Curating, Archiving and Social Bookmarking Tools

Digital Curation in a knowledge abundant world

Image Cortesy Rck Payette*
Image Courtesy of Rick Payette*

Digital curation is based on the idea that information is abundant, hugely abundant in a way it has not been before. Finding information is no longer the difficult part. Sifting it, however, is.  The web, and the internet, have allowed us to share and access information with a freedom that is unique in human history. So much information is available, generated and accessible that sorting, sifting, organising and learning to select is now a key skill. The skills of critical thinking, and evaluation are largely the same, perhaps, as they always were. But the information context our students deploy them in are different. Information is abundant, everywhere, omnipresent, and often informal, often more based on assessing people, and networks of people to help us evaluate than they have ever been before. The combined knowledge of the world is carried around on devices that fit in a pocket.

This is an aspect of  digital curation. The use of online tools to help us gather, assess and select the right information, ideas, and resources from amongst the massive possibilities now available to us. Curation is both a technical skill, as it involves the efficient and adept use of technology to collect, share, access and select information with. And it;s also a literacy, in the way it perhaps has always been – it is the individual skill of source assessment, of selection, of weighing the worth of an idea, of evidence, and of the value of we can attribute to who has recommended the information to us.


Curation and Aggregation in 90 seconds…

Digital curation invloves knowing who to ask for information and resources, it involves curating ideas, and also curating a network of people who can share ideas and resources with you. It rests on selection, discernment, and techniques for sifting, and it rests on digital tools, which are the things we have gathered together here.

Common Sense educators have a great in class  video called “Using Critical Thinking to find trustworthy websites. The lesson the teacher in it is teaching focuses on these very recognisable skills…but in a digital context.


This list of curation tools is less than exhaustive. It has some of the best known, but not all of them. By curation here, we mean that process whereby you consciously select, edit, and reflect on resources you find. Curation tools often have the ability to collect and organise links, as well as the ability to add to those links – with your own comments, with multimedia, with other people’s comments, with audio or video, as well as a way to open your curation up to others, by sharing links, emailing, or posting to social media.

Networked and online curation tools allow us to sort, sift, filter, share and access resources across wide and diverse networks, accessing the expertise of the crowds, and sharing ours in turn.

For most too, we’ve tried to post links to tutorials, as well as ideas for how to use them in your classroom, and examples of the tool in use. If you have anything else you’d like added, just comment below.


Curation , Archiving, and Bookmarking tools

Image Courtesy of planeta/Ron Mader under a CC BY-SA 2.0 licence
Image Courtesy of planeta/Ron Mader under a CC BY-SA 2.0 licence
  • – allows you to collect the internet into a magazine style profile. You can collect links, and have them displayed as a magazine style webpage, you can share your collection with others, and you can add it to your wordpress account. You can also add in your own comments that display on your page. It;s easy to use – it installs a plugin in your browser, and anytime you are on a page you want to curate, click the button, an it does the rest. There’s a tutorial  from here, detailing th technical, implementation and educational knowhow you need., and there are educator reflections, resources and ideas on using here and here.
  • – lets you weave stories out of soicial media content. Basically, you can use storify to grab content from the web, and post it into a story – a webpage that uses the content to tell a story or an idea. Often, educators use it to gather together all the tweets on a topic from their students, or from a conference, so they can see the story of the conversation laid out in one place. It also allows you to grab content fromTwitter, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram,and many other sites, and put them together in one place, adding in your own comments, and getting comments from other people. Here’s 4 suggestions about how to use storify oin the classroom from Knewton. Here’s a storify that details and documents using Storify in the classroom.  Storifying an English classroom, an account, from an educator, of their own implementation and experience. Gradhacker also have a shortlist of classroom uses for Storify.
  • – is a kind of online newspaper that automatically creates itself based on the preferences you give it. You can use it to share the content you have grabbed, or you can use it to organise the sources you want checked into a newspaper type format. It plays well with twitter, and you can automate notifications of when a new edition is ready to come out. Here’s a concise post from Traci Gardner outlining the pros, cons, possibilities and applications for in the classrrom, with resources, with an update charting more recent improvements here. There’s a video tutorial here.
  • Pearltrees – Pearltrees is a form of social bookmarking. It allows you to gather together things you like online, add your own notes and pictures, and represent them visually, as well as collaborating with other users to create groups pf curated links,  all as part of a tree style graph. It also makes it easy to find links and resources, arranged around topics curated by others, which makes it a good goto for new ideas, resources and links, You can share your pearltrees, or have other people collaborate in curating one with you. It can be used with twitter – so that your updates are tweeted, and you can embed it in wordpress with a little work – using a third party service called vodpod Here’s a tutorial that will also give you an overview of the technology. There’s a short account of using pearltrees to locate educational resources here. Pearltrees is visual, so, you really have to see it to understand it. There’s a huge curated pearltree on educational tools, ideas and resources here that’s worth a look, and one on using iPads in education here, that should help you get the flavour of the technology.
  • Pocket is the software I’ve come to rely on. Pocket is a service that runs on every device I use – my android phone, my ipad and my Windows 8 laptop. Pocket allows you to save articles, videos and pages online. I can save from my browser, from feedly, and from lots of other aggregation and curating services.  It allows me to view them if I’m offline, and on any devoce I sign in to pocket with, and it lets me tag them., so I can organise and file them – useful for me as I tend to tag things based on which project they fit into. It also lets me share things easily – I can send articles and resources to twitter with a single click. It’s got a clean, easy to use interface, and it;s easy to use while surfing. Oh, and it saves video that’s in the article – which no one else does (thoug you have to be online to view) Lifehacker have a comparison review (which has two other curation platforms you could try). Here’s some ideas for implementing in the classroom, and here’s a tutorial. And, below is ipadagogy’s review…

