Sue Waters Blog

October 13, 2013
by Sue Waters
6 Comments

Digital Curation: Putting the Pieces Together

Through digital curation we collect, manage and collate the best, most relevant content, on a specific topic or theme,  for ourselves and share with others.

Using tools like Scoop.it, Pinterest, Diigo and Livebinders educators collect the best resources to put them into context with organisation, annotation and presentation.

This post is a summary of the ideas. tips and resources shared during my presentation for the 2013 Reform Symposium e-Conference on digital curation.

Digital curation in education

It’s no longer just about creating content.  We are living in an era of content abundance.

It’s now about finding and putting content into a context, in a meaningful and organised way, around specific topics.

Using tools like Scoop.it, Pinterest, Diigo and Livebinders educators collect the best resources to put them into context with organisation, annotation and presentation.

The digital curation process

Types of tools needed

There are two types of tools needed for curation (watch Harold Rheingold’s interview with Robin Good on Curation):

Tools needed to curate

News discovery tools select and aggregate the content while the curation tools are used to display your content with context with organisation, annotation and presentation.  News discovery tools are all about saving time by feeding you the most relevant content.

CurationTools

Popular curation toolsThere are a gazilion tools you can use.; and which tools you use, and how you curate, is a personal as the tools you use to build your personal learning network (PLN).

Digital curation is a simple as:

  1. Find the tool(s) that you prefer to use for news discovery and for curation.
  2. Curate the content that helps you, and is helpful for others.
  3. Make it part of your routine to curate and share content.

You can check out examples of the different tools used by educators to curate in our Digital Curation – use in education storify or share information on how you curate by participating in our Digital curation survey.

Check out Curation: The Next Big C by John Pearce.

My Curation tools

My main curation tools are: my blogs ( The EdubloggerEdubogs Teacher ChallengesSue Waters);  FlipboardPinterestStorify; and Twitter.

Flipboard

Flipboard was originally designed as a social network aggregation, magazine-format app for iPad in 2010.  It is now the most popular of the magazine-like content aggrregator apps for iOS, Android, Kindle and Nook.

Flipboard’s strength is you are able to bring your social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn into one location alongside your favorite news sources and anything else you like to read, or watch (like YouTube) – all while making it easily to share your favorite content with your social networks and enabling you to easily curate your favorite content into Flipboard magazine(s)

Flipboard  is one of my key news discovery and curation tools because:

  1. It allows me to easily aggregrate content from a range of different sources.
  2. Quickly curate and share articles I like directly to my own magazine from within Flipboard (or using the Flip It bookmarklet in your web browser) while also sharing the articles with  with social networks at the same time!

Here’s a quick video on how I use Flipboard magazines to find, curate and share content.

You’ll find a complete step by step guide to setting up Flipboard here.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a pinboard-style visual booknarking website that allows users to create and manage visual content.   You can share images or videos you find online, or you can upload images directly to Pinterest.

Here’s some examples of our Pinterest boards:

Here’s a quick video on how to use Pinterest.

Storify

Storify allows you to curate your own stories from photos, video, tweets, what people post on social media sites and your own narration.

I use Storify as a way of pulling information shared on a topic in Twitter into one locate where I can refer back to it later.  For example.  I asked my Twitter network to share ”Do you curate? What tools do you use? Why you curate? Why you don’t curate? Are you confused by what is digital curation?”  and then pulled their answers into this Digital Curation – use in education storify.

Here’s a quick video on how to use Storify.

What are your tips?

How do you curate?  What advice would you give others on curating content?  Is there anything I’ve included that you want covered in more detail?

Please tell us more about how you curate by participating in our Digital curation survey

November 30, 2009
by Sue Waters
14 Comments

Using Public Google Waves For Personal Learning

There’s always a shiny new toy– and with it the stampede to use.

Yes that was also me once too :(  Nowadays I’ve learnt very slow, steady saves time and my sanity.

So I’m incredibly proud of the fact that I’ve never watched ANY Google Wave videos, read ANY tutorials and avoided every invite until I stumbled across a reason for investigating.

My motivation was I discovered you can set up public waves that any one can join.

