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.
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 convey
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.