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Planning Internet2’s future…

April 23, 2008

Today is already my fourth day in DC, and its almost time to go home. Dawn to dark of doing some of the coolest EdTech stuff on earth for three full days, and I haven’t sat down to blog about it at all. Well, actually, that isn’t true – I’ve started many times, but the posts haven’t made it public.

This meeting, more than anything else so far, seems to have been about strategic planning. I2 is now in its 11th year, and I’ve been following it for half of its life. Like with any other adolescent project moving in to its teen years, I2 has grown in directions that its fathers perhaps never were able to conceptualize. Predicting the future is easy; getting it right is the hard part.

With the strategic plan such a big thing, everyone of course is talking about it. There are lots of opinions, and many folks are wanting to make sure their interests are represented. But I think one big thing is missing from the premise of this document. It’s not that K20 isn’t mentioned, or Teaching and Learning is finally at least getting a nod in the goals even if we didn’t make the strategy level…

I think it is that Internet2 doesn’t yet fully understand and value its own community. They value the network. They value the research. They may even value the contributions of individuals and the amazing contributions that have been made – but they don’t yet realize the gold mine of value that community is.

I had some very colorful ways of explaining this relationship – including the community of bacteria that forms around mussel poop. OK – I’m not really trying to make a statement about K20 education in a negative way, but I will say that there is a direct relationship (I’m told) in that one feeds the other.

The strategy was written to allude that I2 will be everything to everyone. But everyone doesn’t need everything. 98% of the value of Internet2 to the K20 community today is the Internet2 community at large. And that doesn’t always require every possible technology at every possible endpoint.

But it does take a realization that the relationship is important. It does take the effort to cull the wonderful things happening on the physical network, and figure out how to distill that information **AND** excitement out to our Teaching and Learning community.

THAT will fill the pipeline. THAT will feed the relationship. THAT will keep us healthy.

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