Content Curation in Elementary Education

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My professional feelings about Pinterest (or curation in general) as an education tool for ACTIVE blended or fully online learning?

Content curation is a vitally important skill for students AND educators. The internet opens up opportunities to a multitude of options and opportunities for students and educators. Without a way to curate and organize tools, resources, and videos there would be an immense amount of wasted time both in and out of the classroom. Pinterest is a content curation tool that has been around for about ten years and has been a top tool utilized by educators for organizing and finding resources for the classroom. The term “Pinterest Classroom” is often thrown around because teachers spend a lot of time looking at classroom organization and themes on Pinterest to recreate personalized spaces for their own students.

As an elementary teacher I started out my career constantly looking up the latest teacher trends on Pinterest, but quickly learned that it was easy to get stuck in the Pinterest “rabbit hole.” Many times I would start by looking for an activity to engage students in learning a specific skill and end up with 10-15 pins on craft activities. I later resorted to using Pinterest as a backup and focusing my lesson planning and instruction on standard based best practices. While Pinterest is helpful, there are a few areas that miss the mark in my book for content curation:

  1. Pinterest has a search bar within the tool and it is not ideal for saving outside resources. As an educator, I want to easily save resources and tools from conferences, professional development, and reputable sources on the internet. Too many resources within the search bar in Pinterest are not research based and tend to be “crafty”.
  2. Pinterest is not COPPA compliant. As an elementary educator, I want students to learn about the benefits of curating content but I also want them to be safe on the internet. Legally, all platforms that I introduce to students (under 13) need to be COPPA compliant and need to be safe.
  3. While engaging students in learning, it is important to keep in mind the cognitive processes in which students encounter and work with knowledge. As an educator, if I want students to learn about content curation it is important that I keep in mind the hierarchy of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Using Pinterest and asking students to look up “key concepts” and pin ideas into boards would not push students beyond Understanding. If I want student to dive deeper into content curation, I want them analyze content, evaluate the tool/resource, and demonstrate ways to create with the tool. Pinterest does not allow for anything beyond pinning to boards.

While I see the benefits of content curation for both students and educators, my preferred tool is Wakelet.

Wakelet is COPPA compliant, allows for outside resources, and incorporates student voice. Wakelet collections can be collaborative and students/teachers can add videos, text, websites, slide/docs/sheets, PDFs, etc. There is an opportunity to write or create Flipgrid videos within Wakelet collections to demonstrate the benefits of each tool. By allowing students to do their own research, curate content from outside sources, and share their understanding of the resources in one location, educators are allowing students to climb up the hierarchy levels of Bloom’s and truly analyze and evaluate the tools/resources that they find. Teaching and incorporating content curation is important, but it is even more important that we are able to do something with that content!

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