Making digital material accessible for students in the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) Remix competition required the latest tools in content curation, writes Esther Casey
We’ve all heard statistics around the incredible information explosion we’re experiencing and stories of the dangers of information overload in our lives and those of our students. Thankfully, this has been matched by the development of some very handy tools for searching, finding and organising the online information that we need to access and share.
Content curation tools such as Scoop.it (www.scoop.it) and Pinterest (www.pinterest.com) make it easy to keep up to date with specific topics that interest you, and to share collections of relevant material in a visually attractive way. To add value, you can write comments and questions that make connections for readers or help them get the most out of the content. Librarians and teachers all over the world are now using these tools to support student learning in many topics.
Creating attractive selections
Recently, our team at the National Library wanted to make it easy for students in secondary schools to find good quality, reusable content for the NZTA Remix Competition. We wanted a tool that would enable us to create attractive selections of the best places where students can find content relevant to their work. We wanted to add hints and suggestions so they could learn about limiting searches and finding creative commons licensed content. In addition, we wanted it to allow embedding in school online environments, meaning the information could be exactly where the students would find it easily. Although not actually a tool developed for content curation, Prezi (www.prezi.com) met our needs well.
Its creators call Prezi a zoomable canvas and, as a presentation tool, it makes it easy to create a collection of content that someone is walked through. Viewers gain a quick overview before delving into sections that interest them the most. As an embeddable application, we can very easily add new content when it becomes available and provide updates.
NZTA Remix competition entrants are currently creating road safety messages for their schools by remixing creative content, presenting data in infographics, or going literary by reusing the works of Shakespeare. They’re going to need, and want, access to a really broad variety of content.
The NZTA has made a whole bunch of data, images and videos available from their campaigns and resources. Many students will need to look for remixable content beyond this core set to make their entry stand out. That’s where this collection of resources comes in.
We wanted to group together resources for students searching by media type, such as video or images, while other material provided opportunities for a ‘teachable moment’ that we could provide in our Prezi text.
For example, next to the link to the primary sources gallery on the Services to Schools, National Library of New Zealand website (www.schools.natlib.govt.nz), we’ve included a little bit of text that explains why primary sources are important today. This helps students to gain a better understanding of the resources themselves and might be a catalyst for thinking about how to use these them again for other purposes.
Another way to ‘up the savvy’
In our presentation we also link to popular search tools such as Google or Flickr, and to our favourite for any New Zealand content, DigitalNZ (www.digitalnz.org).
In each case, we drop in specific search hints that help students find content that has appropriate licences for reuse – another way to ‘up the savvy’ of students as they navigate the crowded web. We’ve encouraged them to look for content that has a Creative Commons licence, is in the public domain or has no known copyright.
As educators use the latest content curation tools, we not only help students navigate information in specific instances but also helps them develop skills they will need again and again to search, use and present information. First stop, though, the chance at glory, a noble safety message and substantial prizes in the Remix competition.
Esther Casey is a Learning Futures Development Specialist in Services to schools at the National Library of New Zealand.
Check out The National Library’s Prezi presentation at http://fizurl.com/natlibprezi
NZTA Remix Competition
With a theme of ‘Safer Journeys for Teens’, this invites Year 9-13 secondary school students to create an infographic, mash-up, remix using content and data from NZTA resources. Information about the competition and help for students to prepare their entries are available on the NZTA education portal. Entries open 1 September and close 31 October, 2012.
© INTERFACE Magazine, June 2012
Add your own comment