Drink from a FirehoseOne of the great things about living in the Digital Age is that we all have instant access to incredible amounts of information at any time. That is also one of the challenges of our time. Managing digital information has been likened to drinking from a firehose. If we are to make sense of the information we find, we need to learn to curate it into manageable collections that help us make meaning. This skill is not only essential to us personally, we also need help our students by curating information for them and by teaching them how to do so on their own.

There are dozens of great tools for curating web content, and each one has its own features. This means that some curation tools work well in one situation, while others work well for a different purpose or audience. Just as a master carpenter wouldn’t have just one plane or screwdriver, teachers need to have multiple curation tools to help fit the many digital tasks they take on. I personally wouldn’t want to have to live without Symbaloo, LiveBinders, or Pinterest.

MentorMob

The tool I’ve chosen to feature today, though, is one that has a lot to recommend it in the classroom:

MentorMob is a tool that allows teachers to create learning playlists that students can work their way through chronologically. Each step of the playlist can be a web link, a file that the teacher uploads, an article that the teacher writes, or a quiz that the teacher creates. Having all of these features together makes for a very versatile way to create interactive learning paths for students. Additionally, each playlist can be made public for viewing and can even be made editable by the public, creating a shared resource for all of humanity. Here is a playlist I created:

Create your own Playlist on MentorMob!

Why Would I Use It?

Teachers who are using the Flipped Classroom model for learning can create learning playlists that  cover the direct instruction in the homework, preparing students for learning extension in class. Teachers can also differentiate by creating learning playgrounds of resources that students can use as scaffolding around different concepts. Students could also create playlists that demonstrate their learning or that represent their research. On top of that, MentorMob boasts an impressive library of playlists that have already been created and are free to explore and share.

A Few Resources to Get You Started

10 Reasons Why I Love MentorMob

MentorMob User Tutorials

MentorMob: What’s On Your Playlist?

Other Ideas

If you are interested in other tools for curating online content, you might want to check out our Digital Curation Tools post as well as our Visualization Tools post.

In addition to web curation, you might be interested in curating the learning and activities that are going on in your classroom. If that is the case, take a look at threering.com, a web tool and app that make collecting, organizing, and sharing student learning moments pretty simple. With ThreeRing, you can capture video, photos, audio, notes or files and associate them with particular classes, students, and tags. Each thing you capture can then be shared with your students or with their parents. Check it out:

teamthreering_1347862830_140I like that this tool can be used online, with an iOS device or with an Android device. The set-up is relatively simple, but there is definitely a bit of learning and preparation on the front end that the user needs to do. I would also say that the interface is meant to capitalize on the versatility of tablets, so the user experience in terms of set-up and daily use is better there than on the computer. Still, it is definitely a tool that has a great deal of potential and that is easy enough to learn for teachers of any skill-level. If you are interested in ThreeRing, here are a few resources to help you get started:

6 Examples of Teachers Using the THREE RING

ThreeRing – “I feel like a fly on the wall in my child’s classroom.”

Use the Three Ring App to Digitize Your Students’ Work

Your Challenge

Check out MentorMob or ThreeRing or  one of the other curation tools mentioned in this post and share your thoughts about how you could or have used that tool in your classroom in the comments below. If you want to go above and beyond, feel free to create your own MentorMob playlist and share it with the group.

 


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I am an Innovation, Curriculum and Technology Specialist. Frenetic Change-Agent. Playground Advocate. Learning Sherpa. Formidable and Renowned Swashbuckling Education Subversive. I am also a Sony Education Ambassador. My objective is to help others excel as learners. My objective is to change our education system so that it matters to the people it serves. My objective is to make a difference to others. Specialties: Educational Technology, Student-Centered Learning, 21st Century Skills-Based Learning, Student Engagement

54 COMMENTS

  1. Three Ring seems like a great approach to digital portfolios…for record keeping demonstrating mastery of a standard or concept this can be used in all content areas. I like the ability to take video, pictures, or record audio from a smartphone.

