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Welcome to the sixth and penultimate step in our free professional learning series on building your PLN.

In this activity you will explore:

  1. What content curation is and the benefits of content curation.
  2. A simple framework for getting started with content curation.
  3. A range of different tools that you can choose from to make content curation easier.

What Is Content Curation?

We are living in an era of information overload. There is so much content shared online that we actively seek out people who have good content curation skills to help us “sort the wheat from the chaff”.

A person with good curation skills saves us time by sifting through the vast abundance of content on the internet to select the best, most relevant resources on a specific topic or theme. The curator organizes, manages, and collates for their own use and shares with us.

If you look closely at most educators with a high following on social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram you’ll notice that most are great content curators and share excellent resources.

Their sharing and content curation skills helped them build their PLN.

information hydrant
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Will Lion via Compfight

Video: What Is Content Creation?

This 90 second video provides a useful overview of content creation.

21st Century Content Curation

Of course, content curation is nothing new. It has been an important skill for hundreds of years — think of newspapers, art galleries, museums, or simple storytelling.

Teachers have always been curators too — bringing together the most worthwhile materials to help their students learn. In the past, this might have been limited to books, posters, concrete materials, guest speakers, etc. But of course, there are so many wonderful digital resources available now too.

Content curation has been happening since the beginning of time in some form or another; however, it’s becoming increasingly worthwhile and complex as the volume of information online continues to increase.

21st century content curation can involve finding, verifying, organizing, annotating, remixing, creating, collating, and sharing.

This might sound overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. Luckily, there are some excellent free digital tools for content curation which we’ll explore in this post.

The Benefits Of Content Curation

The main reasons why educators curate content include:

  1. To find, organize, and manage information and resources on specific topics.
  2. To stay informed about the latest information on specific topics which leads to professional growth.
  3. To learn through the process. As you search for and curate the best resources, you reflect on their value and you may develop new ways of thinking.
  4. To help build their PLN. Networks actively seek and follow good content curators because they save us time.
  5. To learn how to curate themselves so they can teach students how to curate content for research, their interests, and passions. Curation is an important part of being digitally literate.

Learn more about students as content curators in this excellent short video by John Spencer.

The Curation Process

We made this diagram to simplify the process of content curation. Feel free to use it on your blog or share with others.

Read, Editorialize, Share -- The Basics Of Content Curation Edublogs PLN Teacher Challenge

1) Read — Visit your favorite blogs or social media accounts, use curation tools like Flipboard or Feedly, or perhaps subscribe to newsletters. This consumption might mostly include text-based materials but don’t forget podcasts and videos too.

FILTER — Before moving on to the next step, you need to filter. You do not just want to share anything and everything. Check out Are You a Curator or a Dumper? by Jennifer Gonzalez. You also need to verify and make sure you don’t share anything that might not be true.

2) Editorialize — Here is where you need to add your own touches to your findings to help others. This involves considering your audience and what they might be interested in. You might even put together a few similar resources that complement or contrast each other.

CREATE — Before sharing, you might consider if you could create something with the content. This could be putting your favorite quote on a graphic to make your findings more shareable. Or maybe you could make your own infographic to share based on your findings.

3) Share — As we’re discovering throughout this PLN series, you can share with your PLN in a wide range of ways. Commonly, teachers will share with their network via their blog or social media. Sometimes you might want to compile resources together into one location using a tool like Wakelet, Google Docs, or Padlet. Once you share, be willing to interact with your PLN. Invite them to comment by asking questions and don’t forget to reply to any comments. Needless to say, when you’re sharing other people’s work, you should make it clear where it’s from.

Note: we’ll be explaining the tools mentioned above further on in this post. 

Examples Of Shared Content On Twitter

Content curation is not just finding a link and putting it in a tweet. Your PLN is not going to get much value out of that.

As the curator, you can challenge yourself to do a little more from time to time.

Here are some examples of curated work from educators.

Tony Vincent is well known for his graphics he creates for social media. These are always shared extensively.

Shannon McClintock Miller put together this Padlet with ideas of books to celebrate International Dot Day.

Jake Miller regularly makes GIFs to enhance his tweets which are well received by his followers.

