Wakelet: A Curation Tool for Every Classroom and Professional

Wakelet SketchnoteHow do you get the most out of social media without letting things get lost in the shuffle? Why is curation such a needed skill in today’s society? What are some quick and easy ways to bring curation into each class regardless of content? How can educators take more control of their own PD?

Being an educator on social media can be both inspiring and overwhelming. There are so many great ideas and resources out there to use that it can be hard to keep up with it all. It can be frustrating to see something you want to try and before you can make note of it, manually or digitally, it gets lost in the shuffle. As much as tools like Google Keep, Pocket, or simply bookmarking links can help you stay organized, sometimes it’s still just not enough to sift through it all to find what you need the most at that moment in time.

Matt Miller recently mentioned in his Ditch That Textbook Podcast how he has started using Wakelet to quickly save those ideas and resources that he comes across on Twitter in just a few clicks (on the mobile app for Apple,Android, or the Chrome extension). This is an instant game changer as it helps you save anything with a link to a collection in the cloud, that you can then title, reorganize, add descriptions/notes, add collaborators, and share. What a time saver! But the potential for its use doesn’t stop there. (Disclaimer – before this starts to sound like a sales pitch, let me explain that there is actually no sale to pitch because Wakelet is completely FREE)

This tool really highlights the power of curation. You’ve heard of the 4 C’s (Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity) right? Well I would venture to say that to truly be a 21st Century learner you also need to have curation skills. Let’s call it the 5th C. To be honest, curation is really just a mixture of the other 4 C’s. It’s the idea of taking a bunch of different content, analyzing it for value, and synthesizing it into a condensed collection to clearly communicate a specific concept or story. With so much information and content at our fingertips it is more important now to be able to filter out the excess “noise” and help craft a story to share with others.

This all sounds well and good but let’s get to the point here. What are some practical ways to bring curation into each classroom by using a tool like Wakelet? How can we as educators leverage a tool like Wakelet to grow professionally? We’ll start in the classroom.

Wakelet in the Classroom

Student Work Portfolios. Similar to using Google Sites, students can quickly save links to different Google Drive files into a collection in Wakelet. In order to make sure their files are viewable, they can use Alice Keeler’s AnyoneCanView extension to change a file’s sharing settings in one click. Students can reorder their files and add notes before each one to take users through their journey of a particular unit or the entire school year.

Project Based Learning. If you are having students do a project that requires a lot of research and gathering of resources, Wakelet is a very quick way to save them either with the mobile app or the Chrome extension. You can create categories on the fly as you find and save items to a collection.

Genius Hour or 20% time Project. Hold students accountable and provide structure for what they could produce as a result of a Genius Hour project. They can easily gather research and/or created artifacts to present in a visual and creative way.

Breakout EDU. Lots of teachers have started designing games for students like Breakout EDU to play in order to more fully engage in the content, as well as participate in collaborative problem solving. Create a collection of your favorite digital Breakout EDU games. Or use the tool to build the game itself using different online resources or G Suite apps.

HyperDocs. Similar to Breakout EDU, curate your own collections of HyperDocs and associated resources, build your multimedia text set to link to a HyperDoc, or use Wakelet as your packaging for your HyperDoc. The main perk is that it will already look polished and professional without taking too much time to design and format a Google Doc or Slide deck.

Personalized Learning Menus. Quickly create a collection of different activities, web based or via G Suite files, to serve as a Personalized Learning Menu that allows students to choose how they want to dig deeper into a concept or lesson.

Google Expeditions. Curate your own collection of Google Earth activities for students to choose from in order to explore a specific location. Include your own directions and accompanying G Suite files for activities to complete.

Novel Studies. Create and share different artifacts that could then be added to a collection. Make a My Map to tour the settings of the story (if it takes place in a real place), add a ThingLink of the cover of the book where students can add links of audio or video reflections they made about the design choices. Include anything else that you might have students do for a novel study. You could include smaller HyperDocs for each chapter that they can make copies of and then build into their own collection. Keep it all in one place as you progress through the book.

