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The gentle art of curation

Content curation is a great way for students to learn how to locate, filter, evaluate and organise information

There's no doubt about it – the web contains a huge amount of content. And the necessity to filter and organise this information has given rise to content curation.

Content curation is about researching, sorting and organising content around a chosen theme and sharing it with your community using many different formats. More and more people are realising the ability to edit and republish material they've found online is a valuable one. Although content curation is used in the business community, it can also have benefits in the classroom.

There are lots of curation platforms out there but I'll discuss ones that can be easily used in the classroom.

Storify

Storify creates a narrative element as it can be used to bring news together and create a story around a chosen theme. This is created using content gathered from different social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. It's very simple to join up.

Storify has an attractive layout and can be embedded on your own blog or website. All of the content that's posted on Storify is attributed to the original source. TAFE's Open Training Education Network (OTEN) uses Storify as a marketing tool and reports a high rate of student engagement.

Scoopit

This is another tool that's free to join (go to http://www.scoop.it/). Scoopit allows you to define a topic, select your content and then publish a ‘magazine'. Using Scoopit is considered to be a kind of cross between tweeting and blogging. Most people don't have the time to blog, so Scoopit allows you to select and display content created by others as well as add comments. It also provides analytic tracking to monitor your performance.

Paper.li

This tool allows you to create your own online newspaper with all the content you've selected. It's a good way to aggregate content and share with your community using email, Twitter or Facebook.

Again, you access and aggregate content, sort through it and then publish your selections to share with your audience. Paper.li also allows you to schedule daily or weekly digital ‘deliveries' to your community.

Pinterest

Pinterest is another social sharing site but more like a visual bulletin board. It can be used for business to promote products and also allows for accompanying text of up to 200 characters. It's a good idea to use # to categorise your text and label information.

Classroom applications

Content curation is a great way for students to learn how to locate, filter, evaluate and organise information. They can identify trends, access and collect articles around current issues or create exhibits about historical events. The research skills required can be valuable for class assignments.

There can be many positive outcomes of incorporating curation exercises in the classroom. Teaching and learning can become a more meaningful experience for all parties, often leading to a sense of empowerment for the students. The contacts made through curation can also lead to professional development opportunities and increased credibility in one's field.