Quotes are always popular additions to tweets. Check out our post on quotes if you want to learn how to make your own.

Sketchnoting has taken the edtech world by storm over the last few years. Julie Woodard is well known for her excellent sketchnotes which are a great way to visualize and summarize content. Here’s an example:

BookSnaps are a popular choice for sharing snippets of professional reading. Tara Martin coined the term BookSnaps and you can read more about them on her website.

Here is an example of a simple BookSnap from Jennifer Tod.

Emojis can catch a reader’s eye and make a nice addition to a summary for the time poor.

Digital Curation Tools

There are a plethora of free digital tools you can use to help with content curation.

Tools generally fall into one of these three categories.

  • News discovery tools — Use your preferred news discovery tool to select and aggregate the content. News discovery tools save time by feeding you the most relevant content. Examples of news discovery tools include Feedly, Flipboard, Nuzzle, and following a hashtag on Twitter.
  • Curation tools — Use your preferred curation tools to display your content with context, organization, annotation, and presentation. Examples of curation tools include Scoop.IT, Flipboard, Diigo, Wakelet, LiveBinder, or a blog.
  • Sharing tools — Select which networks you share your curated content on. For example, you might share the content on Twitter and Facebook. Some people will choose to follow your curated content via your curation tools (such as follow you on Scoop.IT, Pinterest, Flipboard Magazine, or Diigo).

Overview Of Popular Curation Tools

Which tools you use, and how you curate, is very personal.

You might have a set workflow that you follow regularly, or you might dip in and out of using different tools depending on your mood and needs.

We’ll now provide a snapshot of how some of the more popular curation tools work. These include:

  • Blogs
  • Wakelet
  • Nuzzel
  • Pocket
  • Diigo
  • Evernote
  • Flipboard
  • LiveBinders
  • Pinterest
  • Scoop.it

Blogs

Blogs posts are a popular way of curating content because:

  • You can dive deeper and write a detailed elaboration. You may find that the act of writing helps to transform your vague ideas into well structured thoughts.
  • You can customize and organize vast amounts of information in meaningful ways.
  • You might write a post about a single article you’ve read, or create a round-up post. This is where you share links to great content from multiple sources about a specific topic. Ideally, you’d add your own short annotations too.

Refer to Silvia Tolisano’s post on blogging as a curation platform for more information.

Check out these examples of educators who curate content using blogs:

For those who are new to blogging, we recommend you work through our personal blogging series. This series takes you step-by-step through the process of setting up your own personal educator blog.

Wakelet

Wakelet allows you to save, organize and tell stories with content from around the web.

This is a relatively new tool that is becoming very popular with teachers.

You can sign up for free or create a quick collection without signing up. There’s also a browser extension to save links from the web.

Your collections can be public or private. You can also embed collections on any blog or website.

Here’s a simple example:

Find out more about Wakelet including how to get set up and how to use it in the classroom in this post. 

4 steps to getting started with Wakelet by Kathleen Morris

Nuzzel

Nuzzel logoNuzzel is a ‘news monitoring and research tool’.

If you’re on Twitter or Facebook you might have found that it can be serendipitous in nature. You sometimes just ‘see what you see’ and there are no guarantees that you won’t miss the most interesting or important stories.

When you sign up for a free Nuzzel account you can get a curated email sent to you daily with the top stories from the people you follow.

This is really handy to stay abreast of important stories. You can then explore those links and decide whether they’re worth sharing with your PLN.

With Nuzzel, you can curate your own newsletter for your followers too. You can include stories you find interesting and add a personal touch with a headline and comments.

Your PLN can subscribe to your newsletter and you can share it on social media like Troy Hicks has done here.

Pocket

Sometimes you’re browsing the web or social media and you come across an interesting article, video, or link. You’d like to read it but you might be short on time.

This is where Pocket comes in. You put that item ‘in your Pocket’ for later.

You can save directly from your browser or from apps like Twitter, Feedly, or Flipboard. You can view it again when you’re ready — from your computer, phone, or tablet. You can even view the item when you’re offline.

When you’ve reviewed the items you’ve saved, you can then decided if there are any you’d like to share with your PLN.

