PD with urgency: Curating [4]

My past blog posts in this series described the difficult journey into social media creating a maelstrom of dissonance in my view of education, professional development, PLN, and connectedness.  These torrents unleashed a desire to know more, much more, about my practice as an educator.

Self-reflecting questions

The questions I asked myself were.  While I won’t answer every question below, I do address the first, the most important, in the life and practice of a teacher.

  • What don’t I know that I should?
  • How should my learning impact my practice?
  • How do I converse with other educators?
  • Is it okay to ask for help?
  • How and where do I get my own learning?

The task of curating

In past posts the topic of curating has come up in my blogging. Curating holds great interest for me as it is ability to think about what I need, perform precise searches for it, and then pull the content into one place.  I also have mentioned that it took me some time to figure out what aggregator to use to compile what I wanted to read thus learn.

In my musings about such thinking, I realized I needed an aggregator that fit me, the person of my own learning.  In days past, when I would actively search for web content specific to my needs, I used Google reader as one place where I could find my reading.  Google reader does everything you want it to, but I wanted mine to read like a newspaper and have an aesthetic to it. I came upon Feedly and haven’t looked back. Not only could I add RSS feeds, it looked good, but I could tag them as well giving me the ability to create topics and topics I now have.

To curate is to answer the first bulleted question:  How do I know what I don’t know? Tough question if you ever stop to think about it, though most would conclude if I don’t know that I don’t know, how will I ever understand I don’t know it. The answer is simple, though this might perturb some of you.

To learn what you don’t know, get a Twitter account and follow #edchat. You’ll learn quickly what you are missing though if you are like me, this aggravates you that you didn’t know and then beat yourself up for feeling like you should.  Curate – pull the important ideas for you  – the ideas you find on #edchat and search for them on the web.  As you search, you’ll find sites and blogs that strike a chord with you; these are what you want to curate and pull into an aggregator (see a list below) as these sites and blogs will be the food that nourishes your education soul as you come back to these again and again looking for new content, new ideas, and new ways of thinking.

Tagging

Tagging is important.  It takes time, but you MUST do this to curate well. Tags are the descriptors you assign to a site, blog or RSS feed to allow you to put your content into multiple categories.  For example, I might tag a site with blog, education, edtech, and social. These are terms I use and Feedly creates them as categories.

Sites to help you curate

  1. Feedly
  2. Google Reader
  3. Storify
  4. Mural.ly
  5. Diigo
  6. Kippt
  7. Evernote
  8. Geofeedia
  9. Scoop.it!
  10. Pinterest
  11. Pearltrees
  12. Flipboard
  13. Curata
  14. Spundge
  15. Pocket
  16. Bundlr
  17. Paper.li
  18. Delicious
  19. Tumblr
  20. Posterous

To get up to speed, to have an urgency about your own professional development, to not wait on someone else is of vital importance to me because I want to be on the bleeding edge of education using the most relevant tools I can to engage students and help them learn and learn how to learn.

What about you? Are you PD’ing with urgency?

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