On Wednesday 25 January we ran a TEL Me About workshop on using online content curation tools and how content curation can be seen as a core competency when it comes to Digital Capability. All of the tools mentioned in this post are free, web-based tools that anybody can use. You can either sign into them with existing social media accounts or set up separate accounts with your email address.
Storify allows you to create a narrative using posts from a variety of different social media platforms and websites. I have used it myself on many occasion to curate tweets from a particular event or on a particular topic, using the hashtag associated with that event. Most recently, I created a Storify of the tweets from Talking About Teaching 2017.
As well as pulling in tweets to feature in a Storify, you can add posts from Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Soundcloud, Tumblr and more. You can paste links from anywhere on the web into a Storify timeline and intersperse the posts with text to explain why a particular post has been included or to add more context to your Storify timeline. You can then share your Storify on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites, as well as embedding it into a blog or web page.
— TEL @ YSJ (@YSJTEL) January 23, 2017
The weekly tweetchat for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (#LTHEchat) always release a weekly Storify of their latest chat that summarises the key themes. Perfect for those who were unable to make the ‘live’ event but still want to catch up with the conversation and engage with fellow tweeters.
TES Teach with Blendspace
Blendspace joined forces with TES Global in 2015 to grow from a small edtech start-up to the popular product used in classrooms all over the world. With Blendspace you can combine a variety of different types of content into digital ‘lessons’. You can then share the direct link to your online lessons with students or embed them into a blog or Moodle course.
When building your lesson you can search within the Blendspace platform for content from YouTube, TES resources, Google and embed content directly from Google Drive or Dropbox. You can also upload files, add images and create quizzes to accompany your content. There is also a comments feature within Blendspace that you can use for discussions with students. Trainee teachers might find this resource particularly useful, due to the in-built TES Resources. See the example of a Blendspace lesson that I showcased in the workshop.
You may have already noticed our YSJ TEL Weekly that we tweet out every Friday lunchtime. Paper.li is a platform that lets you create online ‘newspapers’ by pulling in content from a number of different places. Our Paper.li paper is set up to pull in links tweeted by people on our TEL Teams and YSJ Tweeps Twitter lists, as well as posts from our blog and any links that we tweet on our own timeline. You can add as many options as you want from Twitter, RSS feeds, YouTube and Google+ to your Paper.li. You can also manually add links to content. You can narrow down what is displayed from each source by changing your settings to omit or include certain keywords. You can then choose whether your online paper is updated daily, weekly or monthly and can set it to automatically tweet your paper from your Twitter account. Paper.li is a ‘freemium’ tool, but if you wanted to upgrade you could also connect your LinkedIn and Facebook account.
Paper.li could be used to draw your students’ attention to additional online content to accompany a particular topic. For example, linking to professional organisations or academics in your discipline to pull in any links they will be sharing via social media. Students could also create their own as part of a formative task or even for their own personal use as a way to keep track of relevant online content.
Pinterest is a platform that lets you build virtual noticeboards on particular topics or themes. Each ‘pin’ that you add to a Pinterest board contains an image and a short description, as well as the original poster of that particular pin. Pinterest is particularly good for educational infographics, such as the pins on the Teaching and Learning Pinterest Board curated by Phil Vincent.
Not only could you use Pinterest as a lecturer to curate Pinterest boards for your own personal use, you could introduce Pinterest as part of formative work on a module or encourage students to use it for themselves to curate their own content to aid their learning. You can create collaborative Pinterest boards with other users, which would be perfect for group projects or even just sharing resources and learning collaboratively. The video below is an in-depth tutorial for using Pinterest for education.
Curation as a core competency for Digital Capability
Not only would using online tools to curate digital content improve your own digital skills, content curation can be seen as a core component of students’ digital capability. The six elements in Jisc’s Digital Capability framework include information, data and media literacies, digital creation, innovation and scholarship and communication, collaboration and participation. Students could develop their skills in all of these areas by using the tools mentioned above and effectively curating online content would also develop their Graduate Attributes in the areas of digital literacy, communicating information and researching.
As part of the TEL Me About workshop, I also shared an article by Paul Mihaildis and James N Cohen on Exploring Curation as a core competency in digital and media literacy education, which specifically looks at how curation can work in the classroom and explores six teaching points for using Storify:
- Where top down and bottom up meet – the article authors ask students to curate posts from ‘official’ news sources on a particular world event in the first instance, then contrast this with public opinion on social media to see where the similarities and differences occur.
- Integrating mediums, messages and platforms – in today’s digital society, working across platforms in a variety of different mediums is very relevant for developing information and digital literacy skills. Storify’s ability to pull in content from a variety of social media platforms and websites would require students to have the knowledge and skills of how these platforms are used.
- Sources, voices and credibility online – this approach would allow students to use Storify’s in-built text tool to add a ‘meta-narrative’ between the sources they’ve chosen, to explain the rationale for including certain sources over others.
- Framing, bias, agenda and perspective – a way to stimulate discussion on how information and audiences can sway the meaning of stories in significant ways, depending on the agendas and values of those sharing the information.
- Appreciating diversity – this approach can allow for appreciation of the sheer number of diverse voices in online spaces and how many of these diverse viewpoints can have implications for those in positions of power or those who are oppressed.
- Empowering civic values and civic voices – tied into this approach could be an awareness of digital footprints and the possible consequences of public posts in online spaces. Mihaildis and Cohen believe that digital curation pedagogy should be about empowering individual agency around expression, community and value and that students need to be aware of the responsibility that lies with participating in online spaces.
Are you using any of the tools mentioned in this post as part of your teaching? Do you use any other tools to curate content for yourself or your students? Are you a student that uses these tools for yourself but would like to see them incorporated into your classroom sessions? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our next Tel Me About workshop is on Student Engagement Tools and takes place on Monday 6 Feb at 12:00. Visit our Eventbrite Page to book a place. We also have a number of other workshops scheduled for Semester 2.
Blog post featured image licensed under a Creative Commons licence by [MP] on Flickr.
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On this blog you will find posts from Phil, Jo and Suzy, the TEL team, but we also welcome contributions from other YSJ staff and students on the matter of Technology Enhanced Learning and Digital Capability. If you would like to contribute to this blog then please contact the TEL team: TEL@yorksj.ac.uk