When reading about 21st century learning I often come across the term “curation”.  Beth Kanter defines content curation as  “the organizing, filtering and “making sense of” information on the web and sharing the very best pieces of content that you’ve cherry picked with your network” (be sure to read the whole post).

As more and more information is published on the web, we need tools to help us find, filter and organize that information.  Students need to learn that not all information is created equally and that learning requires us to evaluate and edit information constantly.

I use quite a few tools that help me with these activities:

twitter – a continuous rich stream of links come to me from my PLN through twitter

delicious – a great way to bookmark sites, research papers and other sources of information to refer back to

google alerts – an easy way to automate searches that you perform on a regular basis

rss reader – a “dashboard” for bringing all the blogs, news sources, and other things together in one place for catching up

Increasingly there are tools that bring disparate sources together and present them in a visually appealing way – almost like a magazine – and it is one of these that I’ve been playing around with lately. is a tool that helps you to explore your favourite topic by bringing content (sites, posts, videos, etc) together in an online exhibit. will even crawl the web looking for links that might be of interest to you. You can follow topics and other posters and easily pull links that appeal to you into your own curation page.

I’m just getting started with this project, so far I’ve pulled together some of my all-time favourites and will add new things as I come across them.  I’m hoping this will be an effective way to pull together information to engage people (in particular parents) who aren’t necessarily tuned in to the latest web tools.

Asking people to jump right into twitter or blogging or social bookmarking can be a bit overwhelming. My hope is that by exploring topics of interest through they will see the power of curation tools for their children and might even try it for themselves.

What I’m scooping right now:

Leading and Learning in 21C

Family and Community Engagement in Education

Reflections on QESBA Internet Report

Sharon Peters recently blogged her thoughts on the recent report by the Quebec English School Boards Association on Internet Use.  I was curious to find out if the report looked at how school boards and their associated schools used Internet tools to communicate with parents and communities so I read the full report (Towards Empowerment, Respect and Accountability  PDF here). 

While the research did not address my questions it did make some very interesting recommendations about involving parents in the development of a technology-rich school environment.  The report clearly encourages us to move from seeing the Internet as a “threat” to embracing it as an “opportunity”.

The QESBA Task Force set out a framework of prinicples to guide policy and practice which includes the following:

…parents can and must be active partners in better understanding the dynamics and impact of new technologies on their children, and in engaging and guiding them in the responsible and accountable use of those technologies.

There are many good recommendations in the report, but the following are pertinent to parental involvement.

  • Educate and involve community partners in responsible and informed Internet use
    • Involve students, teachers and parents directly in developing and delivering (as well as receiving) information, skills and approaches on rules of Internet use, conduct and respect for privacy.
    • Enhance on-going and open communications between school and home on these issues. Seek to involve the co-operation, collaboration and participation of parents who are a key source behind the possibility for action and change.
    • Provide accessible materials, interactive training for interested parents on Internet use and abuse, appropriate supervision techniques and modeling behavior for their own consideration.

The authors of the report also recognized the importance of involving students in this process. I particularly like the following statement:

The task force has learned of a pressing need for educational and transformative approaches and preventative practices to more fully engage students in dialogue, provide them with responsibility, leadership and learning opportunities within ethical frameworks that guide both young people and adult stakeholders to appreciate the impact of their words and expressions on others.  

And this recommendation:

  • Encourage young technology users to work with adults to teach them more about the technologies, and show confidence in their expertise.

 The QESBA report encourages a reasoned, balanced and collaborative approach to embracing 21C tools. Hopefully it will be read by school boards and governance bodies across Canada.

Thank you Sharon for bringing it to my attention.