The ad-supported version of Pocket is totally free.

Watch how this user reads his saved articles on the Pocket app.

Diigo

Diigo is a free social bookmarking tool that allows users to share online resources like websites, articles, and online tools in a private or public group format.

The benefit of using a social bookmarking tool is it allows you to organize and store your bookmarks online rather than in the browser of your computer.

This means you can log into your account, on any device, at any time, and easily find your bookmarks.

Watch the following video by Ms. Lamm to learn more about Diigo.

Check out these examples of how these educators use Diigo:

  1. Vicki Davis
  2. Vicky Sedgwick
  3. Anne Mirtschin

Evernote

Evernote enables you to collect information, curate resources, find your resources, and share with others all from the one workspace.

With Evernote, your notes, web clips, files, images, and voice memos can be sorted into folders, tagged, annotated, edited, given comments, searched, and accessed whenever you need them on any of your devices.

Evernote also enables you to view, input, and edit data even when offline.

Watch this short overview by Lindsey Maczynski about curation using Evernote.

Note: While there are still many teachers who enjoy using Evernote, changes to the free plan in 2016 resulted in some educators switching to other options. 

Flipboard

Flipboard was originally designed as a social network aggregation, magazine-format app for iPad in 2010. It’s now the most popular of the magazine-like content aggregation apps.

Flipboard’s strength is you are able to bring your social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn into one location alongside your favorite news sources and anything else you like to read, or watch (like YouTube). On top of this, it’s easy to share your favorite content with your social networks and easy to curate your favorite content into Flipboard magazine(s).

Watch this video to learn more about Flipboard.

Flipboard is a powerful tool for curating your favorite content into magazine(s).

The benefits of using a Flipboard magazine include:

  1. Quickly curating and sharing articles you like directly to your own magazine from within Flipboard (or using the Flip It bookmarklet in your web browser), while also sharing the articles with your social networks at the same time!
  2. Other Flipboard users can subscribe to your Flipboard magazine(s) allowing them to easily read the articles you like to share.
  3. Anyone who clicks on a link can read your magazine using their web browser regardless of whether or not they have a Flipboard account.

Here are links to some example Flipboard Magazines:

Watch this video to see how Sue Waters uses Flipboard.

You’ll find detailed step-by-step instructions on how to set up and use Flipboard here.

LiveBinders

LiveBinders is your digital binder for all of your online content and learning.

With your LiveBinder, you can create a central hub full of resources on a topic that you choose. Almost everything that you can think of can be added to your LiveBinder – links to websites, YouTube videos, Flickr images, PDF/Microsoft Word documents, and QR codes are just some examples of rich content for your LiveBinder.

Check out Joy Kirr’s Genius Hour LiveBinder to see how Livebinder can be used for curating resources.

Click here to open this binder in a new window.

Refer to the Educator’s Guide to LiveBinders to get started.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board or pinboard that allows you to find and curate images, videos, or websites.

The visual aspect of Pinterest is a key reason why it’s captured the interest of so many.

You add items to your Pinterest accounts using pins. A pin is a visual bookmark which could be an image, video, slideshare, or a web clip of a site.

When you click on a pin it takes you to the site where the pin was sourced from so you can learn more.

Some people think of Pinterest as a social media platform but it’s really more like a search engine. Pinterest calls itself a visual discovery engine.

Watch this video tutorial to learn more about Pinterest.

You can check out how we use Pinterest here.

Examples of educators using Pinterest to curate and share:

  1. Eric Sheninger
  2. Larry Ferlazzo
  3. Vicky Davis
  4. Cult of Pedagogy

Scoop.it

Scoop.it allows you to create a web page to share what you find interesting with the world.

It does this combining clever curation tools that make it easy to gather content in one place with a wide range of sharing functionalities to let people know about your Scoop.it page.

Watch this video to learn more about Scoop.it.

Check out these examples of how Scoop.it can be used:

For more information on Scoop.it refer to how to keep your content fresh with Scoop.it.

Curation Pitfalls

Kay Oddone created this diagram based on a presentation by Joyce Seitzinger.

It summarizes some of the pitfalls you want to avoid as a content curator.

