I have been experimenting with curation tools for many years. The urge to organise information and collections is part of being a Teacher Librarian. Teacher Librarians are experienced in finding, selecting, evaluating and sharing print and digital collections. As Valenza says human filters, such as librarians can turn overwhelming amounts of information into “gentle and continuous streams” (2012, para 2). The prevalence of digital curation tools in recent years means that digital collections can be shared in highly visual ways. A good example of this is in the right frame of my blog where I have my Pearltrees embedded.
A great blog post by Kay Oddone appeared in my Feedly feed last month that sowed the seed for my digital artefact proposal. Kay’s blog post spoke about the need for not only Teacher Librarians to be curators but for them to get their students involved too. As a networked learner, I commented on Kay’s blog post and even got to interact with curation guru Robin Good!
Storify is a tool that is commonly mentioned in the literature as a good digital curation tool for students. I had dabbled with it before for compiling tweets at conferences but I wanted to explore it further. Using Storify I followed a tip that Joyce Valenza mentioned in a video about social media curation at the Cue 2016 National Conference. Her tip was to search within curation tools. It sounds obvious but it was not something that I was doing all that often. I found a few gems that I had not discovered by doing a Google search by searching within Storify. See below for my Storify experiment.
Valenza, J. K. (2012). Curation. School Library Monthly, 29(1).
Over the past ten years, content curation tools have evolved from social bookmarking sites such as Delicious and Diigo, to the more sophisticated and visually oriented sites available today. Most are web based applications that can be used on a computer and many also provide apps so that they can be used on mobile devices.
Teacher librarians have been finding, analysing, selecting, organising and sharing print resources for many years and are well placed to take on the role of content curator. As Valenza says teacher librarians know their community and understand the curriculum “we are used to taming information flow to facilitate discovery and knowledge building” (2012, para 5). Rhondda Powling (2013) also emphasizes the skills of the teacher librarian in selecting the best and most relevant content and adding value to it with annotations. Content curation tools can increase the visibility of online resources and extend the library beyond its physical boundaries. Valenza also points out a content curation tool “can also promote and lead users back to valuable print materials” (2012, para 12).
With businesses in mind, De Rossi and Good (2010) identified the attributes of good curation tools. Flintoff, Mellow & Clark (2014) adapted these attributes for education. Most tools I have experimented with are capable of the first five points but I am yet to find a tool that covers points six and seven also.
A good curation tool allows you to:
Aggregate and gather web pages specific to the topic
Filter content to allow the curator to select the best material
Publish to your collection with ease
Share, syndicate and distribute to your audience and the wider community
Allow the curator to edit and add comments as well as providing a comment stream for the audience to nurture discussion around the article
Analytics so you can track the usage of the site
An export facility or a way to backup the curated work
(Flintoff, Mellow & Clark, 2014, para 7)
My content curation “sandbox” currently consists of: Scoop.it, Pinterest, Educlipper, Pearltrees, Diigo and Flipboard. I have personal accounts for recreational and professional learning. So far, the school library accounts have been experiments in raising the profile of digital resources to support curriculum. Now I want to consolidate my content curation skills and determine which tools are most suited to my school library.