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Future Ready Librarians: Curating Digital Tools and Resources

Future Ready Schools


Future Ready Schools® Invites You to Participate in a Webinar

Future Ready Librarians: Curating Digital Tools and Resources

Elissa Malespina
, Teacher Librarian, Somerville Middle School (NJ); Librarians Network President, ISTE (@elissamalespina)
Joyce Valenza, Assistant Professor of Teaching, Rutgers University School of Communication and Information (NJ) (@joycevalenza)

Mark Ray
,  Lead, Future Ready Librarians (@_TeacherX)

Future Ready Librarians (FRL) is kicking off its 2018 series of webinars with panelists Elissa Malespina and Joyce Valenza who will take a deep dive into the “curriculum, instruction, and assessment” gear from the Future Ready Schools® (FRS) framework as it relates to the FRL strategy of curating digital tools and resources.

During this webinar, panelists will

  • tell their story of curating digital resources and tools within their role as a Future Ready Librarian;
  • share the importance of leading in the selection, integration, organization; sharing of digital resources and tools to support transformational teaching and learning; and developing the digital curation skills of others; and
  • offer favorite tips, tricks, and tools for curation.

Whether you are a school librarian or district leader, please join FRS to learn more about the power of curating digital resources and how the FRL program is empowering librarians as leaders and innovators.

This webinar is brought to you by FRS and Project Connect from Follett.

Register and submit questions for the webinar below.

Please direct questions concerning the webinar to Lia Dossin at If you are unable to watch the webinar live, an archived version will be available at the link above and in the FRS leadership hub one to two business days after the event airs.


Support for the FRL program is generously provided by Follett.

Future Ready Schools® (FRS) is a project of the Alliance for Excellent Education, a Washington, DC–based national policy, practice, and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that all students, particularly those underperforming and those historically underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship. and

Follow FRS on Twitter (; Facebook (; and on FRS’s leadership hub (

Join the FRL group on Facebook ( and follow FRS on Twitter (#FutureReadyLibs).

If you are interested in renting the Alliance’s facilities for your next meeting or webinar, please visit our facilities page to learn more.

Mark Ray:                   Look at that. Good afternoon, Future Ready Librarians and lovers of Future Ready Librarians. My name is Mark Ray. I am really excited to be hosting this afternoon’s webinar, a Future Ready Librarian webinar. Look who we have in the boxes. Let’s say hi to Joyce. Joyce, how are ya?


Joyce Valenza:            Good, Mark. Hi, Future Ready Librarians. Nice to see you, or not see you.


Mark Ray:                   And look who else we have here. It’s Elissa. Say hi, Elissa.


Elissa Malespina:       Hi, everybody. It’s so good to see everyone.


Mark Ray:                   Fantastic. And I know better than to have anybody else except Joyce anchor the broadcast, so I’m gonna have Joyce bring up her slides here so that we can kinda get you started on this fantastic one-hour webinar on Curating Digital Tools and Resources. So I’ll wait and make sure Joyce gets that up. Oh, look, there’s me again. Fantastic. Here she goes.


Joyce Valenza:            Can you see my screen yet? No?


Mark Ray:                   I can see your screen. Just go ahead and move to the slide. That’s great.


Joyce Valenza:            Okay, can you see the slides now?


Mark Ray:                   And almost-tastic. There we go. Great. All right, so today’s topic is Curating Digital Tools and Resources. Before we get started with the content, a big thanks needs to go out to the Alliance for Excellent Education, who has been an anchor and supporter for Future Ready Librarians throughout all the exciting years since 2015. Also Follett is a sponsor extraordinaire who has really made it possible for us to do everything that we’re doing today. Joyce, can you go to our next slide and I’ll do a quick introduction of myself because, hey, everybody wants to see me too. So I apologize for those of you that were expecting to see Shannon today. Shannon’s been doing a fantastic job with these webinars, and unfortunately – no, not unfortunately. She is in Asia. I think last I heard, she’s in Malaysia. She’s doing a little Southern Asia tour and is enjoying herself and can’t be here to host, so I am stepping in as best I can.

For those of you that don’t know who I am, I’m the Director of Innovation Library Services in Vancouver Public Schools. I also have the pleasure of being part of the leadership team that has made Future Ready Librarians possible at the Alliance for Excellent Education. If we go on to our next slide.

If you want to follow along or post questions, we’re gonna be monitoring both the question box. When you signed up, if you posed some questions, that’s a great place to pose your questions. Also if you wanna go onto the Twitter and go to @futurereadylibs, we’ll be monitoring for some questions if time allows at the very end. For those of you that don’t know anything about Future Ready Librarians, you can go to and there’s a lotta great resources there, including links to the fantastic Facebook page as well as all kind of awesome great things in addition to that. Let’s move on to the next slide.

Like I said before, if you have questions, go ahead and pose those to futurereadylibs. We’ll keep an eye on those. And I think it’s just about ready to pass it over to Joyce. Let’s see what we have on our next slide. Yes. I’m gonna let our wonderful guests introduce themselves in a more formal way, and I’m gonna pass it over to them. So, Joyce, why don’t you take it over?


Joyce Valenza:            Thanks a million, Mark. My name is Joyce Valenza. I’ve been a school librarian for a little more than 25 years and a public librarian before that. And right now I work at Rutgers University, where I am making sure that the preservice school librarians are future ready. Elissa.


Elissa Malespina:       Hi. I’m Elissa Malespina. I’m a school librarian in Somerville, New Jersey, and I’ve been there for – I’ve been a school librarian for, like, 19 years. God. And all my information is there. Oh, I’m also the ISTI Librarian Network President.


