Content Curation

Beth Kanter (2011) states that content curation is “the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme.” Content curation is more than just picking a bunch of links to information about a topic and posting them. It involves careful consideration of whether the information is relevant to the reader, comes from a credible source, is annotated with a reflection from the curator, and is organized in a meaningful way for the reader to better understand the topic. The curated content is also continuously updated and kept current by its author in order to provide the best content for the reader. Curating content has become an essential practice due to the large amount of information that is shared all over the internet.

This week I worked with my PLN mini group to come up with a checklist for assessing the quality and value of a curated topic.  We used a Google Doc to create this checklist.  Using Google Docs is nice because each of us had editing rights to the document and could add information and comments at any time.  Because of some time constraints I had, I got started with the project by providing the group with a list of criteria or questions for evaluating our curated topics that I developed from reading our resources.  I also provided the links to the resources I used.    My next group member took the list I created and expanded upon it by providing explanations for some of the criteria, citing the resources, and developing our list of references. Finally, the other two group members finished the explanations and reviewed the references to be sure they were properly formatted using the APA style.  We worked well together as a group given our busy and varied schedules and I believe we developed a quality checklist.

Here is the link to the checklist our PLN created:

Content Curation Checklist

Kanter, B. (2011, October 4). Content curation primer. In Beth’s Blog. Retrieved from

Digital Footprints

Photo Source


A digital footprint can probably be one of the most permanent and maybe scariest footprint an individual can make.  If a person sets up any type of digital account, interacts online in any way, or even associates with someone who performs these activities online, than a digital footprint will be created whether a person wants one or not.  This can be scary because sometimes items may be included in a digital footprint that are less than favorable or possibly inaccurate. Because a digital footprint is unavoidable and is the new way of making a first impression, it is important to stay on top of what is posted about you and make good decisions about what you post and how you want to be perceived digitally.

After searching my name in Google, Bing, Yahoo, and, I found it interesting that there are other people out there with the same name as me.  In Google, I had to include my maiden name in order to find myself.  It was clear to me that the search results came up based upon my social media accounts including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and my WordPress blog for the EdTech program.  The images I found of myself were ones I recognized from Facebook.  They were all favorable pictures.  The scary items that I found included a listing of every town that I have lived in throughout my life and names of my relatives.  I also found a record of my marriage certificate and a birth record for my daughter.  This birth record was inaccurate because it listed her as being born in 1903.  From this search, I realize now more than ever how important it is to monitor my digital footprint and continue to make wise choices about what I choose to post on the internet.

#Professional Development



tweetdeck3I have set up some hashtags to follow within my TweetDeck.  They are #edtechchat, #educhat, #edchat, #ipadedu, #ipaded, #googlefored, #makerspace, #gbl, and  #elemchat.  It is probably too many, but these are all areas that I am interested in and would like to learn more about.  Most obviously I chose #edtechchat because I am the technology coordinator for my school and because I am in the Edtech Master’s program at Boise State University.  Because I teach all grade levels, K-8, in computers, collaborate with all the teachers in my school and technology teachers in our Diocese, and because someday I may go back to teaching in a regular classroom, I chose to follow #educhat, #edchat, and #elemchat.

Our school has a 1:1 iPad program for grades 6-8 and we have small sets of iPads for grades K-5.  As a result, I chose to follow #ipadedu and #ipaded.  I would like to learn ways to help my classroom teachers better integrate the iPads into their daily lessons and move beyond using them for games, calculators, and AR tests.  I am also following #googlefored because I am not convinced iPads are the way to go and I would also like to explore the idea of switching to Chromebooks.  I’d also like to become a Google Certified Educator.

Not only am I the technology coordinator at my school, but I am also the library media specialist.  I have been hearing more and more about Makerspaces and would like to pursue starting one in my school library.  As a result, I chose to follow #Makerspace.

The last hashtag I chose to follow is #gbl.  I took a class on game based learning last semester and loved it.  I am following this hashtag in order to keep the momentum going for what I learned last semester and begin developing a game based learning system for my computer classes next year.

After the initial set up in TweetDeck, I began exploring.  In my initial exploration I learned about 5 handy Chrome extensions to help students with their writing including Read and Write which allows students to hear words or passages, highlight, and learn word meanings as they conduct research.  There is also an extension called Office Editing for Docs, Sheets, and Slides which allows a user to edit Microsoft files without having Office installed on their computer.

I also read an article and learned that the older iPads we have at our school might become obsolete in the Fall after the IOS 10 update.  Now we may have to scramble to upgrade a large amount of iPads we have for our middle school students.  This will cause an unexpected financial strain on the school which will escalate the debate we are having regarding Chromebooks and iPads.

Finally, I found a tweet with a link to an article on 16 resources for creating Makerspaces. This provided some good reasoning and resources for implementing a Makerspace within my library.  From this Tweet, I started following other Library Media Specialists to learn more about Makerspaces and I also found book recommendations for my library which was an added bonus.

Having these hashtags set up in TweetDeck has been beneficial because it provides an organized method for studying different topics.  The topics I chose are related to my interests and provide tailored professional development for my specific needs.   The only drawback (which may not necessarily be a drawback) is that I am finding that I could spend hours at the computer reading and studying all the resources that people are sharing.   I can’t wait to share what I have learned with my colleagues when we get back to school in August.

