Curating Possibilities

My Professional Exploration in Curation:

The concept of curation is interesting to think of as a skill to improve on or learn more about when teachers do it so seamlessly every day. A key role of successful educators is to be able to collect helpful resources, using a variety of mediums, and making a decision about what, why and how to use it to benefit students. This is a complex skill, and now that I am aware of the process, I am more mindful of when and how I do it.

Digital platforms for curation can have a lot of positives and negatives. When I first started teaching, I loved finding new and creative ideas on Pinterest. After a couple years of pinning great ideas on Pinterest, I started realizing that there was a lot of pretty terrible resources along with a lot of helpful resources. This platform started to become very time consuming, without finding a lot of authentic resources. Pinterest turned more into a private curation site for me, where I find recipes to make, not as much for an education resource.

Other curation platforms for teachers like Teachers Pay Teachers have a similar balance of “junk” and treasures. I think that these resources should not be completely thrown away, we just have to be aware as teachers of what to look for and to know what will benefit our students. This is something that I think teachers learn with experience in curation. There are a lot of other platforms out there, but I have found these to be the most user-friendly. A great curation platform that most teachers use to curate together is google docs. This is a great platform to share resources and create resources with many users able to add and edit.

In our exploration of curation in our digital literacy class, I was apprehensive to see how Pinterest could somehow be adapted to a digital platform I could use in my classroom. It was interesting to see how the members of our class could curate recipes for a “class dinner” to keep the items we brought organized. I was able to make decisions of what I was going to bring by viewing what others were bringing. We also learned about our interests through the recipes we picked. It was also easy to access all the recipes on an organized Pinterest board that we curated while we shared and sampled the different food. The possibilities of sharing resources this way started to get me excited.

When we started to explore other curation platforms, I realized how easily accessible Pinterest was in collecting resources online. Especially when I downloaded the Pinterest shortcut icon on my desktop, I can pin any website that I am at to a new board. I decided to create a new Pinterest username with my school email. Now that I knew a more beneficial way to curate resources in an organized manner on Pinterest, I wanted create a new professional username for myself.

The Utilization in my Classroom:

I started to realized that this platform may be a solution to a problem that I have been having in my planning of my cultural folktales unit. I like to allow my students a variety of text to explore in the classroom in digital or physical text form. We use Epic books a lot on our lab tops and Kindle digital texts. This allows me to find endless amounts of resources that students can explore. Yet, when I really wanted students to analyze cultural folktales, I had a hard time finding authentic texts that showcased a variety of cultural tales. Either the tales were at a much too difficult lexile level for my third graders, or I could not find tales from a variety of cultures. When searching different platforms during our graduate class, like Educlipper, Pinterest, google videos, Youtube, etc. I found a lot of great folktale videos from over 10 different cultures. I thought curating all of these videos onto a board for my students to listen too would be a great way for them to analyze, compare and create lessons from tales of diverse cultures. This would also be a great option to scaffold for the variety of reading levels in my classroom. Through the videos, all students could have access to these rich tales. I attempted to create a board using Flipboard and Educlipper, but had a hard time creating one that could make the videos easily accessible. I went back to Pinterest and was able to create a board called “folktales for kids” the curated all of the authentic cultural videos. I was also able to edit the titles of each pin to make it easy for students to see the title of the folktale and what country it was from.

pinterest-board

Take a look at my board here!

My next worry: is there a place for Pinterest in the classroom? I was immediately worried about introducing this to my class. Is Pinterest safe for students to use? Would parents get upset that they were using a site that was not complete protected? What if students starting looking at other sites and had access to information they should not be looking at? These questions made me nervous, but I thought the benefit for my learners was greater than the potential risks (Something to analyze in any TPACK lesson). When I introduced the activity to my students, I made it very exciting. I modeled how to access the videos from the board on the front board before giving them their own access. I had every lab top logged into my Pinterest account with the folktales board open. It actually worked out perfectly, because when the students clicked on the pin, only the video came up and they could listen to it right from the Pinterest board, without even opening up another site.

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Students were completely responsible with this platform. I think this success was due to me sharing how special it was we had access to this and modeling exactly how I wanted them to use it. Another great benefit of having the videos for them to explore, is students could choose what cultural folktale they wanted to listen to and analyze. They also could pause the video and take notes on the cultural clue (they had to find 3 different cultural clues for their folktale with evidence from the text). The notes I got back were quality work. They were excited to find clues in the tales and create a life message that the folktale taught.

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With the success of this activity, I made sure to share the Pinterest board with the other third grade teachers. They set up the activity in the same way. They also had great success with their students too! I think this curation platform opened up possibilities of choice, scaffolding and motivation in my students’ future literacy units!

 

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