Joyce Valenza:            Great, great. And we mentioned at the bottom of this slide that there is a HyperDoc. Please don’t worry about it right now, but we want you to know that everything we’re talking about is going to be available in both our slides and in a HyperDoc format, so that’ll come around again.

And so Mark’s asking this question I think. Where is he? Or are we doing this? Okay, I think we’re doing it. So we’re gonna be covering a few things today in a really fast-paced style, and we’re going to examine what curation looks like when we’re addressing it in terms of students, in terms of teachers, and a little bit in terms of systems. And this is the Future Ready Librarians HyperDoc for curation, and again, it’ll come around again. And you can use this in your districts. There’s a petting zoo included at the bottom of it.

While we’re working on this, we’re gonna be talking about applications of curation as an activity. I hope that some of you will consider adding your favorite activities. We’re sharing some of our favorites. We don’t know everything, but please, if you get a chance, just jot this down., for future ready curation. This is in addition – this is the bigger stuff, not the questions that you have or the tweets, but projects that you’d like to share.

And you’ll notice that one of our wedges, the edge of the wedge talks about curation in the future ready librarian framework, and if you can’t see that little line, it says curates digital resources and tools. And I do wanna emphasize that because we’re gonna be talking about curation in a digital sense today, even though we recognize that curation happens in a traditional analog way as well as digital. So just keep in mind that’s our focus today.

And of course, in terms of future ready, this is a further explanation of what curation means. That means that the librarian leads in selection, integration, organization and sharing of digital resources and tools to support transformational teaching and learning and develop the digital curation skills of others. So let’s look at how curation is represented in our standards, and Elissa’s going to start with ISTI standards.


Elissa Malespina:       Sure, yes. I am gonna start with the ISTI standards. So there’s two sets of standards for ISTI. There’s the ISTI standards for students and there’s the ISTI standard for educators. Both have been updated recently. I’m not gonna go through them word-for-word. You can get all of them at the ISTI web site, but I will take a second to go through sort of the ones that deal just with curation. So, Joyce, you can go to the next slide.

First, it says we’re empowering learners to make their choices. What do they want? They articulate their growth, they build that network. How are they doing that? How are they taking an active role in their learning? That’s a big one for ISTI standards. You can go to the next.

You know, this one’s all about curating. Three C, right there it says students curate information from digital resources using a variety of tools ISTI wants students to be curators of their own knowledge. You can go to the next.

And then there’s the ISTI standards for educators, which I wanna make this point briefly that you will see coming up that there are more standards related to curation in ISTI for educators than there are students, and I think that that’s something to point out because educators do really need to take a big role in curating for themselves. You can go to the next slide.

So, one, you’ve got the learners. You know, how are we as educators learning and setting those goals and staying current and doing research? The next one is, you know, leader, how are you shaping and accelerating and building that digital content and modeling curation for others? That’s huge. How are you as an educator doing that? And then there’s collaborator. How are we collaborating and curating and using collaboration tools for learning? And then how are you, as the educator, designing and creating and adapting? ISTI spends a lot of time talking about that.


Joyce Valenza:            And now we’ll take a look at the ASL National Library Standards that were released in November, and you’ll probably all know that curate is one of the six shared foundations of the standards. And we’ll take a closer look at these. These are integrated standards, so just like the standards in ISTI are – they go across the learner and the educator and the coach and administrators and others, this is actually integrated across three areas: the learner, the school librarian and the school library.

The way ASL defines curate as a key commitment is to make meaning for oneself and others by collecting, organizing and sharing resources of personal relevance. And you can download the learner framework and take a look at what curate looks like in terms of the four domains. And the domains are think, create, share and grow, and they connect with Bloom’s educational domains. The think is the cognitive, the create is the psychomotor, share is the affective and developmental is grow. And there’s some very – there’s some great detail and some competencies that are said about the way the learner acts on an information need, the way learners gather information appropriate to a task, the way they exchange information resources and the way they select and organize. This is modeling the curation process for anyone, but the focus again is on the learner, and I think one of the things we wanna emphasize today is that this is not just a librarian practice. It’s a practice that we model throughout our buildings and districts and really a practice to focus on with learners.

Learners are information citizens right now, and they need to take responsibility for organizing their information lives. ASL also recognizes the role of librarian, and this is on a chart, if you have the book, on Pages 94 and 95. You’ll see the integration of curate across the three areas: the learner, the librarian and the library. And so these are the responsibilities and the competencies for the librarian in the area of a shared foundation of curate. Challenge learners to act on information needs, promote information gathering, contribute and guide information resource exchange, show learners how to select and organize information for a variety of audiences. And all of this is about equity, about new information practices, about an ongoing cycle, about learning about the genres of tools that learners have to cite, organize, describe and share resources.

And then there’s the alignments with the library itself, and it’s the responsibilities that the library as a program has in leading in curation. And I’m hoping you’ll have a chance to read these because we don’t have time to go into all these competencies, but it’s very clear that across the standards that we follow, curate is valued and we’re expected to encourage our stakeholders to engage in curation practices.

As I look at our standards, as I look at the future ready framework and as I look at ISTI standards and standards across the board, this one seems so connected to our DNA. It’s in our DNA, and I think we need to embrace this opportunity with a real universe that’s right for these efforts and the expectation that we’re gonna share what’s in our DNA with others.