  2. I looked through quite a few of the MentorMob playlists, and I like what I see on the site. While I won’t rule out the possibility of personally creating playlists, I feel that I can put any link, quiz, or videos on my Weebly. It might not be quite as techy or pretty, but my kids already understand how to find that information on my site.

    But my students will definitely use this site. I see it as a project creation tool. Students could create a playlist about a topic, skill, or novel, then provide a paragraph-long explanation of exactly what can be found on each page of the playlist. I’m going to post a link to this on my Weebly, because I already have ideas on how to use it next semester. My etymology students will create playlists for each set of words. They can include quizzes, flashcards (Quizlet), and games that will help them through sections.

    • I’m glad that you see uses for MentorMob with your students. At the end of the day, that is our hope that students will be using these tools to create and demonstrate learning. We’d love to hear how it turns out!

  3. What they say is true. Many times the students have a difficult time trying to find useful information on the internet. This is a good way to organize it and I love how they put a big BUTTON on the top of the playlists so you cannot miss it.

    I would use this as a sort of note-taking tool for mathematics. Maybe link a few khan academy videos or such so that they could then use them to take notes on their own. Also, this could be very useful in catching a student who has missed up to the point where we are now.

    Here is a link to the Slope intercept stuff I would have my students do.

  4. Symbaloo – Project Resources, Lesson Resources, Computer Lab Homepage, RTI resources (each group is a different color)

    Jogtheweb – web quests, research documents, presentations to teachers, presentations to community online

    MBC Bundles – Project Resources, Lessons, Students create bundles as culminating project, Training Source

    Mentor Mob –

  5. MentorMob & ThreeRing both seem like versatile, easy to use curation tools. I love the fact that students can be given multiple trustworthy sites in one spot. As a Biology teacher, I have noticed many students have trouble differentiating which websites on their own.

    I might use these tools for students to create a playlist to teach a lesson, or create a virtual research presentation. However, I use MBC Bundles a lot for my classes. I post my weekly assignment sheet under a tab called Pages (which can be saved as a home page…1st thing students will see). I use MBC Bundles to post PDF files for assignments, videos, tutorials, etc. I explain to students that I have given them many virtual tools to learn with..they are to zone in on which ones best meet their learning styles for scaffolding and test preparation.

    • Having kids curate on their own is a great skill to develop in them. They definitely need practice learning how to differentiate between good and poor digital content. I love Bundles, too, especially now that the Bundles locks have been added.

  6. We recently introduced symbaloo with our high school staff. I love the simplicity of the layout and how you can group common sites for easy access. Symbaloo not only helped pace our PD, but also started conversations of how it can be used in classrooms. Great opportunity for students to not only compile their own resources on a topic, but then easily share with others.

    Impressed with the depth of playlists already created on mentormob. I love the idea of weeding out all of the “stuff” and leaving only quality sites in a playlist. We’re in our first year of being 1:1 and are investigating ways to get students heading in the right direction with were to be on the internet. We aren’t interested in blocking everything, but we want students making good decisions on there own. I think mentormob would be a good resource to use when trying to get students to not only recognize a worth-while site, but to also be able to share, share, share!

  7. I like MentorMob as a quick, easy way to group resources for students or teacher PD. The possibilities are endless because you could create a playlist about ANY topic you are studying and include websites and videos, etc. I created a quick one using some of the digital online resources I like to use (link below). The problem is that when MentorMob gives you a link to share, it always seems to be a bit.ly link. Those are blocked in our corporation. Does anyone know if there is a way to get the full link instead of the shortened one?

  8. I like the MentorMob site. I could see students using it to find research information. For example, my students will be doing research on the planets and I could send them to the solar system playlist to find information. This way they are not searching the entire web for their information.

    • Absolutely. While teaching kids to manage the huge amounts of info on the web is important, sometimes, you just need them to be efficient. Offering them a playground of pre-vetted resources is a great time-saving strategy.