Social Learning

I have created a Popplet to portray the relationship between the learning theory Connectivism, Personal Learning Networks, and Communities of Practice.  The middle picture shows an example of all the technological resources that are available to gain and share knowledge.  It is in the middle because technology can be used for all three of these concepts.  While each concept has its own unique characteristics and can stand alone, there is one commonality that links them together–technology.

Stephen Downes and George Siemens promote the learning theory called Connectivism. They believe that learning occurs through connections made among a series of networks where knowledge is shared  (Education-2020, para.1).  Connectivism begins with an individual.  The individual’s knowledge is part of a network.  The network feeds information into an organization or institution and these provide knowledge back to the individual through the connections they have formed.  The individual must be able to acquire the skill to access this information in order to enhance their knowledge. Connectivism is a model of learning that acknowledges that learning is no longer an individual activity.  Learning happens when individuals use tools to work with others to obtain knowledge especially within our current digital age  (Siemens, 2004).

Communities of Practice and Personal Learning Networks stem off of the theory of Connectivism.  Within both areas of professional development, an individual makes connections with others and can shares resources, ideas, and collaborate, using a global network.   Communities of practice are made up of a group of people who are not novices on a topic working together to share what they know so that members of the group gain a deeper understanding and knowledge for the topic  (Bates, 2014).  There are three characteristics of a community of practice.  There has to be a topic or theme, a community of members interested in that topic or theme, and ideas, tools, knowledge, and shared resources that will advance inquiry forward for that idea or theme (Moore, 2016).  A community of practice is an informal group of people who join based on interest in the topic or idea and their ability to contribute to the group.  In the picture I chose to portray a community of practice, the people are all interested in solving the puzzle.  They are all working together to put the pieces together and solve the puzzle.  Thanks to technology, a community of practice builds groups among organizations and can extend past geographic boundaries.

Personal Learning Networks are similar to Communities of Practice but they are more individualized.  In a Personal Learning Network (PLN), an individual has developed their own network of resources to help make them better at what they do.  These networks can be developed through in-person relationships or online through social media such as Twitter, Facebook. Blogs, etc.  A PLN is adaptive to an individual’s needs and one can control the subject matter to be studied.  In a PLN, one can decide whether to “lurk” or read the postings without making contributions or share their own experiences and knowledge with the group (Catapano, para 1, 4, 5,6 ).  Through the picture I provided one can see that a PLN can extend all around the globe, is always available, and people are always sharing and obtaining information.

To take a look at my Popplet, please click on the link below:


Bates, T. (2014, October 1). The role of communities of practice in a digital age. In online learning and distance education resources. Retrieved from

Catapano, J. (n.d.). What is a PLN? Why do I need one?. In TeachHub. Retrieved from

Connectivism. (n.d.). In Education 2020. Retrieved June 10, 2016, from

Moore, C. G. (2016, January 26). Communities of practice: Sharing and building knowledge. Retrieved from

Siemens, G. (2004, December 12). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. In elearnspace. Retrieved from


Initial Thoughts on Social Media

This week I began a course on Social Network Learning.  We were assigned to join a class Facebook page, Twitter, DIIGO, and set up a blog.  Joining the class Facebook page was the easiest.  I have been on Facebook for many years and have found that it is easy to use its features.  From there, my level of familiarity with the rest of the social networks diminished.  I’ve had a Twitter account since 2013, but have pretty much used it to follow famous people, music groups, TV shows, and some members of the education profession. I have never Tweeted anything of my own before and barely opened the app let alone set up a Tweetdeck.  I  previously set up a DIIGO account and WordPress blog during my first EDTECH class at Boise State.  I have been using my WordPress blog throughout my coursework at Boise State.  I think it is pretty easy to use, but sometimes its limitations can be frustrating.  DIIGO is the tool that intimidates me the most.  Apparently I also set it up in my EDTECH 501 class, but I have rarely used it since.  By sitting and watching the tutorial videos under module one for this class, I think that I have much to learn about this tool.

I think that social media is an excellent tool to use for professional development and I wish I would use it more.  I have liked and followed a few educational technology groups in Facebook and educational technology professionals in Twitter, but I don’t feel like  I use the tools to their fullest extent.  I will occasionally click on one of their articles or links if they look interesting, but typically gloss through them.  Sometimes the amount of information overload that is out there can be overwhelming and I feel that I do not have the time to sift through it all.  It is more helpful for me to seek out particular information and topics as needed.  This may not be the best method, but it works for me at this time.

I have never used social media as an instructional strategy with my students.  It is something that I have thought about pursuing, but I haven’t figured out how to effectively use these tools with them.  I know that many of the students use social media on their personal devices, but I worry about how to use the tools with them in school.  I have not figured out how to safely set them up with accounts especially since many of these tools have age limits above the age of my students.   I also worry that even though I teach digital citizenship and we have acceptable use policies in place, the students will use these tools incorrectly and both they and I will get in trouble with parents and administration.

In this  EDTECH 543 course, it is my goal to develop relevant professional learning networks using social networking.  I would like to be able to organize the information from these professional learning networks so that it is meaningful and not so overwhelming.  I’d like to be able to use what  I have learned and share it with my colleagues at my school so that they can build professional learning networks  of their own.  I would also like to learn how to use social networks in the classroom.  There is a wealth of information and knowledgeable people out there and I would love to be able to show my students how to use these tools effectively as they move through their educational experiences.