We asked school librarians which tools they found to be the most effective for curating and sharing resources, and the responses that came in were wonderfully diverse. Overwhelmingly, the top tool used for source sharing was email; almost 60% of respondents use email to share what they curate. Though email can be used alone as a way to quickly share a link or list of specific sources, survey results show us that it is often used as a way to share collections that have been built with other tools.
It is interesting to note that a huge majority of respondents acknowledged that they don't favor only one or two tools for resource sharing. An impressive 88% of librarians responding indicated that they use three or more methods for sharing resources with students and teachers. One respondent, who uses at least nine different tools, commented in regards to why she used so many, "It depends a lot on who is on the receiving end of the info and how they learn best from it." In other words, as we find and prepare sources to share, we are also determining the best format or presentation style.
For example, we decided to cut a database subscription geared specifically to lower-elementary students that had a restrictively high cost-per-use. We had other databases with similar information, but they weren't as easily navigable with the tablets our first-grade students use. To remedy this, we created a webpage using Google Sites with image-based links based on the topics they were focused on. Our first-graders then used a QR code to get to the webpage where they could easily find the picture of their focus of study to get what they needed.
We know curation is an important topic for both school librarians and students because it has earned an entire section, or shared foundation, in the AASL National School Library Standards. Curation is more than just giving kids a list of resources and saying "good luck." It can be a tool for teaching students how to explore and compare and evaluate sources as suggested in the third competency of Think: "Guiding learners to make critical choices about information sources to use."
The methods that we use to share our curated resources can be used as a tool to teach kids about the sources they choose to use for a given information need. For example, when we point students to a resource within a database, we can show them how to use techniques such as citation mining to find other relevant sources.
In the same shared foundation under Create: "Providing tools and strategies to organize information by priority, topic, or others systematic scheme," we can use our curated sources as a guide to demonstrate to students how digital information can be searched, sorted, and filtered to meet our needs. Our modeling can then set the standard that moves them into Grow: "Making opportunities for learners to openly communicate curation processes for others to use, interpret, and validate."
Regardless of the methods we use to share with our teachers and students, we have to consider accessibility. This is especially true of newer technologies that may be more media-rich but do not always consider compatibility with screen readers and magnifiers. There are multiple resources out there, but a good place to start is the World Wide Web Consortium and their Web Accessibility Initiative (https://www.w3.org/WAI/).
Here are the most commonly mentioned tools from our survey. Have you tried them?
Wakelet — https://wakelet.com/
Smore — https://www.smore.com/
Showbie — https://www.showbie.com/
Pearltree — https://www.pearltrees.com/education
Canva — https://www.canva.com/
MackinVia — https://www.mackin.com/hq/digital/mackinvia/
Google Keep — https://www.google.com/keep/
Symbaloo — https://www.symbaloo.com
Padlet — https://padlet.com/
Live Binders — http://www.livebinders.com/
Genially — https://www.genial.ly
Adobe Spark Pages — https://spark.adobe.com/make/website-builder/
Diigo — https://www.diigo.com/
Google Classroom — https://classroom.google.com