Week 4 Reflections

One of the tools I began working with this week was Diigo.  Although it was not one of the tools listed in the week 4 activities, after a brief read about the tool, I wanted to just quickly check it out.  Even after only a quick spin with Diigo, I can see that it has some features that would be quite useful in the classroom.  One of the features that I am most intrigued by is the creation of sharable lists of bookmarks.  It is an interesting thought that one could potentially, with this tool, curate a list of topics that frame the lectures/activities of a course.  It just so happens that, after working with Diigo, I stumbled across this blog post, by Dolores Gende: Aggregate, Curate and Create Your Own Textbook.  In addition to supporting the notion that this idea is feasible, Dolores also provides links to two additional toos, LiveBinders and Scoop.it that may also be useful.

Next up was the Twitter, IFTTT, WordPress activity.  Although  the creation of a “recipe” in IFTTT is remarkably simple, I, never-the-less, ran into trouble getting my tweet sent out with all the required fields.  In particular, I was unable to produce a searchable tweet if I included the URL of the blog post.  As it turns out, changing the trigger channel from WordPress to RSS solved the problem.  I am questioning now, though, if it is the best idea to “hard-code” a hash tag as an IFTTT ingredient rather than adding the hash tag to the blog post and using a dropdown ingredient in IFTTT to grab the tag from the post.  It seems to me that the latter would provide a blogger with better control over how his or her blog could be found when searched for.  Maybe I would like certain tags for this post but other tags for another.  I have worked on developing mechanisms to accomplish tasks similar to those handled by IFTTT (trading signals sent from one server, to be displayed on a website residing on another server, in real-time)  so I can really appreciate how easy IFTTT makes cross-application communication for it’s users.

HootSuite and TweetDeck make me not want to look at the plain-vanilla twitter web interface ever again!  Between the two, I thought TweetDeck’s interface was easier to look at as it has better contrast.  Also, I like that the additional columns in TweetDeck were not displayed as tabs as they are in HootSuite.  I liked being able to see my tweets and the search results without having to change between tabs.

As for NetVibes, the fact that one can collect ALL their information (even google search results!) in one place is extraordinary.  While it’s easy to see how powerful that app is for organizing streams, I suppose will have to use this tool for a bit longer before I can truly appreciate it.

Finally, for my thoughts on the difference between aggregating and curating.  Aggregation is simply a collection of items grouped together by search tags, or keywords, but not by some intellectually creative means.  The act of curating requires that the curator add value to the collection.  A curator groups items together to show some new understanding of the items being grouped.  As Clinton Forry states in his blog, “Content Curation Versus Content Aggregation…“, “There is much more to effective curation than putting similar stuff in a similar place.  There are contextual cues that no amount of keywords or metadata can surface”.  To me this means that, for a curator, there is a bigger message than the individual elements in her collection provide.  The curator is attempting to speak to that bigger message USING the individual elements in her collection.  This bigger message is the value that a curator adds to the collection.  In his blog post “Am I curating yet” Ian Greenleigh raises the question of how much value must be added to consider a collection curated?  I would say that it wouldn’t take much value to simply call the collection curated, but would take quite a bit to call it WELL curated.

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