I’ve started an index post here at the blog to keep up with the Connected Learning with Cats presentations I’m developing for CanvasLIVE. The slidedeck posts are linked below with the slides, copious notes — and I’ve got a YouTube Playlist with all 7 videos now! 🙂
Slide 5. Dimensions of Curation. My focus for today is just on the sharing dimension of curation; I’ll be showing how you can share the “same” content in very different ways with very different tools, all of which work nicely in Canvas. And remember, you can have strategies for sharing all kinds of content: content you create, content that your students create, content that you find online. Online content wants to be shared!
Slide 6. Different Tools, Different Purposes. I’ve created a site where you can see the four tools — Pinterest, Flickr, Diigo, and Padlet — side by side: StoryLab.LauraGibbs.net.
For each tool, you are looking at a new summer project for my Indian Epics class where I am building a collection of “Stories from India” to use in conjunction with the epics. This is a brand-new project for the summer that I just started a couple of weeks ago, and all the content is housed in a blog: Fables of India. But as I said before, the focus here is not who created the content, you or someone else. Instead, the focus on how to share any kind of web content that you find valuable: content you create and/or content created by others.
Slide 7. Quick Overview of the Four Tools. I’m going to run through the four tools very quickly, and I hope you will go to the StoryLab site to see each one in action. Slide 8. Flickr. This page has a Flickr album slideshow with the stories from India. You can use the left-right arrows to move through the slideshow, and then either use the link in the caption to visit the story page (right-mouse click to open in a new tab!), or you can click on the image to go the Flickr page, and from there access the story page via the link provided. Slide 9. Pinterest. This page has a Pinterest Board with the stories from India. Click on an image to access the pin page, and you can then go from the pin page to the story page (more about the features of pin pages below). Slide 10. Diigo (RSS). This page has a live Diigo feed (via Inoreader) with the stories from India. The titles in the feed here will take you directly to the story page. The image thumbnails are automatically generated by Diigo, so this is not really an example of image curation — but one of the best things about Diigo is the way that you can add a thumbnail image to any bookmark! Slide 11. Padlet. This page has a Padlet with the stories from India. I’ve set this Padlet up so that I am the only author, but it’s easy to create a Padlet where your students can contribute also; more on that below.
Slide 17. Special Advantages of Each Tool. The main message I’d like people to take away from this presentation is that each of these tools is excellent, and the key is to define your goals so that you can choose the best one, or maybe even an entirely different tool. There are so many great web-based tools these days!
Slide 18. Flickr: Album Editing Options. Flickr is a serious image management tool, and you have so many options for rearranging the contents of an album. That is not true for the three other tools, which have limited options for rearranging content or no options at all. Slide 19. Flickr: Works Well in Small Size. Another distinctive thing about a Flickr slideshow is that it looks great in a small size, so that you can even fit it nicely into a Discussion Board prompt. (I regularly put Flickr slideshows in the sidebars of my blogs because they fit so nicely there too!)
Slide 20. Pinterest: Students Love It! I really like to use tools that my students are going to like using, and that is a big plus for Pinterest. Many of my students are already serious Pinterest users, but they don’t think of it as a tool for school. They are excited to find out about new features of Pinterest that make it a great tool for schoolwork. Here are my Pinterest Tech Tips. Slide 21. Pinterest: Pin Pages for Discovery. Given the billions of images at Pinterest, it can provide excellent discovery based on related images, often leading you to Boards with valuable resources by serious collectors, including museums who use Pinterest. This slides hows the related pins that Pinterest found for the Varanasi image that is in my Indian Stories Board. Especially if you combine Pinterest with Google Reverse-Image search, so students can learn more about the images they find, Pinterest can become a very useful research tool!
Slide 22. Diigo: Managing Massive Amounts of Stuff. If you are curating massive amounts of stuff (as I usually am), Diigo is the most practical choice. Flickr is pretty good too (it offers some good searching and tagging options), but Diigo still wins for scalability. As an all-purpose curation tool, Diigo is really fantastic; I cannot say enough good things about it! (I know some people who are huge fans of Pinboard, too… I’m guessing the same strategies I’m suggesting here for Diigo will work in Pinboard as well.) Slide 23. Diigo-Inoreader: Totally Automatic Updates. Admittedly, it takes just a few seconds to add an image to Flickr or to pin something at Pinterest or to post something on a Padlet, but depending on how you set up your workflow, the Diigo-Inoreader process can be 100% automatic so that content is feeding into your Canvas Pages automatically as you create your content. Since I use Diigo for all my curation and content management, it’s a no-brainer for me to build a Diigo feed for any project I am working on. The fact that it just takes the Redirect Tool to add that to Canvas makes that an even more enticing prospect!
