DML’s Reclaim Hosting Interview or, why I love Howard Rheingold

Image credit: Alan Levine’s “Howard Rheingold is #ds106 #4life”

Since the very beginning when Tim Owens and I were getting Reclaim Hosting up and running two years ago, Howard Rheingold was right their experimenting with the platform for his classes at Stanford as well as providing broader support for our efforts through his vast network. I’ve come to understand over the last few years why Howard’s work is ground zero when it comes to imagining the web as a humanized construct for bringing people together. I could point to his pioneering work with online communities viz-a-viz  The Well, his numerous books on all things social web, innumerable blog posts, etc. That’s all part of an extensive archive of its own that will stand testament to his brilliant career thinking about the web as the social fabric of the future. But more than anything it’s him—the person who online (and off) supports your work enthusiastically, champions ideas he believes in, and honestly and openly shares his excitement with others. There is no bullshit with Howard. He is who he is, and he shares what he likes. He didn’t have to do his previous feature of ds106 (though I’m glad he did because it enabled us to work together on Connected Courses), nor did he have to conduct this recent interview with Tim and I about Reclaim Hosting, but he did. And I really appreciate it, but more than anything I have come to appreciate him. Few people have been bigger advocates for this work over the last few years, and I’m personally honored he’s taken an interest in what we’re doing. It’s buoyed me more than a few times when I’ve had to ride the surf of uncertainty as I left the belly of higher ed–so thanks for ruling Howard, and thanks for yet another fun discussion.    

From DML to EDEN

Jim and I are on opposite ends of the world today traveling for two great conferences we’ll be a part of this week. I’m on a plane headed to Los Angeles for DML 2015 where I’ll be joining two sessions related to the work we’re doing with schools and individuals through Reclaim Hosting. If you’re planning to attend I’d love for you to come say hello!

Tuesday @ 11AM – The Open Show: Connected Learning Without Expensive Acronyms @ CA Ballroom C

We bring together practitioners who are crafting connected learning environments via platforms such as WordPress / RSS (ds106, Connected Courses), the IndieWeb (Known), and patchworks (e.g. Google apps + Inoreader) and how they can even work together. Rather than a series of presentations, this session will be run more like a talk show. The tools features are not the primary subject of the conversations; panelists will use their these designs as a way to provide references and an audience experience. Instead, we will focus on how these networked structures break learning out of the boundaries of institution, geography, and social standing while also facing up the challenges of isolation and non-inclusion. Read More

Friday @ 2PM – Domains of Their Own: Piloting Personal Cyber-Infrastructure Projects at Four Disparate Campuses

Grounded in data collected over the course of the Fall 2014 term, this session will offer lessons learned from ongoing pilot programs at several disparate campuses of initiatives based on the University of Mary Washington’s ambitious Domain of One’s Own (DoOO) project. In a departure from traditional instructional and IT practices, these programs offer participants what Gardner Campbell termed “persona cyber-infrastructure” — all the tools and resources users need to launch and manage a broad range of websites, to create custom teaching and learning environments, and to curate and manage their online identities on their own terms. Read More

Meanwhile Jim is in Barcelona for the EDEN Annual Conference and will be giving a keynote on Thursday @ 9am titled The Uneducation of a Technologist: From EDUPUNK to ds106. In advance of this conference Jim was interviewed by Steve Wheeler from Plymouth University UK to provide some background about the work he’s doing and just a few of the things he’ll be talking about. You can checkout the full interview here.

If you’re attending either of these conferences and you’re using Reclaim Hosting currently or you’re thinking about the possibilities of it for your course, department, or institution we’d love for you to come say hi and participate in the discussions!