Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What do we do with all this (INFORMATION) stuff?

Curation of digital content has been on our minds (hence the Content Curation webinar earlier this week!). In the process of putting together our webinar, we found some really cool stuff. We know information is important, of course. After all, we are in the INFORMATION AGE (not sure why the capitals, it just feels right). We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to find information and thinking about what is good information (Anyone remember when Wikipedia was persona non grata?). There’s been a lot of chat about finding, evaluating and citing information, but what should we be doing with it once the finding, evaluating and citing are done? Well, we came across some great thinkers who have answers to that question.  We thought we’d share some of our research highlights with you, starting with this great quote about what curation is:


The art of curation isn’t about the individual pieces of content, but about how these pieces fit together, what story they tell by being placed next to each other, and what statement the context they create makes about culture and the world at large…


Maria Popova is “an interestingness hunter-gatherer and curious mind at large.” We ‘met’ her when we came across her website Brain Pickings, “a human-powered discovery engine for interestingness, a subjective lens on what matters in the world and why, bringing you things you didn’t know you were interested in — until you are.”  For a more in detailed description of the site which includes references to LEGO, philosophy and technology click here.


As an FYI, Brain Pickings may be our new favourite website (at least for J + T, the library chicks of the office). With a team, Maria Popova has also created the Curator’s Code, described as a “movement to honor and standardize attribution of discovery across the web.” We encourage you to check out the Curator’s Code website and read Popova’s description about why it is important in this time of information overload, where information flows so easily through ecosystems.
Finally, we thought we’d share Six Simple Steps to Great Curation with you. While this article is directed more to an organization or business, we think the steps resonate as good tips for educators as well.  In particular, the note about adding value might be useful when designing research tasks or PLN sharing. Is retweeting five to ten tweets a day value-added curation or is it just sending information along?  

Anyhow, that’s what we’ve been thinking about this week. Is a focus on content curation the next evolution of the INFORMATION AGE? We think so. We hope so. What do you think?

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Digital Citizenship: This Is Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile

This is not your father’s Oldsmobile.


When we talk about digital citizenship around the water cooler here at 2Learn.ca, we do so with less gusto these days. It seems like the phrase ”digital citizenship”  now feels awkward in our mouths.  And certainly, the days of marching kids down to the gym to talk about The Facebook are long over.  In  fact, when speaking with people, it seems like the standard answer to “what is good digital citizenship?” is “it’s not about good digital citizenship, its about good citizenship, period”. That’s what we think too. And also, not.


Maybe what we are trying to say is that the meaning of the term has changed some...It’s not only about the perils of the internet anymore. It’s more about how we live in a society where so much of what we do (maybe even who we are?) is online.  If conversations about how to respond to blog posts, how to react to mean texts and how to effectively search for information and attribute our resources are simply part of every class and embedded seamlessly into our practice, we no longer need to label it as “digital citizenship”.  It is simply life...and good practice...and what is expected of us all.


So what does this new digital citizenship ‘good practice’ look like? While  it certainly includes the standard nine elements of Mike Ribble, but (in our mind) it has definitely evolved to include a broader understanding of what skills are needed to embody good digital  practice. If you want to learn about some of these broader ideas and uses for online tools, we have three no-cost webinars that will fulfill your “digital citizenship” requirements.  These are a step outside traditional "digital citizenship", but they couldn't be more relevant to what is happening in the lives of youth and educators in 2014.


What Happened to Facebook?
May 13, 2014 (3:45 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.)
Registration Link: http://bit.ly/1fL2wCo
Are kids done with Facebook?  Let’s talk about Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, Kick and others. Learning opportunity or classroom challenge?
Curating Information Using Online Tools and Extensions
May 26, 2014 (3:45 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.)
Registration Link: http://bit.ly/1nWXab5
How can students to organize their information (research) in meaningful ways? We will look at a variety of online tools and extensions to support curation of digital content.
Cool Communication Tools for Interacting Online
June 10, 2014 (3:45 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.)
Registration Link: http://bit.ly/1eBp34l
This session will explore several logistics and communication tools to help you create a digital learning environment.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Is Web 2.0 outdated in 2014?

Any readers out there remember the good old web 1.0? We’ve been thinking about web 1.0 with a kind of a nostalgia these days…the need to go through Yahoo and create an actual directory (fact check needed), so that people could use the web in an orderly fashion.  That was long before the advent of complicated search algorithms. (Thanks, Google!).

For 17 years, 2Learn.ca has been online, taming some of the unruliness of online resources. We’ve always worked to serve teachers and respond to their needs...and from that service perspective came the creation of several websites to support teaching and learning. One of those was Web 2.0 Tools, a site that organized resources and supports for teaching when dealing with web 2.0 tools.

But last month, we dissolved the Web 2.0 site. Why, you ask?

Well, here is what we have been thinking about.  The web is starting to remind us once again of that untamed, wild web from back in the day.  We started to see that with the advent of mobile technologies, and the rise of Google Chrome and its huge box of extensions, a site about web 2.0 tools just wasn’t enough anymore.

So 2Learn.ca’s Create website was born, a site that incorporates the web 2.0 tools from our old site, but also includes extensions, web apps and mobile device apps (Apple. Android and Microsoft).  It’s a searchable site that will allow us to respond more deeply and to a broader audience than simply web 2.0. In addition to the cool tools, Create houses several resources about approaches to teaching that are related to the internet, for example, gamification, game-based learning and Minecraft.

Even as we dissolve the web 2.0 site and embrace the new wild west of extensions and web apps, we recognize that the (old) web 2.0 tools/platforms may still be the great equalizer….but more on that another day.