This is part of a regular series of articles exploring some of the terms used in e-learning (view other articles in the series). We’ll do our best to break down the jargon and explain what things are from a basic perspective.
A ‘Content Curation Site’ is a website that allows users to gather resources from around the web and share them in themed collections. For example, a collection could present resources originally created by attendees at a conference, about a specific event or a particular topic. These sites are related to, but slightly different from, Social Bookmarking sites because the emphasis isn’t just in created curated collections of links to other pages, rather they are used to collate resources and snippets of content from other sites along with the link.
These sites are very good for drawing together resources and adding context, such as providing a commentary on different sides of an argument based on content from multiple websites. There is also potential for these sites to be used by students to manage and share their research into a subject for an assignment or to create showcases of their work from multiple sources around the web.
At its most advanced, content curation sits at the top of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, with learners showing criticality and the ability to draw upon information from multiple sources to create a cohesive whole. However, there has been criticism about the use of these sites, not least from professional curators, because they don’t require advanced criticality and judgement about the potential worth of a particular resource and can encourage people to reuse others’ work without providing appropriate credit or remuneration. If using these sites with students it would be important to reiterate how and why to give credit to the original creators.
General Curation Sites
There are several different curation sites to choose from and most offer similar features and free registration. The main options are:
- Pinterest – currently the most popular site for curating collections of images, however it doesn’t support the curation of any other resource types (such as videos, web pages, etc.)
- Scoop.it – dedicated to collecting entire web pages, Scoop.it can recommend pages based on the topics you are interested in.
- Learni.st – education focused tool mainly used for collecting web pages and articles to help people learn about a topic
- Storify – helps gather together images, videos, and tweets and turn them into a coherent story
- Flipboard – create ‘magazines’ from articles around the web and present them in an attractive format online and through mobile apps.
Social Curation Sites
These sites are slightly different because they provide a space where multiple people can add and organise resources at the same time. They use the concept of a pin board or post-it wall and make it very easy to arrange notes, images, videos, and links.
Microblogging sites are often used to curate resources from across the internet. While not designed specifically for this purpose, they can be effective due to their simplicity and the communities that have built up around them.
Which should I use?
The site that you use is likely to depend on the type of resources that you expect to be collecting and whether you expect to be the sole curator or work with other people. All of the sites listed are free to use (though many provide extra features for a fee), so you could experiment with a few until you find the one that most suits your requirements. Many of the sites also have apps for mobile devices that make it easier to add content or improve the display of collections from smart phones and tablets.