  •  Delicious and Diigo – these are both social bookmarking tools – tools for gathering together links about an idea or topic in one place (either on your own or collaboratively), adding notes, and sharing them with others. You can tag bookmarks (label them with a classification or category) that makes it easier for other users tp find them, and makes it easy for you to set up a specific categpry. Useful for gathering your own resources into one place for organising and sharing, for discovering other resources, and for getting your students to share their own resources with you and each other. Here’s 12 reasons why teachers should use diigo and some ideas and steps to take for classroom implementation. Here’s Donal O’Mahony, a teacher in Portmarnock, talking about the steps he needed to take to implement Social Bookmarking with his students. (His blog is here, if you are looking for an Irish eLearning perspective).
  • Pinterest – visually organised social media based link and resource sharing. You arrange resources into boards – essentially a web page with lots of photos and text descriptions, and share it with other people. The picture organisation and arrangement is automated, and it is super easy to use. Here’s a pinterest tutorial, here’s a pinterest board that lists pinterest boards with educational resources, and another with ways to use pinterest in your classroom and here’s the teachers guide to pinterest from edudemic, which covers all the basics in good clear detail.
  • Flipboard – if you have a tablet, flipboard lets you collect and curate content from online sources, and collates them into a magazine for you, one that you can share with people. You can view magazines from a laptop or pc, but you need a tablet to crate them. People can flip through your personalised flipboard that reflects your interests, ideas, and resources. You select the content, and flipboard will automatically arrange it for you into an online magazine format that readers can flip through. Sue Waters has an excellent post on educational uses of Flipboard, as well as tutorials, videos and suggestions.
  • Feedly – feedly, and other services like it (often called readers) perform a very useful service. You add in the sites you want to keep an eye on, for updates, and it automatically notifies you of updates. Updates display on a single page in your browser, with a summary, and a part of the text, meaning you can open just one page to check tens, or hundreds of sites. If you are trying to keep up to date with a rapidly changing field like edtech, a reader can really save you a huge amount of time. Once you have a feedly account, there’s a useful tutorial here that has an educators slant and perspective. There’s also a really good article over at edutopia about using rss readers, like feedly, to get your students researching, and some tips on implementing them with your students, as well as some advice about monitoring, assessing student’s research and feed usage, and some extra tools to make using a reader a little bit easier. If you are interested in other feed readers, lifehacker have a good comparison review of the options.
This a screenshot of my feedly feed...
This a screenshot of my feedly feed…
  • –  padlet – which used to be wallwisher – lets you create an interactive wall that you and your students can use to post notes to. It’s  not primarily a curation tool, but it can be used as such easily. Think of it as a wall that your students can stick digital stickies to. The walls can be public or private, they can host comments, links and multimedia, and they let you track who makes what comments and contributions. You can embed it in wordpress if you have a paid-for wordpress account. You can use it as a way for students to share resources, ask questions, make comments, engage in peer teaching.  gather together materials for a project, and share solutions and ideas. There’s a simple howto here and some more ideas for using it in class here. Here’s 105 ways to use wallwisher/padlet in the classroom, and another 32, just in case. There’s lots of ideas, together with padlets that demonstrate them over at Kleinspiration
  • Popplet – this is a mix of a minmapping tool, note taking, collaboration and curation. You can post notes to a poplet – a page or board on the site dedicated to a topic, and created by you. You can colour code the notes, and you can share the board and let ohter people contribute. You can post links, photos, videos and texts. You can use it for note taking, collaboration, mindmapping and brainstorming, sketching or for project work, as a way to get students to create a presentation about a project and compile resources. Instructional Design Fusion has a good review and overvew of it here. And here’s a lesson about Napoleon as an example of what you can do. There’s a video tutorial here.
  • Etherpad is a collaborative word editor. It’s primarily a collaborative wordprocessor, but it’s collaborative aspect means it can work well as a curation tool. Meaning you can open or start a document online and have other people collaborate with you on it, live. You can team write documents, or collaborate on projects with your students, set up work groups who share online, and then share the documents. It’s open source, and entirely free too. Here’s a forum post discussion between several teachers who implemented it, with some tips for setting it up.


* Header Image Couresy of Rick Payette, under a CC non comercial no derivative  Licence

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