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The flawed perception on curation


Recently, I contributed to a discussion on LinkedIn on curation and how curation will transform education and learning. The discussion started innocent enough asking why curation will transform education. Most of the contributors were discussing things like ‘how curation is making education better’ or ‘how to improve curation.’

One educator said “we might be over thinking and letting yet another buzzword get in the way of the end result. Over analyzation = bad decisions, bad choices perhaps confusion and/or the ability to make a decision, or even bad content. One should carefully think about what goes into something we call a ‘course’ – no matter the delivery method, but in my opinion, we have to try to balance that with time versus value versus budget versus outcome. We cannot have it all so we, as educators, must choose what we feel is relevant.” This comment illustrates a problem that we come across all the time. We promote the use of games and simulations in education.

One of the major stumbling blocks with our education clients is that they perceive games as ‘yet another thing’ that they have to get their heads around to teach in class. We have tried to address this by asking them to modify this approach in class from being an expert to being a facilitator.

In today’s connected classrooms, students have access to all the world’s content. Standing up in the front of the classroom and talking is not a relevant teaching method anymore. Educators need to facilitate not teach; and curation is an important skill to enable facilitation. Educators who still believe in the ‘chalk-n-talk’ method not only face a whole lot of housekeeping challenges in the classroom but also have the enormous burden of over-preparing for each class. Trying to prove that you know more than the Internet is certainly a big challenge.

At Yellow Sequoia we promote the use of games and simulations in the classroom. Integral to that approach is the move from being the ‘expert’ in class to the facilitator. The big differences between an expert and facilitator are:

Knows the most Directs you to the knowledge
Teaches you how to learn Let’s you learn on your own
Talks the most Enables others to start discussions
Controls the class Let’s the class run itself
Cannot teach more than they know Encourages the students to learn more than they know
Always provides feedback on the next steps Facilitates the student to learn from peer feedback and self reflection
Is pretty stressed out from controlling the class Is relaxed and is able to spend a lot of individual time with the students

Curation is another big skill on the path to becoming a facilitator. Educators who think this is just another buzzword are not only killing their chances of becoming the one-who-students-make-fun-of-behind-their-back.