Friday, June 12, 2015

Curating Content with @appoLearning

Curation, as many of you know, is near and dear to my heart. (Heck I even wrote a book on the subject!) And especially now, for teachers, its becoming increasingly important as more and more digital devices begin to enter the classroom. Finding the right apps, videos or other digital resources can be tough. And keeping it all organized can be even tougher.

I was excited to learn about appoLearning. This is a great resource where educators can find and share all the digital resources they are curating. All of the resources found there are vetted by other educators so you can trust that what you are search for will be the best of the best.

Recently they unveiled Collections. And this is something I am really excited about.

appoLearning Collections enable teachers to create, annotate and share lists of hand picked digital resources, including YouTube videos, iOS and Android apps, and websites, around specific subjects, topics or lessons. Collection creators can easily:
  • select from thousands of expert-vetted, standards-aligned resources from appoLearning search
  • and/or add their own resources (including anything that is URL-addressable including videos, apps, websites, assessments, Dropbox links, Google Drive links, Evernote links) and upload their own files (Photos, Lesson Plans, Videos, PowerPoints, PDFs, etc.). 
Collections empower teachers to continually manage the use of great digital resources into their classroom and to share these with peers, parents, students, and administrators.

Creating a Collection couldn’t be easier.

Click or tap “Create a Collection” to get started. From there, login via Facebook, Google or Twitter to get started. Once one has named, described and tagged a collection, there are three simple and fast ways to build it.

Some things to remember:

  1. Resources for any Collection can be pulled from the thousands of digital resources already vetted by appoLearning experts. Simply type in the search term on appoLearning, or browse by subject, grade-level, device and Common Core Standard, to find a list of vetted resources. While searching, one can also filter to show only FREE options. Simply press the “Add” button next to each resource to add to a collection. Click the “View” button to go back to the collection at any point.
  2. Add in resources from other collections by simply pressing the “Add” button for individual selections or the “Add All” button to grab the entire collection
  3. Digital resources that are not included in appoLearning search can also be added to a Collection. Simply paste the relevant URL - any URL, including those that point to a website, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play,  Prezi, Pinterest, Vimeo, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc., - of the selected educational resource, and it will be instantly added to the appoLearning database and included in the collection.
  4. Files can also be uploaded to be shared via a collection.Simply drag and drop the file - any digital file including photos, videos, lessons plans, quizzes, powerpoints, pictures, Smart Notebook software and more - and it will also be added to your appoLearning Collection.

We know that one of the most important parts of the curation process is sharing and sharing a Collection is easy. Each collection has its own unique URL that can be shared via email, messaging, or any social media channel.  appoLearning includes an embed feature to include the collection on a website in addition to one-click sharing for Twitter and Facebook.  .

All appoLearning Collections can be found via the search box at top of the Collections page or by using the tag navigation to the left of that page. So you will be able to see what others are creating and use those as a starting point for your own collections too.

You are probably thinking to yourself, what’s the catch. There has to be a subscription or a feee to do this. Nope. appoLearning Collections are free of charge.  As you begin to plan and organize your lessons for the upcoming year (after some well-deserved time off!), I encourage you to start creating and sharing your own Collections of resources to understand how easy - and addictive! - it can be.

The folks at appoLearning are getting tremendous feedback from teachers on how to make the product even better, as well as a lot of special requests for how schools and districts can best take advantage of the platform and technology.

You can get started right away, or contact them for a personal demo so YOU can become that teacher everyone turns to for recommendations.

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