I decided this was a good way for me and other educators to learn how to use Wave, by working together with each other, while also seeing how Wave might be used for personal learning (and with student).

Joining a Public Wave

We’ve called our public wave eduwave.

Joining  it is as easy as:

  1. Search for Eduwave by typing with:public Eduwave into search and then hit Enter.Searching for a public wave
  2. Now all you need to do is click Follow once you’ve found Eduwave to start following it. Following a wave
  3. Feel free to add your own replies to the wave, test different features and send me a tweet (@suewaters) if you want me to log in and join you.

Off course I’m proud of the fact that my friends taught me quickly how to use Wave.

Creating a Public Wave

Big thanks to Rob Wall for quickly locating the information I needed to create the public wave.

All you need to do is:

  1. Add public@a.gwave.com to your contacts lists by clicking on Add new Contact, enter the email address public@a.gwave.com and then click Enter Adding public@a.gwave.com
  2. It should add Public to your Contact list
  3. Now hover your mouse over Public’s avatar and select new wave Creating a public wave

Now anyone in Google Wave can search and add themselves to your public wave.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Please share your thoughts on Google Wave.

Your like(s), Dislike(s), What’s cool? Your tips… and links to any tutorials that I should have read 8-)

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October 4, 2009
by Sue Waters
19 Comments

A Year Later And Are We Using Different Tools To Connect To Our PLNs?

One year ago I asked my network to complete a survey on Personal Learning Network.

The survey was used in a series of presentations and to build my PLN Yourself website.

Being a year later I’m wondering how much has changes?  Are we using different tools to connect?  Are the tools we would recommend to new people different?

Can you help in the following ways:

  1. Can you please complete my new Personal Learning Networks Survey?
    • There are only 2 questions
  2. Can you promote my Personal Learning Networks Survey to your network using a range of tools?
    • For example blog post, twitter, plurk, Facebook so responses aren’t biased by promotion by one tool or one individual

If you do promote this survey can you please link to this post by creating a pingback and/or leaving a comment?  So I have a record of all the different ways in which this latest survey has been promoted?

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September 29, 2009
by Sue Waters
45 Comments

What Are Your Thoughts on Educational Blogging?

I’m doing a presentation next week for Alec Couros‘ s EC&I 831: Social Media & Open Education course and as part of it I’ve need to organise some required reading one week prior to the presentation.

I’ve been asked to focus on educational blogging and building personal learning networks so I’m hoping you can help as I want to:

  1. Demonstrate how conversations in blog comments provides greater knowledge gain for all involved, because each individual sees a different perspective of the task – giving everyone greater “food for thought!”
  2. Model personal learning networks in action!

About The course

EC&I 831: Social Media & Open Education course is an open access graduate course from the Faculty of Education, University of Regina for both registered and non-registered students.

Participants are all teachers, or principals, and most are new to using social media.

Can you share your thoughts on the following:

  1. What are the benefits of blogging with students and/or yourself?
  2. What are some of the challenge of student blogging and how do you avoid them?
  3. Can you recommend any ‘must read’ articles on student blogging?
  4. What questions would you most like me to answer if you attended a presentation by me on educational blogging and building personal learning networks?

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June 21, 2009
by Sue Waters
14 Comments

Baiting the Digital Hook to Build A Professional Learning Community!

Last week I was invited to present on PLNs (personal learning networks) as part of Getting Connected 09 for The Australian Flexible Learning Frameworks.

As the conference targeted the VET sector I decided to take a different PLN approach and share how social networking tools can create communities of professionals, and students, that help each other.

Skills level of participants

Participants were surveyed near the start of the session to help guide how little/much information on each aspect need to be explained. The results are shown in the table below (Yes= has their own or uses with their students; No = doesn’t have own or use with students; No response = they didn’t respond to the question).

Value of Creating Communities

The message for creating professional learning communities using social networking tools was similar to PLNs. Our daily face-to-face interactions offer limited opportunities for:

  • Asking our work colleagues/students questions
  • Reflecting on ideas with each other
  • Effectively sharing information

Social networking tools provide the ability to easily connect ourselves, our students, with educators in the same/similar fields, and people from industry to form a global community. This greatly increases opportunities to receive assistance and provide assistance.

