... was used in the production of this book".
That should have been the little tag line at the end of each of the books my third graders produced this year for our school's annual Young Author's Conference. Not exactly leading edge web 2.0 stuff, but in the world of an elementary school, where glue sticks, markers, scissors, pencils, and crayons are the tools every child uses to produce a "book" in our celebration of literacy and authorship, this was pretty cool. It was a big deal.
A few weeks ago we got a slick color laser printer (HP 2605DN), thanks to the generous parents of my kids. It can duplex print, so I went out and bought heavy glossy paper for the pages and printable card stock for covers. The kids wrote from the get go in Word, writing, revising and editing on our classroom computers. Several of them posted rough drafts of some of their chapters on their blogs. The illustrations ended up slicker than whatever, as the kids photographed their artwork with our ancient Mavica and inserted those images into their digital stories. Many brought in photographs from home, took pictures of those pictures, and inserted them. They thought this was pretty cool, and they learned an amazing amount of technical stuff oh so quickly.
Not one glue stick. Not one curling up corner of a paper stuck onto another paper to try and look professional. No smeared crayon or runny paint job. These look pro. Looks do matter, you know. And of course they can be reproduced again and again, being totally digital. My kids will have them as one of the many pieces on a CD they will each get in four weeks to document much of their work this year.
Their third grade work might have been stuck in a box, stored and forgotten in an attic or under the stairs like mine was/is. Maybe it would have ended up in the back of a teacher's file cabinet in a file folder. Some of their work may go that route. But it also can and will exist on a CD, in storage online, on a flash drive, on a hard drive, a DVD, on a blog, and who knows what other media.... to be retrieved - and edited, improved, and built upon - in an instant. Forever.