Thing 5: Curation Tools

I am excited about using curation as a meaningful method for students to apply what they’ve learned about website evaluation and to experiment with it in a constructive way by building their own “collections of knowledge”. For my reading I chose Joyce Valenza’s article, Curation, to begin with. With her description of the art curator strategically juxtaposing various forms and periods of art to inspire critical thinking I was reminded of what we, as school librarians hope to achieve by creating text sets around a central topic, where the time spend reading, listening or viewing items in the set leads to learning that is more than the sum of its parts. And by organizing these resources in a visually appealing interface, such as pinterest, symbaloo, or scoop. it, rather than pathfinder-style links or annotated bibliographies, we keep things “hip” (which, ironically, isn’t a very hip term to use these days!) for our students while at the same time introducing them to modern curation tools they might try on their own.

Additionally I am liking the method as an alternative to having students build annotated bibliographies using a word processor. Beginning with topics they love (a hobby or area of interest) curating using popular digital tools becomes a gateway to understanding the purpose and qualifications of annotated bibliographies (including source selection) for traditional research assignments.

I will also be returning to Bill Ferriter’s article TEACHING KIDS TO CURATE CONTENT COLLECTIONS [ACTIVITY] for inspiration and ideas.

The first tool I decided to try was LearningPlaylist. Of course, then I had to think of a topic to teach that might be easy to assemble some resources. I chose How to teach website evaluation to students. This took me a crazy long time to do – not the fault of LearningPlaylist, just my stubbornness for finding “just right” resources for each step of the process. Long story short, I ended up with something I’m ashamed to post, but the exercise got me thinking. What impressed me about this tool is its ability to cite the source of each piece of media I used. I will definitely use this tool in the future once I have a collection of resources that I want to organize. Here is my futile effort:

Create your own Playlist on LessonPaths!

This post is not a testament to the amount of thinking, reflection, experimentation, and curating I accomplished as I moved through the Curation lesson and resources. Tomorrow I intend to try some of the other tools, such as socrative and before I move on to my next lesson choice. I will add these to the Cool Tools for Literacy pathfinder I’ve begun on my library website as a way to collect and share the tools I find most useful for my school population. Wow, I just realized the irony here: I am using the “same old” software of my OPALS-hosted library website while I just learned about these great curation tools! I wonder though -in consideration of my potential audience (teachers possibly using my pathfinder with their students) – if the traditional format of (list of pathfinder links) would appear more user-friendly to them. With that in mind, I think I will continue to add to my OPALS pathfinder and, at another time, convert it to one of the curation tools introduced in this lesson.

My first choice  for a curation tool was but, after re-reading Polly’s description of it,  I’ve learned it is no longer free. So I don’t want to invest any time in it. I’d like to find something other than pinterest. So I am going to pause here and make another selection. Unfortunately, I’ve put more than 4 hours into this lesson (probably much more than 4 hours) and haven’t created much in the way of evidence. But soon I will need to move on to another lesson so that I can move on to another “thing”.

Polly, do you have an alternative to suggest, other than pinterest? Possibly since the time you created Thing 5, you have another to recommend??? While I wait for your reply, I will look into symbaloo, since it seems to be a popular tool. Maybe it’s similar to

Added note: Have not tried symbaloo yet because I thought I’d do some google searches for “best curation tools”. I ended up searching the edutopia website and came up with the following article I’d like to explore some time in the future because it is more than content curation, it’s about finding a digital platform/tool (I’m still not clear on terminology)  for note-taking that can be accessed by a variety of devices.

Take Note: How to Curate Learning Digitally

The following excerpt is what has peaked my interest the most:  “I need to handwrite my notes rather than type them in order to support my learning.” Having read a few articles connecting handwriting (as opposed to typing) to better learning, this would be a concern of mine regarding digital notetaking. The author has chosen OneNote as her note-taking platform (as well as for curating her learning resources) so I am assuming it somehow offers the advantages that handwriting does for “learning while notetaking.” This will go on the back burner for now, though, because I need to devote time to other tech tools that have more immediate application to my workplace.

























2 thoughts on “Thing 5: Curation Tools

  1. Wow! You really went to town on this topic. Nice work! Symbaloo works well as a way to gather lots of links in one place. Some people use it as a web browser “start page”, a place to gather all their favorite links. Padlet can also work well as a quick and easy curation tool. You can’t reorganize things easily after you’ve added them. If your OPALS interface works for you and is familiar to the teachers and students, that works too. Love your idea of having students curate collections of stuff about their favorite topics/hobbies.


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