The main difference to a PLN is technology skills of individuals you may want as part of your professional learning community are often (very) low. This means you need to use a range of tools including ones they are more likely to feel comfortable using.

To stay sane remember:

  • Not everyone will share your excitement (and it is unrealistic to think they will)
  • Let them choose whether or not they join
  • Don’t be offended if you can’t encourage everyone to participate
  • Be grateful for those that do participate
  • It takes time!

During the session I discussed the main tools I use for aquaculture industry to highlight their benefits and how it can be done.

Facebook

In terms of aquaculture Facebook is used mainly with my students (but I do have some work colleagues in my account). My students are given the option to add me to their Facebook account knowing that they can email me, use the chat or leave comments on my wall.

Years ago I used to give students my email address and never get got any emails. With Facebook student regularly contact me to help with both my work and other courses. Many continue to remain in contact when they leave.

Ning

Our AquaEd Ning community to connect educators, industry and my students together (consists of members from within Australia and oversees).

Benefits of Ning are ability to have forums, upload photos, upload/share videos and easily email all members etc.

For me this Ning community meant I was about to source training material and images to use for an aquaculture elearning unit. I couldn’t have sourced this material as well (or as quickly) using traditional methods.

My students, and other community members, are using this Ning to share what they are doing and ask others questions.

Ning challenges are you need to be prepared to facilitate and encourage conversation. The more people you can encourage to help you facilitate the more likely it will grow. As a Ning owner you need to closely monitor all new members (using RSS) due to spammers.

Twitter

Never thought it would happen but have people from aquaculture joining my twitter account. Which has been excellent because they also then join AquaEd Ning.

As these people are already into social networking they add value to your community because they aren’t reluctant users.

FINAL THOUGHTS

This session was recorded and you can watch it here!

My advice for building a community remains the same as for a PLN — your first step is to start using these tools for your own learning then start thinking how you can connect with members from your industry. Check out my PLN Yourself website to get started!

Meanwhile for those that have created professional learning communities — please share your stories. What has worked well? What aspects have caused problems?

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March 10, 2009
by Sue Waters
15 Comments

What Are Your 5 Top Web tools For Managing Your Workload?

Image of top toolsAs part of my presentations on Personal Learning Networks (PLN) I created a PLN Yourself site to help new people work through setting up their own Personal Learning network.

The site focuses on the top 5 tools for building your own PLN based on 196 responses in my Personal Learning Network (PLN) Survey.

This site has been popular but is it catering adequately for people new to using web technologies?  For those already engage in social networking we appreciate the value of building our PLN.  But it must seem very foreign concept for new people?  Perhaps tools that help them manage their workload or do it more effectively would increase their desire to learn how to use web technologies?

So I’ve decided to build onto my PLN Yourself site by adding the 5 top tools for for managing your workload.  Once again I would like to model how PLNs work.

I’m hoping you can help me in the following ways:

  1. Please complete my survey on Tools for Managing Your Workload – will take less than 1 minute
  2. Can you ask your network to complete my survey on Tools for Managing Your Workload – if you blog about it can you send a pingback to this post

FINAL THOUGHTS

Results from this survey will be shared on this blog and used to determine which 5 tools to include on my PLN Yourself site.

Another aspect I would like to add to my PLN information is when and/or who were the reasons why you started building your own personal learning network?

  1. Can you remember when you first started to use online tools and build your network?
  2. Was it a conference presentation, workshop, person or information you read online?
  3. Which people do you feel have influenced you the most to want to build your network?

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December 14, 2008
by Sue Waters
4 Comments

Overview of Connected Trainer Workshop From Converge08

This post is a quick overview of The Connected Trainer workshop (45 mins) that I presented with Simon Brown at Converge08. Since the participants were shown an overwhelming number of online tools throughout the conference we decided it was better for them to reflect on they could become more connected.

Survey of Workshop Participants

Before the workshop we tried to survey how connected participants attending our session were so we could design the session to better suit their needs. Unfortunately people choose which sessions to attend on the actual day of the conference which made the task hard. However we did get 15 responses to our survey.

