Curation is a buzz word these days, and often I think of it as something very specific to my field, but really, curation is something we do on a regular basis. It can certainly be done more or less effectively, but selecting, saving and accessing information is something I do every single day.
- On Amazon, I have curated a collection of wish lists: one for me, one for gifts for friends and family, one for my son, and one for classroom wishes.
- On Amazon Prime Music, I have created playlists: one playlist of classroom transition music, one is a selection of songs for skip counting and multiplication, and one list of “kid friendly” songs for my son.
- Similarly, I keep YouTube playlists: there is a collection of cookie decorating tutorials, a set of videos to help my students with skip counting and multiplication, a group of site word practice videos, and some fitness favorites.
- On Facebook, I have saved posts related to librarianship; there are ideas I want to try when I enter the library as a new professional and interesting discussions I might want to refer back to later.
As a librarian, curation is less about collecting items for oneself and more about selecting the best resources out of seemingly endless possibilities – and then making these quality resources easily accessible. Librarians need to know what their users need, collect those information objects in an organized and accessible way, and share these tools with users. Effective curation has to emphasize: quality, accessibility, and communication.
There are many available tools to help users with curation. See Cool Tools for School: Thing 8: Digital Curation Tools or Shake Up Learning: 16 Curation Tools for Teachers and Students. For this assignment, I tried Evernote for the first time.
Evernote provides preset templates for users first getting started with the tool. The first note I created was a simple menu planner using one of the provided templates. I loved the color coding options, the ability to link to specific recipes and websites, and the shareable link I could use to send the list to my husband who usually does the grocery shopping. When I showed it to him, he immediately said that this would be a great tool for us to use when we are planning our summer vacation.
After experimenting with the menu, I created a new note with a curated selection of resources for our next science unit focusing on Animal Adaptations to share with my third grade teaching team. Evernote saves valuable time by allowing users to collect a variety of resources in one place, providing easy access to information they might otherwise need to go to many sites to find. I included videos, podcasts, presentations and activities for student and teacher use. It would be easy for a librarian to include a Destiny list of text resources available in the library here as well.
As a new librarian, presenting resources like this to a teaching team could be a great way to build a bridge – to prove my value initially, and get my foot in the door to be a real part of planning. It is something I could start independently, if needed, and then improve with collaboration, input, and reflection from classroom teachers and students.
Evernote was a new tool for me, and I am very excited about using it both personally and professionally.