And so as I was thinking about this a few months back, I started thinking about curation in terms of some kind of taxonomy. In what various different ways are these standards expressed on the ground, in our buildings, in our lives, and how might they be expressed in the lives of our learners? And so we’re gonna try to organize the way – the examples we’re showing by this taxonomy and also by that three section thing that we talked about earlier. The way I look at it, K-12 curation is about getting users, students, teacher to the good stuff, pointing them to content and resources they might not themselves discover, but it’s also about telling a story, organizing resources for sense-making, interpreting, presenting, making choices, palates and dashboards. It’s about instruction. It also allows us to scale our practice and reach our community 24-7 at their points of need. Librarians who curate successfully not only build their brands, they contribute to their communities, students, faculty, administrators and parents as information professionals.

Thou we are talking about individual activities that we think make sense to us, we realize that the buckets we’re gonna be describing are porous, and we realize that there are activities that kinda slide around in various different categories, so forgive us if these are not discrete categories that you can take to the bank.

So we’re gonna start with how librarians lead, teach and support students as curators. One of the areas, of course, is the way we support inquiry. In what way are we scaffolding the inquiry process? Informed by wide curricular knowledge, school librarians partner with classroom teachers to support inquiry and workflow needs of specific learner groups for inquiry-based assessments and creative knowledge products. School librarians create topic-specific guides to support inquiry on a regular basis.

And so the first example is one of my older examples, and it was about how do we really create meaningful infographics that use metaphor, that tell a story, that engage students in argument and evidence and understanding visual literacies. And so all of this was scaffolded on my lib guide, all this stuff I curated, how do you – you know, what are your options for creating an infographic, how do you find icons, what are the common core standards that are related to this, what’s the assessment? And then as part of the lib guide, a gallery of student work is curated so that students can see what semester before has done and so they can also learn from their work that it’s not just for teachers’ eyes only. The curation of these galleries we’ll talk about later is an important opportunity for learning as well.

We’re also hoping that learners begin to engage in practices that Harold Jarkey in Canada has called personal knowledge management or mastery. How do we manage our own information lives? How do we create staging areas and in baskets so we can store our discoveries and our process tools? And we’re not gonna show this video, but it is a classic from 2009. Wendy Drexer had a student talk about how she uses Symbaloo as a personal learning environment. The stuff that she needs for her informal learning, the stuff that she needs to organize her work cited, the stuff that she needs for storytelling, all of this stuff she’s gathered in her own Symbaloo in what people are calling in the research area a personal learning environment.

And then how are we modeling critical information practices, curating tools students need for workflow, helping them curate what they need for research? And I think Elissa’s gonna take over here.


Elissa Malespina:       So I will for a second because I don’t think we always think about this, but a lotta times our students have iPhones in their classes. They can – they’re curating when they’re picking apps. What apps are they picking? How are they curating their apps? How are they doing that? My kids are a one-to-one environment so a lotta times it’s what are their bookmarks that they have in their Google Chrome or how they have their Google Drive set up. Those are all curation tools that we don’t always think about but these kids are using every day, so how are they accessing that information quickly?


Joyce Valenza:            And Elissa’s also gonna talk about how are we supporting students curing for their own interest? Go ahead.


Elissa Malespina:       Yeah, so this is something that I do with my students. So on my web site, I have a whole area related to 3-D printing. Once we got a 3-D printer, all the kids were like, you know, how do we do this. So I curated for them a Symbaloo with different web sites and resources for them to help them to figure it out and what they need to build and grow, and they use those tools to do that. So how are we curating – librarians curating and making it so that these personal interests are there for students?


Joyce Valenza:            And then I believe that students’ personal interests also have to do with keeping up, and current awareness is important for librarians. We all wanna know what’s going on in our field, and as citizens we wanna know what’s going on in the news, but how can we help learners keep up with what is going on in the world that is important to them and how do we instruct them so they understand that tools like Scoop It, Paper Leak, Storify is now gone but RSS feeders? How are they using Twitter to curate? So we wanted to show you a couple of examples.

For my senior project, I had them curate newspapers on their areas of interest, and you can see there is a vast difference in those areas of interest. Computer security was one. And Tenzen was interested in politics in Tibet at that point, and she was curating in Tibetan, and she would – and in all of these cases with these students, they were actually developing little communities of followers. And that incredibly amplified their voice but also the way they felt about the projects.

As a search tool, what I did on my lib guides and what I do for my graduate students is I list not only the regular search tools, the databases and the search engines, but I list current awareness search tools, places they might search that have to do with social media curation, and this is a list that I keep. In addition to understanding how to create a Google Alert for a subject that you really invested in a semester-long or half a semester project, are you creating database alerts and having news pushed to you so it’s curated into your e-mail box? Are you setting up feeds? This is not necessarily a K-8 activity, but it’s absolutely something you can work on with high school. And this is just an example of my current events lib guide, and you can see on the right not only am I listing databases, but I’m listing social media curation options as search tools.

And for me in the morning when I wake up, I look at my Scoop It, and I find out – this is a little bit older – but I find out what’s going on in the worlds of ed tech and library that I need to know about, and every morning these discoveries feed my teaching and my blog. And this is – I don’t contribute to it as much as I should probably, but I am absolutely benefitting from the curation of others.

News is not all Western, and there have been so many studies about – not studies, but news about fake news, but also studies from Pew saying that people get their media, their news from just one source, in most cases social media, but not all news is Western and not all news is the one or two news agencies that you are aware of. And so I think curating news for kids and helping them curate using tools like – I love the Stark Spot Network, but Headline Spot is a great place to start your curation. And so what I’ve been demonstrating to kids and to my own students, in ten minutes using a tool like Pearl Trees, you can curate a whole board of news so you can have this on your iPhone, you can have it on your iPad and you’re not just going to Facebook and you’re not just going to CNN or BBC or whatever, but you have a full scope of news sources that you can check out at your fingertips, and that’s an important curation for any citizen.

