Content Curation for Teachers
Have you ever felt that there is simply too much interesting, educational content on the web? Fortunately, there are also some great, free products out there that are hugely helpful when it comes to curating all of the many things one can read, watch, hear etc. on the web.
The beauty of taking control of your content by saving and organizing links is that you can quickly find, revisit or share content with others. By curating the web, one can essentially build up a library of data in the cloud with free applications. I know personally as a history teacher, I spend a lot of time surfing the web when I prepare lessons. In addition, through my own exploration of the web and thanks in large part due to services like Twitter, Google Plus, Stumble Upon, and YouTube, I come across things that I want to teach my students in the future. To begin to take control of your digital content, one needs only to make a decision about which tool or tools to use.
The content curation tools that I have found most useful are Pearltrees, Diigo and Evernote. Of utmost importance to these applications are the corresponding web extensions, which allow you to save a website to that specific service with a single click. All three of these services also have corresponding apps for phones and tablets.
Personal Use: The first tool that I fell in love with was Pearltrees because it allows you to lay out all web content into trees. Each time you click on the Pearltrees extension you create a pearl that you can drop into your trees. If you are a visual learner, Pearltrees is for you! You can easily build and remodel trees as you like.
Social Use: Also, if you would like to share your trees with friends/colleagues, you can easily “team up” to curate a tree together or, with a single click, you can send your pearls via email, twitter and Facebook. And, if you are interested, you can search topics or other users’ trees for useful content to add to your trees.
Personal Use: Diigo has a more complicated interface than Pearltrees but has some additional, spectacular features. Most notable is the ability to highlight and annotate websites with the diigo extension. The highlighting feature makes rediscovering content easier. If you like quotations or statistics, Diigo is for you! A key difference is that unlike Pearltrees, Diigo organizes everything you bookmark linearly. Provided you highlight and use tags, however, this shouldn’t be a problem, just a difference between the services in terms of viewing and finding saved content.
Social Use: Diigo allows you to create “groups” where multiple users can contribute and share content through Diigo. Additionally, there are plenty of user-generated lists that you may be interested in joining. If you too are an educator try “Diigo in Education.”
Personal Use: Evernote is a slightly different service than the previously noted applications. Evernote is primarily a cloud-based note taking service but, with the Evernote extension, you can clip text and full websites straight into your notebooks. If you use notes in your line of work, Evernote makes your notebook compatible with everything you come across. You can even take pictures with your device and save them in your notebooks! Even if the picture depicts hand-written material, Evernote recognizes the words and they become searchable in your notebooks. The great advantage of Evernote is it allows you to create your own notes, pictures and web clippings all in one place while Pearltrees and Diigo are best served curating web content.
Social Use: Evernote does allow you to share notebooks with others though it is a service I don’t frequently use. Google docs in addition to the above applications serve me just fine in this capacity.