How many of you have a workout playlist when you are at the gym? Do you use a DVR to record your favorites shows on TV? What is the size of the list of the podcasts you subscribe to on your favorite podcast platform? If any of these questions resonate with you, you are a curator. The classic definition of a curator is a keeper or custodian of a collection. Humans love to collect things, but do not necessarily like to organize them. Does your desk at school or a space in your house look like and episode of the “Hoarders”? The collecting part is always pretty simple, but figuring out what we are going to do with it can be a challenge.
Imagine that you brought a brand new book case that fit 75 books. The problem is that you have 100 books in your collection. This is where things get challenging. We have to decide which books will go on our new book case and which will be sold or boxed up for storage. This simple choosing process could be difficult for us, but what if someone ask that you needed to justify why you kept the books, sold, or boxed them up? How would you feel if someone asked you to communicate your justifications orally or in a written format?
If the last questions cause you a little stress and anxiety, it is understandable. You feel this way when you are justifying something, because are using a critical thinking skill. Justifying those thoughts in your own mind may be one thing, but what if you are asked to effectively communicate those ideas to an audience. Que the sweaty palms and pits, shaky voice, and disorganized thoughts.
We are bombarded with the phrase “we need our students to be 21st century learners”. I am not sure I have ever met an educator that did not believe in that statement. Unfortunately, we as educators fail to put our students in enough situations to foster those skills. A well-organized curation project could be just the activity you are looking for to get your students to critically think, effectively communicate, collaborate, along with being super creative. Wow, that sounds like we could use all 4 of the 4 C’s in one project. Pretty awesome, but what would it look like?
There can be many options for a curation project and whatever you choose to do, it needs to go beyond just having students make a collection of something. We need to have students try to make connections between the artifacts that they are collecting. Having our students explain the context or purpose of their artifacts could be a great first step towards then using critical thinking skills to bring the curation project all together.
As I was preparing and researching to write this blog post, I curated all of my resources using Waklet. Wakelet is a free resource for teachers and students to not only captures their collections, but to have the ability to take them to the next level, integrating the crucial skills embedded int he 4 C’s. Check out Wakelet at http://www.wakelet.com and explore its capabilities.
I created a choice board that is a small curation of resources to check out if you want to try a “Be a Curator” project for your class. The 6 resources on this board will give you insight, inspiration, and direction to create a project that will help your students foster their 21st century skills.
Click on the link to access the digital choice board:
I would love to see your “Be a Curator” project ideas. Please share as I would like to create my own collection of projects that I could share out for inspiration!