  9. Mentor mob is used by some of my high school teachers for research projects. I have also set up symbaloo for the home screen in most of the elementary rooms. It is easy and kid friendly.

  10. Mentor mob is another great tool to guide students to resources and websites. I have used Symbaloo for many years and found it very useful.

  11. Wow! Mentor Mob is great! What an easy way to curate an ordered set of activities for my Social Studies students to work through. I love how user friendly it is for the students and myself. I can easily see letting my students use this for putting together a wealth of information to share with the rest of the class about the 13 Colonies, the American Revolution, or any other topic. The only thing I couldn’t figure out is how to delete a playlist that I had created if I thought it wasn’t useful. I would also like to delete the one from my account that I created as a test list. Any suggestions?

    Here’s my first go:

  12. I USE SYMBALOO!!!! It is amazing. I have many webmixes, organized by subject. I also have shared a webmix with my staff of most used sites by teachers in EVSC. I also shared it with a teacher, she has made a webmix and put it on her ipads for her students to use, so when she adds each ipad updates! LOVE the new suggestions too, I love seeing previously made playlists as well!

  13. Like Peter Barringer, I use my Weebly websites to post all manner of files, links, photos, and videos. I use Livebinders to organize website and other electronic content for my own use. I envision having students use Mentor Mob as part of a multi-genre research project that is presented electronically. One element of their project could be a Mentor Mob they create to provide an overview of their topic.

    • I like the overview idea! It’s a nice shotgun approach to content that sets up the laser-type sharing that the student follows with. That’s a great way to set up the student’s authority with the topic.

  14. I think Mentor Mob could be used in the labs, enrichments, RTI periods that we have so students could work at their own pace with the teacher being the facilitator going around helping as needed. I tried something like this at the start of the year with a symbaloo board for all things equations/integers and after spending so much time putting it together and me thinking it was great- the kids hated it. But then a few days ago they asked about it again for the current topic in lab… it wasn’t the symbaloo it was just doing “all that work” that was awful. Ahhh, teenagers!

  15. I can see having my 5th grade students using this for research topics. They recently did a report on Explorers and are getting ready to do reports on their favorite animals. As the keyboarding technology teacher I keep all the site that I want the students to use during class on a site called Protopage. This allows me to keep all the bookmarks in one spot. I have the subjects ordered by color. I have also used Symbaloo in the past. It is a nice for the younger students to use. I will have to introduce Mentor Mob with my 6th grader and see how they like it to help them organize information that they find on the web.

  16. I can see using Mentor Mob for almost any subject. Working with both older and younger children, I can see this being a real advantage for younger children. When you tell them they are going to research planets. They will google planets Then they are completely lost as to what to do next. With Mentor Mob only the important things come up, which makes it much simpler for them to find. This also would be a great project for the older students to put a presentation together on Mentor mob

      • I wonder if, over time, a person could curate a number of resources and sites that could be used as enrichment for a student. Let’s say that after a lesson, the student has not grasped the concept and needs some additional work. They could be pointed to the appropriate Mentor Mob that would provide addtional resources. It could be video tutorials, or games, or worksheets that they student could use to practice. This would also be a good place for review at the end of a unit or semester.

  17. I really like Mentor Mob for ease of use. I teach elementary grade technology and when we get to the instructions on how to be “safe” on the Internet, little figures still manage to click or type the wrong buttons. This is a great resource to prevent that from happening. I see it also being an easy way for differentiated instruction where students can work at their on pace without the entire class knowing who is working on what level.

    • I agree about the differentiated instruction. Not only can students work at their own pace, but a playlist could include leveled pieces so that students work with the content that is appropriate to their skill levels.

  18. I like Mentor Mob, in terms of research projects. My students are currently reading biographies right now and there are quite a few playlists already set up for my students. Next year, I would have the students check out the playlist prior to reading their biography. This year, I am going to have my students create their own playlist after reading their biography.

    I think this will also be a good tool for me to use. I think this is a great way to introduce a unit to the students. It will give them a great idea on what things will be discussed throughout the unit.

