Yesterday was in many ways the start of something new, fun, and cool at Reclaim Hosting: the first team meeting of Reclaim’s emergent instructional technology team. I realized during that two-hour-marathon-meeting-that-did-not-suck that I’ve been waiting near-on nine years for this moment. I have dabbled in being a successful businessman, arcade owner, and rising Karaoke starlet (most noble pursuits :), but at the end of the day I’m a lowly instructional technologist. It’s the work that gives me the most pleasure and satisfaction, so knowing that we’re going to have a team exploring and sharing what’s possible with teaching and learning on the web brings me great joy.
What’s more, the team comes with experience. Pilot Irwin was running the Domain of One’s Own project at Carleton College after being a freshly minted college graduate, and a year on the frontlines showing faculty, staff and students the power of the open web for teaching and learning has made their transition to Reclaim Hosting seamless. Not only have they thrived as an account manager for existing schools, but have joined at a perfect time to get in on the ground floor of edtech at Reclaim. The whole idea of pushing hard on instructional technology was born from the realization that an instructional technologist with years of experience, such as Taylor Jadin, might not only be interested in working at Reclaim Hosting, but have a strong vision for how instructional technology at Reclaim can reinforce and support the development of Reclaim’s existing university partners and those still unmet friends and partners.
After talking with Taylor, Lauren and I knew we needed to make a space for him at Reclaim, and provide Pilot the opportunity to further hone the skills they’ve already developed at Carleton had the makings of a team. Then comes the third-wheel, old man winter bava! There’s definitely a selfish reason on my part for pushing edtech at Reclaim—I want a group of folks that I can explore alongside when it comes to both cPanel and Reclaim Cloud. I love tinkering with these next generation tools, and if we can continue to harness the power of open source technologies to liberate us from the edtech borg—then my day job continues to be all sweetness and light. I’m convinced the containerized infrastructure of Reclaim Cloud opens up a whole new world for edtech that’s by-and-large still unexplored, yet as Taylor notes in yesterday’s meeting, the Cloud is quickly becoming trailing-edge tech 🙂
Anyway, the meeting was two hours long, exploratory in nature, and a whole lotta fun. We took notes, and I’m going to capture some of those here for both reference and posterity:
- Offering instructional technology services for new DoOO schools-> one of the things we have been lacking given labor limitations with new Domain of One’s Own schools is targeted support beyond admin training. So edtech can start filling that roll of coming in after the training and getting a sense of how this will be rolled out across campus and then run targeted workshops for folks on campus to show them what’s possible
- Workshops for the Reclaim Community -> This is already happening, next week, Wednesday, January 12th, Taylor will be running a community chat talking about how to create a community site for Domain of One’s Own to capture and promote the work happening on campus. You can sign-up here.
- Proselytizing Reclaim Cloud -> 2022 is the year of Reclaim Cloud, I can feel it in my bones. And I want to get out in front of schools and show them what Docker makes possible and also how they can scale applications for larger instances of an application like WordPress seamlessly. There is much to do on this front, and it is work that excites me to no end cause it cause hand-in-hand with exploring possibilities, which I associate so closely with the best kinds of edtech
- Document the work we do (writing, streaming, etc.) -> blog it, vlog it, tweet it, get it out there. We have to write, record, and generally share the work we are doing. It is a “central pillar” as Taylor notes, and I concur!
- Professional development for edtech -> I loved this idea, and it dovetails beautifully with our Reclaim Roadshow work. We have been good at trying to offer folks training around Domain of One’s Own instances given staff turns over, technology changes, and needs come up that weren’t apparent at the start. We can do more of this, even beyond Domains. We could push on more white-labeled professional development around WordPress Multisite, Containers, Docker, etc. There is a lot here, particularly when it comes data science that many libraries are exploring, and it might be awesome to bring in folks who are doing this on campus.
- Edtech on Campus -> Another idea that was born of the last was running a Reclaim Today series wherein we talk with edtech groups at various campuses to get a sense of their mission, day-to-day work, and the principles and values that drive them. Super useful for us to know, and would be wonderful to hear folks share their visions.
- Panel around hacking on WordPress -> WP4life -Taylor notes a panel around folks hacking WordPress to their will as a way to highlight cool work and re-enforce what’s possible, do love that.
- WordPress Multisite Series -> This is something I have been thinking about for a while. I cut my teeth on WordPress Multisite, and I still love that app. So it might be fun to have a series wherein we talk with folks using WPMS and find out their experiences, maybe a look underneath the curtain at plugins, themes, and other mysteries. I would love a co-host on this one, so any interested takers let me know.
- Everything but WordPress Series -> We are definitely geared toward WordPress, but there is a world beyond the W, so this series would explore other tools as a counterbalance to a 40% and counting WordPress-powered web.
We also talked about the newsletter that will be going out at the end of January, and I’m super excited about using Ghost for that—talk about the web beyond WordPress. It’s a good time to be a Reclaimer, and we look forward to further shaping and defining what edtech looks like at Reclaim Hosting, but that’s not done in a vacuum, so let us know what you might want/need. I have to say it’s been a long time since a two-hour meeting went so fast and seemed so fun, a good sign for sure.