Talking about content curation

The phrases “content curation” and “digital curation” are some THE keywords in the online world, especially in my library networks. The tools that are spoken about as curation tools are many and varied. I have been trying to  focus my thoughts on what I believe curation means specifically to me. Why is it important to my learning and how do/can I use it with colleagues and also with students and why should I?

I will run a session, or more if needed, for teachers at my school about digital curation tools. The approach I will be taking is explaining why it is a useful thing for teachers to do. When properly used these tools will assist our teachers with their professional learning as well as helping them collaborate with professional colleagues.

The AITSL Professional Standards for Teachers includes a section on Professional Engagement. The first paragraph under this is: Teachers model effective learning. They identify their own learning needs and analyse, evaluate and expand their professional learning, both collegially and individually. One of the ways to demonstrate such learning is through professional reading. It is easy to keeping a record of professional reading and evidence of learning and sharing if you become a good content curator. Content curation also covers the collegial aspect.

Content or Digital Curation is not simply collecting links or a lot of links. Many teacher librarians, myself included, have been collecting links (for example: school topics, research) for years. So:

  1. It not really a creating process as such but rather a process of sorting, arranging and then further publishing about information that already exists in the on-line or digital world.
  2. It is a process of first finding digital content that might be useful then sorting the results for the best/most relevant ones, value adding with annotations and then sharing them in meaningful (organized) ways.

Good curators identify and define their topics or subjects at the outset. They then select what to keep whilst providing some context and annotation. Good curators make sure they correctly credit the sources as they offer their networks appropriate and easy access to their curated sources. Continue reading

Useful links

All_Roads by vdowney, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  vdowney 

Sir Ken Robinson: education’s “death valley” & what we need to change

I like to follow a lot of the TEDtalks. They are often thought-provoking and frequently challenging.

Yesterday, when I checked, I found that one of my favourite speakers, Sir Ken Robinson , has done another talk for them. He is again champions a radical rethink of our school systems. Although not talking specifically about the Australian system, it is easy to apply his logic here. Watch the video and then answer his challenge: How do we get out of the educational “death valley” we now face? How do we nurture our students, teaching them to value and cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligences.

Sir Ken Robinson outlines 3 principles crucial for the human mind to flourish — and how current education culture works against them. In a funny, stirring talk he tells us how to get out of the educational “death valley” we now face, and how to nurture our youngest generations with a climate of possibility.

Useful links

The future - William Gibson-opt

Continue reading

Schools and The Cloud

If you are involved in education here in Victoria it is very easy to see the rise in mobile computing across all levels of schooling. The demand on the servers has been increasing enormously and recently many schools seem to have taken steps to move towards the cloud.

Until recently it has been quite tentative, with pilot projects and limited use, often by individual teachers or faculties for single projects and without a whole school commitment.

At our school some staff, especially those in the technology area who have carefully built our in-house network, the cloud technologies are not an option. They fear the move to the cloud and it will require a significant change in mindset before they come on board. Most of what we use/do is on the intranet. Staff book the internet for their classes if they want to use external sites. This limits the usefulness of many of our online work in wikis and blogs. There are so many other great online tools and  collaborative opportunities for real-world learning. We also need to be teaching students how to exist safely and responsiblity in the online work. I know that there are issues and problems may occur but they seem to see only the problems. There are ways around those as there are with the problems the occur on our intranet. It just requires the will first of all and then planning. If we are not careful we will be left behind if this infographic is anywhere near the mark.

Infographic was put together with US data in August 2012 but anecdotally the trend is also applicable here in this state as well.

Those that research and write for Online Colleges see that a much greater commitment to the cloud is coming.   They estimate that K–12 schools will allocate an average of 17 percent of their total IT budget  (US costs) to cloud-related services and in five years that projection goes up to 27 percent.

Please include attribution to with this graphic.

Going to the Cloud

Useful links

Itch: a science-themed action adventure. Books 1 and 2

The last week has been very busy working with English teachers to match the more reluctant boys in their classes with books they might enjoy. It can be hard work sometimes but so rewarding when you have some success. We also had parent/teacher interviews over two days/nights. The English teachers stressed that the boys should be reading in a number of interviews so I had a chance to talk to the boys and their parents about what might be of interest to them. It was also interesting to see that many parents after looking at the books on display (many were military fiction and biographies/autobiographies out for ANZAC Day) had their boys borrow a book for them to read.

Itch by Simon Mayo_small

I was very happy to talk about books and reading when I didn’t have an interview of my own. One of the books I enjoyed last year was Itch by Simon Mayo. I read a review in a blog from the UK and bought it via my Kindle to read. The book was later released as a paperback that we now have in the library.

The main character, who has the marvelous name of Itchinham Lofte, is fairly ordinary 14-year-old who loves science and has one obsession, his collection of elements. His obsession puts him and his friends in a lot of danger.

There is plenty of intrigue and action with a bad guy, in the form of a mad scientist and a ruthless corporation with dubious morals laying claim to the new element Itch has in his hands. Is the element dangerous and did it cause the death of the mysterious traveler “Cake”? Itch needs to know more but who can he trust with his secret?

An action adventure with a science theme made this book a little unusual. The pace was brisk and the ending a good one. So, after believing you have poisoned your whole class with arsenic gas then going on the run from a your mad science teacher and to top it off almost dying of radiation poisoning, what adventures could there be to write about? There were a few big questions unanswered at the end of the book so there are enough things open for a follow-up story.

The book trailer for the novel was also great. Watch it below.

Itch RocksNow the second in the series has been published. I have yet to read it. I will have to finish off some other books this weekend before I get a copy to read. I will probable get the kindle version before getting a hardcopy as well for the library. We have boys who like the digital format, boys that will read the story whatever the format and others who prefer the traditional book.

There is again a good book trailer to whet the appetite.