I found a really handy tool recently: blogbooker.com

“BlogBooker produces a high-quality PDF Blog Book from all your blog’s entries and comments.”

I then took the pdf and archived it on Scribd, Slideshare, and a fun (but not-so-convenient) reader called Youblisher. Bookblogger numbers links and adds them at the end of posts and does a great job of creating a table of contents that is clickable, (not in Youblisher). All three platforms allow downloads. Scribd let’s you choose a mobile version, but I tried and don’t know if it is a China cell phone issue or not, but I did not get it sent to my iPhone as requested.

I occasionally save back-ups of my blog, but it’s nice to know that I have preserved and digitally archived my blog, with comments, on a few online places. The reality is that I wouldn’t want to lose a record of all the things I’ve learned, and I actually do go back and read old posts and follow old links. So, I want my learning archived.

I shared Blogbooker on Twitter and then got an interesting reply.

Sam Morris suggested using it to use it for student eportfolios:

A good use for Blogbooker

This brought about the idea for this post, as I’ve thought of this often:

When we create projects with students and then share them digitally, who owns the learning?

When a student leaves a class or a school, what happens to their blogs, wikis & ePortfolios? Can students take these with them? Blogbooker seems like one way to help with this… at least with (public) blogs, but I think we need to ensure that there are opportunities for students to export their work from our Kindergarten all the way up to University programs.

I left my ScienceAlive project ‘out in the open’ and students along with about 65,000 others, (including over 6,000 from a total of 108 countries in just the last 2 months), have been able to go back to the site… a site that has been dormant for 3 years. Now, I’m not sure if students would want to have a record of this project, but it is there for them. My point? Everything we do digitally has the possibility of being kept, shared & redistributed by students long after they projects are completed or ‘handed in’. Yet, much of what is done is hidden from students or deleted after the class is over, or archived on a school’s district server somewhere.

I know privacy is an issue many districts are worried about. I know some projects will be done safely and securely inside private, protected, ‘walled gardens’. Yet, I think it’s time for us to realize that portability of projects, of the learning that happens online, needs to be a consideration when deciding what tool(s) to use.

We don’t own a student’s learning; It’s their learning. Whenever possible we need to be thinking about how we can provide students with an archive of their work… and that has to include the conversations (or comments in the case of blogs) and the hyperlinks that made the learning experience richer and more desirable to keep.

We don’t own the learning and so we shouldn’t keep it away from the learners. Let’s not put an expiry date on our digitally shared learning experiences.

8 comments on “Who Owns the Learning?

  1. Thanks for the hat tip, and I agree we need to give kids the opprotunity to take it with them. Initially I was just going to export the WP data, but now packaging their work sounds like a great idea. Ideally we can embed the multimedia within the package, possibly with the latest PDF embedding features.

  2. Thanks for pointing out this great way of archiving learning. I’ve tried it with a blog that I haven’t written on in a long time and it works seamlessly.

    As I read through the PDF that was created, it’s reminding me of my learning back in 2006 when I first started to blog. Our students should have that same experience too – to be able to come back to their learning over time and use it again, refine it some more, or just to be able to point to that archive in later years – maybe even as they apply to colleges. And there’s something more here too…even from the elementary grades, students need to learn about digital citizenship and how they represent themselves online. The archives of their learning are also an archive of their development as digital citizens which is also an important consideration for their futures.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas and resources!

  3. Thanks for sharing this, Dave. I believe it is important to be able to archive what our students have done. Deleting traces is losing learning opportunities.

    I hope they consider adding more blog engines such as Tumblr or Posterous.
    .-= Claudia Ceraso´s last blog ..Learning Dimensions =-.

  4. Thanks for the article, Dave. We are going to be discussing this idea a lot in the upcoming school year. How do we document, archive, and port the evidence of our learning in a digitally enhanced world? This evidence is less ‘tangible’ than it was when we were students.

    I found a huge portfolio of my short-lived middle school art career at my mother’s house last year. Will we be able to fondly reminisce over a youthfully optimistic blog like my mom does when she sees my linocut of a Bunnicula-inspired rabbit? I just threw out some floppy disks with could have very well been my early programming attempts. I have no way to access the information. These are things we need to consider.

    I’m definitely adding this resource to my bag of tricks. There is a need for some solution. Any keen, aspiring developers out there should jump on this type of product.

  5. Pingback: Taking it With You
  6. I really like Susan’s reflective post ‘What’s the Purpose’ because it exemplifies how converting ‘the learning’ to paper from a digital resource doesn’t quite represent the thinking/learning that happens online.

    I also like Diane’s point that, “The archives of their learning are also an archive of their development as digital citizens”. While Jay brings up a great point about the inability to access information in formats no longer available. I’ve heard of entire districts being unable to transfer information from an old blogging platform so those kinds of losses continue even now. How long before computers are made without a cd drive?

    Learning Lounge asks “Do we archive the information or the learning?” True it is the ‘information’ that is archived, but that brings with it learning potential. As Claudia said, “Deleting traces is losing learning opportunities.” It is more than just semantics, there is learning to be had by properly archiving the ideas we share. Right now of the 7 comments shared above, two of them are trackbacks where this post has been linked to. I can print this page, but I’ll miss out on extended ideas and comments on these blogs.

    If my blog was suddenly deleted and unavailable to return to in any format, I’d argue that it was more than just ‘information’ lost for me.

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