Teachers: curators of educational material in the digital age

*by Michele Rodrigues

The amount of educational material currently available to teachers is immense due to advances in technology. Using the internet, it has become increasingly easy to search for materials on which to build our lesson plans.

Several sites provide teachers with numerous types of educational materials including detailed, ready-to-use lessons plans. But, is it as easy as searching and immediately applying these materials in the classroom? The answer is: no. The internet search must be thorough and results must be analyzed. In some cases the lesson plan provided by one teacher is not suitable for another, and vice versa. Before we go crazy looking for a perfect plan, we should consider adapting pre-existing materials to meet our needs, as teachers, as well as students’ needs.

How are teachers curators?

The word curator has Latin origins of ‘curare’ meaning to take care of. It is commonly used in the arts and refers to the steps of searching, selecting and organizing related works based on predefined criteria. The curator acts as the mediator between the works of art and the visitors of the exhibition.

Similar logic can be applied for teachers, as curators of educational materials, by following a few steps:

  1. Limit the content;
  2. Search related materials;
  3. Only select suitable materials;
  4. Write your lesson plan guided by the found materials. Be sure to consideration the class and student profiles, the pedagogical philosophy of your school, etc.;
  5. Put the lesson in action and check whether any modifications need to be made;
  6. Pay attention to students. The higher the level of engagement, the more relevance the material has for them, making the learning experience meaningful.

Incorporating technologies

In times when educational technology is so prevalent, the process of curating digital learning objects (DLOs), or digital instructional materials, is crucial in the creation of lesson plans that effectively integrate new technologies. By testing and reviewing the materials, you can be sure it addresses all educational goals and objectives.

Common mistakes that can extinguish all efforts. Therefore, never:

  • Copy and paste the material found. In addition to possible copyright issues, the application of the material can be catastrophic.
  • Remember, students also have access to the Internet;

  Give credit to the author;

  • Include your personality, opinion, and teaching style; 
  • Lastly, never use a DLO without first testing it (simulators, games, applications, etc.)

Storing a DLO

The initial work of curating can be cumbersome, but over time you will have a library of quality and easily accessible materials. The methods of archiving and distributing can make all the difference, and employing a mobile educational platform to assist with this can be of tremendous help.

Effectively curating, archiving and distributing materials will make classes more attractive to students while greatly impacting the professional curriculum of the 21st century teacher.

Michele Rodrigues
*Michele Rodrigues is a Technology and Distance Education Specialist and Math Educator. Currently she is the Product Development Manager at Mosyle.