In order to stay current in my field (iPad professional development), I need to reach out on the web and read online news articles and blogs. I find that I read something and then when I want to refer to it later, I can’t always find it again. After several occurrences of this, I decided that I needed to look at some form of web annotation. I wanted for my web surfing, something like what Mendeley does for my PDFs, that is, I wanted to be able to easily highlight and make notes on a site, and have that saved someplace where I could easily search for it later. Ideally, I’d like the search to include the content of the site as well as my specific notes and highlights.
In an article that resonated with me, Anderson (2010) categorizes university professors as either share people or not share people. There is no judgement in her article, just a description of different personal characteristics. I’m inherently a share person (that is in part why I like blogging). As a share person, when I find something interesting, I want to share it. But rather than just tweeting about it, I like the idea of storying all those things in one place – that is, curating. So, I wanted a solution that allowed me to do both.
After some investigation, and reading a great blog post by Matthew Mobbs about how he uses social bookmarking (Social Bookmarking sites – how I use them), which included a great flowchart, I decided to give Diigo and Scoop.it! a try. I was vaguely familiar with each of them from my EduMOOC experience last summer. I’m using Diigo for my personal notes and to store bookmarks that I may wish to reference when I write, and Scoop.it! to curate and share articles on topics that I’m personally interested in (iPads in Medical Education, Supporting iPad Use in Higher Education Teaching, and MOOCs). I’m not yet convinced that either of these will be successful, as my previous forays into social bookmarking have not been successful at all. In the past, I’ve favoured generating a new search anytime I wanted something. Now that I’m entering the academic world, I think my changing need might be the motivation that makes this experiment successful.
I wanted to elaborate a little further on why I like to publically curate. For me, publically curating provides a means of motivation. Without it, I wouldn’t necessary feel the drive to search for the latest and greatest web content on a regular basis. By publically curating, I’m driven to make sure that I update my sites daily (or at least every couple of days). The same goes for blogging. Blogging provides me with an opportunity to practice writing for an audience. My blog readers motivate me to post things on a semi-regular basis.
Anytime I week goes by without posting, I ask myself, what have I been doing that might be of interest to my readers. It is this, that motivates me to keep practicing. And it is the practice of blogging that makes me a better writer.
Andersen, M. H. (2010). To Share or Not to Share: Is That the Question? Educause Review, 45(4), 40–49.