Annotated Bibliography

This week I created an annotated bibliography of research articles on the topic of using iPads to enhance early literacy instruction.  I found that going through the exercise of annotating my bibliography was very helpful.  I was able to collect my thoughts and evaluate the usefulness of each article.  Many of the articles I read were very helpful and worth sharing with my colleagues. The annotated bibliography will help me locate these articles quickly and I won’t have to try and remember the contents of the article by looking at just the citation.  Using APA formatting is very intricate and still very new to me.  I was thankful to have the tool Zotero to create a library of the articles and help me create the citation correctly.  While it isn’t perfect, it is a very helpful tool.  Please take a look at the annotated bibliography I created.

Content Curation

Content curation is the process of digitally collecting, organizing, and sharing information on a topic in a meaningful way either for personal use or with others.  I have been curating content for quite some time but never really put a label on it.  Three methods of content curation that I currently use professionally and personally are Pinterest, Evernote, and Symbaloo.  Professionally, I use Pinterest to curate ideas for my library and computer lab.  Personally, I use it to collect ideas for my house and recipes.  I have used Evernote to create lists and take notes.  I like that Pinterest and Evernote can be accessed on my computer, phone, and iPad. Symbaloo has been a blessing in my computer lab.  I struggled for two years to help my students plug in website addresses before I created Symbaloos for each one of my grade levels.  I include the websites that we visit on a regular basis for lessons and websites the students can visit when they finish their projects.  During the holidays, I also attach a Symbaloo of websites related to the holiday.   This has been a huge timesaver for me and the classroom teachers because the Symbaloos are on my classroom website that the students pull up as their home page when they go online. Because these Symbaloos are on my classroom website, many of my students have been able to visit websites from home that they enjoyed at school.  It pleases me that they are able to share websites that they learned about and enjoy with their parents.

For my project this week, I set out to explore three more content curation tools.  I decided to look at educlipper, ClipZine, and Scoop.It!  I was very excited about educlipper because it was education related and I thought it would be one that I could use in the computer lab with my students.  In educlipper, a teacher can set up classes, add students, and assignments. After attempting to work with the tool, I found it to be very frustrating. I could barely figure out how to create a board and clip information to put on that board.  It was very slow and I could not find any kind of help feature or instructions on how to use the tool.  I was very disappointed.

Next I investigated ClipZine.  ClipZine allows the user to create a visual collection of content related to a subject.  One can then share the information on a blog or website, in a brochure, or even in a collage on Pinterest.  This looks like a neat tool and I like how visually appealing the collages looked on the site, but I didn’t think it would be helpful for my curation project this week. ClipZine could be used by students to create a visual collage on a topic and present the collage to the class.  This would help them with their presentation skills by getting them away from reading PowerPoints and getting used to presenting by actually talking to their audience about what is on the screen.

Finally I worked with Scoop.It!  This was a wonderful tool to work with and I plan to use it both personally and with my students.  My students could use Scoop.It to collect information while doing research.  Scoop.It reminds me of Pinterest, but it has additional features that make it more robust such as being able to comment on your Scoops.  The user starts by selecting a topic which is then created into a board based on that topic and related key words.  You can add information to your board from suggestions given by Scoop.It, by re-scooping content from other users, by scooping a link by entering the URL or by using the Scoop.It bookmark.  Finally, you can share your Scoops via your social media accounts.  This tool was very user friendly and I look forward to using it again for other topics.

This week I chose to curate information on the world of gamification and game based learning in educational technology.  Last March, I attended the Kyste (Kentucky Society for Technology in Education) Conference in Louisville and sat in on a few sessions regarding game based learning.  The sessions were interesting but I still lacked a clear idea of how to include these ideas into my computer lab.

Since the conference, I have not been able to take the time to sit down and focus on the concepts of gamification and game based learning and how they could be implemented in my computer lab.  By curating relevant articles and videos on my Scoop.It board, I was able to centralize the information and start to formulate ideas.  I decided to focus on articles and videos that discuss the topic, weigh the pros and cons, provide ideas on how to use gamification in the classroom, and provide training.  I think this is a good start and after reading the articles, I am planning on taking small steps to pilot Classcraft with my eighth grade students.

Content curation is a powerful tool that helps both adults and students with their organizational skills. It is well worth the time and effort to curate materials on a topic in this world of information overload.  Please take a look at my Scoop.It Board:

Scoop.It!

RSS Feeds

It is amazingDigg that I have never heard of or used a RSS Feed before this week. I never knew something like this existed and how beneficial it could be.  I have started to use the tool Digg Reader to subscribe and receive updated content from my favorite websites.  I like the fact that RSS feeds and Digg make it more efficient for me to consume my favorite web content.  It is must nicer to be provided with the latest content rather than having to visit the website for information.  No more bookmarking sites for future reference!  I am also extremely thankful that I was able to import my classmates’ learning logs into Digg Reader.  This has made it so much easier to access and view them.

Because RSS Feeds and Digg Reader are so new to me, I am not sure how I would integrate them into my classroom at this time.  I’d like to spend more time working with both of them before I jump into showing them to my students.  Therefore, I plan on using RSS for my own professional development.  I’d like to get the hang of actually using Digg Reader on a regular basis, reading articles, and subscribing to feeds.   I look forward to getting to know this tool and all that it has to offer.