The image below shows the number of responses to use of each tool. Please note : Basic meant they had heard of the tool but had minimal experience using; Average meant had used the tool and have reasonable ability; and Advanced meant they had their own site that they regularly update.

Image of survey results

So instead we ended up quickly surveying the participants at the beginning of the session using a shortened version of the survey and writing their response on the Powerpoint. Majority had minimal experience to no knowledge of using blogs, wikis, podcasts, photosharing, feed readers, personalised start pages, microblogging tools and social bookmarking tools. However there were also some very experienced users within the workshop.

With both surveys it was interesting to see the limited exposure to some of the more handy tools such as Google Documents, Slideshare and Personalised home pages.

Getting Participants To Reflect On Their Connectedness

Instead of doing a workshop where we did all the talking we decided to engage them in conversation by using Flipcharts. I’d had seen Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach use Flipcharts effectively at a workshop.

The idea was for them to work in groups to consider the issues and challenges facing them plus work out the actions they needed to take to become more connected. For those already connected we asked them to consider ways of helping others within their organisation become more connected.

Unfortunately we hadn’t factored into account that the room would be a sloping Theatrette with fabric on the side walls that restricted the area where the flipcharts could be used. While it did work room layout made it harder.

Image of room

As groups they rotated through the Flipcharts answering the following questions:

  1. Question 1: What are the barriers that are stopping you from connecting now?
  2. Question 2: How would you connect if you didn’t have any barriers? What would your choices be?
  3. Question 3: How will you find the answers to learn how to become more connected?
  4. Question 4: What are three action that you will take as a result of attending this conference to become more connected?

Image of Flipchart

Below are photos of their responses on the Flipcharts:


After the groups wrote their responses on the Flipcharts we got a person to read out the answers on each Flipchart and then we all discussed the responses. Both Simon and I also learnt about tools neither of us had heard of which was excellent.

Its been good to see that people at the conference, as well as people within my personal learning network, are using my PLN Yourself website and are increasing their connections to other educators.

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December 8, 2008
by Sue Waters
10 Comments

How Tweet It is! PD in the 21st Century

Image of Slide TitleThis week I was invited to Melbourne to present at Converge08 by eWorks. I was involved in two presentations:

  1. How Tweet IT is! PD in the 21st Century
  2. The Connected Trainer – presenting with Simon Brown

Emphasis of both was on the different aspects of personal learning networks (PLNs). This post is a quick overview of my “How Tweet IT is! PD in the 21st Century” presentation.

Why this title? To highlight how increasing numbers of people are using online tools to create their own personal learning networks (PLNs) which enhance their professional development (PD) beyond what is often achievable in traditional f2f workshops.

Throughout the entire presentation (1 hr) I tried to model how a PLN works by:

  1. Making the conference participants part of my personal learning network (approx. 300 people) by giving people tasks and encouraging conversation
  2. Sharing results from my PLN survey while also live demoing the most popular tools used in building PLNs
  3. Asking my online PLN to engage with the audience (using Twitter)

Using Conference Participants as a PLN

I explained that in a PLN members frequently help each other and provide assistance. This is how I used conference participants as my personal learning network:Image of macbook

  1. Official photographer (Becky) – used my Canon Powershot to take photos of whatever interested her.
  2. Flickr Poster (Steve Cahill) – used my iphone to take photos and upload immediately to Flickr using FlickrUP.
  3. MacBook Assistant – Seconds before my presentation was due to start we discovered a problem with my Internet connection so had to borrow Carol McCulloch’s laptop to use her wireless and she had to use my MacBook for the conference live blogging. She had never used a Mac previously so an audience member stood behind Carol and helped when necessary.
  4. Office 2007 Assistants – I’d never used Office 2007 or Vista so I enlisted the participants to help whenever I got stuck
  5. To answer questions and vote (on if they used a tool and off course their favorite chocolate :) )

Becky, Steve and Carol had never used the technology which I used to emphasize that in PLN’s we learn by playing until we find out how it works; and if we get into trouble we ask others for help (which they all did). PS Carol may have muttered some un-nice words about both the MacBook and me (I definitely owed her big time! Thanks so much Carol for the help).