How-To Math Reviews. Have students pick a math concept, gather how-to videos from Khan Academy and YouTube etc., and then rank order, with notes of explanation, according to which was the easiest to the hardest to understand. Then have them create their own using the best ideas from the other videos using a tool like WeVideo.

Parent Newsletters. Create a collection of resources, how-to videos, a link to your class webpage (or embed the wakelet into your site), and anything else that might be helpful to inform parents of the learning going on in your class and how they can help reinforce it at home. Tell parents how they can download the Wakelet mobile app and follow your class profile to see a new wakelet for each week’s learning. It can then serve as a database for reviewing concepts before major assessments or at the end of the year. Here is an awesome example from Brandi Reams (@b_reamswpa) that shows just how much you can curate for your students and parents. Now imagine for a moment if every teacher in your grade level, or in the entire school had a Wakelet page. You could then have a page for your school with links to each class page. What a great way to create your own website in very little time and not to mention share your school’s culture and story! Want to see what this could potentially look like? Check out Wilson Preparatory Academy’s Wakelet (where Brandi works).

Wakelet for Professional Development

Podcast Playlists. As long as you can get a specific link to a podcast through your podcast app or if there is a web page associated with the episode, you can add them to a collection and essentially generate your own custom Podcast Playlist. This is great for introducing your colleagues to podcasts by giving them a curated sampling to choose from, or give them a series of different episodes from different podcasts that all focus on a common topic. This is a great way to collect your favorite podcast episodes to refer back to when needed.

Social Stories & Reflections. Curate a Twitter Chat you participated in and/or various reflections made in a Voxer group or Flipgrid. Again, as long as you can get a specific link to something, you can save it in Wakelet. With this in mind, Jarod Bormann (@jbormann3) demonstrated this awesome idea that takes this to the next level as a way for educators to submit their artifacts for grad credit and/or online PD. I have included a link to his tutorial video in the wakelet mentioned at the end of this post. You should also check out his awesome book study for Professionally Driven.

I came across this idea thanks to a tweet from Dr. Randall Sampson (@RandallSampson) who is also a big fan of using Wakelet to share your story.

He had this to say about it, “The goal is for teachers and students to become authentic authors of their experiences.”

And when it comes to online grad credit opportunities like Jarod Bormann’s, Sampson also said, “Wakelet empowers teachers to complete multiple school requirements in one easy step.”

If you are responsible for developing PD opportunities for your site or district, you may want to consider using Wakelet for participants to gather their artifacts and evidence of learning. They can even post a link to their wakelet in Google Classroom as it has that feature built right in when sharing. Check out this awesome wakelet from Dr. Sampson on How to Create Your Personalized PD Experience.

One more idea in regards to curating tweets or hashtags. As great as it is to have a social media presence for your class or your school, you have to remember that not all parents are on social media. And even those who are might miss some of your posts because they just get lost in the shuffle of everything else they are following in their feeds. By using Wakelet, you can bring all of your tweets front and center. You will actually engage more parents in your social media presence, regardless of whether or not they have an account.

These ideas are barely scratching the surface of what is possible. To give you a better sense of how it can be used, I have created a Wakelet called Understanding the Power of Curation. I have included some links to things mentioned above as well as some great resources to help you better understand the role that curation can play in your classroom.

If you would like to design your own custom banner for a wake that you create, you can use this template (bit.ly/wakeletcovertemplate) to minimize how much you might need to crop an image to fit. Simply add whatever content you want to the Google Drawing and then go to File > Download as > JPEG, and then upload your image to your collection.

For other pro tips and ideas, check out@Wakelet and@WakeletSupport on Twitter.

I’d like to give a special shout out to Misbah Gedal from Wakelet, for sharing some great ideas with me and being so passionate about making the best possible product for teachers and students that he and the rest of the team there in Manchester can make. Look for more exciting features to come!

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