Whether that stuff is blog posts to get a pulse on what is happening in the edusphere or researching new tools to share with teachers, I come across a wide variety of resources that I need to save, catalog, and be able to come back to later. Content curation is a large part of my day.
The Internet has allowed us to retrieve as much information on any topic from pretty much any source we want. Wading through the junk can be tough. We have to rely on the collective knowledge of our friends and colleagues to help us sort the good from the bad. (Because remember, alone we are smart but together we are brilliant).
Museum curators perform similar tasks. Their job is to gather artifacts and to assemble them to tell a story. Different exhibits have different purposes, with different types of resources all assembled to be informational, intentional, or inspirational. Now imagine if those curators gathered all those items and either never organized them in a logical way, or, worse yet, never shared them with the world.
When educators are gathering resources for learning we have to think like the museum curator. What resources can we gather that will tell the story we need to tell? Perhaps we are looking for sites or ideas to teach a certain concept or articles for professional development. How will they be gathered, vetted, organized, and shared?
Finding resources may be easy. A simple Google search will reveal millions of sites on any topic. What is important for educators and students alike to remember about content curation is employing the important digital literacy skills. I see it too often: educators and students saving resources that they don’t evaluate for effectiveness or even accuracy. Imagine if the museum curator gathered artifacts and didn’t see if they were the real thing or appropriate for the exhibit. Good digital literacy skills are necessary for every resource curator.
Once we find the good resources we have to be able to store it and find it again. Having good tools at our disposal is crucial so that the hard work we go through to vet resources doesn’t go to waste. These tools also allow us to share our learning and curated resources, adding to the global knowledge.
And for me, the work of curation isn’t done until we create a way to share what we’ve gathered with others. And really, learning is about sharing. So curation should be about sharing what we’ve gathered with the world so others can learn from our collections.
Content curation is an important part of my learning and professional development process. I get a great deal of information from services like Twitter and blogs I read. That’s the easy part. The more challenging is the filtering of the information and saving it for later so I can find it. But it is something I work on everyday because I know how important it is to not only my learning but the learning of the colleagues in my network. We all learn and grow from each other. Curation helps extend our knowledge far beyond our own.