This is a new app that helps you curate the news. It’s called Swipe, and it’s developed by a teenage boy in Ireland, and it’s a Tinder-like approach to helping you. He started with about 60 different news sources, but now you can easily curate the news sources that you want on your mobile, and it’s a free app and I just love it.


Elissa Malespina:       Yeah, I liked it too. You showed me the other day, and I really liked it.


Joyce Valenza:            It’s fun and helpful. How do librarians lead teachers? We’re moving now from students to teachers, and I’m hoping that in that _____ you’re sharing some of the things that you guys have been doing. So let’s talk a little bit about teachers. One of the things that we curate, we curate resources for individual professional development sessions, but your professional development sessions don’t need to go poof. One of the things I did was I took all the resources from my PD and I archived everything in a lib guide so I could point to every session that I did and teachers could easily grab that, and that’s so easy to do. And Elissa – looks like she’s archiving stuff in video. Go ahead, Elissa.


Elissa Malespina:       Sorry. So what we have done in my school district, and this wasn’t me, this is the ed tech director in our school district, we have what’s called 3-D PD on Demand so that there are an archived list of all these videos that you can go and watch that have either made by teachers in the district or found online that people can go and use to get PD from. And it’s a great way to have that on-demand PD for teachers and, you know, it’s something that we as a district have, and I highly recommend looking into doing something like that in your district.


Joyce Valenza:            Even though that wasn’t developed by you, I could see a librarian hitting the start button on that.


Elissa Malespina:       Totally. Totally could.


Joyce Valenza:            And I’m gonna talk a little bit later about HyperDocs. I’m absolutely in love with them. They’re all over the teacher world, but this is an area, and I’ve done a blog post on this, where teachers and librarians can collaborate. You can see these are just very simple. They’re either Google Docs or usually Google Slides, and they incorporate other features in other apps and make it very easy to create professional development as well as instruction.

Speaking of instruction, we can use curation to support flipped and hybrid instruction by creating tutorials and storing them and curating them and making sure they’re available at the point of need, and that’s often at home in 2:00 in the morning. And so Elissa’s created this tool.


Elissa Malespina:       So in my district and, you know, it is Google Classroom has been a lifesaver as a flipped instruction tool but also as a curation tool. This is my Google Classroom you see right there. I am in, like, a lotta classes because I will come in and I will make a curation tool for a certain project they might be doing and we’ll make a classroom for that. But I also am embedded in a number of the teachers’ classes that we put – everything I teach, if you see one of them here is SMS library. Whenever I am teaching my students, anything I ever teach them, I also put the link onto Google Classroom and I put any information on there too so the kids don’t have – if they have any questions, they just know to go to my Google Classroom page for that 24-hour – 24-7 access. And anytime we’re teaching rubrics, documents, anything goes into Google Classroom. Same can be said for Edmodo, you know, any of [break in audio]


Joyce Valenza:            Elissa? We lost you for a sec.


Elissa Malespina:       Oh, sorry. We’ve been using Google Classroom for the last few years.


Joyce Valenza:            Okay, gotcha. And I wanted to highlight Michelle Loodela’s curation of videos. I think she says that anytime that anybody’s asked a question more than twice, she makes a little video. And these videos – she’s got nearly 300 – no, I think she has more than 300 right now, and she texts them. She’s got this as a YouTube channel, and it’s just a list of videos, I don’t think it’s a channel. Anyway, she will text the URL for these videos when somebody texts and asks her for help, and this is just brilliant. And I love the fact that if I need a video, I can go here and get one of Michelle’s.

And Shannon Miller, who we know is in Asia, curated activities to reach – we’re talking about flipped learning. This was her Christmas gift a few years back to parents and students. One thing to do for every year of the holiday break. And imagine as a parent getting a curation like this to keep your kids busy with really meaningful activities.

We’re also supporting one-to-one learning environments across devices and platforms with our curation. Symbaloo is one example, Symbaloo web mixes, and these things I think it’s important that they’re – you know, we talk about curation a lot of time in terms of content, but we’re really talking also about workflow, providing tools for teachers and learners to smash a few apps together and create truly unique products. We’re not gonna play this video, but I want to recommend it to you because it’s about these unique creations that people can have when they see the genres of production tools that are available to them. When they’re not just going to one tool because you said it was the one you were using this semester or this month, but they are beginning to develop their own curated toolkits of things that they need for image editing, for storytelling, for post-production, for publishing. All of those things are part of a project, and we have to get students ready for that whole process. Elissa.


Elissa Malespina:       Yeah, and I agree with you on the app smashing. You know, I’m gonna briefly tell a quick story. Today one of my kids – we’re doing infographic with my students, and I had shown them Canva to use to do it. One of my kids is like, hey, guess what? I came in today and was like I used Canva, but not only was I using Canva, I was using Pic Monkey and then I did some editing in here. And I’m, like, perfect, sweetie. That is great, that’s what you need to be doing. You need to be looking and combining all these to what works best for you. And Live Binder is a curation tool that I use a lot in that one-to-one environment because I can imbed not only videos, but I can also put documents like database articles into it, different articles all in one spot for my students and web sites, so it’s a very good tool when you’re trying to curate information and make it so that we can put it into a one-to-one environment for our students ’cause as librarians, we wanna be working very closely with that. So a lotta times, I will take over that curation for my teachers and I’ll be, like, don’t worry, I’ve got it, I’ll curate all the sources for you. It’s a good way to help out your teachers.


