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Developing Future Workskills Through Content Curation

July 27, 2012

I will be presenting an ISTE Ignite Session on Monday, June 24 at 8:30 am on “Students as Curators.”  Hope you can make it! -Nancy

The response to my previous post on Understanding Content Curation has been incredible. This definitely is a topic people are passionate about.  Perhaps part of the reason for this is the tools and technology available provides an easy pathway to curate and follow our individual learning passions.  This has me thinking more about the role content curation can play for students in inspiring passion-based learning, moving towards personalized learning and of the many skills and habits of mind that students can develop through the process.

I have enjoyed exploring the many links and sources that were shared via Scoop-It, Pinterests, blogs, and other connections to my post.  My own learning and understanding increased tremendously through the process of exploring these.  Imagine what this kind of networked learning might do for students?

One link in particular has helped move my thinking forward regarding the benefits for students who curate: the Apollo Research Institute Future Workskills 2020 study conducted last year that identifies critical workforce skills that our students will need to be prepared for future jobs.

A closer look suggests that critical workforce skills identified in this \ study can be easily aligned with the skills practiced with content curation.

The skills a student employs  to successfully curate information include curiosity, media literacy, ability to make connections across disciplines, information literacy, the ability to evaluate and understand perspective, synthesize and evaluate information, and a good dose of self-direction.  Here is how they line up with the 10 skills identified in this study.

 

Sensemakingability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed”

This goes beyond simple definitions to imply an insatiable curiosity or sense of wonder about something.  For this affliction, curating is “the cure.” Curating is in one sense a quest to understand something – and then to share it –or teach it to others.

Computational Thinkingability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data-based reasoning”

At its heart, curation requires information literacy:  analyzing and organizing data in the pursuit of understanding.  An excellent article from Google breaks apart the skills used in computational thinking to include decomposition, pattern recognition, pattern generalization and abstraction, and algorithm design.   These same skills are applied in the curation process as we strive to make sense of our topic for ourselves and others.

New media literacy ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for persuasive communication”

A distinguishing factor of content curation is synthesis and evaluation of information and of course this information comes from multiple digital media forms, such as blogs, wikis, and video. While content curation doesn’t necessarily involve taking this to a next step of purposefully developing persuasive communication, the act of sharing the curated content can certainly have this end result.

Transdisciplinarity literacy in and ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines”

A natural part of the content curation process is to begin making connections across disciplines.  A perfect example of this for me has been my exercise in curating resources about content curation. While I hoped to define this process for education, this was aided tremendously through the influence of people who curate content in the field of marketing.  The incredible curation tools and social networks available on the web make it possible to easily connect with people and ideas across disciplines, and increase the speed and ability to reach understanding.

Cognitive load managementability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive functioning using a variety of tools and techniques”

This skill is synonymous to content curation.  As the amount of information and data continues to grow, this skill becomes essential to future success. We must be able to sort, sift, and make sense of information and data in an effective and efficient way.  The American Association of School Libraries in Standards for the 21st Century Learner describes self-direction under Standard 1, “Inquire, think critically and gain knowledge”  as “making independent choices in the selection of resources and information.” The key word is “independent.”  If students are spoon-fed resources for cookie-cutter research projects, they will not be practicing self-direction and will not be able to develop the vast array of skills outlined here through the process of content curation.

Social Intelligence  “ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions”

I see this skill evolving from curating and sharing content – as communities of learners form who have a common interest.  The curated content serves as the impetus. This is further enriched through people joining these communities from different disciplines and schools of thought.

Novel and adaptive thinkingproficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based”

This is a direct outcome of the process of curation – the higher order thinking skills of synthesis and evaluation imply that the end result will be novel and adaptive thinking.

Design mindsetability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes”

Content Curation requires a design mindset — evident in the way this is described   in the design and personal development blog of Ash Menon, graphic and web designer.

“A design mindset is a way of thinking that continuously evolves, changes, and adapts. It is based on a series of principles most commonly found and practiced in the design industry:

1) Practicing a methodology that involves identifying the problem, issue, or question at hand, and approaching it from various perspectives.

2) Allowing any idea, regardless of quality, to appear on the table before it is judged.

3) Taking risks with approaches and solutions that have never been applied or attempted before.

4) Continuously striving to improve upon a current situation or condition, in an endless cycle.”

I love this statement in thinking about content curation: “If you can’t see, try changing glasses.”

Cross cultural competencyability to operate in different cultural settings”

Tools available today for curating content and the social networks that connect us to information shared globally make it easy to learn in different cultural settings. With curating content that is shared through social media, your global network grows and with that growth comes the ability to gain perspective and global understanding.

Virtual collaborationability to work productively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual team.”

While this is not a requirement for content curation, certainly the tools available to engage in this task facilitate virtual collaboration and sharing of ideas, knowledge, and understandings in ways that have never been possible previously.  I’ve lost count of the number of people from other countries that have visited my blog, and “re-scooped” and commented on my curated resources. What a powerful thing this would be for students to make contact with people who have interests demonstrated through curating on a similar topic!

Future Workskills 2020 suggests a monumental shift and change needs to begin now in our education system. These skills can be developed through the process of content curation.  Content curation has the added benefit of helping students find their passions for and take ownership of their learning. Just one question remains. How will you incorporate content curation as a powerful learning strategy for your students?

87 Comments
July 27, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Excellent job Nancy.

Thank you for illustrating clearly how relevant content curation skills are for anyone wanting to be develop the skills that will most needed in the future.

These are indeed some of the most important reasons why both educational institutions and learners should rapidly embrace curation as a truly transformative enabler for knowledge creation and sense-making.

I have added this article and your preceding one to my presentation-map on Curation for Education and Learning

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