Archives For it conversations

We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished. Much of what we’ve pioneered in the past ten years is now commonplace. Our goal was to make it easy for others to produce audio recordings of events and make them available to the world for free. That’s now the norm. We have succeeded.

We’ve helped event producers and podcasters to create and publish programs themselves, and increasingly that’s what they’re doing. There simply isn’t as great a need for a service like The Conversations Network. So we’ve decided to complete our mission by helping our remaining partners continue their podcasts on their own websites.

Doug Kaye, of IT Conversations fame, announced last Sunday that The Conversations Network had accomplished its mission and will be shuttered this December.

It would be difficult to overstate Doug’s influence on the podcast medium over the last decade and 3,300+ podcasts. I’ve listened to hundreds of them myself. IT Conversations was an enormous source of professional development for me as I started my work in educational technology leadership seven years ago, commuting two hours a day and absorbing as much as I could from the amazing conferences IT Conversations covered. It was just what I needed at the time.

Once I started listening to IT Conversations it was only a matter of time before I had to try it myself. The Savvy Technologist Podcast started in June, 2005, and Doug’s influence was apparent from the beginning. I’m pretty proud of most of those episodes, and I copiedlearned almost everything I know about podcasting from IT Conversations. (Doug’s “Secret Lives of MP3 Files” presentation alone was worth the price of admission.)

I stopped doing my own podcast once I started producing Apple’s Conference Connections podcast. (Although I still have copies of all of those episodes, I fear they’ve disappeared off the web.) Those were inspired even more directly by IT Conversations. In fact, I always considered that series “IT Conversations for the ed tech crowd.”

While I’m personally sad to see it come to an end, it’s clear that the original vision of IT Conversations has been accomplished. So thanks, Doug. You have contributed mightily to my development as a leader and a technologist. I wish you the best in your new career as a photographer. I owe you a beer… or two. Maybe more.

I was listening to an IT Conversations podcast of Michael Disabato’s talk from the Burton Group Catalyst Conference recently and discovered a fantastic resource. ITIL is the IT Infrastructural Library and the ITIL Website describes it as:

ITIL (the IT Infrastructure Library) is essentially a series of documents that are used to aid the implementation of a framework for IT Service Management. This customisable framework defines how Service Management is applied within an organisation.

It’s clear that schools don’t operate their IT systems like businesses, and I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. Schools and businesses have different outcomes in mind. But at the same time I recognize that schools have a lot to learn from large enterprises who have learned an enormous amount about how to build and maintain complex technology systems. The ITIL Toolkit is a comprehensive set of planning guides that are intended to help enterprises establish best practices. The Toolkit costs $199 and can be purchased from the Web site. Given what I heard in the podcast and what I’ve seen of the Toolkit online, I think that would be $199 well spent to make some significant improvements in a school’s IT department.


31 May 2005

Here’s YALLTWLT from the 2005 Open Source Business Conference. Lessig’s talk is “Clearing the Air About Open Source” and he doesn’t pull any punches. (Download the talk from IT Conversations.) If you’re interested in supporting an environment of technological innovation then you need to be aware of the issues that Lessig is talking about.

My commute isn’t awful, but 30 miles and roughly 45 minutes each way is probably a little longer than average for the Twin Cities. At least we have outstanding public radio here. In the weeks since I discovered podcasting I’ve been mixing the MPR listening with various podcasts and have come to appreciate the IT Conversations podcasts most of all. A short list of some of my favorite IT Conversations sessions includes presentations by Steve Wozniak, Wil Wheaton, Malcolm Gladwell, and Janine Benyus; interviews with Bruce Schneier and Phil Zimmermann; and fantastic panel discussions from Gnomedex 4.0, PopTech!2004, and Bloggercon III. The content on IT Conversations alone justifies the price of my iPod.

So how about the educational conferences? I’m presenting a workshop and a couple sessions at the TIES 2004 Education Technology Conference in December. I think I’ll record my presentations and podcast them. Wouldn’t it be great if educational conferences started embracing this? How could this technology be used for professional development in a school district? What if someone recorded short interviews with master teachers and made them available as podcasts? What a great way to share knowledge among teachers.