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Curating and Professional Learning

26 Jun

One of the reasons I set up this blog was to provide a space which allowed me to follow issues in technology and education as part of my line function for staff training in the field of ICTs in education. I had originally set up a wiki on the school intranet for this purpose, but found that both the wiki and the blog served different purposes. While the wiki allowed me to present information in a logical manner, it didn’t really allow for commentary and advocacy to the same extent as the blog. I didn’t really just want to introduce new applications or technology to our staff – I wanted to talk about how it could be used in the classroom.

However, blogging did not really allow me to present the volume of information that is really required in order to present a more comprehensive coverage of latest trends and developments. So, after a while. I added a link on the school Moodle to my paper.li digest, which draws in articles and feeds from my twitter and Facebook links. This allowed me to pull all kinds of up-to-date coverage right onto the Moodle front page, with no more effort than following interesting people on Twitter and Facebook! Paper.li is a web-based service which allows you create a digital “paper”. It pulls in articles and posts which meet particular search criteria from those you follow on Twitter or Facebook. By using educational search terms I ensure that the bulk of my paper, The DigiTeacher Digest deals with educational stories. It is updated daily. To get good feeds into the paper I simply need to make sure that I follow the right people, people who post links to interesting stuff!

This type of curatorship of content is almost effortless. I know some of my colleagues believe that I spend hours each day putting it together, and of course I have done nothing to disabuse them of this notion. However, it is a bit hit and miss. You can never be sure of what content will be pulled into the paper, and what will go neglected.

So I set up an account on Scoop.it which allows you to curate content based on “suggestions” made according to search terms you specify and the people you choose to follow. The difference with scoopit, is that you need to manually add entries to your “paper”. This is more time-consuming, but does ensure that the end result better represents the needs of your intended audience.

As it turned out, the main audience was me. I had intended to use Scoopit in a similar way to my paper.li account, but I found that I was by and large adding content which I did not have time to read, but wanted bookmarked. As such I was in effect bookmarking my own content. This is a very effective tool, and has saved me endless angst as content is so easy to find.
 
Nevertheless I have placed the embed code from the scoop.it page on the school Moodle. By tweaking the code that can be placed on any HTML page, I am able to control how many posts are pulled through, and how they display on the page. This makes it a very effective way in which to distribute content to a group such as faculty or students. I have used it to pull particular content through into the Staff Training page on the school Moodle, so that teachers can browse a range of topics around the issue of technology and education. This is an effective way of making content available. It could work very well for a classroom situation as well, and provides another aspect of infrastructural support for a Flipped Classroom environment. For example, one could curate content around a particular topic and then pull that through onto the class blog site or Moodle page to make a series of videos or articles available to a class for a particular unit of work.
 
I had never thought of using curatorship for any purpose beyond professional development, but what started as a staff training idea turned into a selfish process of bookmarking and then an idea for delivering flipped content. Pretty neat!
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