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How to curate quality resources for any classroom or subject

By Kristin Harrington 10/25/2017 Professional learning

The ISTE Standards for Educators challenge teachers to become leaders, creators and facilitators. 

Standard 2: “Leader” encourages educators to model for colleagues the identification, exploration, evaluation, curation and adoption of new digital resources and tools for learning.

If you’ve done any kind of a search for classroom resources recently, you know that there is no shortage of educational information and products online. And that’s part of the problem.

Evaluating learning materials can be overwhelming, time-consuming and frustrating. With a little organization and direction, however, you can find quality resources quickly and easily.

Here are a few resources to help you get started locating and curating resources:

Feedly

Full disclosure: I am not an organized person. I was the student who had my desk dumped weekly and would have to carefully open my locker so papers wouldn’t spill out.

Technology has saved me, and Feedly is one of my favorite tools for organizing and curating online content. With Feedly, you can add any blogs, online magazines or topics that you want to follow, creating a daily feed from all the sites you add.

You can categorize the sites and save your favorite posts for later, making it easy to stay up-to-date on educational trends. And everything stays in one place, ready for you to view when it’s convenient for you.

ISTE

If you have an ISTE membership, then you know that in addition to the ISTE Conference & Expo, ISTE also offers other great resources, including books, webinars, courses, Empowered Learner magazine, the ISTE Blog and 24 professional learning networks where educators collaborate, share and support each other.

ISTE’s resources are aligned to the ISTE Standards and are research-based, so you know you’re getting the most effective tools, strategies and ideas for your classroom.

Your network

Now that you’ve established a network online, this is probably your most valuable resource for finding quality information and tools.

Want to know what works for classroom management in a middle school classroom? Ask the question on Voxer or in an edcamp session.

Need a resource for communicating with parents? Ask your Twitter friends what they use. My edupals have saved me many times, finding just the right answer to a question or the perfect resource for my classroom or to help a teacher.

ISTE Educator Standard 1C encourages teachers to stay current with research that supports improved student learning outcomes, including findings from the learning sciences.

It’s no secret that as teachers we are under scrutiny and constantly evaluated based on choices we make in the classroom. Staying current with research and conducting action research in our classrooms empowers us to not only make the right decisions, but provides evidence to show why we made those decisions.

Here are a few resources to stay up on the learning sciences:

Google Scholar

Google Scholar allows you to narrow your Google search results to journals and other scientific research, making it easier to find articles and educational studies. The searches often link to paid databases, so this is something to consider if you are looking for free resources.

NMC Horizon Report

The New Media Consortium publishes annual reports discussing current and future trends in education. Similar to Gartner’s Hype Cycles, the NMC Horizon Report offers important information to help educators make decisions about purchases and initiatives in their classrooms and schools. Currently there is a Horizon report for K-12 education, higher education, libraries and museums.

USDOE Office of Educational Technology

The USDOE visits schools across the country and determines what’s working and what isn’t. The website contains a wealth of research and publications that will help you effectively integrate technology in your classroom.   

ESSA Report

The Center for Digital Education produced the ESSA, Ed Tech, and the Future of Education report in early 2017 about current practices and the future of UDL, blended learning, project-based learning and other educational topics.

By expanding your global network and curated resources, you are better equipped to begin exploring the other ISTE Standards for Educators. When you are ready to tackle Standard 5 by designing differentiated authentic learning opportunities or further develop your skills in facilitating authentic tasks with Standard 6, the work will be easier if you reach beyond your classroom walls and remember that you don’t need to do it alone.

Kristin Harrington is a digital support colleague for Flagler County Schools in Florida. She is on the PLN leadership team for the ISTE Learning Spaces Network and co-moderator of the Twitter chat #FLedChat Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET. Follow her on Twitter @KristinCHarr.

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