Sunday, March 13, 2016

Thing 5: Curation Tools

"...the Internet means that people can find information more easily than ever before, but access to information is not equivalent to knowledge. In order to create knowledge, he argues that a person must know how to sift through the vast available information and judge the value of, organize, and connect that information." - Monica Fugeli.

The above quote aptly describes one of the main lessons that library media specialists teach our students today. We are faced with kids who are used to now having instant information at the fingertips, but don't always have the skills to evaluate what they are reading. (If I had a nickel for every time I told a student to either "click on a link" or go "beyond the first link" for a Google Search...). Fugeli states that content curation is an essential skill for students to help them organize the overwhelming amount of information, make connections, and create knowledge from what they are reading.

As Joyce Valenza points out in her article, these are all skills that librarians are naturals at! We are used to sifting through information and categorizing it into different sections to create a larger picture. The ways to use digital curation professionally are extensive, especially in a school setting! We can create lists of resources for particular projects, professional development articles for teachers, reading lists for our struggling readers, links to resources for ESL students, websites that support the curriculum, and the list goes on and on! Many of these are tasks we already complete in our daily lives, but may not have thought of as curation.

In her follow up article, Fugeli goes on to list many different tools to try curation skills with students. I myself am an avid Pinterest user in my personal life (to think people had to plan weddings before Pinterest!). I curate different recipes that I want to try, quotes that I love, decorative ideas for my house. It also helps me professionally, as I pin library lesson ideas, bulletin board ideas, lists of new books for my students....etc. etc. However, Fugeli does point out that Pinterest is not ideal for working with elementary students, as there is an age minimum of 13.

So for this task, I chose to work with LessonPaths. I chose the topic of Summer Reading to curate. I chose this because it is something I talk to my students a lot about, since unfortunately, many of them do not have access at home to new books and therefore may not read all summer long. Also, I work a summer reading program at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library during the summers, and can really see the impact in the kids there!

I really liked the tool! It was easy (and free!) to sign up for. I had no problem navigating the site, and found it simple to create a basic "playlist" on my topic. I am looking forward to brainstorming ways to use it with my students as well. I could see them making "playlists" on a variety of topics. We have an upcoming Summer Olympics project that all the "specials" area teachers are collaborating on- this may be a cool way to incorporate some curation skills into that project (make a "playlist" about one of the sports!)

Here is the link to my LessonPath list.

It is very basic (for now) but I am looking forward to exploring this- and other curation tools- more!


  1. Nice work on the LessonPath and on your observations about curation.

  2. I have been collecting lists of internet info for my kids for years. Like you, I never thought of it as curating. Have you used LessonPaths as a collaborative tool so the students create the playlists?