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An inspiring weekend at the #reclaimyourdomain hackathon. #edtech

I'm having a good time at the Reclaim Your Domain meetup in Los Angeles this weekend, organized by Jim Groom of University of Mary Washington's Domain of One's Own initiative.

From the initiative's homepage:

A Domain of One's Own provides domain names and Web space to members of the UMW community, encouraging individuals to explore the creation and development of their digital identities.

Reclaim Hosting, which was created by Jim Groom and Tim Owens, supports Known (as well as Elgg). It was set up to provide educators and institutions with an easy way to offer their students domains and web hosting that they own and control.

We're excited to be in the mix, both in terms of the services at UMW and elsewhere, but also in the wider conversation. Schools and universities are in a perfect position to talk about data ownership, so it's inspiring to see them doing just that. While Jim Groom and the other members of the Reclaim Your Domain community are ahead of the curve, I expect many others to follow. Their work provides an obvious benefit to both students and faculty at the institutions that adopt it, in a way that previous eportfolio initiatives didn't necessarily achieve. (Elgg emerged from work Dave Tosh and I were doing on electronic portfolios in education.)

Empowering individuals at institutions to own their online identities makes us very happy. And we're excited to learn from the students and faculty that make their homes on the web using Known.

While Known is an open source application (released under the Apache 2.0 License), institutions that choose to use the software won't be going it alone. They can get full support from us, if they like, as well as software to make it easier to manage Known sites on an organizational basis, and bespoke solutions for their specific use cases. We're keenly aware that one size doesn't fit all, and one institution's (or one school or course's) needs don't necessarily apply generally. Known is a flexible platform that supports a great deal of individual customization.

It's not just for education, of course: anyone can use a Known site, and we're excited to be working in journalism, technology and other verticals. However, edtech is a great example of a community motivated to empower its members to own their data, and we're delighted to help.