Saturday, March 26, 2016

New Technology Tricks: Curating Resources

This blog post is part of a 10-day blogging initiative started by @tina_zita back in January. I saw some amazing blog posts from many colleagues during the initial challenge, but wasn't able to contribute, myself... until now! This is blog post number 7/10.

Now that we have access to nearly every bit of information we could imagine through the power of the Internet, there is an ever-increasing need to be able to not just find resources, but to curate them. I admit, I'm not the best at this (at any point in time I have way too many tabs open across the top of my browser - things I want to read but just haven't gotten to yet).

But it is something I want my students to get better at. As they amass more and more information, how will they keep track of it all? A peek at many of my students' Google Drives - and the complete lack of structure therein - shows just how disorganized they can be. So we've been experimenting with new ways of collecting resources and storing them in an organized fashion.

YouTube Playlists

Making playlists was something I was sure many of my students would be familiar with. They are certainly ALL familiar with using YouTube, with many of them comfortable with creating and uploading their own videos. But this task threw many students for a loop:
A possible activity in class
Several students found the required number of videos, but weren't sure how to make playlists, so they just sent me all the links individually. After some coaxing, however, they were able to go back and make the playlists properly. 

Making a playlist is easy, and quite useful - once you have a YouTube account, simply click on "+ Add To" below any video at add it to a playlist you've created. Many students reflected that this was one of the more useful "tech tools" they learned during the course.


How many times have you seen something in the news, and thought "That would be perfect for my class - that's exactly what we'll be talking about next month!" One of the ways that I am trying to better curate resources I find - particularly news articles - is by using Flipboard.

Flipboard is an easy way to curate resources into a magazine-like format. An account is needed (free), but once you have signed up, resources can be collected easily through the +Flip It Chrome extension.
A possible activity in class

The resulting layout is clean and easy to read/follow, and you can make as many magazines as you like - per subject, topic, or date. There are also pre-made magazines that can be searched by topic.

Pre-made Flipboard magazine on Earth Science
Not many students chose to make a Flipboard magazine, but it is something I'd like to push a bit more in future activities.

My Maps

For geographical-based resources, My Maps is a fun way to collect and curate information. 

A possible activity in class
A part of Google Maps, My Maps allows users to pin locations and then add information to the pins, such as text, links, images and directions to the location.

You also have access to all the views and images available in GoogleMaps to further explore the places you pin. Sharing your map is then as easy as sharing any other Google Docs/Sheets/Slides file, or YouTube video.

Of course, there are many, MANY ways available to curate resources. Which ones have you tried? Which ones do your students particularly like?

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