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.

 

1. Pearltrees

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.

 

2. Diigo

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.”

 

 

3. Evernote

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.

Nate Green

Nate Green

Educator

Nate Green (@mrshakedown) says: I teach, I coach, I lead. I enjoy technology, politics, sports and most of all, learning.

  • Marting

    great read..very helpful

  • http://twitter.com/cksyme Chris Syme

    Can’t live without Evernote on mobile.  Goofy personal use: making a note when I get in a parking garage of where I parked. 

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  • http://twitter.com/ratzelster ratzelster

    I love Diigo and Evernote.  But Pearltree has bugged me…in that I don’t get it.  I can’t see where it fits into my learning.  Can you explain more? 

  • Of3fo3ub

    congratulations one of the best articles i have ever read

  • http://twitter.com/tonihopponen Toni Hopponen

    Thanks for the great article! My favorite is Pearltrees as it allows you to create a mind map like experience with others.

    I’m building Flockler – a new curation tool, which you might be interested in to test. You can create your own curated magazine out of social media. See for example #finnedchat magazine sharing the ideas of Finnish education http://sormuju.flockler.com/magazine/finnedchat/2 

  • Sbaytosh

    Springpad is a compelling alternative to Evernote with a more visual interface and some nice web integration tools.

  • Nate Green

    Thanks for the heads up! I’ll check it out.

  • Nate Green

    Pearltrees works exactly like Diigo but you get to organize all of the things you save into personalized trees instead of a list (see screen shot). Use it like Diigo and also try “teaming up” with someone to build a tree together. It’s a great way to share. If you are still wondering how it can help, check out some of my trees!

  • Nate Green

    Thanks for your comment. I think Flockler is really interesting. It reminds me of scoop.it! and Flipboard.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1660005122 Min Hyoung Rei Kim

    At first, it felt little bit confusing to use the apps that you represented. However, I felt it was reaaly efficient when I was doing a group projects becasuse eventhough I write some facts or arguments about something, my group can support my claim because they have also read the same contents I read. I really appreciate your article. I’m really proud of you as my Histroy teacher.

  • http://twitter.com/tonihopponen Toni Hopponen

    Thanks! Flipboard is our inspiration – we want to offer a very visual way to share your passion. Let me know, if you would like to play around with Flockler Beta.

  • http://www.shareist.com/ Damien

    We will see more platforms tailoring curation services to the education space, and in particular for teachers in 2012. At Shareist, we have recognize this need and we are helping teachers collaborating and create valuable resources for students or their peers. Shareist websites like http://www.samharrelson.com/ and  http://www.merianna.net/ are the proof teachers need more tools to curate content.

  • http://twitter.com/OWStarr Oliver Starr

    Nate, Hi! I’m the Chief Evangelist for Pearltrees.  Thanks so much for your post. We really appreciated your coverage and are delighted that you find Pearltrees to be such a valuable tool.

    We’ve been hearing more and more from educators that find Pearltrees to be a valuable technology for teaching, organizing and collaborating with students and we’re keen to interact with educators like yourself so that we can learn more about how the product is being used in the classroom.

    It would be awesome if you and I could have a chat in the near future so I can learn more about your use of Pearltrees as well as your thoughts on how we can engage with more teachers and students in the future.  You can reach me through twitter @owstarr:disqus 
     or via email oliver dot starr at pearltrees dot com.

    Thanks!

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