Slide 24. Padlet: Totally Fun Collaboration. You can create Padlets with different settings for content creation and content commenting, making it possible for your students to post at a Padlet in Canvas, seeing others’ contributions in real time. It’s so much more fun than a Discussion Board. Try it out at this Padlet Playground (which is set up with “secret” as the privacy setting, so that only people with the link can post). If you search the Canvas Community, you will find advice from other users who have much more experience with Padlet than I do: Padlet at Canvas Community. Slide 25. Padlet: Truly Easy Tool. As I mentioned above, Padlet wins hands-down for ease of use: it is easy to create a Padlet (they have a great step-by-step process to help you configure your settings), and then it is easy to put into Canvas with the Redirect Tool (see above).
In future presentations, I will probably focus on just one tool at a time (so I’ll try to do a CanvasLIVE all about Flickr, all about Pinterest, all about Diigo, all about Padlet)… but I was excited at the chance to show them side by side for the same content stream, and I hope that has been useful! Meanwhile, since I had to rush through the details, please let me know if you have questions about any of these tools or if you want to brainstorm about ways you can use them in your classes!
Here’s my Freebookapalooza slideshow, with the video from the June 15 event. There are lots of links in the notes below because I was not sure if I would be able to do the event or not; I had my wisdom teeth out that morning!
Slide 5: Dimensions of Curation. This is a slide from last time to remind people about the different dimensions of curation. I really emphasize all of these except for tracking; I get anecdotal feedback from my students, but I don’t really do a lot of analytics (although with Blogger, I could).
Slide 6: Bookmarking Tool: Diigo. Having a bookmarking tool is the key to good curation. I use Delicious for many years, then it went belly up, and I switched to Diigo. It took me a while to appreciate Diigo, but now I love it! See this post for details: My Favorite Features about Diigo and Canvas.
Slide 7: Freebookapalooza at Diigo. The Diigo tags let you browse the Freebookapalooza in lots of ways. Blogs are great for presentation, but the Boolean searches you can do with Diigo bookmark tags make it useful in a different way than the blog.
Slide 8: Publishing Tool: Blogger. I’ve used Blogger for years and since my favorite feature of blogs is navigation-by-labels, Blogger works great for me. Blogger’s native label widgets are actually more powerful and easier to configure than WordPress (although of course you can get WordPress plugins and do programming that go far beyond Blogger labels). Another reason I like Blogger is that it is the choice of most of my students, and I like using the same tools that my students use. More about blogs and labels here: Blog Labels: When you want students to explore…
Slide 9: Freebookapalooza Blog. I hope you will take a few minutes to just browse the Freebookapalooza and see how it works. Maybe you will find some books that you like! There are almost 1000 books here chosen for my Myth-Folklore and Indian Epics classes, giving the students a huge library of full-text books online to browse and use.
Slide 10: Online Books and Other OER. This approach works for ANY kind of online educational material you want to collect and share. For example, if there are Wikipedia articles that you know are useful to your students, bookmark them, organize them, and share them back out with your students. You can do that in ways that will be far more engaging than just a list of links, and more productive than just having your students wander Wikipedia without your guidance to get them started.
Slide 12: Step 1: Bookmark every possible item. Even though I ended up with almost 1000 books in the Freebookapalooza, I still have hundreds of items that I have not cataloged yet, patiently waiting in my Diigo bookmarks until I have time to add them.
Slide 13: Step 2: Annotate and publish the best items. For details about the blog post scheme I used, see this post: Web-Based Curation. The most important decision I made was to include the table of contents. That sometimes took a little time if I had to transcribe it myself (or correct really poor OCR), but it was worth it because the students can really see what’s in each book, and it dramatically increases the power of searching at the blog.
Slide 14: Step 3: Delete old bookmark, save new. One of the things I like best about bookmarks and labels is that you can use it to manage your workflow!
Slide 15: Libraries that Scale: S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL.When I started the Freebookapalooza, my goal was to have around 100 books so I could share a new book in the daily announcements each day… but it grew and grew and GREW. And it would be even bigger if I had had more time. So, I can testify that this approach works at any scale, and it allows you to grow from something small to something big. Really big.
Slide 16: Flexible Architecture: Labels. The labels are the key: by letting the blog post labels be the navigation architecture at your blog, you don’t have to do anything except label each new post carefully, and then create the label widgets you want to use in your sidebar. More here: Blog Labels. The flexible architecture of blogs is the key difference with Canvas content: there is no content architecture in Canvas besides the inflexible previous-next system you assign via the modules. The actual Pages and Files area are a mess, even at a small scale. At large scale, they are impossible. On that, see the very informative and heartfelt comments from Canvas users who want folders for their Pages.
Slide 17: Same Content: Different Labels. Even better, labels let you design different ways to navigate the content, based on your users’ different needs. In my new Aesop’s Books project this summer, for example, I love the way I can make instant “book galleries” (showing all the fables in a book) and “fable galleries” (showing all the different versions of the same fable) simply by making sure i have a book label and a fable label for each post. I just label; Blogger does all the navigation and page-building for me, automatically.