Content Curation Pitfalls
Image by Kay Oddone

The Hoarder: a curator who collects everything indiscriminately, who doesn’t organise their content, and doesn’t share – this is really closer to simple aggregation than curation.

The Scrooge: one who, similarly hoards their information – although they may organise their collection, they don’t share either; one of the key purposes of educational content curation!

The Tabloid (or National Enquirer): a collector who indiscriminately collates everything together, and generously shares this aggregation, whether others want/need it or not!

The Robot: a curator who uses tools to shares automatically, with no context related additions or value adding; in this case, the curation is really no better than providing a list of Google search results.

Avoiding these pitfalls is what differentiates the effective content curator from those simply ‘collecting’ content.

Visit Kay’s post to learn more about content curation.

Create Your Own Workflow

Remember, while there are tools that can help with the aggregation and organization of all the great resources you’re coming across, technology can’t do the curation. This is the job for a human who knows their audience (their PLN).

We encourage you to try out the following process if you’re ready to give content curation a go:

  1. Find the tool(s) that you prefer to use for news discovery, for curation, and for sharing.
  2. Curate the content that helps you, and is helpful for others.
  3. Make it part of your routine to curate and share content.

As you get going and try different tools, your wants and needs might evolve. You’ll figure out the pros and cons of different tools as you use them.

Stick with it and you’ll begin to develop your own workflow that works for you!

Want to see an example of a workflow?

Richard Byrne is a master curator, keeping hundreds of thousands of teachers in the loop on a daily basis. Watch how he uses Feedly and Google Keep together.

Watch David McGavock’s video to see how he use Netvibes, Scoop.IT, and Diigo as his curation and learning tools.

Your Task

It’s now time to take action!

We’d like you to add your voice and ideas to our ongoing conversation about PLNs by undertaking one or more of these challenges:

  1. Review our list of popular curation tools. Leave a comment on this post to share what tools you currently use (and why) for news discovery, curation, and sharing. Tell us which of the curation tools you plan to try and why. Do you have any other tools to add that you’ve tried or heard about?
  2. Set up an account. Choose one of the popular curation tools such as Flipboard, Nuzzel, Scoop.it, or Pinterest. Sign up and leave a link to your account so others can take a look and follow you.
  3. Interesting tweet. Find an example of a tweet where someone has curated and shared some information in an interesting way. Maybe they included a summary, visual, sketchnote, GIF, or quote. Share the link to the tweet so we can take a look!
  4. Write a post on your blog. Share your own thoughts about curation. Please include @edublogs if you tweet your post so we can share your post with our network. Leave a comment with a link to your post so we can read it! In your blog post, you might like to cover topics like:
    • What do you see as the advantages of curating content?
    • What tips do you have for newbies?
    • What did you learn about content curation that you didn’t know?
    • What are your future goals for content curation?
    • How could you teach your students something about content curation?

Also feel free to leave a comment to ask any questions or share your tips.

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149 Comments

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  1. I went to Live Binder first because it is a mandatory use tool for our pre-service teachers – and I REALLY didn’t like it. Maybe I just need to give it some more time, but yikes. Flipboard on the other hand, I think I am going to be spending a lot more time with. It was engaging, fun, and easy to use. I have been curating through an organizational system in Google Drive, which works for me, but a more fluid approach would definitely be helpful. Also, I use Pinterest quite a bit for more graphic or creative project curation. Excited to see how I can mold Flipboard in and maybe get the best of both worlds in this one space.

    • Danae Peterson
  2. An example of a tweet where someone curated the information is within this tweet by Kaseybell with Shakeituplearning on Twitter. She used a fire emoji which immediately caught my attention and capitalized the word FREE and included the hashtags #shakeuplearning #gsuiteedu #edchat and provided a resource that allows educators to gain access to free Google lesson plans.

    link to tweet: https://twitter.com/shakeuplearning/status/1323670605200281601?s=21

  3. The curation tools I plan on using definitely include the use of blogs, flipboard, and pinterest! I love the idea of using a blog to organize thoughts, ideas, and to share knowledge or experience with others and also just have it as my own personal portfolio in a way! I love the openness that blogs have to offer and the freedom. I also really love the idea of flipboard and compiling various sources and articles into one place and being able to share that with others as well! Pinterest I already use for so many things, but have starting gathering inspiration for my future teaching endeavors already!

