the IT department within hours of starting a new job. It's not that I'm a tech genius; far from it. If there is a new and novel way to crash the system, I will find it. So when it comes to parenting in the twenty-first century, I have a knot in my stomach that has been growing day by day. Will I be able to understand what kids are doing with technology? How do I monitor what is happening when I don't have the faintest idea about how it all works.

Icons; apps
Image - own work

Mozilla seeks to create a more web-literate world by providing free educational resources. Mozilla Webmaker allows you to make your own apps and webpages while learning new skills. The website even provides a planning guide for a small Maker Party suitable for 1 to 5 participants - perfect for a family activity on a rainy afternoon. All you need is a computer and Internet access (although there is a 'LoFi NoFi' option where connectivity is limited). For the guide, click here. Check out Mozilla's policies, especially the privacy policy before you start.

Two children using a computer - Photo by Llewi034 under GNU Free Documentation License (Wikimedia Commons)

The tools were remarkably easy to use and it only took a few hours to create a block game app and a webpage. For the webpage, you can either start from scratch or 'remix' an existing template to make your own. We remixed one and below is a screenshot of our creation.

Draft webpage
Screenshot of Fyrefly Trayle's draft webpage

The 11 year old decided to create a simple block game app. To play launch the app (which only works on Android), click here.

It was fun, and the family got a kick out of using the appmaker (especially launching and playing the final products). It has given me more confidence to play and have fun with technology and a useful tool for starting the conversation with the kids.

Fyrefly Trayle is not associated with Mozilla when this review was written (other than using its programs from time to time).
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Why? It's fun, free and a wonderful resource.
When: Anytime
Cost: Free
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