This week, MOUSE launches some exciting changes on mousesquad.org. After three years running our monthly "MicroProject," we're officially releasing a MicroProject Winner Badge for the profile pages of our monthly grand prize winners starting with the most recent project, "The Holiday .GIF Exchange," and retroactively awarding the badge for winners of projects dating back to this time last year.
Another extremely exciting part of our launch this week is the brand new Peer-2-Peer (P2P) Wins! feature within the new MicroProjects area, allowing youth members of the MOUSE Network to award Wins! to one another for their work.
New MicroProject Area
Now, when you click on the new "MicroProjects" heading in the main navigation of our site, users not only see a new home for our monthly projects, but also lots of new features that make it easier to participate, review projects, and now award Wins! to other members.
Creativity, Technical and Inspiration Wins!
There are 4 new Community Wins! that are now live on the site. The first 3 help youth and adult members of the MOUSE Squad Network get beyond just "liking" or leaving open comments on work when they review MicroProject submissions. Let's face it, "Thumbs Up" are great, but they don't give the kind of "cred" that users deserve when they work hard to create something original, or hone their technical skills. Awarding Wins! helps to give users real feedback about what peers and mentors feel sets the work apart. Users can reward peers for Creativity, Technical Know-how, or posting work that's Inspiring. Users choose the Win! they want to award and are required to describe why they think fellow members deserve the positive feedback.
The Motivator Win!
The 4th of the new Wins! is awarded to MOUSE Squad Members who take time to review others' work and award Wins! to peers. It's called The Motivator Win! and, like closing cases or contributing a comment to the site, the Motivator Win! will capture the number times you've awarded Wins! to other members and display it on the user's profile. It's an important credit for showing the kind of leadership that "motivates" others to keep up great work.
We see peer review, or P2P rewards, as a critical part of what MOUSE Programs are all about. This is a network of more than 3,000 young people who work hard to make an important contribution to their schools and other learning environments while building a set of skills that helps them follow their dreams and passions, and become the creative innovators our world so desperately needs. To achieve all of this, we need to continue building tools and resources that help our members support one another as teammates, peer-experts, and collaborators. Our goal is that ultimately Wins! and Badges will not only help us to build the kind of network that better prepares our members to continue their leadership into the life ahead of them, they will also give them credit for having the kinds of skills that matter a great deal but aren't often shareable through a school transcript.
HASTAC Digital Media & Learning Competition
One year ago, MOUSE and our longtime collaborators at Minds On Design Lab (MOD-Lab) were granted an award through HASTAC's Digital Media and Learning Competition. It was (and still is) a big deal to us. Among other things, it provided the kind of encouragement and support that helped us to press forward after releasing the very first parts of our badge system two years earlier. Peer-2-Peer badging was a key part of what that award enabled us to begin experimenting with, and this release is an important milestone for that work.
As many of you know, web design and development takes a lot of time. More than 7 months after sketching out initial ideas for this one set of features and many hand sketches, wireframes, design mock-ups, and ideas (some good, some bad) later we're really proud of what we have to show for it. While it's only a first step to the many ways we see these features being embedded into other areas of our programs (and the site), it's an important one. As with everything we release at MOUSE it will rely on you, our network - the youth and educators who ARE our programs - to be effective, get better, and ultimately succeed.
In order to help, all of you - students and educators - should be aware of the goals:
- Engage young people in the process of assessment in a way that mirrors the working world
- Build a culture of mentorship throughout the program
- Use peer feedback as a way for young people to connect socially around the learning (and work) that excites them
Ultimately, our hope is that MicroProjects will be only the first of many areas on the site where members will be empowered motivate, credit, and feed back on the work happening at sites all across the network. We hope you're as excited about the new features as we are, and that you'll show us by getting started!
As always, let us know how we can help. Leave comments or questions, or send us a note at email@example.com.
On January 15, 16 and 17, MOUSE Squad students from Manhattan School for Scientific Inquiry (MS 328) and Lower East Side Preparatory High School (LESP) gathered at LESP’s state-of-the-art computer lab to learn about digital storytelling and remixing.
First we talked about what stereotypes are, how they get started and how we can fight against them using technology and media. Then we broke into groups and chose stereotypes and issues we wanted to address. We wrote out our thoughts and then recorded our scripts!
We came up with some awesome interactive stories and the great thing about our projects is that they’re stored online so we can go back and work on them any time!
Check out our projects-in-progress:
- Harlem & Washington Heights Gangs
- Digital Divide
- People and Places
- Dominicanos Venir a Estados Unidos
- Breaking Chinese Stereotypes at LES Prep
And a HUGE thanks to everyone who turned out for this great Unplugged! We hope you had as much fun as we did!
Team Training has been rescheduled!
In this full-day training for NYC MOUSE Squads, coordinators and students engage in 4 hands-on workshops designed to set squads up for success at your school: Hardware, Networking, Web-Operations & Leadership.
Want to know more? Check this out:
More About Team Training:
Our MOUSE Squad Team Trainings start students and Coordinators with the basics. Together, whole squads don't just learn how systems work, they learn how people work together effectively to overcome challenges, see projects through to completion, and innovate with creative solutions that capitalize on the passion and knowledge of the group.
At Team Training, Students will:
- Practice key leadership skills through exciting team challenges
- Learn the basic principles of computer networks
- Gain the fundamental knowledge needed to identify, assemble, and replace key hardware, and learn how it works by first breaking it apart
- Explore all the exciting tools that mousesquad.org has to offer!
- Have fun!
Lunch, snacks, and two-fare Metrocards will be provided for all attendees. Team Training has been demonstrated to be the most fun thing since fun was invented. We hope to see you there.
Register now: Click here!
Please register by Wednesday, Feb. 1st!
Note that all workshops are conducted in English, please let us know if your squads have language needs though we will not be able to provide translation.