  4. I have a Pinterest account and I absolutely love it and all the ideas that I get from it. Therefore, I thought it would be the best one to use to curate my content. I created a new one just for my teaching pins.
    Link: https://www.pinterest.com/pierce5235/_saved/

    • Rebecca Pierce
  5. I reviewed the list of popular curation tools, and the only one I currently use is Pinterest. What’s funny is I was thinking to myself that I love Pinterest because everything is visual and easy to organize with pins and boards. In this free professional learning series, I then read that Pinterest has captured interest in so many because of the visual aspects! I also read that Jennifer Gonzalez, an educator with a blog I follow – Cult of Pedagogy, has a Pinterest, and I immediately followed her! Another curation tool I would like to try out is Flipboard as the content is organized like a magazine, and I believe it will fulfill the visual aspects I found out I like in curation tools.

    • Rebecca Campbell
  6. I have had a Pinterest account for years and even still use it to this day. I didn’t know it had so many useful tools for curating educator content. I clicked on the link above to look through the “Cult of Pedagogy” Pinterest page and gave it a follow so I can continue to check out their helpful content.

  7. Curation of information can help you find, organize and manage content. While I already knew about pinterest, there were other aspects that a teacher can use to curate content and also make it more appealing. I have seen many teachers make a cartoon of themselves. Now I know that it is with booksnaps. When curating content, it is important to filter, edit, create, and share. It is important to filter because it seems like headlines can be misleading on content. Even, Ifake where students can make fake text messages I think would be useful in a classroom. 

    The curation of information can help students to be more engaged in the learning process. If they help to curate the information then the students can become ,more accountable for learning. 

    • Kathryn Clemons
  8. I wasn’t really sure what content curation was before reading about it. I think this idea of doing your research and making sure the information you’re absorbing is actually reliable. The website says a key to having a successful PLN is having good content curation skills, which I believe is very true. It’s important that your followers can trust what you say and feel comfortable with what you post. Besides reliability, content should also be eye-catching and organized.

  9. I recently started using Pinterest and I have come to like it. There are so many activities and ideas that are available and free. On Pinterest, you can choose topics or ideas that you find to interesting to your personal self and I really like that aspect of it. I have gotten some cool ideas from this tool.

    • Isaiah Alexander
  10. I’ve used Pinterest in the past. I just started getting back on it and am finding amazingly creative activities to share with students. I intent to create a new board to curate school/teaching related content. Currently, I am working on a unit lesson plan for one of my classes and Pinterest has provided me with such great ideas.

    • Tarana Tavangar
  11. Curatorial tools are a really useful thing. As I read this article I am reminded of the many articles I have read and will never find again. I will probably start using the binder one shared in this article. I admittedly only use aggregates like Google News or social media sights to get information. Finding a way to organize this content would be very useful and could help me share it throughout my PLN and with my students. I think that curating is helpful in the long run by allowing you to always be able to access information, and helps me remember that I have it. I frequently quote articles that I have saved on my google drive, because saving them helped remind me that they exist. I think that if you were to teach for a long time however, you could run into the pitfall of relying only on old information because of your curation.

  12. This section mentions Pinterest is a great curation tool. I started a board on my pintrest for Physical Education posts I want to save. I looked at Vicky Davis’ pinterest curation to use as a guide and example. Another important piece of information I took form this section is you cannot be a hoarder. If you save everything you find, are you really saving anything useful?

    • Morgan Hanley
  13. https://twitter.com/deem_ellen/status/1316800757677654016
    During the laterest #whatisschool session, other teachers shared information about how to take care of one’s own mental health while comparing their character to the characters from Charles Schultz. This allowed the session to be personalized while still informing teachers how to support colleagues with different personalities, challenges, and strengths. This would be a great resource to turn into a flipgrid or familiar platform.

