Curating Curation

I noticed this tweet last night from Laura Gogia:

Curating curation is what my class at Northeastern University spent this past week doing in EDU6323!

My point for the week was that one of the major issues we as educators (and society) have today is that we have access to too much information. This can be overwhelming and time consuming.  But as Clay Shirky has pointed out, the issue is not really information overload but filter failure.  And curation is a form of filtering.  In recent years content curation and media sharing tools have become increasingly popular.  I wanted to give my students some experience using a media sharing tool, and as part of the process, to learn about a major influencer in the field of educational technology.  Their activity this week:

  • Choose a curation tool (Storify, Learnist, Scoopit, Pinterest, or Pearltree).  We had already been using Diigo for the past four weeks, so this was an opportunity to try something different.
  • Next, choose one of the people I listed and do a little research to find some websites, articles, videos, and/or blogs, etc., that helps demonstrate how these people have influenced educational technology.  Their options:
  • Curate some information using the tool you selected. Just include 5-6 pieces of information that explains their role in educational technology.
  • Share a link of your curation in the Weekly Discussion, adding in your thoughts about what you learned about the influencer, as well as the tool you chose to use.

Out of 14 graduate students, someone used each of the five tools suggested, though Pinterest was the most popular.  Of the nine influences suggested, seven were selected by someone, with Arne Duncan being the most popular.  The curations were shared and viewed by all, and the most common comment was about ease of use.  Several noted that they were sharing their tools with their colleagues.

Several students noted that student activities associated with building and sharing curations ties in with Miller’s Minds Online book and her chapters on Attention, Memory and Thinking.  As one student noted:

“…First of all, I think curation can greatly help learners improve memory. Take Learnist for example, when you work on a particular topic, Learnist … seemed like a search engine, but it differed from Google or Bing. There was a brief description of a topic, followed by links, YouTube videos, and short accounts of what the link would entail. Through different resources, and repetition, it could be very helpful for learners to stay focused and improve their memory on the topic they work on. Also, they are great tools to incorporate multimedia effectively. From pictures to videos, from visuals to audios, they can engage learners to make choices about moving within the material in meaningful ways and give students more control of the outcomes.”

I also had my students watch Mike Wesch‘s Anthropological Introduction to YouTube. 

The statistics blew many away.  One noted that she had not realized that YouTube was only 10 years old.  One of the more insightful tweets was this one from David:

A huge take-away for many students was the community aspect of YouTube.  The tie-in between community and networked learning really jumped out at them.

So…a good week curating curation.  Next week, my students are revamping a lesson to demonstrate how they might incorporate some of the concepts we have explored over the past nine weeks.  I am looking forward to seeing their creativity!

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