Joyce Valenza:            What’s nice about _____ that you see that little binder and you can actually embed it in other things, which we’ll talk about what’s gonna be your parking lot and what’s gonna be your cars, and it’s a different solution for everybody. This is another example. This is Jaquita Johnson’s – just her dashboard of Live Binder. She’s got so many of them, and she uses them for her own work and professional development and portfolio building as well as instruction.

And I curate my entire life these days in Pearl Trees. I used to do a lot of this in Symbaloo, but this is – and what I wanted to show you here was the stuff that I give to my graduate students to make sure that they’re capable of doing some app smashing, and on the Symbaloo it’s more clear for a specific class what tools that I want them to discover, and they make their own choices.

Similarly, Naomi Bates, she may have a more recent tool, but one of the things I loved was that she was putting together these packages of the resources that you might use to make book trailers, and you pick – and she has the types of resources color-coded. I think the green ones are music and the red ones are video production, and so she’s classifying as she curates here.

And then we’re also – the possibility now is with us for us to actually build new forms of textbooks in collaboration with district curriculum developers and teachers, especially if they’re working on special assignment. We’re seeing a little bit more of this since the flood of OER has come out, and we can put these books in our OPACs, and I’m hoping – I don’t know, let me see if this will work. This is a video that I made a little while back. I think it’s gonna work. This is my dream.


[Video playing 0:31:01 to 0:32:14]


Joyce Valenza:            I’m gonna stop here, but I hope that you’ll have a chance to take a look at this on your own. And are you still seeing the screen?


Mark Ray:                   Yes, we are, Joyce.


Joyce Valenza:            Okay, good. Let’s go back to – you are still seeing my screen. Okay, good. This worked. Okay, we’re also looking at how are we curating collections that are digital collections that would be able to promote reading, and we mentioned that a little bit in that video, but, Elissa, do you wanna talk about this one?


Elissa Malespina:       Yeah. I mean, one of the easiest ways to curate resources, or that I’ve found, is just Pinterest boards. I use Pinterest boards a lot for curation, but also if you’re curating for other people. Like this is one that I use a lot for parents because they – you know, it’s a great – everybody’s on Pinterest, so it’s a good way to curate information. So this is just a picture of some of the Pinterest boards that I have up available for people. But Pinterest is an awesome way to curate, and not always one that we think of as librarians to use, but we should be, especially when it comes to parents. We’ve got to meet them where they are.


Joyce Valenza:            Perfect. And this is an example of book list that I’m absolutely crazy about. Alita Hansen at Westin High School in Massachusetts goes a little crazy with genre lists, and these are associated with different topics. So when the students are reading memoirs, she’s got a list of every memoir and adds it to her Pinterest boards as they come in. They’re liked to Good Reads reviews, and the students come in with their iPads, they go to the shelves, and they know which memoir they’re looking for. We’re gonna talk about this – you don’t need to do this in Pinterest, but this is one attractive way of creating a very mobile list, and they know exactly what they want when they come in. We also can curate portfolios and galleries, and we can hit the start button on a lot of that work that’s important work for schools.


Elissa Malespina:       So in my district, one of the things that all fourth-year teachers need to do is we have to do a ten-year project. And so we have to – in order to prove that we are okay to be tenured, we have to build a portfolio reflection that shows what have we done, how have we done it and why. And so this is an example of one of my teachers today, I was like, can I just quickly take a screenshot of yours that you’re working on right now, and I help the teachers with this. A lotta times they will come to me and be like can you help me put in some videos or pictures or stuff into my portfolio reflection. So it is something that is important that we as educators be doing, but also it’s something that we as librarians can help educators do. And this is just sort of one example of one that’s going on.


Joyce Valenza:            And I think we’re seeing a lot more templates out there that make it easier for us to do.


Elissa Malespina:       Yeah, yeah, I mean, Google Sites is one. You can use Weebly. There’s lots of ways to do that to build portfolios.


Joyce Valenza:            Yeah, and I know Live Binders has a portfolio _____ too. This is not just for teachers. What we’re seeing in higher ed, in fact the common app has this and MIT admissions and many of the universities are saying it’s not just about SAT scores and it’s not just about your GPA. If you have – if you’re proud of the work you’ve done outside of school or inside of school that’s not showing on your record, show us your portfolio. So how are we preparing students to do this? I think that’s really important work that has to start earlier than sophomore or junior year of high school.

Similar – here’s the example of the Live Binders template, but you can get kids in the habit of portfolio building very early using tools like Seesaw. You can see on the top right there, our ESL students talked about their immigration stories, and they were beautiful and people kept going back to them. So we’re so glad that we archived them. And this is a class – one of my classes, and their lib guides are part of a gallery, so they learn from each other’s work and it’s not just for teachers’ eyes only. So displaying student work and having students get in the habit of storing the work that they’re proud of and reflecting on that is a really important and authentic skill.

And you know, we’re seeing galleries in a whole bunch of different formats. The Library of Congress is doing some fabulous work on Instagram. I think that might be Diana _____, I’m not sure, over there, but there are a list that Scholastic put out a few months back of 15 librarians to follow on Instagram, and I think you will say – it might be Colleen Graves. You’ll see some brilliant ideas if you follow those folks.

Also I discovered that kids are very interested in local history, and your community is also very interested in local history and appreciates children’s efforts. And so at Springfield, we archived pretty much everything on our Flicker board, but we also created a virtual Springfield. The kids went out and did oral histories of our elders. They went out and took photographs of historic sites. We put it all together and shared it with the community, and they also scanned the documents that were in our file folders that nobody was able to see, old maps, and then we put that out virtually as Virtual Springfield.

