The Podcast: Worth Keeping

Today’s podcast is a continuation of some thinking that came out of a roundtable conversation that I had at Learning 2.0: A Colorado ConversationKarl reminds me that I’ve been forgetting to share here on the blog lately.  I’ll try to do better.

As always, I’m interested in your thoughts.

Link to the Audio

12 thoughts on “The Podcast: Worth Keeping

  1. Thanks. It’s a good start . . .

    I’d like the next installment to delve a little more into what a comprehensive system might look like (that “suite of options” you mention) – with some specifics (even while realizing that that must be pretty flexible for different schools/districts).

    You touched on this near the end, but will the things you’ve setup outlive you if you were to leave St. Vrain? Will students and teachers really be able to get their stuff out if need be on their own? (e.g., how does a student get all their work out of moodle in a usable form if St. Vrain has to lay off some of their IT staff?)

    And, how “open” is Moodle in the first place? I know, I know, I need to learn it better, but it seems pretty separated from the rest of the web and reinforces the idea that student work is for school, and not for both themselves and the wider world. (And I know that’s its appeal for a lot of folks, but not me.) And doesn’t so much of this go back to what we are doing in the first place, whether it’s “rich and meaningful and worthwhile” to do in the first place?

    What delineates the difference between stuff that’s just “in the moment” and is okay to do on a free tool simply because the learning is in the experience and not the archive, and something that is “worth keeping?” Do we always know that before we start an assignment/project? Who decides what’s worth keeping? And do we sometimes value the product too much and want to keep it, when really we should be valuing the learning that took place in the moment?

    As always, lots of questions from here in the peanut gallery, but not a lot of insights. Looking forward to the next podcast – and some of those draft posts seeing the light of day.

    Karl Fischs last blog post..AWNM Video Conference: Tech Setup, Ustream Archive and Pictures

  2. Free tools and their role in learning…or not?

    Do you get what you pay for? Where is the concrete content from our learning? How do we build our own infrastructure?Where does the obligation come in? Does the collection of data really equate to digital footprints in the concrete or in the snow?

    Your posts makes me think for sure…

    I view my job as a K-6 educator as a cookie crumb visual. I’m setting the stage for questioning and creating as the students grows into adulthood. It’d be great for my students to follow the trail back in their learning and build on their own schema in a concrete way like you mention. However, If I can spark creativity, or thirst for knowledge or answers with a “free” disposable tool , than more times than not I feel that I’ve done a great job. Using Dvolver won’t make my students the best movie makers, and you’re right, it’d be awesome if they could look back at a 3 minute dialogue driven animation a few years from now and build off of it, but the lesson wasn’t driven by the tool, the lesson was the writing, and the tool was the inspiration or carrot. (We are missing it as teachers, or facilitators of knowledge, if we let the tool drive the instruction) The memory will be the carrot or the video, and the lesson ideally made them enjoy writing at a time when most boys in particular bow out. You are definitely on to something…how concrete is our digital footprint; but I wouldn’t be as quick to say that some of these “throw aways” are truly “throwaways”. I have asked “lifelines” to come back and wiki-blog with the next year’s 6th graders, for support and reflection, and their sites are still good three years later. And I think they’re okay with it going away, maybe even expect it because the products were “then” and they’re in the “now”. There’s learning taking place in their reflective posts, and theirs learning gleaned form the students today. Are we feeding the “now” with these tools and is this part of the makeup of todays digital learner? I have no idea!

    I do know that I don’t have the product from great assignments I completed as a kid, but I do have the memories and passion from teachers that were outside the box or thinking beyond the rest of my teachers. Did they save my work? I don’t know, would it be cool if they did, maybe, but more importantly to me today and in my college years was that I gained a passion for the question and a drive to learn what I didn’t “have to.”

