Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Chromebooks and Curation

The Chromebook is quickly finding its way into more and more classrooms, partly thanks to computer-based standardized testing protocols such as Smarter Balanced.  It’s a great choice if it fulfills your school’s learning objectives, as it’s inexpensive, sturdy and powerful.

More important is how it allows students to tap into the resources available in a digital world and turn their discoveries into creative, detailed evidence of learning. 

The Chromebook, like other classroom hardware options, has its unique qualities - most notably that it operates in a cloud-based environment with little, if any, desktop storage.  Its important with the Chromebook, as with any device, that students learn skills to manage their work on it. 

The practice of curation is one of those skills students must learn early on when navigating a Web 2.0 world.  Simply, curation can be defined as the managing of tools, resources and outcomes in a digital environment. Teachers used to teach kids how to organize their binder. Then we taught them how to make folders on their desktop.  Now it’s a much bigger animal they must learn to wrangle!

We can’t assume students will figure this out on their own.  Here are some fun curation tools that Chromebook users might like…

Symbaloo - students can access bookmarks anywhere (app & bookmark extension).  Create tiles with links to creativity and resource tools on a single page and share it with your students.
Evernote - manage notes, bookmarks, and sync across devices (app and extension).  Use the widget to collect sites and documents to access later.  Share notes and documents with others.  Embed images in your notes.
Blendspace - collect, organize and present information in one place (app).  Ever has this experience? You are pulling together resources for a lesson.  You have an image on your desktop, material on Google Drive, a video on YouTube.  Use Blendspace to get all your material in one place.
Thinglink - bring static images to life by adding links (web-based).  An image or infographic can now be a live documents that you can attach links to.  These links may be video, research sites, or work you created in Google Drive. 

Of course, these are all great web sites that can be accessed on any device.  Take some time to check out one or two.  If you have other curation ideas that support student learning, let us know!

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