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Curate the Web

As the start of the school year rapidly approaches, one thing you might want to consider is planning for how your students will access online materials.  In the past many of us have used our classroom website, blog, or wiki.  Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of those methods, we now have a great deal of tools that can help teachers to curate online content.

graphic depicting the idea of selecting and sharing links

Web curation tools make sharing links with our students a snap, ensuring that our students can quickly access relevant resources. It seems that time is always of the essence, so providing students with the links they need to complete their task is a huge timesaver.  Curation tools also allow teachers to preview sites to ensure they are classroom friendly, free of unwanted ads or pop-ups, not blocked by the school server, do not require downloads or software updates, and any other condition that makes students accessing online content challenging.  Curation tools can also provide teachers with an easy way to differentiate resources for individual students.  Teachers can provide resources for the same content presented in various methods (i.e. video, audio, interactive, etc.), or at different reading levels to make it easier for students with differing skills be able to understand the message the teacher is trying to conveycommercial bouncy castles for sale australia

Curation tools are not just for teachers!  Students today are inundated with information, so one of the most important 21st century skills will be for students to learn the art of accessing and evaluating information then use and manage that information.  Putting web curation tools in the hands of your students forces them to use critical thinking skills to determine if the online resources they have located fit the criteria for selecting relevant resources.  Curation tools also require students to consider how to manage the resources once they have located them.  Setting aside time for students to curate online resources, also helps to improve students search skills, and provides opportunities for mini lessons and individualized instruction on sorting through the over abundance of online content.

There are many excellent tools to choose from, so I have selected my top 8 web curation tools to share with you today.  Hopefully you will find many useful tools for you and your students.

 

Jen Foster is an eMINTS Instructional Specialist and authorized Google Education Trainer. 

New to Google+? Here are 10 Tips for Success!

When using Google for the first time, it”s hard to know where to start. These ten tips provide a guide that will assist you in getting connected with other educators around the globe Introduction, Inflatable Obstacle Course .

Google Plus Icon

1. Completely Fill Out Your Profile:  Be sure to add an actual photo of yourself, not just an avatar or other image.  Google has excellent privacy settings that can be used if there is personal information that you do not want visible to the public.  A complete profile page helps others learn more about you making it easier to determine if they would like to add you to their circles and / or communities.

2. Develop Your Circles:  Think about everyone in your contacts list.  Some of those people are friends, some are family, some are work associates, while others are acquaintances you have met online or at conferences.  Generally a post created for your work associates is not going to be of much interest to your family or friends.  You may also want to create a post for your friends that you do not want sent to your family or work associates.  Circles can help with that!  To develop your circles, you consider which groups of users you have and you simply drag people into the circle they belong in.  But what if someone falls into more than one circle?  No problem!  You can add users to multiple circles.  You can also create and delete circles as needed, so if you have an upcoming event, you can set up a circle to communicate with the event planners efficiently, then simply delete the circle after the event is over.

3. Join Communities:  Google Communities are a great way to find amazing resources and conversations about nearly any topic you could imagine.  There are thousands of communities to choose from, so look around and see what communities are out there to support your interests.  Some communities are public so anyone can join, others may require permission, so be sure your profile is complete!  Communities are a great way to connect with like minded people, pokies online sharing inspirational ideas and materials from around the world.

4. Post, Post, Post:  Please share your ideas with the world!  You have amazing thoughts, unique ideas, wonderful talents, and so much more to offer your communities and circles, so please share them.

5. Engage with Others:  There are multiple ways to engage with others in Google .  One of the simplest ways is to 1 someones post.   1 is similar to liking or favoriting on Facebook and Twitter.  Another way to engage with others in Google is to comment on someone’s post.  Adding meaningful interactions help to develop relationships within communities.  Users can also share posts they find interesting with their communities and circles.  Finally, posting publicly, and adding unique content is the highest form of engagement within Google .  Active engagement will help attract others to follow you and/or join your community.

6. Use #Hashtags:  When you are creating posts, be sure to use appropriate #hashtags.  #Hashtags simply help to further identify your post making it easier for others to find specifically what they are interested in.  Try to keep the #hashtags to 3 or fewer, so that you don’t overdo it.

7. Give Credit Where Credit is Due:  When you share a post written by someone else include “ Their Name” in your post to give the original author credit.  If someone has shared a post that you would also like to re-share with your circles at “h/t Their Name.”  H/t stands for hat tip this gives credit to the person who shared the post.

8. Add Content to Your Posts:  Make your posts more meaningful by adding text to your post when sharing photos, links, videos, and events.  We are very interested in what you are hoping to share, but often times others don’t have time to investigate what you have shared to discover why it is important.  Adding text to your posts to explain what you are sharing and why you feel it is important will help others see value in your posts.

9. Reply to Others:  When some comments on your post, ask questions, shares your post, and/or mentions you in their post, it is important to follow up with them quickly.  Answering questions while the discussion is still new in everyone’s mind is alway important.  Also, a quick thank you for the mention, a thanks for the wonderful comment, or thank you for sharing my post goes a long way when building relationships!

10. Try Out Other Google Features:  Check into the other features of Google such as Hangouts, Photos, Events, and Local to discover online chats, video chats, event sharing and discussions, and even find local hotels, restaurants, and attractions.  Download the Android or iPad Apps, and look into the Photo Backup to upload all of the photos from your mobile device to Google automatically.  Do this and so much more with Google

Here are some additional resource to help learn about Google :

*image provided by Wikimedia Commons

Fostering the Next Generation of Storytellers

eMINTS is partnering with KCDigiKids!
eMINTS will be collaborating with KC DigiKids and the KC DigiStory Center on a project focused on bringing digital storytelling into the classroom.

The eMINTS National Center is pleased to announce that we have paired up with KCDigiKids on a new project to help develop a comprehensive storytelling curriculum for grades PK-12.  KCDigiKids was founded in June of 2013, and are working to develop the “next generation of digital storytellers” in the mid-west.  The project is currently in the early stages, but will result in a “curriculum that can be used by educators as formal units of instruction and by non-profit leaders as after-school and summer learning projects.”  The students will experience hands-on learning activities that will utilize a variety of technology platforms and digital formats.  These units will help educators bring digital storytelling to into the classroom as a way to help students reflect, build community, think creatively, become media literate, and much more.

To learn more about KCDigiKids, follow them on Facebook and Twitter.