Curation Tools for Teaching and Learning
Nicole Marcisz, Instructional Designer, ID&T
Curation is the process of finding, grouping, organizing and sharing relevant content on a specific topic. In his article The 5 Models of Content Curation, Bhargava (2011) categorizes the curation of content into:
- Aggregation: Finding the most relevant and reliable information on a topic (assess content).
- Distillation: Highlighting or pulling only the most relevant ideas to simplify the concept (explain or annotate).
- Elevation: Identifying trends from smaller bits of ideas, such as Twitter posts.
- Mashup: Merging existing content and perspectives.
- Chronology: Looking at historical information to bring new meaning or understanding of the content.
Antonio, Martin, and Stagg (2012) further define content curation as an active process that uses digital tools such as social media to distribute collected content for consumers to comment on and otherwise evaluate.
In the video Social Media for Active Learning, Dr. Vanessa Dennen (Florida State University) provides an introduction to social media curation. She explains that curation is a multi-step process that includes finding, assess, choosing, explaining, tailoring and sharing content.
Curation for Teaching
There are a variety of tools to choose from to create curations on any topic that you are teaching. Each tool will have unique characteristics for the specific purpose it will be used for. The following are just a small number of examples of the hundreds of curation tools available.
Tools for content curation
- Diigo is a social bookmarking tool. Diigo can curate collections on virtually any topic which can then be easily shared with others. Check out this content collection on the topic of curation that was created using Diigo.
- Storify lets you create annotated stories or timelines from a variety of social media outlets. An example of a Storify on mobile tools for teaching and learning can be found here.
- Scoop.it is a tool for curating articles, websites and blog posts. Scoop.it integrates with your browser to easily add web content into a Scoop.it collection. Scoop.it has a network for the sharing of curated collections. The free version allows two topics to be created. Paid upgrades are available including an education account providing 20 topics and 30 co-curators for $6.99/month. Check out this Scoopit curation on badges.
- Pinterest is a social media site for the sharing of photos. Pinterest is great for visual displays that lets your eyes be your guide. Users can easily drill down based on the level of interest. Here is an example of a Pinterest collection on curation in higher education that contains ideas on leveraging Pinterest with your students.
- Flipboard is an aggregation site for the collection of content from social media and other websites. Flipboards can be viewed on all platforms including desktop, laptop, and mobile devices. The Flipboard interface is similar to a magazine, where users navigate by “flipping” pages of content. Here is a Flipboard example from The Chronicle of Higher Education entitled Ed Tech for Higher Ed.
- List.ly is a tool for creating lists, called listicles. List.ly has you create a list that is then shared with others. The shared group can add to the list, comment on the list, rank items within the list, share the list with others, and relist. The user interface is elegantly simple and effective. Here are 2 examples of listicles
Features of curation tools
Curation tools usually include the following features:
- The ability to search or discover the content shared by others;
- The ability to organize the information into user-defined categories;
- The ability to bookmark, clip, or pin what is found on a webpage, usually using a bookmarklet or browser extension;
- Multiple share options.
When selecting a curation tool, consider the following:
- What are your goals? Do the curation tool features help you achieve what you want to accomplish?
- How will the audience access the curated materials? Can the content be embedded into course materials, for example?
- How long do you plan to use the curated content? Will it be updated daily? Weekly? Every term?
- Will students be involved in content curation? If so, is the tool free and easy to use? Can students collaborate with each other and provide feedback?
- Can curated content be imported or exported into other formats?
- What desktop and/or platforms will be used to curate content? Consider curation tools that work with all operating systems, including PC, Mac, and mobile devices.
- How comfortable are you with the tool? If the tool doesn’t appeal to you, it may not be used as often. Although you can expect a learning curve, the tool should ultimately fit easily into your workflow.
Evaluation and selection of curation tools
Robin Good (2014, January 7) has written an article titled Content Curation Tools: 21 Criteria To Select And Evaluate Your Ideal One. In it, he describes a number of considerations to assist in selecting the perfect set of project curation tools including import and export functions, preservation and archiving, content monitoring, navigation, price, and more.
Curation in the classroom
Use the graphic on the right (Leveto, n.d.) to assist in setting up an assignment using content curation. For example, you may have students curate a topic of interest and then share with their classmates. The process of curation supports critical thinking by having students create, judge, and develop criteria; select content for their collections; and analyze and evaluate the content. You might also consider the use of a rubric that clearly states your expectations and the process of developing a curation activity.
Antonio, A., Martin, N., & Stagg, A. (2012). Engaging higher education students via digital curation. In M. Brown, M. Hartnett & T. Stewart (Eds.), Future challenges, sustainable futures. In Proceedings ascilite Wellington 2012. (pp. 55.59). Retrieved on May 16, 2016 from
Ghargava, R. (2011, March 31). The 5 Models of Content Curation. IMG. Retrieved on May 16, 2016 from
Leveto, J.A. (n.d.). Pedagogy in Higher Education and SoTL. Retrieved on May 16, 2016 from