Social content curation – a shift from the traditional

The notion of content curation is one that has traditionally been associated with libraries, archivies, galleries, or organisations working with objects or data in some way. For example, in the DCC Curation Lifecycle (UK) you will see a complex flow of the “appraise and select” activities which  requires data managers to “evaluate data and select for long-term curation and preservation”.

So ‘selection’ or ‘acquisition’ is then closely linked to a repository or institutional policy on collection development.

Now the extraordinary thing is that the term ‘curation’ has become one of the latest buzz-words in the social online sphere, which  has been transformed into an activity that is both about marketing and about organisation of the vast information flow that is delivered via social media.

Social networking has definitely provided us with main channels for information flow. But in Curation: Understanding the the social firehose we are introduced to the fact that mainstream news reporting not only contributes to or makes use of this social news firehose, but is now also getting involved in curation – because someone has to make sense of the flow of citizen reporting of events.

millions of tweets spewing out – different languages, mostly personal, some from people actually there, authorities, governments, media outlets, fake media outlets…you name it. And then someone has to make sense of it all – but if they do, the reward is possibly the most accurate, unbiased real-time account of an event you’re ever likely to get.

So in the social media sense, content curation is  the organizing, filtering and “making sense of” information on the web and sharing the very best pieces of content with your network that you’ve cherry picked for them .It comes down to organizing your sources, knowing which of them are trust worthy, and seeing patterns.

So for teachers and librarians it comes down to  keeping up the pace in adopting these strategies and using tools to publish curated content in the sense of ‘reporting’ what’s happening. So as a teacher and librarian I see myself doing these things:

  • curating my own content for myself (my own ‘go-to’ repository with tools like Diigo, Delicious, Evernote, Pinboard, Vodpod, Flickr, RSS readers etc.
  • sharing this first level curation because my online tools are socially connected
  • curating content for others via targetted tweets or Google+ circles, Facebook pages, Facebook groups, wikis, livebinders,  etc. (Does Paper.li fit in here seeing as it is automated?)
  • sharing this second level curation as a direct extension of the first level of personal curation.

Now I can see a reason for educators to move into  third level curation as a form of info-media publishing.  Think of this as dynamic content curation that’s about helping keep up with the news.   The flow of information through social media is changing:

While we’re dismantling traditional structures of distribution, we’re also building new forms of information dissemination. Content is no longer being hocked, but links are. People throughout the network are using the attention they receive to traffic in pointers to other content, serving as content mediators. Numerous people have become experts as information networkers.

Now I can use all my social networking resources and return information back to my social community at the third level of curation. I saw Howard Rheingold’s use of Scoop.it, for a number of topics, including Infotention – which got popular. I watched with interest as  Robin Good’s Real time News Curation grew and grew.

Social content curation is about collecting, organising and sharing information – in a new package. I’m no archivist. But I am a digital curator of information for myself, and perhaps for others. I’m interested to see how (what I call) the third level curation evolves. I like the idea of socially connected ways of publishing ‘what’s new’ and ‘what’s newsworthy’ as an ‘aside’ to my ‘go-to’ information repository such as my social bookmarks.

Check out my test run in this new area with

My target audience are my past and present students in my subjects. I see my target audience being anyone interested in these areas?  Or perhaps this is a waste of my time?

I recommend watching this interview of Robin Good by Howard Rheingold , where they discuss Content Curation and the future of search.

Leaders can make magic happen too

Often we focus on what it is that students can bring to learning, but we shouldn’t forget the leaders in our schools and their responsibility in helping change the teaching culture to remain strong and resilient in the face of technology and 21st century participative environments. Each step on that journey is different for each teacher and each school. What is important to me is that there IS a journey, and that the champions of innovation and change are at last acknowledged for their passion rather than than being dismissed as geeky. Good teaching these days HAS to be about good use of technology in seamless ways.

We use technology to think and learn.  We don’t use technology because it’s a cool tech tool, and because our syllabus says we need a certain percentage of technology in the curriculum.