Poor Steve, my iphone was playing up and the SIM card locked up on him….. So he also learnt that being part of a PLN can be stressful sometimes :)

Below are photos taken by Becky and Steve during the presentation:

Survey Results of Conference Participants

Most people at the conference had limited knowledge and experience using the main tools for building a PLN.

Very few had used Twitter so during the presentation I demonstrated the instantaneous nature of twitter by sending the following tweets to my twitter network:

Image of Tweet

I added the discussion of chocolate so I could highlight that what question you ask impacts on whether people respond and how online tools like twitter can be used to build relationships.

Interesting fact — dark chocolate was the most popular chocolate by both my twitter network and conference participants. I used this to highlight that you can’t always trust your PLN (chuckling).

FINAL THOUGHTS

Thanks to eWorks for inviting me to Converge08 and all the people at the conference who made me feel welcome. Special thanks to Dean Groom for helping choose the title of the presentation (with added help from my twitter network) and for writing the conference abstract.

Don’t forget:

  1. I’ve posted the results of my PLN survery here
  2. I’ve created a PLN Yourself site to help new people work through setting up their own Personal Learning network.

If anyone can locate statistics on chocolate sales by milk, white and dark could you please share? Would love to know what is the top selling flavor. Surely it can’t be dark chocolate?

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July 19, 2008
by Sue Waters
29 Comments

Listen To The Wisdom Of Your Network

Thanks to everyone who helped me demonstrate the power of personal learning networks for my presentation yesterday. Your comments, tips and advice were THE essential part of my presentation because I wanted to demonstrate a personal learning network in action to show how it extends our learning and reflection beyond what is normally achieved during traditional professional development and enables us to share our learning with global educators.

The aim of this post is to show how I used your comments in my presentation, explain the main points covered plus to provide links to help others get started setting up their own personal learning network.

Background

Many of the educators at the Educational Computing Association of Western Australia (ECAWA) State Conference had never heard of the term Personal Learning Network (PLN) or Personal Learning Environment (PLE). Sarah Stewart provides an excellent overview on Personal Learning Environment and the tools that she uses in her PLE.

As Graham Wegner highlights “it is hard to explain and sell what an online PLN is to educators without diving and experiencing it themselves”. This is why I felt my best chance was demonstrating a PLN in action by using the network to help create the presentation.

My presentation involved a Keynote presentation composed of information collected from 27 reader’s comments to questions on Personal Learning networks blended with visiting web sites to show a range of different online tools. The title for my presentation and this post is from Ines concluding comment ” As I’ve been told myself in my first days: “You must listen to the wisdom of the network””. Thanks Ines!

I only had 30 minutes so the main points I tried to emphasize were:

  1. Face to face interactions within workplaces provides limited opportunities to exchange ideas and thoughts.
  2. Your Personal learning networks increases opportunities to help each other and is available anytime, anywhere, whenever connecting you to a global network.
  3. If you are planning to integrate online tools into your classroom it is important that you use these tools first for your personal learning to gain greater understanding of how to use them effectively and to realize their importance for empowering personal learning.
  4. It does take time “to get” the value of some online tools and it is important to engage with using them using an open mind. “Not getting” the benefits of a tool often relate to not using it effectively.

Global Nature of PLNs

I started by demonstrating the global nature of PLNs by showing a World map with the names and locations of readers who left comments.

Location of people who wrote comments

A quicker method would have been to use a Frappr map but didn’t want people just to add their names and not answer the questions on PLNs.

Importance of PLNs

Next I showed a Wordle of commenters’ responses to “Why is your personal learning network important to you?” to emphasize the key reasons why educators use PLNs. Thanks Jane Lowe for providing me with the idea to use a Wordle.

Image of Wordle on PLNs

Tools Used in PLNs

I then discussed tools people use to create their PLN by showing a diagram I had created using commenters responses to “Which tools are the most important part of your personal learning network?.” It was created by counting the number of readers who recommended a tool; the size and number indicates the relative popularity of each online tool.

