Taking it with you

Two blog posts I read this morning reminded me again how important it is to think about the  longevity and permanence of our web work.

Class Blogmeister Retires After a 12-Year Run from David Warlick was a real blast from the past.  I started blogging, and helping teachers think about using a blog as a tool in their classroom, in 2006-2007. Then, as now, privacy and supervision were major considerations, and David’s Class Blogmeister has been a great service to classroom bloggers. 1,428,522 articles have been posted on the site!  Students who blogged in Year 6 when Class Blogmeister began are now out of university, and perhaps graduate school.  I wonder if they were encouraged to export or download their work, and take it with them in their “life’s scrapbook” or portfolio.

Alan Levine writes about Digital Durability? My Money is on the Individual.  The post  begins:

That project you are posting online, or maybe it’s a paper, maybe its a conference presentation, maybe it’s an OER– does it matter if it will be accessible in 5, 10, 20 years? How durable is your digital content? Is it hosted on someone else’s server? Is it constructed in a technology that will not be usable in the future?

At the time of putting something online, it seems rather durable. You can see it, others can. Do you think it will end up in that special room on the 4th floor of the internet?…

Do you have your first digital photos safely stored on floppy discs?  Still have a floppy disk reader?

Is that digital portfolio you’ve spent years refining backed up?  Can it be exported in a readable format?

If you’re working or studying in a school that asks you to store your work on its own server, or in the cloud of a particular company, will you be able to export it and take it with you in a readable format when you move on/retire/graduate? Do you regularly save your work to a private backup – an external drive, hard or cloud? Do you take screen shots of your work on line, to create a visual history of your web work? (If it happens to be Google Apps for Education, consider backing up/exporting from all the tools you’ve  used – Contacts, Gmail, Picasa web, Blogger, Maps, Bookmarks from Chrome, Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc. Remember that all the data connected to your school email account will disappear when the school terminates your email.  Read this blog post at Tech Savvy Educator for help.

If you’ve used your school email to create accounts on other web services, be sure to log in to those services and change your email settings, using a non-school email address, before your school email is terminated.

Don’t be so caught up in the present that you discount the use and value of your “old work” in the future.

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