We have moved on from teaching teachers how to use technology to nurturing teachers how to think with and because of technology. When technology is finally recognized as the foundation for learning our job as technology educators will be done.

My conversations with staff at Tara Anglican School were about that, and the presentation provided an overview, and was designed to kick off the workshop discussions about new learning needs. The supporting material used in the workshops provided them with the chance to explore in grade and faculty groups, and enjoy the process.  As I said – change IS as good as a holiday!

By starting at the very beginning the presentation allowed all teachers to ‘buy into’ the conversation.  But the champions were there, and later in the day at the roundup session were able to showcase their already rich understanding of flexibility in 1:1 learning environments. Those teachers are ready for everything that 1:1 learning will bring.

The 21st century beckons and thanks to the support of Principal Susan Middlebrook, Tara teachers are championed for being flexible and innovative – just as soon as they dare.

New Horizon Report – 2011 K-12 edition out now!

The 2011 K12 Edition of the NMC Horizon Report, a research effort led and published by the New Media Consortium, is finished and is available now at http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2011-Horizon-Report-K12.pdf

Three international organizations — the New Media Consortium, the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) — collaborate on identifying technology experts and other aspects of the research, and this year, for the first time, each organization is planning a significant event related to the new report for each of their audiences.
CoSN started the rolling release yesterday with a private webinar for their audience of school CIOs around the world. The NMC follows with a major event at their annual Summer Conference, held this year in Madison, Wisconsin, on Friday, June 17th. ISTE rounds out the release effort with a major session at their annual conference in Philadelphia on June 27.
The report has been released under a Creative Commons license to encourage broad distribution.

Emerging devices, tools, media, and virtual environments offer opportunities for creating new types of learning communities for students and teachers. Dede (2005) described the interrelated matrix of the learning styles of neo-millenials as being marked by active learning (real and simulated), co-designed and personalized to individual needs and preferences, based on diverse, tacit, situated experiences, all centred on fluency in multiple media, chosen for the types of communication, activities, experiences, and expressions it they empower.

The Horizon Report K-12 edition, issued annually since 2009, has identified and described emerging technologies that are having a significant impact on K-12 education, re-iterating the diversity of influences in the learning spaces of our schools. For school librarians the report directs attention simultaneously to both information use and learning and highlights the fact that 21st century technologies are unlikely to be empowering unless they are in the hands of an informed learner.

Key Trends in 2011:

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less

  • Cloud computing
  • Mobiles
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years
  • Game-based learning
  • Open content
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years
  • Learning Analytics
  • Personal Learning Environments
Watch for more information at the Horizon K-12 wiki at http://k12.wiki.nmc.org which will have have a tweak or two before June 17th.
Once again, it was an honour and a real buzz to be part of the Advisory Board in 2011. My personal thanks go to Larry Johnson, Chief Executive Officer at NMC for being the driving force behind this work.
Dede, C. (2005). Planning for Neomillenial Learning Styles: Implications for investments in technology and faculty. In D. G. Oblinger & J.L. Obliger (eds.), Educating the Net Generation. www.educause.edu/educatingthenetgen

A new way to communicate

Happy April Fools Day from Google – better than ever!

Mark Rennick explained on Digital Citizenship in Schools that he was able to make good use of this Google prank:

I just used it to illustrate to a class of Yr. 6 students the perils of believing something just because it is on the net and a brand name stamped on it. I actually had them up practicing the movements. The look of disbelief on some faces when I told them they had been pranked was priceless.

Ahh Friday afternoon library lessons……..

Digital divide – what can go wrong!

Wrangling with online tools has become part of the daily work expectation for many – but not for many of our teachers in schools and universities it seems.

The more I work with educators, the more I worry about the learning opportunities we are creating for our students. Of course, I am generalising here, but nevertheless, I remain perplexed by the idea that teachers feel they are too “time poor” to learn something new each day. Every day, teachers expect their students to ‘go forth’ and find new information, learn new ways of approaching a topic, write another essay, fill another wiki, write another blog post, make another movie, sit another exam…..you know, it’s endless.  So students should stick at it…but not teachers?