    • claraweingarth
  14. I use Pinterest regularly curating content unrelated to school. I’ve added a “Resource Room” board with ideas that I intended to use in teaching, but I tend to focus on recipes and home projects with this particular platform. Throughout this PLN development process, it’s been interesting to see how much potential I already have to build up a PLN that I don’t use effectively from a professional stand point. Moving forward, one way I’d like to develop my PLN is by using my existing accounts (Twitter & Pinterest) for more professional content.

  15. I found this tweet from The Global Metacognition Institute to be a good example of curation: https://twitter.com/GMetacognition/status/1316650117957591041. The tweet shares a resource, but the author offered up a quick explanation of what would make the resource useful. It’s a good example of reading, editorializing, and sharing.

    • Sydnie Stockton
  16. I currently use Pinterest to for many purposes! I have a total of over 4,000 pins!! I have many different boards such as Earth Day, End of the Year, Guided Reading, Morning Work, etc. I get different ideas and save them to use in my classroom and share with others. I have used Flipboard before breifly but would like to try this again. I like this because you can save many different articles that you find interesting and knowledgeable.

    • Kaitlyn Steckbeck
  17. @hirschfeld1500 Find me on Pinterst. I am excited to start finding/sharing great project/ideas for the classroom.

    • Jason Hirschfeld
  18. I have just recently become a Flipboard user, so I am still learning about this tool. I am sure I will be using Flipboard more as I love to have more news to read about, I just need more time to read it all. I have used Pinterest for many years. I use Pinterest to find ideas for art, songs, new learning ideas for everyday lessons. Recently, I went looking for a song, poem, or activity my students could use for Grandparents day, especially since it was virtual this year.

  19. I currently use Pinterest A LOT to find ideas for engaging activities or classroom organizational tools, even though I am not yet in my own classroom. I think Pinterest is a really wonderful resource because it really allows its users to show their creativity, not only in their own posts, but in the boards they create of their liked posts. I plan on using Flipboard more as it provides a lot of interesting stories about what is happening in today’s schools and classrooms.

  20. I am a very big Pinterest user! It is probably the only curation tool that I use. There are so many different ideas on Pinterest for educators. I find Pinterest very easy to use as well.

    • elizabethyahner
  21. I have used Pinterest once or twice for some lesson plan ideas as well as bulletin board ideas for my residence hall because I am an RA. I really liked the ideas I have seen from Pinterest and I think its great that its personal ideas that real people share and there have been some very innovative ideas that I have seen while briefly using this app. The one app that I don’t use which I think I will use is Flipboard. I really like how you can organize everything you like into personal “magazines” which you can save and refer back to. This is especially great when you see innovative and cool ideas you can utilize in your classroom.

  22. Nuzzel also seems like a great tool for teachers to stay up-to-date with new information and ideas. I agree that going on Facebook, Instagram, and even Reddit does not necessarily guarantee that you are seeing important, relevant information. The news that is shared is dependent on who/what you follow and what is getting the most attention. Nuzzel would be great to be able to have all information put together so I can look through and find what is important. Then, I can share the news with those that I choose.

  23. Currently, the only curation tool that I use is Pinterest. I use this site for recipes, fashion/hair, and teacher tools. I have used it in the past to look for specific activities that can be used in the classroom, as well as how to organize my classroom. There are many great ideas on this site, but there is also a lot to look through at times to find something helpful. Pocket seems like a tool that would be really helpful for busy teachers. Sometimes there are resources and articles that I find, but I don’t have time to read them in the moment. This would allow me to keep everything in one place where I can read it later.

  24. I love the idea of curation. It is so important to gathering information that is important. I like pintrest because it is easy to use and has ideas I can implement right away.

  25. Honestly I love Pinterest but surprisingly Instagram and TikTok has been a great curator for myself. Instagram allows me to save posts and organize them however. And with TikTok I send them to myself or my camera roll and organize it that way.

  26. I have used Pinterest before, but I would really like to start using Flipboard for new discoveries. It seems very informational, and things are both easy to find and share.

  27. I did not think of it in that way but I have been using Google Keep (Note) to store things that I have need to access at a later date. I did not relate it to the term curate to describe what I was doing.

  28. I have been on Pintrest for years. I am just started to expand and share. I have ventured out and am using freely. I liked the video on how to use it and Google Keeps. Definitely going to be using this!