The Podcast: Infrastructure Matters

Today’s podcast is an excerpt of Troy and Sara and my Reports from Cyberspace conversation at NCTE’s 2010 Annual Convention. Specifically, this is my prepared section of the presentation, which I’ve called “Infrastructure Matters.”

Infrastructure does matter, and it’s never been more important to make sure that the conditions for learning exist in every element of an education organization. I hope that my remarks get to the heart of how I try to model that in my work supporting teaching and learning here in Colorado.
As always, would love to hear your thoughts about the content of the presentation. I’m sure there’s something that I’ve missed. Let me know in the comments.

On a related note, I just want to express my continued appreciation for Sara and Troy as colleagues and thinking partners. I look forward to continuing to learn from and with them. They’re smart people, and I hope they’re on your radar.1

The thrust of our invitation for others’ reports from cyberspace was that conferences shouldn’t be endpoints, but waypoints, times to recharge and retool before heading out into the work again.  I hope that our session was useful to folks. I’ll know that it was as I see work emerge from it. Talk’s fine. It’s useful. But it’s not enough.

Hard work matters, too.

Direct Link to the Video Version
Direct Link to the Audio Version

  1. I have sections of their presentations recorded, too, but wanted to talk to them before I published them. Look for them here soon if they consent. []
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Reports From Cyberspace – An Invitation

Last year at NCTE, we began a conversation, Three Reports from Cyberspace. We thank Jeff Golub and Jim Strickland for organizing the session, and Helen Wierenga for being our responder. And, we thank all of you, because what happened during the session was, quite simply, amazing1.

Bud, Troy, and the entire audience were engaged in a continual conversation that moved from notes appearing on the screen, to questions from the audience, back to one of one of them answering on stage, and out to the wider world through Twitter and Etherpad. Sara’s thinking was with us in the room, even though she wasn’t physically present.  Over the course of the hour, we shared a number of examples from our own teaching and research that helped illuminate issues related to filtering, curriculum, assessment, and teaching in digital spaces. We were, in short, completely engaged in the conversation, in “multitasking” at its best. And that brings us to where we are now, preparing to offer more reports from cyberspace.

So, why write about that here, three weeks from the next session/conversation?

We do so as an invitation.

A conference session is a waypoint, a time and place to check in on where we’ve been, but more important, where we’re going.  So before we get to that waypoint, let’s take a moment to share our own reports from cyberspace as a way of starting this conversation.  Here is a link to an open Google Doc where we’ve left space for you to jot some thoughts as we move into our time together.  If you can join us for the session at NCTE, great.  But if not, and you’d still like to report or check in, feel free to do so.

Here are some prompts that will take us into our session.  Help yourself to whichever one(s) will be the most useful in your thinking and reporting:

  • What’s the state of your educational cyberspace at this moment in November 2010?  What’s good?  What’s scary?  What’s working?  What’s not?
  • What needs doing?  Fixing?  Raising up?
  • Where are you focusing your attention?
  • Where are we going with all of this Internet stuff?  What’s new?  What’s good?
  • Finally, what do you hope to leave our session with?  What’s next?  So what?

Please take a few minutes and share your reports from cyberspace. We suspect you have something to teach us, and we’re ready to learn.

If the reporting ends at the session, then we’ve failed. Conferences are notorious spaces, in that we all get together and get excited, but then the momentum seems to die. Help us figure out where to go and what to do next. In a time of increased standards and assessments, when everyone is an expert on matters of teaching and learning, and reading and writing, we need to tell our stories. It’s never been more important to be thoughtful out loud.

Troy Hicks, Bud Hunt, and Sara Kajder

PS – If you can’t make the session, but will be at NCTE, you’ll have another chance to join us immediately after this session at the Middle Level Get Together.  We’d love to see you, and hear your report(s), wherever you’ll choose to join us.

  1. I don’t use this word often.  But it was a really interesting conversation, both in content and in process. []
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