And we’re gonna have to move quickly through this, Elissa, but we wanna say that instruction is curated in beautiful new ways too. Common Sense Media has a lesson planning template that allows you to drag in the apps that you’re likely to use in a traditional five-section lesson. This is just so easy to use. And we mentioned HyperDocs, and you can read about them. And on this sheet, when you have the slides, please click on the templates and see how much easier your life is going to be with HyperDocs. And one of the templates that – one that’s kind of that big square over there is a big game board, and it’s engaging for both professional development and instruction.

And then learning playlists. We’re pulling not just lessons together but we’re pulling all these resources that are part of lessons together, and so how are we gonna gather these things? Well, there’s some new tools for that. Formerly Blend Space, TES Teach has examples of these curated lessons out there. One of my students made a two-step refresher course for me when I was going back to Texas and she sequenced the dance from easy to hard steps. Lesson Paths is one of my go-tos for creating instruction and pulling all sorts of things together. You can see one of my lessons in leveraging Twitter for professional growth, that was PD. This is from my grad courses, tours of databases they should know and issues, and I, as I mentioned, I live on Pearl Trees. I’ve got toolkits for everything there, and my students develop galleries there.

And I use some more for instruction. So this copyright-friendly toolkit is actually something I go down vertically for instruction and all sorts of resources are contained in – or curated in that some more. Thing Link is another tool that I use for designing instruction. I hyperlink things. I use the Thing Link video tool, and you can see on the left that video how many things are hyperlinked in that video. It’s a curated introduction to my course.

And many of us are curating YouTube playlists. Here’s an anthology for two different courses of experts that I brought in. So when you have an expert visit, you don’t need to throw that video away. Keep it as part of a playlist and then have it for students who follow. We’re gonna be curating a list of interviews with college – with academic librarians. This is a new project so that seniors can meet academic librarians, and we’ll be curating that as a playlist. And this is my daughter, who curates student art. And if you can help an art teacher curate student projects or work with them, and she’s created all these – I just had to get my daughter in there. She’s curated all these instructional videos on art.

And then we’re curating not just for our own school but for other people beyond our school, including the district, and it is about scaling and it is about decision making. And one of the things you’re probably wondering is how do I use all these tools or why should I use all these tools, and I think that’s a really fair question. I think once you begin curating, you realize that one tool just doesn’t do it for you. You know that lib guides for me has been addictive and I absolutely love it, but it doesn’t do every job well. So I will embed a playlist from Lesson Paths or Symbaloo into a box or a tab on my lib guides. Similarly, I’ll take these videos that I curate using Thing Link or I’ll use a Thing Link image for a whole page that’s hyperlinked for my guide. And so you start building things, and we’ll talk about a product that’s near and dear to us. This is an example of some of the lib guides I’ve created and the sorts of things that are driven into this, but we wanna talk also about Destiny as your parking lot. Because I don’t have a collection anymore, Elissa, do you wanna talk about this?


Elissa Malespina:       I am. I hope you can hear me. Our air conditioning just came on. But I use Destiny. It’s huge. It has been such a go-to for me now because what I have done is just right on my front page, it is my parking lot. The kids know it. They are starting a project that they go to Destiny and then they put in their search term right from my web site and it goes right there and it will pull up the databases they need. So I tell them you have to search Destiny first. You can’t just go out on Google. It will pull up database articles. It will pull up collections that I have made, and you can see here that these are some of the collections that I have made for my students for different topics, like the sixth graders were doing a thing on the solar system. I put together resources for them. If you go to the next page, I think you’ll see – you can go into more depth. For those of you who haven’t seen what a collection looks like, this is one of my collections. So it’s got a web page, it’s got interactive media, it’s got some videos in there. I also had books from my own collection that I put into there so that students had everything in one spot for them. It has really become that go-to place for curation.


Joyce Valenza:            You don’t have to use it in Destiny. You can use it outside of Destiny.


Elissa Malespina:       You can use it outside of Destiny too, yes. I can put a link and it goes outside of Destiny. I make it public, anyone can see it. It’s not just for my students. It could be for everybody. Or you can make it private and it’s just for your students.


Joyce Valenza:            And teachers can use it too. You can have – and this becomes more exciting because of the flood of open educational resources that are now available. I’ve got actually curations of all of those around. They’ll probably turn up. And just one example of one of the newer ones is Amazon Inspire, which works very much like the Amazon store. It has facets that are built on metadata, and you can really search and help teachers find open educational resources to build an instruction or drag them into your Destiny collection or any of the other resources that you’re using.

And we’re getting towards the end here and we’ll be taking questions in a minute, but of course curation is a strategy for storytelling. We’re pulling all sorts of media together as we build new forms of stories, and examples include Listly where you can kind of sequence and prioritize. And this is not the best example of a story, but this is librarians you need to follow and you can prioritize. I use Listly to tell the story and to vote on the winners of the SLJ hackathon a couple years ago. But we also have tools like Adobe Spark and Microsoft Sway, which are part of suites, and they work off the stuff that you collect in your camera roll, and it is super easy to tell stories about that field trip that you just went on. As long as you take the photographs while you’re there, just narrate, add some video, music, it’s so easy. And all of this has helped me personally build social capital. It was not my intent to build social capital, but people start discovering the things you’re pulling together. Think of all of these curations that we’re pointing to that belong to people you know. And you know them through their blogs as well as their curations. In some cases, their blogs are curations. Elissa.