  19. Mentor Mob would be another tool to help my Business students organize their info. I would use it to create playlists for their projects.

  20. I like the idea of mentormob and have tried it, however, it is not something I have found to be extremely helpful in my classroom. I do love the three ring. I have signed up for it and I think it will be very helpful in organizing student work.

  21. I have used Symbaloo. It is very visually appealing. It is helpful for organizing websites and resources. I enjoy browsing other Symbaloo boards as well to get new ideas and resources to check out. It is helpful in the classroom, as it creates a safer web environment for students as they begin learning how to safely browse the internet. It also provides a space for teachers to set up quick links to regularly used websites during instruction, 1:1 device use, and for other classroom activities (which is helpful for students, so they do not have to type in web addresses — We all know how this can lead to trouble if a child types .com instead of .org on some sites.)

  22. Three ring seems to be a tool that I could really use. I am often collecting notes, pictures and videos on skills of the students I work with for therapy. I like to share progress with parents or teachers. This tool will help me organize my videos and notes. I am looking forward to using it regularly.

  23. Symbaloo is probably my favorite web organizer that I use with my students. I have a science/math Symbaloo page that I share with my students. The math page has links to game sites which all my students love to play on their netbooks. For science, I have four tabs, one for each quarter or topic that is covered in 6th grade science: life science, matter, space/solar system, energy. I have many different types of links including videos, articles, virtual labs. I looked at Mentor Mob because it is new to me. I especially like the search feature for learning paths that have been created by other teachers. I found one about energy that can be used with my students. There are so many great tools on the web and with netbooks, you really need a way to organize your resources. I still love Blendspace from an earlier challenge. I think it has similar uses like Mentor Mob. I am sold on Blendspace!

  24. I too have used Symbaloo for a while. I really like it as my homepage because it has all of the sites I visit frequently in one location. I agree with Tim that some people really like it due to its visual nature. But you can also share it with students and also have them put together sites for research purposes or to document their learning adventures.

    Mentor Mob fits this same description except it is not as visual. But I like the ease in finding already curated playlists and the ease in creating one. I can also see using this to provide an easy sub plan for students to work through on days when you know you will not be there. The quiz at the end feature is also a really cool way of wrapping up the work.

  25. Mentor Mob again may be useful to create groups of websites for my self-care groups. The Three Ring looks great for all of our therapists and teachers to help keep track of progress and share with parents and other staff. I am looking forward to sharing it with our PTs and OTs.

  26. I’m a Pinterest fan myself and decided to create a pinterest account for our school since I often saw our students using their free time to search Pinterest. We have boards for test prep, homework help and teacher resources. Feel free to check out what we have @ http://pinterest.com/pcedlinks. It is a work in progress. When I have a little more time, Mentor Mob is at the top of my list to check out a little more, but it looks like something I can definitely use in my classroom.

    • This is a great idea and I could see using it for PD as well or as a resource for parents as well. Does anyone ever have trouble w/ kids going to Pinterest to some of the inappropriate boards or do you somehow have those locked down thru the filter? I'm wondering this because we had Pinterest opened at first for students until they took advantage of the privilege. We now have it open for staff only. We are a small shop so that makes a difference in how we handle these issues.

  27. I found a MM playlist on the rock cycle and loved it! From what I first read about MentorMob, I thought it was going to be much like Blendspace. They can be used in a similar way, but are very different looking. I need something like this for classes that have a couple of students that are more advanced and are obviously bored. They get the information quickly and I could have them on my computers in the back of the room going deeper and at a faster pace.

  28. I think this would be great to use for my special needs students. Often times they have trouble typing web links, getting to the right places or searching the correct way. This would create a list of the needed websites ready for them to click on easily.
    I have used webquests in the past and this would be nice to use to set up the links ahead of time. Also useful for resources for a research project. Might even be able to put all these technology links as a play lists from the 30 day Challenge together in one place.

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