Find Your Fit: Going Down the Rabbit Hole

This blog post is in response to the #OExtend (#ExtendEast) Activity titled Find Your Fit. The activity was to explore a series of  OER repositories (can be found here) and using some new skills learned during the module curate some resources that pertain to our course.

The repositories we were looking through included some that I already knew about such as MERLOT and some that were new to me (i.e. CORE). The issue I ran into when trying to complete this particular activity was what I’ll call the Rabbit Hole effect. There is always so many good resources that then lead to other good resources that eventually I start to get overwhelmed, and honestly I end up losing track of where I started.

The solution to the Rabbit Hole effect, in my opinion, is a good curation tool. There are lots of tools available. Helen DeWaard has a blog post describing how she uses open websites for this purpose.  I completely agree with her about this being a great way to create a “repository for all elements for the time we spend together”. I’ve done this myself for past courses I’ve taught and I can only recommend it as something everybody should do.

My issue with the Rabbit Hole effect is that I am not necessarily curating everything for a single course at one time. Sometimes I’ll see something for a Science course that will be useful, then suddenly there is something related to Digital Citizenship that I want to refer to at a later time. That is where I want a tool that is specific to my own thinking, however still open for others to benefit from, if they can figure out my thought process.

A few tools I’ve used in the past include Diigo, Pinterest, Evernote and Symbaloo. They all have pros and cons, and there are likely hundreds of reviews out there of each of them. I am also a big fan of Google Keep which is my go to for personal site and information curation. I try to keep my personal and professional lives separate, when possible, which means to avoid confusion in my own brain, I realize I need a separate tool.

As a result I am going to give Diigo another try and start using it as my go to for #OExtend resources. Some of the features they  offer, such as webpage and  PDF annotations and the ability to share with others makes it a very attractive tool.  Once I get it built up a bit and am comfortable with what I am doing, I will share it out for anybody who is interested.

My questions for you are: Do you use a curation tool? If so, what are you using and why?

Now, as for the Activity Bank assignment, we were asked to share 3 OERs and how we will use them in the context of the courses we are teaching. As I am teaching a series of courses in the Faculty of Education next year I’ve decided to focus on some Digital Citizenship resources. I spent quite a bit of time with Merlot as I was familiar with it, but definitely did not know all of the features it provided. Was amazed at some of the resources I found.

The first resource I am going to share is an ebook by Henry Jenkins titled “Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century“.
From the description – ‘Many teens today who use the Internet are actively involved in participatory cultures — joining online communities (Facebook, message boards, game clans), producing creative work in new forms (digital sampling, modding, fan videomaking, fan fiction), working in teams to complete tasks and develop new knowledge (as in Wikipedia), and shaping the flow of media (as in blogging or podcasting).’ This is a free download from Amazon in Kindle format.

The second resource is an online course module from Google titled Be Internet Awesome.
From the description – ” Be Internet Awesome teaches kids the fundamentals of digital citizenship and safety so they can explore the online world with confidence”. It includes games for kids that reinforce good Digital Citizenship skills as well as resources for both parents and teachers.

The final resource I want to share is a little off the topic of Digital Citizenship (remember: Rabbit Hole!!). It is a blog titled “A Media Specialist’s Guide to the Internet“.  It contains a ton of resources and ideas for all things technology related. I particularly love the tagline of “Because you never know when you’ll need a cybrarian!” I think cybrarian is what we need to call all of those amazing librarians who are so good at integrating digital technologies into our classrooms.

Image Attributions

Header image – Photo by Madison Grooms on Unsplash
Pinterest image – “Pinterestby Bernard Goldbach Licensed under CC-BY 2.0 Original source via Flickr.
Diigo image – “DEMOfall 07 Day One – Diigoby Brian Solis Licensed under CC-BY 2.0. Original source via Flickr.

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