Seven Effective Strategies for Using Curation Apps to Engage Students

Program Description:

Seven Effective Strategies for Using Curation Apps to Engage StudentsA few years ago, I began using Scoop.It! to collect and curate articles that I thought were important or interesting so that I could find them later and share them with my colleagues and peers. Since then, a number of other web services have begun to offer similar services for different purposes. Some of the most popular and widely used curation sites are:

Many of these web-based services also offer iPad and Android apps so that you can save items from where ever you happen to be when you find them.

Pinterest is a content curation site that has become enormously popular with teachers. Pinterest users spend hours collecting ideas, resources, items of interest, nostalgia and so on and so forth. Despite the popularity of Pinterest and other online resources for collecting and grazing for information, is that a worthwhile endeavor during valuable classroom time?

It seems the answer to that question lies in a teacher’s ability to discern exactly what type of curation meets the educational objectives of the lesson. We have to look at the process as a value added activity that goes beyond collecting and classifying information under certain themes or topics.

To add true educational value, teachers need to consider how the collecting and curating process adds to the understanding of the lesson objective.

  • How are the ideas connected? Will the curated content add to a depth of understanding for students studying a particular concept?
  • Will there be guidelines to decide what types of content will be collected?
  • How will the information be organized?
  • Will there be a unifying theme?
  • What is the “why” behind what is collected?
  • Is there a clear goal? How might curation be used to help students construct knowledge, as opposed to simply collecting reading material, videos, music, or other downloadable files?
  • How do we support students in the curation effort and be comfortable knowing that we are using technology in a manner that is supported by evidence?

Here are seven effective curation strategies that will engage students:

  1. Prepare an assignment with with materials and activities for your students and a curation tool such as Blendspace (formerly edcanvas) . Embed the canvas on a website, or possibly EdModo, for students to access during in-class projects or for outside assignments.
  2. Have students curate articles and web resources to provide a “how to” resource. For example, students might measure influence in social media, the impact of global climate change on the planet, or current issues related to a topic being studied in class. The key is that your goal is clearly aligned with the teaching objective and focused on curating in-depth information as opposed to just collecting a bunch of articles.
  3. Create a “board” that includes a variety of video, articles, pictures, tutorials, and infographics that highlight content for your curriculum objectives. For example: verb tenses or figurative language in English.
  4. Consider where students in your class are having difficulty and create a “board” that provides web-based options for learning and understanding the material better. These options can be accessed outside of school, thus providing double-dose access to the material.
  5. Have students curate articles, pictures, and video that spotlights a range of perspectives on an issue related to students’ lives, or a piece of material being read and discussed in the curriculum.
  6. Create a rubric that guides students in evaluating resources they choose to curate. In this way, curating can become an assessment tool.
  7. Aggregate, curate and create your own interactive textbook.

Are you using these, or other tools to curate information for your classes? If so, tell us what tools you use and how you use the information you collect.

Using iPads and Other Cutting Edge Technology to Strengthen Your InstructionFor more information about using technology to strengthen instruction, see Susan Fitzell’s book, Using iPads and Other Cutting Edge Technology to Strengthen Your Instruction.

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