Digital content curation tools allow us to easily create, collaborate, share, and evaluate educational resources and collections. With “[…] advances in technology, enhanced tools allow researchers to preserve their work in new venues and formats to reach new audiences. (Deschaine & Sharma, 2015, p. 20). In Curating an Instructional Content Collection for Teaching and Learning, I shared how to use content curation in course design to provide accurate, relevant learning resources and model 21st century information literacy skills. In this post, I’ll discuss digital tools for curating educational content.
What makes a good content curation tool for education?
An educational tool should support student learning and help them reach the learning outcomes and objectives—without becoming a burden or barrier to learning. We should ensure the value of learning over a specific tool. Adding a tool can complicate an assignment, and we must ask ourselves if it outweighs any potential for confusion.
Educational tools often have social and personal uses, so the student might already be familiar with it. Yet just because a tool is ubiquitous doesn’t mean the learner encountered or mastered it before. In this case, they need to learn the tool quickly to complete an assignment.
Just like choosing the best resource for the content collection, we need to ask questions about the learning objectives, context, and learners.
Choosing a tool for educational content curation
When you choose a tool, you need something that’s flexible. You’ll potentially need to share different types of content such as articles, websites, eBooks, videos, podcasts, images, infographics, etc. You might want students to evaluate, collaborate, create, or share the resources or collections.
Understanding the context helps us chose the best tool for the assignment. When you review the tools, consider if the assignment requires any of the following features:
- social media, tagging, and bookmarking
- annotation, notes, and feedback
- evaluation, interpretation, and assessment;
- or creating text and media.
From there, you can determine which features cover the needs of the assignment. Are you asking students to research, evaluate, and write an article? Perhaps a wiki would work. Do you want them to collaborate on active reading? Tools like Hypothesis allow students to annotate a text together.
When you choose a tool, make sure it can be used across devices (desktop, mobile, tablet) and operating systems (Microsoft, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS, iPadOS, etc.). A multiplatform tool offers access through a browser as well as an app or program offers options for learners using different devices.
Finally, when you choose a tool, consider copyright, privacy, and ownership. Some creators allow the use of their content in educational tools and contexts. If their content disappears, you might no longer have access to it. However, you can use your own content or share open educational resources (OER) published with a Creative Commons license or resources in the public domain. Can students share their content collection anonymously? Publish it as OER? What happens to the content they create? Can they download or delete it? What about their data? Asking yourself these questions can help you choose the best tool.
Tools for content curation
Many curation tools and resources are free—either for all users or just educators—or they might offer a free tier of service. (Cherrstron & Boden, 2020, p. 120). Some tools do not include a cost, but they might draw revenue from ads. If you’re teaching younger learners, the ads might be inappropriate for their age.
A paid tool might be a barrier if the students need to pay for it themselves. Before choosing a tool, you should check with your school or organization to see what tools might already be available. For example, you can find a Google App for just about anything—which works well if your school uses Google Workspace for Education.
Consider some of the tools and uses in the lists below.
Build a list or collection:
Take notes together:
Brainstorm, collaborate, and evaluate
- Google Jamboard
Create multimedia (audio, video, graphics):
Publish a resource:
- Google Docs
- Google Slides
- Google Drive
Edit the web
Websites and blogs
- Google Sites
This list isn’t exhaustive, and some tools include multiple uses. Remember, a good tool will support a learner. What tools do you use for content curation? I’d love to hear how you implement them into your classroom.
Cherrstrom, C., & Boden, C. (2020). Expanding role and potential of curation in education: A systematic review of the literature. The Reference Librarian. 61(2), 113–132. https://doi.org/10.1080/02763877.2020.1776191
Deschaine, M. E., & Sharma, S. A. (2015). The five Cs of digital curation: Supporting twenty-first-century teaching and learning. InSight: A journal of scholarly teaching, 10, 19-24. https://doi.org/10.46504/10201501de
4 thoughts on “Digital Content Curation Tools for Education”
Thanks for the good info! Glad you reminded us that a tool is only effective if it helps the learner. We can get excited about a tool and forget the reason for using the tool! (Students can fall into this trap as well). I can’t say enough good about Canva! In my communication and digital media courses, it always helps students develop quality content (free). The library of templates and elements is impressive–students can be creative.
Thank you for sharing your student’s experience with Canva! I’ve always been impressed with how it allows non-technical users to create within minutes.
It’s easy for us to say try this or that tool. But it’s much more complex as you need to know the context and learners. And if the tool gets in the way of learning, it becomes just another barrier to mastering the material.