By Elizabeth Kahn
For me, I first collaborate with the content area teacher on the lesson or assignment that requires students to conduct research. Then I make a decision about which tool will work best for sharing resources.
One of the things that I like best about creating these digital resources is that with just a little editing and updating, I can share and reuse them year after year. Here are four of my favorite resources for curating these materials.
I think that this is my all-time favorite tool. It’s designed like a notebook with tabs. You get main tabs, and are able to create any number of sub-tabs under each main tab, making it very user friendly; I always upload pictures to the main tabs to make the tool inviting for students.
What I like best about Livebinders is the ability to easily upload photos, videos, document files, websites, and articles from our school’s subscription databases. Very often, the first tab will be the guidelines for the project and the teacher’s rubric. I have even created bibliographies of the library’s print resources and uploaded the list of books into the Livebinder.
You can make the Livebinder interactive by embedding a Padlet wall into a tab and require your students to post answers or comments to a specific prompt. By using Livebinders, I am able to collect all the pieces and parts of the lesson or unit in one place that the teacher can share through email or a learning management system.
This is a great tool to use if you want to design a colorful collection of web links. I have created a Symbaloo just for the teachers in my building so that they have easy access to websites for the school, the district, and the state. This has proved invaluable for new teachers to keep them from being overwhelmed with all the Google docs and spreadsheets that they create for sharing school information.
I have also created a Symbaloo just for the students so they have an easy starting point to find all school and library-related websites. Another Symbaloo that has proved invaluable is the one that I created for students to use when they’re looking for royalty free images for school projects.
Along with sites that offer images with creative commons licenses, I have included a short video instructing students how to find free to use images when conducting a Google search. Look for all the Symbaloo collections that I have created here.
I have been using Wikispaces for years. It acts more like a full website because you can add multiple pages to your wiki. I have used this tool as the portal for the social studies research paper that all the students at my school must complete to receive honors credit.
For the social studies wiki, I have been able to separate the information for the students, making it easy for them to find requirements, assistance in selecting topics, links to resources and databases, writing guides, and help in creating citations and formatting their paper.
I have attempted to make this tool a one stop shop for this specific research paper so that all students have access to the same information, and if there are any questions, I can answer through the wiki for everyone to read.
Wikispaces has also been a great tool to house information and links I want to share with attendees of presentations that I’ve given at conferences, as well as for all the librarians in my district, giving them a place to find and share information about school libraries.
I use Slideshare when I design a PowerPoint presentation that has links and instructions for assignments. There are other ways to share a PowerPoint with the students, but the reason that I use Slideshare is the ability to edit. If I need to make changes to the presentation, I can upload the new PowerPoint to Slideshare, and the students will automatically have access to the new content because the link does not change.
Here is an example on Slideshare of a lesson that was crated to celebrate Banned Books Week. This has also been an invaluable tool to use when sharing presentations that I’ve given as professional development.
To find curated tools for collaborative lessons that I have designed for the students at my school, open here.