“Life is Uncertain. Eat Dessert First.”
This popular quote attributed to an unknown Ernestine Ulmer captures the essence of the scenario we find ourselves.
Life is Certainly Uncertain. We are treading unchartered territory as large sections of humanity plunge deep into the dual crisis of COVID-19 and an economic recession. As educators, we find ourselves unsure of when schools will reopen when parents and students will feel safe enough to venture out to the school to attend classes, and more immediately when will the internet give up on us.
“Eat Dessert First” is a great way to adapt to the current situation. We need to be ready to face the changes and quickly shift our priorities on what is essential. This requires a duality in our approach to life. To plan to keep in mind that change is the only constant and to be ready to change plans and focus on essentials. As educators, we need to prioritize adapting to change.
In this series of articles, I highlight five key areas of change that we can focus on and five corresponding tools to help us with it.
Don’t lose your way online. Stay organized. Curate.
The minute you start trying to learn anything online, you will realise that the world wide web is a complicated, unstructured network of resources, each more useful and relevant than the other. It is very easy to lose track of time and direction. One study conducted way back in 2009 estimates that we encounter about 34gb of data on a daily basis. This includes video, audio and about 100,000 words in the form of weblinks, Whatsapp messages, and advertisements.
Given this overload of data, it becomes difficult to retrace our path and land up at the right resource that we had shortlisted for our phonics activity or the video we had zeroed in on for number bonds. Curation, therefore, becomes an essential 21st-century skill for an educator.
Why should an educator curate?
a) There is an abundance of great quality educational resources online. (Khan Academy, MIT Open Courseware, Wikipedia, Google Scholar are just the first zip in the bottomless school bag called internet) It is important to evaluate, assess, filter, and organize information in an easily retrievable way.
b) Information is constantly changing. We need to stay updated; Our sources of information needs to be relevant.
c) The internet is filled with a lot of junk. It is very easy for the student to get misled. It is critical to differentiate between truth and speculation.
d) It is important to curate information/resources to suit the requirements of your classroom/students. One size doesn’t fit all anymore.
What are the steps involved in curation?
There are four essential, simple steps. Find, Read, Save, and Share.
Find the most relevant articles, videos, documents, images, and audio from the internet. Make sure you curate a reliable source for this exercise (How meta is that?)
Read all these content that you find. Use your discretion to skim, scan or read extensively.
Save the content that meets your requirements.
Share the resource with the students in a clear format and provide context.
The ultimate curation tool for educators – Wakelet.
Wakelet is a curation tool that allows you to save, organize, tell stories, and share content from around the web. Outside of the classroom, folks use Wakelet regularly to learn new ideas and skills, curate hobbies, follow news stories, work on their books etc.
Here are four ways that Wakelet can be useful in the classroom
- Collate and share resources – put together resources for any specific topic and share these links in an easy to understand format.
- Student/Teacher Portfolios – anyone can create his/her portfolio by uploading their projects online and share it with others
- Collaborate – allow students/teachers to collaborate on a project.
- Newsletters – use Wakelet to showcase the learnings of the classroom and key events with the parent and student community.
Wakelet has a very useful website with clear guidelines on how to get the best out of it. Visit – https://learn.wakelet.com/ to get started with your Wakelet journey as an educator. They also have a special page on how to use Wakelet to facilitate remote learning – https://learn.wakelet.com/remotelearning/
Keep in mind that Wakelet is only a tool that helps you curate and present online resources well. The process of curation is still yours. Make sure you are adding value by bringing these resources together.
I will leave you with a wakelet of resources related to Curation and Wakelet.
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