One 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.
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
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:
I 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:
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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