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Curation is a way of adding value to content so it’s effective for teaching and learning in in schools. The challenge faced by most educators who have taught for years is the transition into teaching in the 21st century schools, in that, educators must learn how to select, sort, and present digital content so it can be used effectively by students and teachers in schools.

What is content curation?

Content curation involves selecting quality digital content that is beneficial for learners, more specifically, curation is not just about “sharing” or “presenting” student work. Educators strive to organize and display material on a curation tool students can easily access to create a new and exciting experience, adding value and meaning to what has been curated for students. Curation is an awesome tool for scaffolding learning. Moreover, content curation is the process of sifting, sorting, arranging and organizing amongst a plethora on the web and presenting it in a thematic manner.

Why curate digital content?

Alternatively, curation is like finding the needles in the haystacks. Specifically, curation does not simply involve “collecting” curriculum content, because the process involves higher-level thinking skills in making decisions about “what is” and “what is not” useful, and examples in this process include:

  • making a high standard of digital resources and content available
  • grouping the resources in helpful ways
  • providing annotations to help your students’ understanding
  • giving context to the information — especially for learning objectives
  • saving students’ time
  • directing students towards quality resources for learning.

Additionally, curation online has shifted in the classroom from having students use search engines, such as Google, that generates a list of information to a narrowed, and streamlined focus sources. Robin Good, is a professional content curator. In a series of eight Youtube videos, http://amara.org/v/B0M4/ , Content Curation And The Future Of Search: What Is Content Curation? Howard Rheingold, and Robin Good describe what is content curation and how we can use it to inform and learn faster than we do now.

School library staff as content curators

Moreover, J. Valenza of Rutgers University, says, “Librarians are uniquely qualified to curate … they understand the curriculum and the specific needs and interests of their own communities …”

Curating content enables school library staff to:

  • position themselves as research experts
  • keep the library service relevant and appreciated
  • consult with educators.

When you curate your digital collection, you can support the learning in your school by collaborating with teachers. Get their help to:

  • clarify whether the information need is for inquiry or research
  • define its scope
  • understand the intended audience
  • decide on an appropriate presentation for the curated information
  • find ways to be involved in curriculum planning.

Teachers as content curators:

Specifically, teachers curate digital resources to help guide students with online resources, and to provide a starting point for research to enable students to recognize a quality resource (print, or digital). Examples of classroom teachers curating include:

  • help to prevent students from becoming overwhelmed by digital information
  • guide the development of students’ digital literacy skills in the process
  • scaffold learning how to navigate online information successfully.

Tools for content curation:

  • LiveBinders, http://www.livebinders.com is a powerful tool for professionals who wish to organize a diverse collection of resources into a streamlined package for sharing File uploads; Google docs; Web links; Videos; Surveys; and Presentations. 
  • Storify, https://storify.com to collect the best photos, video, Tweets and more from around the web and publish them as simple, beautiful stories embedded into your WordPress posts and pages. Chronicle an event through what people share, whether it’s a conference, wedding, election or natural disaster.
  • BagTheWeb, http://www.bagtheweb.com, to create focused bags containing the best links on a favorite topic. A bag is a hybrid media container that allows you to organize the links you find most interesting into a cohesive unit.
  • Pinterest, https://www.pinterest.com, a social network that allows users to visually share, and discover new interests by posting (known as ‘pinning’ on Pinterest) images or videos to their own or other boards (i.e. a collection of ‘pins,’ usually with a common theme) and browsing what other users have pinned.
  • Pearltrees, https://www.pearltrees.com, refers to itself as “a place for your interests”. Functionally the product is a visual and collaborative curation tool that allows users to organize, explore and share any URL they find online as well as to upload personal photos, files and notes.
  • MeFeedia, http://www.mefeedia.com, has developed Kids Videos to curate online video for safety and age appropriateness. Effectively, the goal of MeFeedia is to take the risk out of younger children having access to cutely titled YouTube videos with content meant for much older age groups. Kids Videos are a curated video application that brings a wide variety of safe, fun, and educational videos into one easy-to-use application.
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