Images like the following ones, visualize for me the urgency for all of us to become information literate to wade through the incredible, ever increasing, amount of information being created and shared with the world.
In comes the idea of becoming a Curator of Information.
“Curating” is defined in the Merriam Webster Dictionary as:
Select, organize, and look after the items in (a collection or exhibition).
Digital Curation, Curated Learning & Collective Curation?
I have started hearing and reading about the terms “Digital Curation”, “Curated Learning” and “Collective Curation” as well. Naturally it intrigued me. What does that mean? How can I bring it into the classroom? How can “curated learning” be connected to the idea of teachers and students creating their own textbooks?
Digital Curation is defined in Wikipedia as:
the selection, preservation, maintenance, collection and archiving of digital assets. Digital curation is generally referred to the process of establishing and developing long term repositories of digital assets for current and future reference by researchers, scientists, historians, and scholars.
In a fabulous article, Jeff Cobb, on his blog Mission to Learn asks Who Are Your Curators? (Thank you to Mike Amante for pointing me to the description of the ISTE panel discussion he will be participating in at the end of the month and all the included resources)
The idea behind curators and content curation is that there is such a flood of new content pouring through the Internet pipes these days that being aware of all of it and sorting it out in meaningful ways is simply not possible. Curators are people or organizations that do the hard work of sifting through the content within a particular topic area or “meme” and pulling out the things that seem to make most sense. This effort involves significantly more than finding and regurgitating links, though.
Cobb continues by pointing out two opportunities for the life long learner. The first one is to FIND great curators and the second one is to BE a great curator.
How can this concept of “curation” of information be brought into the “classroom” (however you define the classrooms of the present/future and how it should/could look like)? If we can use Cobb’s suggestion and teach/coach our students to Number 1) find and connect to great curators and Number 2) be great curators for their own network, then we have moved closer to understanding Shirky’s warning about information overload and filter failure. “Quality” curation takes higher level thinking skills. It requires responsibility towards your network who rely on you to filter information on a specific topic. Curation requires the ability to organize, categorize, tag and know how to make the content available to others and to be able to format and disseminate it via various platforms.
How can we take advantage of Collective Curation?
Here is a short video clip explaining the concept of Collective Curation
I think the following questions are worthwhile exploring for the learner in ourselves, but also for our students (elementary school and up). Facilitating the role of being a curator fits in perfectly with the role of “researcher”, Alan November suggests in his Digital Learning Farm model.
Tools that Support and Facilitate Curation of Information: