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Mozilla Foundation opens 15-person Dumbo office to advance web literacy

The team at 45 Main Street is up to about 15 people in Brooklyn, a small piece of an organization with approximately 800 worldwide staff, but they're focused on some of Mozilla's biggest mission goals: web literacy.

Erica Sackin, center, inside Mozilla's new Dumbo outpost. Photo by Brady Dale.

Mozilla the company behind the popular web browser, is well established in the Bay Area, but now, after a year of work here, they’re committing to New York with their first permanent East Coast staff outpost in Dumbo for its philanthropic arm, the Mozilla Foundation.

“We’re excited to build an even bigger network of people who care about the web,” said spokeswoman Erica Sackin, who joined the foundation in February and was spotted at the first Silicon Drinkabout.

The team at 45 Main Street is up to about 15 people in Brooklyn, a small piece of an organization with approximately 800 worldwide staff and about 1,200 people when committed volunteer contributors are added in, she said. The New York team started at the Brooklyn Creative League, but it outgrew that space and they moved into their spot in Dumbo last month.

Many of the staff working from the Dumbo offices are in one way or another working toward advancing the web literacy movement, said Sackin, who was previously working with the Obama campaign.

  • Mozilla interfaces with a number of local organizations that work with school age students and other people who want to learn how to the Internet works. Much of this work is networked under Mozilla’s Hive NYC.
  • Online, Webmaker Tools are a way that they are making it fun for interested people to begin to get an idea of how web products are made, she said.
  • Mozilla wants to advance the idea that school is not the only way people learn important skills. So they are seeking to create an open, stackable certification system, where anyone can create a skill certification and certify individuals as having achieved it, though Open Badges.
  • Look for the Open Badge kit to launch next year, with a lot of fanfare from the organization, she said.
  • Sackin said the group helped make a lot of events happen in Brooklyn last year over the course of the three month Maker Party. Expect it to be even bigger here in 2014, as even more people create opportunities to help other people learn how to make technology of different kind.

One other interesting creation to come out of the local team: Lightbeam. Formerly known as Collusion, it’s a feature of the Mozilla browser that lets you see all the other sites that the the URLs you are visiting are sharing data about you with. A developer in Brooklyn, Atul Varma, had the idea for the feature after reading¬†The Filter Bubble.¬†

Mozilla Lightbeam

They made it look really interesting. As we know, pretty design works better.

View out Mozilla's Dumbo window

View out Mozilla’s Dumbo window.

Companies: Mozilla
Series: Brooklyn
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