The Internet has truly changed our world and the way we receive and interact with information in the 21st century. The amount of information being thrown at us is constant. At a conference I attended this summer I had the privilege of hearing the brilliant Lucy Calkins speak. As she talked to us about the role of educators today, she said that information is like air, it’s everywhere. The amount of knowledge that exists in the world DOUBLES every 12 HOURS! Our job in education goes beyond simply imparting information, but we must ensure students know how to access, analyze, organize, and synthesize information.
One way we can help students with this vital 21st century skill is through curation. We can model curation by offering them collections of resources that meet their needs, not expecting them to sift through all of the information that is literally at their fingertips and discern completely independently what is helpful and what is not. In the article Curation for Digital Learning, preserving instructional time, using resources more efficiently, and providing greater access to resources are just a few important reasons that curation should be part of our instruction for students. We can then extend that into teaching students to become curators of information themselves. Students may do this in small doses, as they collect resources for a research project for instance, but we can help them curate information for a variety of purposes using the tools that make the most sense for the job.
A new curation tool I was introduced to through the Cool Tools for School, Thing 6: Curation Tools learning module was Wakelet. Wakelet is a tool that reminds me of Pinterest in a lot of ways. Users can make pages and customize the material that appears on these pages. This would be similar to a board in Pinterest. In Wakelet, in addition to websites and uploads, you can also directly connect YouTube videos or posts from social media such as Twitter and Facebook. Wakelet also has a feature that can connect directly to your Google Drive to share Docs, Slides, Sheets, etc. This makes sharing resources in a variety of mediums a snap!
Another neat feature is that users can customize a header image as well as a background on the site. The content can displayed in a few different customizable ways. Also, unlike a Pinterest board, the creator can decide when to publish the page which can be set to private, unlisted, or public. Once published, the Wakelet page can be customized for embedding on other sites. Unfortunately, my template in WordPress doesn’t seem to allow embed code, but here is an example of a Wakelet I have started of resources for this year’s Texas Bluebonnet Book nominees.
Wakelet has tons of potential for librarians to share curated resources with both faculty and students. In the elementary setting, Wakelet would not be a good tool for student curation as you need to be 13 to set up your own account. However, it is an excellent tool to model curation for students and could absolutely be used by older students. I am excited to continue learning how I can use Wakelet and other tools to help prepare students with the curation skills they will need in their futures!