Elissa Malespina:       Yes. I use Twitter all the time as a way of curating. It is probably my go-to curation tool. It is easy for me. It is where I am posting pictures of what’s going on all the time with my students and, you know, it also is just a – where I curate. And by me curating, it’s also helping me allow others to see what’s going on. You know, they’re looking at the stuff that’s happening with me and it’s allowing my teachers and parents and administrators to see too. So you don’t always think of Twitter for your curation, but it’s a very good curation tool.


Joyce Valenza:            In fact, CNN – I was at the CNN newsroom, and on the floor, everybody is using Tweet Deck to see the news stories. They’re curating the news stories across a bunch of different topics. So the other thing, you can curate your Twitter account and get to be part of communities and your live Twitter accounts – your live Twitter chats can be curated and archived on this tool participate, which is going to be enjoying another update very, very soon, and I’m really impressed with this as a way of curating what we do on Twitter.

And so we thought we’d talk a little bit about our three favorite tools, and I’m hoping – Mark, do we have enough time for this or should we go to questions?


Mark Ray:                   We’re doing great. Play on. Let’s go ahead and look at some of your favorites.


Joyce Valenza:            Okay. I don’t know that I can get to that link. I might have to escape. Somebody else wanna take over for a minute? Hmm. That link is not going live. Okay, now it will.


Elissa Malespina:       While she’s doing this, but she’s getting there, but there’s –


Joyce Valenza:            Got it.


Elissa Malespina:       There.


Joyce Valenza:            And we have friends on the page. Great. All right, so we wanted to show you here that there’s just – there’s a lotta stuff here. Here are some of the resources that we’ve been using, and here are the petting zoos. And in my petting zoo, I have starred my three favorite things. So for news and current awareness, I couldn’t live without Scoop It. You already know that I can’t live without lib guides. You pay for it, but you get what you pay for. It’s so useful. And I’m absolutely in love with Pearl Trees. Elissa, what are your faves? Are they on this list? Hmm. Are they on that list?


Mark Ray:                    Elissa, I think you’re muted.


Joyce Valenza:            Okay, can you still see the screen?


Elissa Malespina:       Yeah, I can – we left it, but you can go back. So the collections by Destiny is probably my favorite tool. One of my favorite tools. I love it, I use it all the time with my students. It has become like my go-to place to get stuff. Another one that I love using is Live Binders because I just can put all the stuff together in one place for my students. And then I guess my third favorite is probably Google Classroom because I can curate and make a lot of different curation right in there, and it’s something that the kids are already using so we can curate it that way.


Joyce Valenza:            Okay, great. All right, so now I should get back to the slides. Is that right?


Mark Ray:                   Actually why don’t we just leave it here because we’ve got some questions? So – since we see faces, let’s pose a few questions if that’s all right. So one of the questions that came up earlier was kind of this challenge of, as OER comes into play and we move away from adoptions and textbooks and things like that, there’s kind of a pushback from teachers and administrators about having teachers and educators be curators. So can we talk a little bit and have a little bit of discussion about kind of is it legit that teachers are playing a role in curation, and if so, why?


Joyce Valenza:            I do think it’s legit. I think that we potentially could create textbooks that are more dynamic, more current, less expensive and more powerful than what we’ve seen. What we wanna make sure is that nobody is truly exploited, and this could be an enormous work effort. And what I would say is we need to think about professional development opportunities, teachers on special assignment opportunities so that somebody leave, somebody’s responsible and somebody’s getting paid for the effort in some way. Because I think with the teachers’ workload, you really can’t expect them to build a textbook in the space of a semester. And I think with a librarian’s help, it’s more possible, but a librarian has another job to do as well. What we did at Springfield was we built chapters that updated our textbook, and we had the students engaged in that. Not a scalable thing. Scalability – it’s a great question and I don’t think we have the perfect answers. Mark, you’ve been listening, I know, to people talking about this a lot.


Mark Ray:                   Yeah, I’m not sure if the answer’s out there. I think there’s been – there’s some districts that have really embraced the idea of having really embracing OER and try to pull those resources together. I think one of the questions is whether you really think of it in terms of a textbook or I think what’s probably more likely happening is that you have teachers enhancing or supplementing whatever they have as far as core resources for videos, for animations, for games, things like that. So I think there’s kind of a sliding scale from my perspective of that level of curation, but I think this issue of – and I think the other piece that’s kind of interesting is this issue of teacher copyright. So we have teachers that are actually creating content and curating content in these collections, and they have value in the marketplace and the systems are really not in place to be able to protect people that do that work because in many cases, whatever is done by a teacher or an educator within the school system is the property of that school system. Elissa, do you have any thoughts on that?


Elissa Malespina:       I think that this is an extremely interesting question, one I don’t think there is a full answer to, which is what we’ve all discussed. I think we all sort of do it anyway. I think most teachers don’t just use the textbook and that is it. _____ curating in some way, shape or form other resources that go into it, be it worksheets, be it web sites, be it some type of digital tool that they are putting and curating anyway. Now, how do we wanna – how do we scale that? Is that – that’s the real question. How do we scale it and make it bigger? I don’t know, but I really do believe that we’re all doing that. We’re all adding, you know, when you’re teaching a unit, you are creating lots of stuff that goes into that unit, some being the textbook, but also lots of other things too that go into that. I just – I don’t know in my district or I haven’t been in a district where we have been taking that and made that into a bigger scalable thing.


Mark Ray:                   So there’s a question that came up also from kind of this – the challenge of convincing students that curation is an essential skill and that curation is more than simply Googling things. So we saw lots of great tools that teachers and students can use. So what are some strategies, arguments, techniques to get students and, you know, high school students, middle school students to really see and value curation as a lifelong skill?


