Friday, May 31, 2013

So much online, its time to sort it all out ….

For years now I’ve been cruising the online world for resources, ideas, insights, inspiration and creativity with lots of success. In the past, I would bookmark what I’d like to come back to, sent myself an email or worse still write up a sticky note for myself. I’ve made Word doc lists of weblinks and collected resources for students on our school Portal.

The exponential growth of the things I’m thinking about, following and saving has forced me to take a fresh look at how best to collect and keep all those great online resources.

There's probably not just one tool to do the job, but several out there that have varying features that will suit what I'm looking for. Here’s my list of essential curation tools and their features.

Twitter: Although not strictly a curation tool, it can be used as one for all those great tweets you have read and want to keep. I use the ‘favourite’ tool here and then look back on those essential tweets at a later date. Its great to trawl back now and again to find hidden and rare gems of knowledge.
Twitter is also a great way to record an event - conference or meeting. Rather than taking notes (which I never look at later), my tweets and the tweets of others are collected under a #hashtag and then are grouped for later viewing and reflection.

Pinterest: Pinterest is a visual online collection tool. Its taken off in the design world for obvious reasons, but plenty of teachers are on there as well. You can pretty much search any topic on pinterest and you find boards created by lots of passionate people. You can create multiple boards which is a great way of sorting your topics. Pinterst makes it easy to ‘pin’ things you see on websites once you add a bookmarklet to your toolbar. Its also available as a mobile app. As well as creating your own boards, you can browse the boards of others, repin their great finds and share your boards with others. Its great to follow other pinners who are pinning on similar topics of interest. The home feed is a collection of pins from pinners and boards you follow. It's updated every time someone you follow adds a pin.

Educlipper: Educlipper is Pinterest for education. There is a student and teacher account. Creator Adam Bellow is well know around education circles as the founder of EduTecher, a website with oodles of information about web 2.0 tools. It’s an easy way for educators to work with one another by sharing their own favorite links and creating a Personal Learning Network (PLN) in the process. The platform is school friendly and safe for students to use. Captuing and sending educational material quick and easily – articles, lesson plans, resources, images, it has endless possibilities for teachers and students.
Here's Educlippers vidoe introduction: 

Scoop it! creates your own online magazine. Browse and share articles, websites and resources online by “scooping” them onto your own “topics”pages. You can create multiple pages on different topics that interest you. Scoop it tracks your interests and offers you updated recommendations for you to read/view and rescoop if you like it. You can create blog-like entries by entering your own title, image, and text. There are several sharing mechanisms, widgets for your website and blog, buttons for your website or blog that link to your profile, an RSS feed for your Topic, or an easy to share Topic URL. If you would also like to use social networking tools to publicize your topic, you can share your scoops by posting to Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Tumblr and WordPress accounts.

Livebinders is a different style of curation and appeals to the very well organized amongst us. Livebinders is a virtual 3 ring binder complete with tabs and dividers. Livebinders allows sharing and collaborating and has a multitude of uses. They are a great way to keep everything you need for organising your teaching resources, resources for parents and students and they can also be used as an e-portfolio. Binders can be public or kept private and there’s plenty of binders shared online with other professionals so you’re sure to find lots of great resources on the site. There is an under 13 restriction, so not suitable for primary school students, but excellent for high school students and teachers to organise their professional resources.

Plenty of choice here and there are other products out there that do similar things but I think these are 5 of the best. Each has great features, each is slightly different and offer the ardent web trawler amazing ways of keeping and organizing their valued content.

Photo credit: 
Video Educlipper: 

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