I’m pleased to announce that the Shuttleworth Foundation has given me a “flash grant” to support my work.
I don’t know how much you all know about Shuttleworth flash grants, but they are more gift than grant. You don’t apply for them. An email shows up in your inbox one day and says hey, we like what you’re doing, and we’d like to give you $5,000. Conditions? Pretty much none — just a general expectation that I’ll “live openly” and tell the world what I did with it.
For me, the choice of what to do with it is clear. I’m trying to build a free WordPress-based, git-like, Wikipedia-for-everything-else that allows separate WordPress sites to act as one big wiki. It turns out to be easier to build that than to explain it to people, which is why (to my Nicole’s dismay) I’ve been coding it nights and weekends.
The money won’t change that — I think I still need to power through this and code it myself, at least to start, and my day job remains helping faculty implement open pedagogy, not building tools around it. But the grant should allow me to fund the infrastructure I need to do this right, and maybe fund a bit of promotion once it’s up.
Honestly, I’m still thinking this through. I’ve never had any money to spend on this but my own, so work on this has been driven a lot more by available resources than priorities. I’ve absorbed the costs the way one might for a hobby. (Current hobby: trying to re-imagine a new web built around reuse instead of sharing.)
Thanks to the Shuttleworth Foundation for the grant. And thanks to Ward Cunningham who introduced me to the solutions to the problems I’d been grappling with for years. I hope in six months to have something that makes these powerful ideas accessible to students, teachers, and lifelong learners.