I have always prided myself on the ability to curate content but I now realize that I was just simply collecting content. By collecting, I just gathered a bunch of stuff and housed it on my computer. On the other hand, curation is when you handpick content using a certain lens/perspective and add your own voice to it in order to bring value to that collection of seemingly random things. Then, you share it to be consumed by others.
Now that I think of it, sometimes we curate without even realizing it. If someone took a picture of my bookshelf during my early to mid-20’s, you’d see all types of fiction – thriller, crime, horror, and young adult. At the time, I loved to get lost in the story of a good fiction book because I was escaping a life I wasn’t exactly happy with. My voice was weak, my vision was blurred, my direction was non-existent.
Fast forward to my late 20’s until today and my book shelf is filled with books that represent who I am – feminist poetry, pedagogical books, self-help/self-improvement books, books on wellness, parenting advice, and some comedy books. My voice is now strong, my vision is clear and my direction is shining bright!
I’ve been a loyal user of Pinterest for years, but my curation hasn’t been focused – just collecting things into broad categories. This has me thinking about creating a Pinterest account that would be super focused on certain topics with my own voice and perspective represented, like on self-improvement and educational resources.
The Next Chapter: Student Content Curation
During the winter semester, I will be having student research and curate information for our English (Communication in Community Services) course. The students will be curating content based on the type of workplace documents they will use in their field – they will have to write an introduction to their chapter, description of the document and it’s purpose, and provide at least 2-3 samples or templates.
I’m excited to have students work together to curate an open textbook that can be used in this course. This morning, I spoke with the professor that teaches those same students Observation and Report Writing next fall and told her about this open textbook we are going to create. She was thrilled because they students can use that textbook as a reference for what she will be teaching them to write! I told her she could have the students add to the book with content they learn from her course, if she wanted. She loved the idea!