Online tools written in white text were sites mentioned by one reader only. RSS aggregator refers to use of RSS readers like Google Reader and Bloglines.

Diagram of visualsing PLNs

Which tools people use in their PLN are very individual that is why they are personal :) . The benefit of the diagram was it meant I was able to discuss and show a wide range of web sites that they could consider including in their PLN.

Features I noted from this diagram:

  1. Twitter was the most popular tool – as expected
  2. Most readers included online bookmarking sites as an important tool in their PLN however some readers included both del.icio.us and diigo in their list – I’m assuming because they use each differently?
  3. I was surprised to see Facebook included and would love to hear more from readers as to why they value Facebook so highly in their PLNs.

Setting Up Your PLN

Finally I talked about the tools for getting starting with setting up a PLN. I did this by counting the number of readers “tips on how to get started setting up their own Personal learning network” and listed them in order of popularity.

Their advice for getting started was:

  1. Join Twitter – read this post on setting up and using twitter
  2. Start reading blogs – You could use this list of top Edubloggers to find some blogs you would like to subscribe to.  Alternatively check through this list to find blogs.
  3. Subscribe to RSS feeds using Feed Readers – understanding RSS and using it’s power to make your life easier is an essential part of using these tools. Read this post to learn more about RSS and setting up a feed reader.
  4. Start own blog – If you are interested in setting up an Edublogs blog here is where all the how to information is located.
  5. Comment on other people’s blog – read Dean Shareski excellent post on Student and Teacher Blogging that Succeeds
  6. Join Classroom 2.0 – Classroom 2.0 is the largest Ning network for educators. Read this information on how to get more out of using a Ning site.
  7. Join diigo - Watch Liz Davis screencast on using Diigo. Personally though I’m sure my network meant join del.icio.us so here are my instructions for using del.icio.us.

During my presentation I also showed my twitter network and asked my twitter network provide links to help educators get your PLN started. Here are the links:

  1. Knowledge Bank Conference 2008 – free online conference for educators on 22 & 23 July – link supplied by Janning.
  2. Top 100 Tools for Learning 2008 – list created from top 10 tools recommended by learning professionals. Link supplied by Michael Chalk.
  3. John Pearce’s tutorials.
  4. Contribute to Rodd’s survey on what tools you use in your PLN – Scroll down the page to read other people’s responses. Link supplied by Rodd Lucier.
  5. 23 Things Program – There is a 23 Things program starting on 21 July. This type of program is really good for learning about a range of online tools. Link supplied by Katherine Greenhill.

FINAL THOUGHT

It isn’t possible to capture all the information contained in readers responses to my question so I strongly recommend you read:

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July 9, 2008
by Sue Waters
41 Comments

Help Me Demonstrate The Importance Of Personal Learning Networks!

Image of helping each otherI’d really love your help to demonstrate the importance of personal learning networks so I’m hoping you will help me with my presentation by sharing your thoughts.

The Background

I’m doing a presentation for Educational Computing Association of Western Australia (ECAWA) State Conference next Friday to overview the ways educators can use online tools to forge personal learning networks related to our areas of interest. Time is limited and I’ve only 30 minutes to talk on the topic.

During the presentation I’m planning to share this post to show how web tools can extend our learning and reflection beyond what is normally achieved during traditional professional development and enables us to share our learning with global educators.

The Questions

So can you please leave a comment or write your own blog post to let me know:

  1. Your name, what you do, what part of the World you are based (to demonstrate the global aspect) and, if applicable, your main web site
  2. What do you think are the 3 most important aspects on personal learning networks I should cover?
  3. Why is your personal learning network important to you? Which tools are the most important part of your personal learning network, and why?
  4. Can you provide examples of how your personal learning network has enhanced student learning within your classroom?
  5. Your tips for educators on how to get started setting up their own Personal learning network.

If you are based in Western Australia and interested in networking with other educators interested in ICT in the classrooms – please join us at the ECAWA conference next Thursday July 17 and Friday July 18, 2008.

Image by lumaxart licensed under Creative Commons ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

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