If there was ever a cool tool lesson made especially for me, then Thing 6 was it. I am always on the hunt for resources; whether it’s interior design, recipes, toddler crafts, or education, I love finding and saving all types of media. I am a huge fan of Pinterest and use it daily. However, it wasn’t until this lesson, that I realized that I was actually curating. I had always just considered it an “informal” way of digitally scrapbooking things I wanted to come back to without making dozens of bookmarks. Now, I have a brand new perspective.
To add to that perspective is the idea that I can teach my students how to curate and why it’s important. I was struck by just how much the world our students are learning in is changing on a daily basis. Our students are living in the Digital Age, and these skills are just as important as any other content-based skills we teach in a classroom. Joyce Valenza argues, “[m]uch of what students now need is dynamic and feedy and cloud-based…We can guide students through the process of setting up parking lots for the development of archiving the inquiry process…” (22). Most of my teaching emanates from student interests and connections. For example, when I teach Romeo & Juliet, I often work to help students make connections between a Shakespearean tragedy and their own coming of age story. I always begin my unit by determining what learning goals I want my students to be able to achieve by the end. However, it is their classroom discussion, reflections, and guidance that gives meaning to our work in the classroom.
My teaching has shifted drastically in the past two years because of the nature of my work. My students do not see me every day and at times, they can become frustrated taking a course somewhat independently and completely digitized. The discussion of curating in the classroom also helps to reinforce what I consider to be the most important part of research: finding and evaluating sources. For our English I and II OCR courses, students have to complete a research module. This would be the place to teach my students how and why to curate.
For this lesson, I decided to focus on curating from the education side and explored the Civil Rights Movement (covered in English I, Module 3) and used BlendSpace. It was very user-friendly and it was easy to find videos, images, and sites without having to open other tabs (always a plus). I also really appreciate the quiz option in this tool. I think I would definitely use this for assignments to help students build background knowledge on a topic, but I wouldn’t have them personally curate with this tool.
Kasman Valenza, Joyce. “Curation.” School Library Monthly September-October 29.1
(2012): 20-23. Print.