How Can Web 2.0 Curation Tools Be Used in the Classroom?

| August 3, 2011 | 7 Comments
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“Curation” may be one of the big buzzwords of 2011. As the amount of information accumulates thanks to the Web, it becomes increasingly important that we use tools to help us find information that’s relevant and useful.

The role of the curator has always been to help pull together and oversee collections of materials. But just as Web 2.0 has expanded the traditional role of publisher to almost anyone, the role of curator now too is changing. Anyone can “curate” online material, pulling together their own collections.

There are a number of tools that enable this. Social bookmarking may be the most well-known, with services like Delicious and Diigo, for example, enabling people to tag and save interesting blog posts and websites. By following others who use these sites, you can not only handle your own curation efforts, but subscribe to the things that other people have deemed important.

“Curation offers a context on the biggest learning playground the world has ever known.”

That’s another vital part of the act of curation: what other people have deemed important. Curation isn’t a matter of algorithms or recommendation engines telling you what you might like to read based on your past viewing or buying habits. Curation involves people — those who have both the skills and the knowledge to piece together their various collections.

While the Web has perhaps democratized who can be an expert, we do still prefer to turn to those with specific backgrounds and from specific professions, especially when it comes to education.One interesting new curation tool is Scoop.it. With Scoop.it, you can set up particular topics that you’re interested in. The service crawls the web, looking for content based on your keywords. It suggests materials to you, which you can choose to “scoop” if you like. You can also mark materials you find on your own (made easy with the use of a “bookmarklet” that lets you tag material as you browse), as well as include suggestions from others. Scoop.it then presents this material in a Flipboard-like interface, a more visual way of presenting the content, perhaps, than just a list of bookmarks and the like.

Despite being in beta, Scoop.it has seen some uptake from educators, and there are a number of curated resources there already: Learning Process and Mobility, Alternative Education, iPads and Education, for example.

Scoop.it is interested in developing this tool for use in the classroom: “Curation also brings the possibility to build around a specific topic or subject of research an interactive discussion between the teacher and his or her students. Suddenly the room is open, without being an organic process without any structure. Curation offers a context on the biggest learning playground the world has ever known.”

Curation was once the purview of experts and professionals who collected and preserved resources. But Web 2.0 curation opens the door for others, including for students.

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  • Robin SellersEDU

    Thanks for the post. I’m curating a technology integration Scoop.it at http://www.scoop.it/t/technology-integration with the goal of providing classroom teachers with resources for using technology in their classrooms.

  • http://twitter.com/tchrmom2boys Heather Peretz

    I have been “curating” 2 pages on scoop.it  http://www.scoop.it/u/heatherperetz with the hope that I will be able to use it with my middle school students this year. My biggest concern is that they will continually hit roadblocks because to the district filter. Love it’s visual display of the information and the options for sharing and appreciation.

  • http://DrThomasHo.com Dr. Thomas Ho

    I’ve included curation with Diigo in my students’ “learn streams” for several years because I firmly believe in curation to learn critical thinking, collaboration, and communication. You can see more about my experiments at http://about.LearnStream.info and http://purdue.academia.edu/DrThomasHo (see teaching documents)

  • http://twitter.com/Leacy2 Paul Leacy

    Great blog post! I’m using scoop.it at the moment and find it excellent for finding and organising useful information about what I am interested in. The interface is great and I’ve even done a little customising to mine to make it look even nicer. My topic is called 21st Century School and looks at technology integration in today’s schools. http://www.scoop.it/t/21st-century-school 

  • Wolfgang Böhl

    Great post. I have started my own little curation project which allows to curate information from the web in beautiful slideshows. It is not quite like scoop.it, but also about bringing information together by theme. Here are some examples:

    http://slidestaxx.com/lesson-plan-resources-teacher-librarians

    http://slidestaxx.com/mesopotamia

  • http://searchteam.com Ty Wahlbrink

    Curation does have a huge potential in the classroom. With the multitude
    of educational resources and documents on the web, it can almost be hard to find
    what you need in a specific subject these days. The company I work for, Zakta,
    recently launched a collaborative search and curation tool called SearchTeam.com
    that allows users to search together in a share space and to curate results in
    that space, vote and comment on those results, share opinions in the form of
    posts, and even upload relevant documents into the space. These shared spaces
    can be private to a group of people, or made public for anyone to view. Early
    feedback from educators indicate powerful classroom applications including
    collaborative information sharing with students, as well as enabling students to
    do their group projects and collaborative research projects readily using this
    tool. The future of educational technology is certainly exciting!

  • http://twitter.com/jamie_roche Jamie Roche

    We believe that the key to curation is not the identification of content.  This can be done with search engines.  It is the collection and scoring of content that matters.  If, in the process of researching a topic, you start with Google, you will inevitably find Wikipedia near the top and then a large number of articles that paraphrase the Wikipedia content.  It is much more valuable to find a single quality source and then look at what other content that source has found.

    Also, we find that bookmarking is not adequate.  Content changes, and even when it does not change, it can be difficult to remember as you pass from source collection to analysis and synthesis, why you stored that link.

    Be are building a solution http://bo.lt  where you can replicate pages and store them on our page cloud.  They don’t change or go away and you can share them.