Last Friday was the last day of classes for Oklahoma City Public Schools this academic year. Yesterday, my son decided it was time to throw away his paperwork and notes from the year. This is a photo of Alexander throwing away ALMOST all the documentation and proof we have of his learning as a sixth grader.
I say ALMOST because there are several assignments he posted to our family learning blog, which remain digitally archived there online. He also shared his history day project, which was a documentary interview with his grandparents, on Celebrate Oklahoma Voices as well as YouTube.
Alexander loves his school, and as his parents we do too. His school is fantastic, ostensibly the best free, public 6-12 school in the state of Oklahoma. It’s the only school in our state which uses the IB curriculum, and every student has a “major” – either IB or a fine arts major. Kids are motivated, most teachers have high expectations for student achievement, the school has very innovative programs like outdoor school, etc, etc.
Our school does NOT, however, encourage students or teachers to publish any student work online. That means if we were not helping publish and archive Alexander’s work online as his parents, it probably wouldn’t be there. He wouldn’t have an academic digital footprint. I think that’s a shame. Perhaps in the years to come, I’ll have an opportunity to help improve that situation.
In his FANTASTIC presentation “Design Matters” at METC 2010, Darren Kuropatwa addressed the issue of whether student work can “live on” digitally longer than it does or would in the paper-based / analog world. Darren’s experiences as a high school math teacher and my experiences as a parent as well as professional development leader say YES: The lifespan of students’ academic digital footprints is potentially long and getting longer.
Philadelphia educator H Songhai took up this issue and need for digital documentation of our learning in his 2008 K12Online Conference presentation, “What Did You Do in School Yesterday, Today, and Three Years Ago?”
The perspectives of H and Darren rang in my ears yesterday as I watched my 11 year old son “throw away sixth grade” into our trash can outside. There was a LOT of important learning which went into that trash can, and is now somewhere in an Oklahoma City dump. I wish more of those learning artifacts were online so we could see them as parents, and he could have them as part of his academic digital footprint.
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On this day..
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- Digitizing an Elementary Writing Portfolio - 2011
- YouTube can change your life: Just ask Greyson Chance - 2010
- Thank you, Rick Riordan! - 2008
- Juarez violence trivialized by some media headlines - 2008
- Thumbs down for Indy Jones 4, thumbs up for Prince Caspian - 2008