Thoughts on being an education technology curator

[*This post was crossposted as a comment to J. Seitzinger’s post.]

This post by Joyce Seitzinger (@catspyjamasnz), entitled « Are you the education technology curator for your organization? #curation« , clearly resonates with what I’ve been doing since, say, 2004.  As then-coordinator for HS online courses, I had discovered the power of digital tools and systems that sharply brought me to question my thoughts on learning. Wanting to share links, posts, etc. on ed tech issues with colleagues, teachers and others, I took up blogging (which I still consider being a centerpiece in my digital curation adventure). This remained a ‘marginal’ part of my professional activities. Blogging (except for a few loyal readers who read my posts) was mainly a way for me to organize my thoughts, a reflective process. With Bloglines, I could count on a great flow of RSS feeds, helping me as much as possible to stay current in ed tech, notably. [But now with services like Zite, my main RSS feed is Twitter!]

Then came social media. I hesitantly signed up to Twitter in 2008, but over the next months, its ‘organic’ attribute permitted me to develop an interesting PLN. Never looked back since. By the same token, Delicious (then Diigo in 2009) enabled me to save, organize (I use ‘lists’ a lot) and share good links. For video, Vodpod has been an excellent curation tool. In 2011, web curation just got bigger for me as I started a couple of topics (here and here).

But who was listening? How did IRL colleagues react, if they did? The simple answer is : an audience developed once social media was more mainstream. Since 2010, people from my education community here in NB (Canada) have been signing up; I’ve been invited to give workshops to teachers, admin and students but each time, I walk out ‘impressed’ by how most of them (including students) do not see more value to social media than the typical chit-chat, ‘likes’, posting pics,etc. that characterizes Facebook, where most are now. Digital footprint and personal e-reputation are very popular topics (and that’s a good thing, right?). Educators are just starting to see and realize the true pedagogical value of digital for learning, and not just for a distance learning setting, but F2F also). Over the last 6 months (where I’ve moved on to other edu fields, now with Community colleges), there is an increasing curiosity and demand for ways to integrate an appropriate use of digital tools in lesson plans, in PD, etc. We haven’t reached a tipping point but, as Michael said, we are chipping away at the wall.

Personally, I see digital curation as a moving beacon. The key is to keep rowing towards it, even as it keeps moving back. Rowing together makes us all move faster in the right direction.


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