The Limits and Possibilities of the House Metaphor for Domains

My last post was a recap of the “At the Scale of Care” presentation Lauren Heywood and I gave at the mighty OER20. A few days ago Lauren posted her own take on the presentation, and I really appreciated how her take dug in much more than mine on the limits and possibilities of the house metaphor to explain and explore Domain of One’s Own. Here is a small piece form Lauren’s insightful and nuanced take on the metaphor:

My understanding of what is known as the house metaphor is a house as a tool to understand how web addresses, websites and web hosting relate to one another. This metaphor can then be extrapolated further to explain that an individual needs to have some initial understanding of the “web-based plumbing, electric, interior design, etc.” if they are to make spaces on the Web and to make them “liveable”.

Once an individual has built understanding of how the Web works and how they can start building their own spaces, including making them “liveable”, it is at this point that the individual can build confidence and agency to realise the potential of Domains initiatives as relates to Virgina Woolf’s arguments in ‘A Room of One’s Own’ (1929).

For me that’s where the metaphor ends. 

I really love the way Lauren understands the broader vision of Domains as always already a project in providing possibility to students and instructors alike to build the web. It’s a mission, not a metaphor. So, I asked Lauren if she would be interested in having a follow-up discussion about the house metaphor for Domains on the mighty #ds106radio (always be branding, people!).

She agreed, and two days ago we had an hour long discussion that was pretty awesome. I know the great David Kernohan was tuned in…

And it was awesome to see my old, dear friend Shannon Hauser who is now an instructional technologist running Domains at UMW was tuned in. My worlds combined in some beautiful ways at that moment, and the radio was good!

So, in the interest of trying to both preserve and share some of the radio magic that’s been happening for me these last days, weeks, and soon months, here is a recording of that discussion.

I hope it encourages folks like Lauren Heywood, Alex Masters, and Shannon Hauser (a sampling of the next generation of edtech) to get on the radio, whether ds106radio or their own international broadcasting network. And we need to do the same at Reclaim Hosting with our ridiculously talented group inclusing Lauren Brumfield, Meredith Fierro, Chris Blankenship, Gordon Hawley, and Katie Harcraft. This is not a time for the established edtech thought leaders (and I have to incriminate myself here) to suck up oxygen, but to lift up the folks who will have to make sense of this field when the dust settles and the work on the ground still needs to be done. I hope we can build more inclusive, diverse networks that strive for that rather than self-serving platforms for the next Gates Foundation funding opportunity.

Blogging at Scale with Google Sheets

When you go directly from several weeks of work travel into the beginning of the semester rush at Reclaim Hosting, the necessarily gets neglected. But that changes now!

Back on August 22nd Tim and I sat down with John Stewart to talk about his ingenius work to use Google Sheets to enable near on 1000 students in University of Oklahoma’s biggest lecture classroom to blog at scale. Pretty brilliant to use Google Sheets as a kind of  WordPress Multisite stand-in wherein Google manages scaling the infrastructure for you. In this, the 8th episode of Reclaim Today, we discuss this experiment in detail, and I was really enthusiastic because it felt like a really creative and useful way to imagine getting a class using a simple form to blog up and running with very little financial overhead. Fast cheap, and out-of-control: edtech at its best.

You can read the first and second of the three post series John promised, and the video was recorded on location at Reclaim Video and comes in at a very manageable 23 minutes with a couple of the best looking ed-techs this side of proprietary. Here is the synopsis in case you need a more objective reason to watch:

Jim and Tim sit down with John Stewart of the University of Oklahoma to discuss a recent solution he blogged about in which he’s using Google Spreadsheets and APIs to drive a fast and scalable blogging infrastructure to support a course with 1,000 students.

And if you come away with nothing else, it should be mad kudos for John Stewart for a really creative, relatively light-weight  solution to a potentially expensive and resource intensive problem, the term innovation gets thrown around way too loosely but it makes resonates for me in this case.