Exploring curation as a core competency in digital and media literacy education — from the Journal of Interactive Media in Education (jime.open.ac.uk); with thanks to Robin Good for the Scoop

Paul Mihailidis
Department of Marketing Communication, Emerson College, United States

James N Cohen
School of Communication, Hofstra University, United States


In today’s hypermedia landscape, youth and young adults are increasingly using social media platforms, online aggregators and mobile applications for daily information use. Communication educators, armed with a host of free, easy-to-use online tools, have the ability to create dynamic approaches to teaching and learning about information and communication flow online. In this paper we explore the concept of curation as a student- and creation-driven pedagogical tool to enhance digital and media literacy education. We present a theoretical justification for curation and present six key ways that curation can be used to teach about critical thinking, analysis and expression online. We utilize a case study of the digital curation platform Storify to explore how curation works in the classroom, and present a framework that integrates curation pedagogy into core media literacy education learning outcomes.

Driven to distraction: How to help wired students learn to focus — from eschoolnews.com by Larry Rosen


A recent Pew Internet & American Life Project report surveyed 2,462 middle and high school Advanced Placement and national writing project teachers and concluded that: “Overwhelming majorities agree with the assertions that today’s digital technologies are creating an easily distracted generation with short attention spans, and today’s students are too ‘plugged in’ and need more time away from their digital technologies.”

Two-thirds of the respondents agree with the notion that today’s digital technologies do more to distract students than to help them academically.

Mind you, we are talking about teachers who typically teach the best and brightest students and not those who we would generally think of as highly distractible.


If attention can be visualized as a gate...is it getting harder to get through the gate?


From DSC:
If I’m an educator or a trainer and I can’t get through the gate (i.e. get someone’s attention), I have zero chance of getting a piece of information into someone’s short-term memory/working memory — and then ultimately into their long-term memory.

Also, from my own experience…
Especially in regards to information in a textual format, I know that I’ve grown increasingly impatient when someone doesn’t get to the point. When drinking (information) from the firehose, I seem to be almost forced into this type of situation/perspective.


Keeping your toes in the streams of current that are constantly flowing by us [Christian]


There are numerous ways to keep current within your discipline, but  I want to highlight just two highly-effective, relevant ones here (no matter what your discipline or interest is).


1) Google Alerts



2)  Subscribing to RSS feeds


Google Search just got 1,000 times smarter — from Mashable.com by Lance Ulanoff


The Google Search of the future is here. Now. Today. The long-talked-about semantic web — Google prefers “Knowledge Graph” — is rolling out across all Google Search tools, and our most fundamental online task may never be the same again.

Google launches Knowledge Graph, a new intelligent search platform — from TheVerge.com by Nathan Ingraham


Google has just launched Knowledge Graph, the latest refinement to its search engine product that seeks to provide users with more relevant and in-depth responses to search queries. The company actually started testing this new interface last week, but now its ready to take the wraps off its new method for connecting search queries to information-rich topics on people, places, or things. Along with the standard search results you’re used to seeing, Google’s search results page now displays instant results related to your queries — a search for Taj Mahal immediately brings up a list of facts, photos, and a map of the famous landmark, as well as quick links to other popular uses of the search term (like the musician or the casino in New Jersey). There are a multitude of sources behind this data — Google cites Freebase, Wikipedia, and the CIA World Factbook, but also notes that “it’s augmented at a much larger scale” and tuned based on what the average user searches for.

The search engine problem: Lack of ‘knowledge’ — CNET.com
Google’s walk-through of Knowledge Graph

With Knowledge Graph, Google can finally tell the difference between Apple Inc. and apples — from FastCompany.com by Christina Chaey


A dangerous game — from learning with ‘e’s by Steve Wheeler


This got me thinking that many of the world’s education systems are a little like the eating game of Meze. We pile the students plates high with content. Content of every kind is presented to be consumed, and the poor students don’t stand a chance. Many are overwhelmed by the amount of content they need to learn, and the pace at which they have to learn it. Even while they are struggling their way through an overburdened ‘just in case’ curriculum, still more content continues to arrive at an alarming pace. Some learners cry out for mercy, but they are still compelled to consume the content, because later, they are required to regurgitate it in an examination to obtain their grades. The examinations bear no resemblance to that which will be required of them in the real world. No wonder so many wish to leave the table early. What can teachers do to obviate this problem? Some are making a difference, reinterpreting the curriculum they are given by enabling activities and creating resources that facilitate student centred learning. Learning at one’s own pace, and in a manner that suits the individual will overcome some of the problems of overload, but more needs to be done. Things are changing, but they are changing slowly, too slowly for many people’s tastes. It’s a dangerous game we are playing in education. Isn’t it about time we stopped?

The Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI) is a project to create a common vocabulary for describing educational content. While there are many benefits to such a project, the main goal of the initiative is improve end-user search and discovery of learning resources. Read below for a general overview or visit our FAQ page for more specific details.

The Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI)

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Ignite Great Lakes – Maria Andersen: Where’s the “Learn This” Button? — my thanks to Mr. Paul Simbeck-Hampson for this resource

Dr. Maria H. Andersen is the Learning Futurist for the LIFT Institute and a Math Professor at Muskegon Community College, where she organizes Ignite MCC. She writes the “Teaching with Tech” column for MAA Focus and has recently published articles in Educause Review and The Futurist. Lately she has been spending a lot of time building games for teaching math and musing about the future of learning and higher education. You can find Maria blogging on the Internet at TeachingCollegeMath.com or on Twitter at @busynessgirl.



Maria Andersen: Where's the "Learn This" Button?




SOCRAIT — a new learning layer on the Internet:

  • SOC for social
  • AI for artificial intelligence
  • IT for information technology



From Daniel Christian: Fasten your seatbelts! An accelerated ride through some ed-tech landscapes.

From DSC:
Immediately below is a presentation that I did for the Title II Conference at Calvin College back on August 11, 2011
It is aimed at K-12 audiences.


Daniel S. Christian presentation -- Fasten your seatbelts! An accelerated ride through some ed-tech landscapes (for a K-12 audience)


From DSC:
Immediately below is a presentation that I did today for the Calvin College Fall 2011 Conference.
It is aimed at higher education audiences.


 Daniel S. Christian presentation -- Fasten your seatbelts! An accelerated ride through some ed-tech landscapes (for a higher ed audience)


Note from DSC:

There is a great deal of overlap here, as many of the same technologies are (or will be) hitting the K-12 and higher ed spaces at the same time. However, there are some differences in the two presentations and what I stressed depended upon my audience.

Pending time, I may put some audio to accompany these presentations so that folks can hear a bit more about what I was trying to relay within these two presentations.

Tagged with:  

Excerpt from Digital Dilemmas: The Data Deluge, Attention Deficits and The Future of Books

Given people are creating and receiving an exponentially growing amount of information per day and time is not expanding, author Adrian Ott on Fast Company suggests we are in an “attention arms race.” (emphasis DSC)  Despite the massive information processing power of the human brain, the senior executives we work with confirm this challenge.  Even with faster computers and an ever-expanding array of mobile devices to receive and process information anytime, anywhere, people struggle to keep up. Often we try to multitask, but according to McKinsey on information overload, multitasking is not productive or creative.

From DSC:
This is why I think it is getting — and will continue to get — harder to get someone’s attention (i.e. getting through what I call “the gate”);
and if I can’t get through the gate, I can’t make it into someone’s short-term or working memory. If that’s the case, I have zero chance of getting into their long-term memory (i.e. zero return on investment.)

This is not only true for students, but I believe that it’s true for everyone.  For example, how many human billboards (waiving some type of signage or wearing some type of clothing/costume) have you seen recently? I see 1-2 a day. I created the graphic last summer to illustrate this potential issue:

If attention can be visualized as a gate...is it getting harder to get through the gate?


 Some of my proposed solutions to this issue include:

  • Help students identify and tap into their passions — writing, video editing, photography, singing, acting, acting as a copyright expert, subject matter researcher, etc.
  • Use digital storytelling
  • Use educational technologies that engage (iPads, interactive whiteboards, Garageband, etc.)
  • Keep everything brief — chunk content up into bite-sized pieces
  • Offer students a choice of assignments, media and let them select what they prefer to work with
  • Offer content feeds that are engaging in order to keep content constantly streaming into a student’s short-term memory; over time, the main points make their way into the student’s long-term memory





The Singularity: Five technologies that will change the world (and one that won’t) — from MaximumPC.com by David Gerrold; originally saw this in Steve Knode’s July 2011 Newsletter

Excerpt I want to comment on:

Now, let’s try a thought experiment. If we apply Moore’s law and assume that the rate of scientific advancement doubles at the same rate as the computer power that we apply to research, then we can project that we will likely accomplish a whole 20th century’s worth of scientific advancement in 5 years—by 2015. As the rate continues to double, we’ll accomplish a century’s work in 2.5 years, then 1.25 years, 7.5 months, 3 months and 3 weeks, then a smidge less than two months, one month, two weeks, one week, then 3.5 days, 1.75 days, and if you ignore Zeno’s paradox, by the end of 2020 we will be accomplishing a century’s worth of research every day, and two weeks later, every second. And after that…?