Last Saturday I attended a wonderful full day of workshops at Tara School,  run by some trusty colleagues for the ICTENSW teachers.  Attendees came from city and country locations – some even found their way there from Singapore.  My workshop is one that I plan to run in a  few different locations in Australia and NZ during the year.  I wasn’t sure if it was really worthwhile – but Saturday reminded me of the great digital divide that is emerging  in teaching ranks. Here were keen teachers, willing to learn – what about the rest?

It’s not an issue of resourcing – it’s an issue of understanding and capability.  We need to make sure we remain sufficiently skilled to actually be quality mentors for our students!

Two areas stick out like a sore thumb – digital footprint and information seeking.

It’s the same problem we have always had – the expectation that only teacher librarians need to really know how to find stuff! I’m afraid that in our digital era, the stuff finding has to become a core digital skill for all teachers.  This is all the more paramount, when you juxtapose information seeking skills and knowledge creation strategies with digital footprint/digital citizenship and the power of positive digital interactions for professional learning.

The two are not mutually exclusive!

Learning to wrangle the web correctly and well  for information, communication, collaboration, social networking, gaming etc is an essential core skill for 21st century students.

I created a Livebinder to drill into some of these questions.  We didn’t get to do very much at all, even with two hours,  but at least the resource is there to learn more!

The rationale behind Knoweldge 2.0 is acknowledging the information maze; recognising that googling is the default skill that poor teaching promotes; finding out what else is around and why you would craft different approaches to information seeking; discovering the difference between seeking, and having information & news delivered with the power of RSS;  considering the power of academic databases and RSS; pegging cognitive skills into the mix, and dipping into the Howard Rheingold bunch of goodies; and then setting up your own personalised strategies.

All that can take a day to work through, not just a workshop. But it IS the sequence of thinking that every teacher needs to go through at some point if they are going to consider themselves as proper participants in Knowledge 2.0 or 21st century learning, or whatever else you want to label the learning  of today’s kids!

Let me know if you’d like to have a workshop like this at your school or institution.

Our scissors are now digital

School of Information Studies

Week One in my new full-time job at Charles Sturt Uni, and I have discovered the challenges that a few years of change ‘in the cloud’ have wrought!   The ‘work’ challenges are being met thanks to the welcoming support from all my new colleagues. They are an amazing team, spread around the world, and in my online environment this is a wonderful extension of my already robust PLN.

However, as I settle into my preparation for working with students in courses online through Charles Sturt Uni, I also have to set up a whole swag of new equipment. Am I lucky?  You think about it…

What do you do when you have to prepare a new lot of equipment for your online interactions.  It should be easy – right?  It used to be dead easy – load up a few software applications, add a couple of browsers (maybe) and then you’re away.

Well, if you are really working in an online 21st century kind of way (I’m sure you know what I mean), you’d find that you  have to set aside loads of time, and would have to keep tinkering constantly for a week or two to re-establish your online tools, and favourite ways of managing your work productivley, collaboratively, creatively, and uber efficiently. I haven’t got the systems down pat yet – and am using this opportunity to review some things, so am keen to get some feedback if you have favourite tips and tricks that I’ve not listed.

I’ve been keeping a list as I chug along setting things up. I’ll remember more of them when I get back home from Wagga Wagga (loved seeing the kangaroos on campus!).  Interestingly I find that I do different setups on different computers depending on how I ‘bend’ that particular tool to my needs.  But without going into specifics, here’s what the list is looking like after one week…and I’m not finished yet.  I found it incredibly frustrating initially to have a browser window that did just that – browse!!  There are many tools/options, and some that I choose not to use, though I realise that they just might be amongst your favourites.  Of course, it’s also about tools that synchronise, or work in partnernship with my iPhone and iPad.

I wonder how I ever used to work without the additional speed and flexibility that these tools provide me.

I wonder how YOU manage, if you don’t have a similar looking list?

Here’s my running list of core tools  so far:

Can’t wait to see how the list ends up!  Tell me what I have missed too please  …