    No wonder Karl asks so many questions listening to you all the time. 🙂

    Thanks for making me think

    Michael Wackers last blog post..Open Ed and Microblogging…Tweet Tweet

  3. Good thoughts, Bud. I’d like to talk more about this with you and others.

    Your point is well taken that “free” does not imply “good” and that we have to be careful with who owns our stuff. I also am embarrassed by educators who sell themselves short by basically selling out for whatever is “free” that day. (Do NOT get me started about people who go to education technology conferences for the “free stuff…”)

    I would also argue, though, that “free” does not necessarily mean “bad” — especially in terms of a product like Google Apps for Education that is vetted and in use by some well-known colleges, universities, and K12 districts.

    Naturally, there needs to be some coaching around that, too, and that’s our job as teachers and educators. Would I keep a working chapter of my dissertation on GDocs so I could access it from different computers? Sure. Would I keep the one-and-only copy of my dissertation in GDocs? No way. It’ll be backed up on 3 memory sticks, my NAS, my Dropbox, and on every computer I own.

    So I guess what I’m not-very-eloquently trying to say is that, as usual, we need the best tool for the job. Just because something does not cost anything does not mean that it’s “the first free thing that comes along.” And just because something has a cost doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a good thing.

    Great thoughts, Bud! Thanks for making me think!

  4. Great points Scott. I think that the question would then become what makes the best tool? It seems clear that Bud thinks that the longevity and dependability are crucial. I have to agree, but so many of these are so new, how do we know?

  5. This is a topic that I have struggled with as a teacher since I started my career five years ago. My students and I create and share a ton of digital content each year. Even though we have used many different tools, most of the content we have created is still available, and accessible online.

    I’ve also increasingly moved away from the thinking that all the tools we use in class should be free. I think the price that many Web 2.0 services are asking is more than fair. For example, I paid $60 for a Vimeo Pro account and it’s been an amazing place for us to host and share our videos this year.

    I also think it’s important to save your content in more than one place ( as Scott states). Most of the videos we host on Vimeo, Google Video, and YouTube are also backed up on external hard drives and DVD’s. Some students also make it a point to get copies of their digital work for their own keeping.

    What I find interesting is that most schools really don’t talk about this stuff. So if you want to save and organize digital content, the burden is on you as a teacher to figure it out.

  6. I would also add that not everything is worth saving. Some online spaces serve as great spaces to flesh out and explore ideas. Content that is truly worth keeping ought to be housed locally anyway. In the case of blogs for example, I wonder about the use of publishing from Word or other desktop apps? Videos are almost always stored locally as well as photos.

    While I agree that we should be thinking more seriously about digital content, I think that most work of students is done in a sandbox. Disposable.

    How much of my work or even my own kids work has been saved over the years. Pretty much nothing. The odd cute drawing maybe. Recently my kids have done a few video projects that have been kept on our home network.

    In reality, very little work of our students is so precious, it needs archiving. I’m waiting for a push back on that. 😉

  7. Lots of excellent conversation here – I’ll attempt to respond a bit:

    Karl – So many good questions, as always, which is why I’m bugging you via e-mail about the next podcast, the one where we talk through your questions.

    Michael & Scott – Some good points. Yes, we do some work that’s throwaway, and that we don’t need to worry about after the fact. And, no, free and good are not polar opposites. Plenty of free stuff is good and plenty of good stuff isn’t free. And vice versa, I think.

    George – One thing that teachers shouldn’t have to do is to go into their own pockets to handle the data that should be handled by their schools and/or districts.

    Dean – You’re getting into some of the reasons I think we should be saving work in the first place. Certainly, we are not talking about keeping everything, and there’s plenty of practice that happens that might not need to stick around.

    And yet.

    We can’t say that we need lots and lots of data to measure student growth out of one side of our mouths and then say that their work isn’t precious out of the other side.

    We can’t say that the work our students do is unimportant and not worth keeping and looking at later and they say that their educations are so important.

    We can’t ask kids to do meaningless and unimportant work, work not worth looking at and saving, day in and day out for 13 years.

    As a language arts teacher, I rarely asked for something that wasn’t precious. What kind of schools are we providing if all our students do is throwaway busy work?

    And if we are only asking kids to do meaningless stuff, then I want that documented, too, so that we can change.

    Our kids deserve that. And so do our societies.

    Bud Hunts last blog post..I’ll Miss You, Rocky. Thanks for Everything.

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