From DSC:

This is why it is critical that all of us are tapping into streams of content. We can’t be dealing with damned up “water” — but we need to access ever-flowing-streams of content. We need to learn how to learn — and like learning! We’ll also need to know how to manage learning agents in order to sort through the information overload coming at us.

What's the best way to deal with ever-changing streams of content? When information has shrinking half-lives?


Also mentioned in the above article:

  • Graphene
  • Robots
  • Bio-Fabbing
  • Universal Smart Tech

Also from Steve Knode:


MBA Curriculum Changes: Wharton, Yale, and Stanford Lead the Pack — from knewton.com by Christina Yu

Excerpt (citing article from a  U.S. News article):

“Rather than consider pre-digested summaries of company situations, students tackle ‘raw cases’ packed with original data. Instead of being presented with an income statement, for example, they must mine the considerably bulkier annual filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission for data. The raw cases ‘push us to understand,’ says second-year Yale student Jason Hill. ‘They purposely put in more material than you could ever look at, but you have to learn where to look.’” (emphasis DSC)

From DSC:
I found this to be a good, interesting post. I just had a couple of thoughts that I wanted to throw out there re: it.

In looking at trends from an 80,000-foot level, I’d vote for MBA programs integrating much more of the tech-know-how — and/or appreciation of what technologies can bring to the table — as well as teaching grad students about some of the tools/technologies that are emerging these days (and I’d bet that the leaders/schools mentioned in this article are already doing this) .

I remember an instructor years ago — at SFSU’s MSP Program — saying that bots and agents will be the key to making decisions in the future, as there will be too much information for a person to sift through. The streams of content need to be tapped — but in efficient ways. So perhaps the logical step here is for MBA students to learn what bots/agents are, how to use them, and what their applications might be in making business/strategic decisions.

The most successful organizations of the future will be well-versed in technologies and what the applications/benefits of these technologies are. My bet? If you don’t have a technologist at the power table of your organization, the outlook doesn’t look very bright for your organization in terms of surviving and thriving in the future. Organizations will also need to be willing to take risks and move forward without having a full cost-benefit analysis done — as many times these don’t work well or are not even possible when implementing tech-based endeavors/visions.

Also relevant here:


What's the best way to deal with ever-changing streams of content? When information has shrinking half-lives?

From DSC:
After looking at some items concerning Connectivism*, I’ve been reflecting upon the following questions:

  • What’s the best way for us to dip our feet into the constantly moving streams of content?
    (No matter the topic or discipline, the streams continue to flow.)
  • What’s the optimal setup for K-12 based “courses”?
  • What’s the optimal setup for “courses” within higher education?
  • How should L&D departments deal with this phenomenon?
  • How do publishers and textbook authors want to address this situation?

Thinking of Gonzalez (2004; as cited in Siemens (2005)) description of the challenges of rapidly diminishing knowledge life:

“One of the most persuasive factors is the shrinking half-life of knowledge. The “half-life of knowledge” is the time span from when knowledge is gained to when it becomes obsolete. Half of what is known today was not known 10 years ago. The amount of knowledge in the world has doubled in the past 10 years and is doubling every 18 months according to the American Society of Training and Documentation (ASTD). To combat the shrinking half-life of knowledge, organizations have been forced to develop new methods of deploying instruction.”

Stephen Downes addresses this and points to a possible solution to this phenomenon in his presentation from 3/15/11 entitled “Educational Projection: Supporting Distributed Learning Online.”



I need to put more thought into this, but wanted to throw this question out there…more later…



* From DSC: Some of the items I looked at regarding Connectivism — some directly related, others indirectly-related — were:

Siemens, G.  (2005).  Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age.  Retrieved from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm.

