In Honor of Digital Learning Day, an Experiment in Curation

Curation: It’s one of the crucial 21st-century skills for learners of all ages, including through higher education and beyond. Conceptually, it’s important to understand digital curation less like a “tech tool” for educators and more critical thinking for the digital age. It’s all about evaluating information and separating the signal from the noise.

Steve Evangelista further explains digital curation as being an extension of the museum creator’s task:

To curate is to judge quality and separate it from what is less worthwhile, and to interpret for a purpose.  Museum curators may begin with hundreds, if not thousands, of works before choosing a dozen or two to appear in an exhibition.  Each work is carefully selected for a reason, and the viewer is treated to a thoughtful, sensible experience as he or she wanders through the exhibit.
Curation is not the tool; curation is the process. One tool that maximizes the process — with the museum “work” being tweets and other “artifacts” of social media — is Storify.
I’ve seen mainly news outlets use Storify as a way of collecting information shared on social media (especially when social media is part of the story) and I’ve wondered before how it could be used by an instructor. So, in honor of Digital Learning Day, I experimented and came up with “Digital Learning Day: Connected Educators Share Resources.”
Editing a story

Editing a story

As a Storify curator, you use search tools to find elements — Tweets, Facebook posts, photos, videos, links — to pull together to tell a story. You can “frame” your story with your own text, and the whole thing has a pretty easy, drag-and-drop interface. Once you create a “timeline” of elements you want, it’s also easy to change it up if you need and then share the story via your own social media accounts or through an embed into a blog.

BUT it doesn’t embed into our free blog, and Storify’s direct export to site does not work — unless you’re going for that “code cut-and-pasted” look.

Deleted post

Export from Storify didn’t not work for our or Tumblr sites.

Still, the tool is easy to use and to share.

Higher education applications

A curation tool like Storify lends itself to topics people are talking about on social media. (Storify searches for keywords, not just hashtags, but a broad keyword will bring up too many posts to easily pick from.)

But that doesn’t mean it’s all just breaking news. Any kind of assessment that requires students to pull together and present research could lend itself to a Storify. You could also have students use Storify to make a persuasive argument (with quotes and media backing up their points) or have them work collaboratively, maxing remixes of team members’ stories.

For more on educators using Storify, check out Hybrid Pedagogy.


Alex is online course support technician at IDS, working to support all online, hybrid and LMS-enhanced instructors and students in using Blackboard and several media servers. She's also the administrator for the MCC Blogs network. You can reach her at

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Posted in Blog, Free & Cool, IDS Tech Academy

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