Joyce Valenza:            Well, I wonder if the question is referring to putting a research paper together because, you know, I see so many opportunities for that but also beyond that. So if I knew what was on my desktop these days, if I were curating in a thoughtful way, my productivity and efficiency would probably be increased, and I aim for that and I try – and showing students how to do that, I think they jump on that, they feel that’s valuable. Curating for research is a different thing. If it’s not valued by the teachers, then it may not happen. As we build rubrics, what we want to do is build rubrics that value legwork and effort and a variety of sources. Students need to be motivated to, maybe pushed a little bit to show that kind of energy in their research. I think it has to be – and I also think – and one of the things we didn’t mention is the notion that right now all of our databases, or most of them, are playing so nice with Google so that it is almost as easy to send a citation from a _____ or ProQuest database or an _____ database to your Google documents. As it is, it’s easier than to send a Google source.


Elissa Malespina:       I agree. My students know – we make it clear to them that a lotta times when we are doing research papers and stuff like that, that you build it into the rubric, you build it into that thing that it’s – you have to have three database articles, you have to have this so it doesn’t go right to Google.


Joyce Valenza:            But, you know, this stuff is so easy. It’s gonna be easier to curate a bibliography if you’re using _____.


Elissa Malespina:       Easy and it’s in one spot for them. But it relies on the teacher and the educator and others to build that in, to make that clear that we have to push them to get to those spots.


Mark Ray:                   So I’m gonna take one more really hard question that came in from Elizabeth. It’s on our chat discussion here. Is this question of privacy, and you mentioned Google and the interoperability and Facebook, you can integrate everything. She asks how do you address privacy, or do you, when your clients click on links and resources that you have provided? So this issue of privacy and sharing of information, is that an issue as it relates to curation?


Joyce Valenza:            Well, I try – with younger students, I try to use products that are _____ compliant. With kids under 13, you really need to approach things in a very different way. We also try to use EDU versions of everything. When I was using Symbaloo, I used EDU. There are privacy – I don’t know that the guarantees are perfect, but if I’m paying a little for something, like my Pearl Trees, I have the EDU version. So I try not to use the general commercial versions of things. I don’t know if that’s a perfect answer either. It’s definitely a concern, Elizabeth.


Elissa Malespina:       I do understand the concern, but I’m not sure if you’re meaning the privacy – and this is, I guess, Elizabeth can’t answer the question. I’m a little confused by the question as to addressing privacy. Is it like if I’m putting a link out for my students and for others, it’s because I’m okay with them using it and I’m okay with others using it, and it doesn’t bother me. My privacy issues aren’t there, so when a client clicks on a link or resource you’ve provided, that’s where I curate. I’m curating it to make sure that it’s an okay resource, that it’s okay for them to go and see. I’ve looked at it first. So I’m not sure if it’s that type of question or if it’s like privacy issues in terms of, you know, 13 or under, which is sorta what Joyce said. I hope that answers your question, Elizabeth, if you’re watching.


Mark Ray:                   It sounds to me like there’s a need to be – to have due diligence as part of the curation process. I mean, as educators, we have responsibility to look out for the best interest of our students as well as the best informational resources for our students, and so just some due diligence I think is a good one, but I appreciate that question ’cause I think it was kind of an interesting one. Joyce, can you bring back up the slides real quick and we’ll take it out here ’cause we’re right at the top of the hour. I could do that myself, but since you’ve already been doing it.


Joyce Valenza:            Easier said than done, Mark.


Mark Ray:                   That’s all right. We can just say goodbye if you want to.


Joyce Valenza:            I will find them.


Mark Ray:                   There we go. Looks like you got it.


Joyce Valenza:            No, that’s not that. That’s my blog. Hang on. It’s coming. Here we go.


Mark Ray:                   Sorry to put you on the spot.


Joyce Valenza:            Oh no. No, no, here we go.


Mark Ray:                   All right, we’ll need to get forward a little bit here. All right, so let’s go back one. First of all, big thanks again to Follett, who really has made all of this work possible. Project Connect is a great initiative, they’ve got some great stickers. Go to Project Connect, keep track of those folks because they’re making all this possible. Our next webinar, which is on the next slide, is gonna be April 24th, focused on ensuring equitable access, really an important issue that actually we kind of touched upon today in some ways. And again, if you want additional information, go to or the Future Ready Librarians Facebook page which has, like, I don’t know, a million people.

Speaking of a million people, it sounds to me like we had 1,224 signed up for the webinar today, so really appreciate all those folks that came out to listen. Really appreciate your interest in future ready librarians and these great topics, and huge thanks to Elissa and Joyce for the great information, the amazing tools that they brought forward for us to tackle this challenge of curation. So with that, I’m gonna let Elissa and Joyce say goodbye and we will call it a day. So, Elissa, why don’t you say goodbye?


Elissa Malespina:       Bye, everybody. It was great having this opportunity to connect with everybody. If you have any questions, reach out to me on Twitter @elissamalespina or on my web site,, and you can connect with me and I’ll get back to you with any questions you might have from this webinar, but it was awesome. I mean, I love – I learn from Joyce every time.


Joyce Valenza:            I learn from you, and I’m hoping that we can learn, if you don’t mind when you get the slides, don’t feel this is over. Please share on that padlet and also please tweet out at me using @futurereadylibs and I’ll answer. So it’s been great. Thanks, Mark.


Mark Ray:                   Thank you so much. Thanks for everyone who listened in. Thanks to the Alliance and Haroun, who’s in the back keeping everything going. This has been a great webinar and we’ll talk to you next month. See you soon. Bye-bye.


[End of Audio]

Categories: Future Ready

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