Downes, S.  (2005).  An introduction to connective knowledge.  Retrieved from http://www.  downes.  ca/post/33034.  Downes noted that this was published in Hug, Theo (ed.  ) (2007): Media, knowledge & education – exploring new spaces, relations and dynamics in digital media ecologies.  Proceedings of the International Conference held on June 25-26, 2007.  November 27, 2007.

Kop, R.  & Hill, A.  (2008).  Connectivism: Learning theory of the future or vestige of the past? International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, v9 n3 p1-13 Oct 2008.

Tracey, R.  (2009). Instructivism, constructivism or connectivism? Training & Development in Australia, December, 2009. p08-09, 2p.  Retrieved from EBSCOhost. ISSN 0310-4664.

Kerr, B.  (2007).  A challenge to connectivism.  Retrieved at http://learningevolves.  wikispaces.  com/kerr.

Sims, R.  (2008).  Rethinking (e)learning: A manifesto for connected generations.  Distance Education Vol.  29, No.  2, August 2008, 153–164.  ISSN 0158-7919 print/ISSN 1475-0198 online.  DOI: 10.  1080/01587910802154954

Lisa Dawley.   (2009).  Social network knowledge construction: emerging virtual world pedagogy.  On the Horizon, 17(2), 109-121.   Retrieved from ProQuest Education Journals.  (Document ID: 1880656431).

Hargadon, S.  (2011).  Ugh.  Classic politics now extends to social networking in education.  Retrieved from http://www.  stevehargadon.  com/2011/03/ugh-classic-politics-now-extends-to.  html.

Cross, J.  (2001).  Crowd-inspired innovation.  Retrieved from http://www.internettime.com/2011/03/crowd-inspired-innovation.

Rogers-Estable, M..  (2009).  Web 2.0 and distance education: Tools and techniques.  Distance Learning, 6(4), 55-60.  Retrieved from ProQuest Education Journals.  (Document ID: 2017059921).

Marrotte-Newman, S..  (2009).  Why virtual schools exist and understanding their culture.  Distance Learning, 6(4), 31-35.  Retrieved from ProQuest Education Journals.  (Document ID: 2017059881).

Hilton, J., Graham, C., Rich, P., & Wiley, D. (2010). Using online technologies to extend a classroom to learners at a distance.  Distance Education, 31(1), 77-92.  Retrieved from ProQuest Education Journals.  (Document ID: 2074810921).

Attwell, G. (2010). Personal learning environments and Vygotsky. Retrieved from http://www.pontydysgu.org/2010/04/personal-learning-environments-and-vygotsky.

Google’s Gadfly — from InsideHigherEd.com

“Uncomfortably familial.” That is how Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor of media studies at the University of Virginia, describes the relationship between higher education and Google — a company that has, in a little more than a decade, evolved from pet project of Stanford doctoral students to chief usher of the information age.

But as is often the case with cousins, the genetic differences between higher education and Google are more striking than their similarities. Beneath the interdependence and shared hereditary traits, tensions creep. And like an awkward Thanksgiving dinner, Vaidhyanathan’s new book, The Googlization of Everything (And Why We Should Worry) (University of California Press), provokes these tensions to the surface.

The Virginia professor, who is not afraid to confess his affection for the ease and usefulness of Google, nevertheless distrusts the company’s basic motivations as it vies for our intellectual inheritance. “Google has fostered a more seamless, democratized, global, cosmopolitan information ecosystem,” he writes. “Yet it has simultaneously contributed to the steady commercialization of higher education and the erosion of standards of information quality.”

Computer ties human as they square off on ‘Jeopardy!’ — from CNN.com


IBM's Watson computer is competing against former champs Ken Jennings, left, and Brad Rutter on "Jeopardy!" this week.

.From DSC:
To be clear, I celebrate what the LORD has created and given to us in our amazingly-complex minds! I do not subscribe to the idea that robots are better than humans or that technologies are to be glorified and that technologies will save the world — not at all. (In fact, I have some concerns about the havoc that could easily occur if certain technologies wound up in the wrong hands — with those who have no fear of the LORD and who have massive amounts of pride…with hearts of stone.)

Getting back to my point…
The phenomenon that Christensen, Horn, and Johnson describe in Disrupting Class continues to play out in higher education/K-12. The innovations are mainly happening outside the face-to-face T&L environments.

Also see:

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