Having clarified the need to curate content on a specific topic, your next step is to choose a curation tool. One that meets your users' needs and is easily accessible.
For more detail on the definition of content curation, who might take part, and who your target audience might be, refer to the article, Content curation.
Identify a need
- What is the student learning objective? Does the request for information relate to a particular topic, curriculum area or NCEA assessment?
- What do you as a teacher require? Gain specific information around the type, amount and origin (New Zealand or global) of resources you wish students to access.
- What information do you as the school librarian require to curate relevant content to help a teacher?
Selecting resources for curation
You will eventually develop a reliable collection of sources from which you can draw high quality resources for your curated collections. Services to Schools provide a wide range of pre-curated materials you can use, including:
These are essential resources that all librarians should bookmark as go-to points for curating.
Our Resources for learning page also lists a number of websites from external organisations, and resources specifically designed for Pasifika and Māori learners. Check out your local public library’s resources too, along with the online resources available to members.
The bewildering array of curation tools generally fall into one of two categories, according to Sue Waters:
- News discovery tools: These are used to help select and aggregate information. They’re time savers because, with some customisation, they’ll feed you the information you want. Examples include following a hashtag on Twitter, personal magazines on FlipBoard and curations on Feedly.
- Curation tools: These are used to collect, annotate and present information sources around a particular topic or theme. Examples include LiveBinders, Bag The Web, Storify, Pinterest, and Pearltrees, but there are lots of others.
While some curation tools are completely free to use, others offer free access to a basic version, with the risk of unwanted advertising appearing. The cost of a subscription version is often not high and lets you avoid advertisements.
Tool preference will depend on your learning style and personal preferences. To check whether your chosen tool will be a good fit for your audience, it's a good idea to survey a sample of your students and staff to find out how they like information presented. Alternatively, show a sample group of teachers and/or students two or three options, and ask them which they like best.
We've attached a checklist to help you choose the right curation tool.
Choose your curation tool
The next step is to actually choose a tool to curate the content you're collecting. Remember to choose one that appeals to your audience. You might find that LiveBinders appeals to you because it resembles a familiar filing drawer, but your early primary age students might prefer the visually engaging Pearltrees. It’s all about communication. Having obtained feedback from students and teachers, together you’ll find a solution that works for everyone.
The method you use to share curated collections is important if you want it to be easily accessed and well used.
Discuss with teachers where the easiest location might be for their students to access your curated collections. Many librarians are using their library websites for presenting curated information.
At the Heaton Learning Resource Centre, Christchurch, librarian Jane Boniface supports inquiry learning via a web page. This links out to databases, curated collections, and also to book resources within the library.
At Cashmere High School in Christchurch, librarian Saskia Hill has a curriculum tab on the library’s website, which opens a drop-down menu for each department. This has a number of curated collections related to reading for pleasure, NCEA achievement standards and inquiry topics. Note that some subject areas’ collections are arranged according to NCEA level, others are arranged by year level, and some by subject. This is clearly a personalised response to the needs of the teachers within each department.
Here are a few examples of curated collections to get you started:
- Joyce Valenza’s New tools guide on LiveBinders
- The TL Chat Daily on Paper.Li
- Jennifer LaGarde on Pinterest
- Content Curation related web resources on WebTools4u2use
- Content curation tools: The Ultimate List on Curata
- The Content Curation edition of SLANZA's Collected e-zine
Image: Content Curation Tools by Aivar Ruukel on Flickr