Content, Collaboration and Curation…

Social media has moved from truly a “social venue” to a way that educators, parents and professionals learn, collaborate, share and ultimately gather (curate) information.  Those who have made that “mindshift” from “social” to “learning” know that with a 140 character tweet, post or search for a “pin” on their topic they are a little closer to a personal level of expertise than before they engaged in social media.

So the next question, once you have the information you searched for or just came across in your “lurking,” is what do you do with this information once you have it so you can come back to it, share it, or even add to it?

That is where curation comes into play.  I have my favorites and a few tips. Here are the ones I am most familiar:
Pinterest logo

Pinterest is probably the best reflection of who I am in all areas of my life. I curate specifically for other purposes with other venues that I will mention below, but Pinterest is where I collect for all areas of my life. Pinterest is also a great place for a single image idea or curation by specific topic. Sharing with this is as open or closed as you choose. You can have secret boards (a friend of mine had one when she was planning her wedding) that you only invite a few people to share, or it can be open. The other great thing about Pinterest is that, like me, many people curate their life. While I may love a fellow curators boards on organization, I may not share their interest with water sports. I can choose to only follow certain boards to keep my follows focused to what interest me.
I am still learning how to share out with others and Pinterest has really updated this in the last few months, but I don’t like to post every Pin to Twitter or Facebook… that tends to annoy my Twitter followers and Facebook friends. I have noticed that a good “housecleaning” or “reorganizing” of your boards or reposting is a unobtrusive way to share/collaborate. I recently did this and the reposting of my posts I had reorganized/reposted was epic.

Scoopit Logo
Scoop.it was introduced to me through a PLN chat #nisdNOV8 moderated by our District’s Instructional Technology team. It was my answer on how to keep track of all the great information I was collecting/learning on Twitter but was struggling to absorb the vast amount of information I was coming into contact with and wanting to be able to digest with more depth. Not to mention, once I determined the information as beneficial to my learning, I needed a way to turn around and share. Scoop.it was that answer. I will warn you it is addictive and you can have up to 5 Scoop.it boards for free, but then you must pay for more. My need to be micro-organized could not be accomplished in 5, so I pay $6.99 a month for an education account to be able to have up to 20 boards. Currently I am utilizing it for scoops that are related to educational technology and the sub-topics that relate to the vastly growing and necessary componenet of technology in education. I have found that the ability to share the entire board, a single scoop and the suggestions for scoops it provides me helps enhance the content I am already curating from my PLNs on Twitter. I also like this method of curation as it has the opportunity for people to follow each individual board, make suggestions and respond to each individual scoop.

Flipboard logo

Flipboard is my most recent curation exploration. I am truly using this application for more lengthy text/online magazines and for educational topics such as leadership development, collaboration, curriculum design and classroom approaches from a practice and philosophy essential for effectiveness. I still struggle with “flipping” content I find outside of what Flipboard “hosts” but am finding ways to import.

Of course there are a ton of other options when curating. My former principal successfully utilizes
paperli logo

I have dabbled in the utilization of
Youtube pic

No matter the medium used, there are a few things I suggest you ask yourself:
1) Will your curation make sense to others with whom you share?
2) What is the purpose of your curation?
3) How will you orgainize it for ease of curation and those that will be hopefully benefitting from your curation?
4) How will you determine an item appropriate for curation? Will you read it all the way through? Do you consider the reliability of the original source?
5) How will your curations reflect you as a person and professional?

Above all, share your learning… Tweet it, email it, Pin it or Facebook it. You benefitted in some way enough you felt it worthy to curate. Of course, honor the author or the origin of the curation, but then “Pass it on!”

Please feel free to comment on this blog other ways to curate as well as comment if any of the ways mentioned are beneficial to you as well. Look for additional blog posts about other methods for curation in the future… guest bloggers are welcome!!!!

Making sense of it all…

This week the devastating acts in Boston and the horrific fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas have hit me hard. Combined with the sad loss of a local family’s father who took his own life I have been extremely heartbroken.

My Husband is from the Boston area and I have walked through the locations where the bombs detonated. I recently took up running and ran my first half marathon in February. I have recently said half-joking, half-serious that when I’m 60 I will be able to have a qualifying time good enough that I can run in the Boston Marathon. Ties run deep and it shook me to the core.

But I kept going. I have 22 students and two children of my own who look to me for reassurance, provide a sense of safety and “all is right with the world.”

Then the explosion at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas happened. Every time I and/or my family travel along that part of I-35 we stop at the “Little Czech Bakery” for kolaches and Czech baked goodies. In early 2000 I worked as an administrator for a nearby town and athletic rival. I worked Football games on the very field that served as the triage location. I attended academic and athletic events as the administrator on duty in the Middle School that burned down. My husband in a previous job called on that very fertilizer plant. Ties run deep and this rocked my world.

Once again students and my kids looked to me for comfort and reassurance. Honestly I wavered. I tried to talk about it and my voice cracked, my eyes teared up, and I couldn’t keep talking.

I have been putting off my next blog entry as I have so much “professional content” I want to blog about. I honestly don’t know where to start. But then I read a blog I subscribe to http://topicalteaching.com/2013/04/21/6-messages-for-children-after-a-tragedy/ which talks about lots of ways to help kids deal with tragedies like this week. But the point that stuck with me was #6. Our simple and every day acts of kindness will make a difference.

After reading this I was looking at my fellow Facebook posts and right there was a picture of my very own students living out that very thing.
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Amazing how your own students can do for others the very thing you try to do for them. Even more amazing is how they inspire you when you feel you’ve momentarily lost your ability to inspire others.

So today I changed my mindset. I am looking for ways to note random acts of kindness and do random acts of kindness. Below is another picture circulating on Facebook that shows how even the midst of a “job to do” human nature takes over and drives us to care for one another.
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I am reminded how all of us have a responsibility to one another. As Bill Wilson states, “To the world you are one person, but to one person you may be the world.” So today I blog about what is all on our minds and the ache we have to heal our hearts. Matters of the mind can wait.

Finally, I leave you with the following picture. There were many unsung heroes this week, and they were all super heroes to me, the students that I teach and mold into great citizens, and my own children who continually remind me of the good in the world. Thank you for being what we all hope prevails. Let us be and remember the good, may it overcome the tragic.

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