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 http://www.bethkanter.org/content-curation-101/.
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Digital Footprints

footprint
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 Ask.com, 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

 

tweetdeck1

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:

http://popplet.com/app/Popplet_Alpha.swf?page_id=3307498&em=

References:

Bates, T. (2014, October 1). The role of communities of practice in a digital age. In online learning and distance education resources. Retrieved from http://www.tonybates.ca/2014/10/01/the-role-of-communities-of-practice-in-a-digital-age/

Catapano, J. (n.d.). What is a PLN? Why do I need one?. In TeachHub. Retrieved from http://www.teachhub.com/what-pln-why-do-i-need-one

Connectivism. (n.d.). In Education 2020. Retrieved June 10, 2016, from http://education-2020.wikispaces.com/Connectivism

Moore, C. G. (2016, January 26). Communities of practice: Sharing and building knowledge. Retrieved from http://www.deltafoundation.net/teacher-efficacy/tea-i-cohort-cop-webinar-series

Siemens, G. (2004, December 12). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. In elearnspace. Retrieved from http://202.116.45.236/mediawiki/resources/2/2005_siemens_Connectivism_A_LearningTheoryForTheDigitalAge.pdf

 

Gamifying Education

After viewing the video “Brain Training” Video Games and Tangential Learning  by Daniel Floyd, there are a few key points that I learned about Gamifying Education.  There is a big divide between educational games and fun games.  The main goal of educational games is to teach you something.  At times these games may not be very fun to the user and are seen as a chore.  Fun games are just that, fun, but do not expand the horizons of the gamer.  By combining the two we can enable learning because the user is engaged in what he or she is doing and is interested in the topic. When a learner is enthusiastic and engaged in what they are doing, the learning becomes easier.

 

In the video Floyd talks about the concept of Tangential Learning.  Floyd states that Tangential Learning is “not what you learn by being taught, rather it’s what you learn by being exposed to things in a context in which you are already engaged in.” If you introduce someone to a topic within a game  that they are already excited and engaged in, it may provoke that person to educate themselves more on that topic or a facet of the topic.

 

The whole point of gamifying education is enhancing the educational experience for the users without making them feel like they are being beaten over the head with the subject matter.  It is important to remember as game developers that we are provided with a wonderful opportunity to not only engage users, but also expand their horizons and learning experiences.

Educational Technology Graphic

To me, Educational Technology is made up of three main areas: Study, ethical practice, and facilitating learning and improving performance. Educational technology requires continuous research in order to come up with new ideas and improve processes.  However, it is also necessary to reflect on this research in order to decide whether the new ideas are actually making an improvement in educational outcomes.  An ethical stance is also an important aspect of educational technology.  One cannot work effectively without a code of conduct or basis for how technology should be used.  Finally, educational technology should facilitate learning and improve performance.  Technology should be used as a tool to support the learner using effective processes and proper resources.  The products created with the use of technology should demonstrate effective learning and learners should be able to apply what they have learned in real world settings.

I chose to use Prezi for my Educational Technology Graphic.  In the past, I have avoided Prezi due to the fact that when my students have used it for presentations, I have nearly gotten sick with the zoom in and out feature that they enjoy using.  What I like about Prezi is that it is web based so I do not have to worry about whether or not the viewer has the proper software to view my presentation.  I also wanted to be able to show the “big picture” of the breakdown of the definition of Educational Technology and Prezi seemed to be the best option.  I liked that the information would be presented in a non linear fashion and could better show how the concepts are interconnected.

View my Prezi.

 

School Evaluation Summary

Our recent module on technology use planning could not have come at a better time. Our school is in the middle of going through an accreditation year which requires a technology committee that develops a detailed technology plan.  A formal technology committee has not be formed or met as a group on a regular basis at my school probably since our last accreditation year which was 2010.  After reading through version 3.5 of the Guidebook for Developing an Effective Technology Plan prepared by the Graduate Students at Mississippi State for the National Center for Technology Planning (NCTP) and the articles and guidelines provided by the NCTP on developing an effective technology plan, I feel that I have a wealth of information to share with the technology committee that we will be forming within our school.   I have also studied the technology plans of the districts that surround my school to help shape our plan so that we remain competitive and current on technology use and standards in our area.

     In addition to studying how to develop a comprehensive technology plan, I also completed a survey sheet analyzing the technological maturity of my school.  This survey sheet used the maturity model benchmarks from the Technology Use Plan Primer created by Peter H.R. Sibley and Chip Kimball.  After completing the survey and analyzing the results, I did not really find anything too surprising.  I knew that our main areas of weakness were budget development, communication, and professional development for our teachers.  These are areas that I hope will be addressed as we form a technology committee and develop a more current technology plan.  I had hoped we would have fallen more solidly in the Integrated stage, but I am proud of our school and pleased with the progress we have made with the resources we have.  Many of the teachers use technology on a daily basis and are willing to try integrating technology into their curriculum on a more frequent basis.  With the right planning, leadership, and funding, it will be possible for MQH to make it to the Intelligent level of maturity.  It may take some time, but it is achievable.  

Below you will find links to my survey spreadsheet and summary:

Survey Spreadsheet

Summary   

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!