Curating Sources on Controversial Topics [ACTIVITY]

Over the past few years, I’ve been using Scoop.it to give students the opportunity to practice curating collections of web-based sources on controversial topics.

I figure that curation is an essential skill in and of itself, given the sea of information that we swim in on a daily basis.  Pairing an opportunity to learn about curation with constant chances to evaluate the quality of web-based resources AND to do a bit of critical thinking about knotty issues seems like the perfect activity, right?

You may remember that I had students use Scoop.it last year to curate this collection of resources on the New York City soda ban.  The experience was amazing for both me and my students.  Not only did my kids figure out Scoop.it with almost no support from me, a TON of readers stopped by and gave them feedback, proving once again that publishing for broader audiences can create opportunities for students to have their thinking — both about concepts and the content that they create — challenged in a productive way.

This year, my students are wrestling with whether or not space exploration is a worthwhile investment for a nation that is flat broke. I’ve had a group of boys who needed a bit of intellectual challenge working with Scoop.it again to create a page of resources that introduce readers to both sides of the issue.

Here’s what they’ve come up with:

http://bit.ly/SpaceScoop

And here’s the direction sheet and scoring rubric that is guiding their work:

http://bit.ly/TRContentCuration

I’d love to hear what all y’all think of this activity.  Is it something that you’d consider using in your own classroom?  How would you change it to make it more appropriate for students?  What do you think of the final product that my kids are creating?  Does the product that you see show evidence that my students are mastering essential skills?

And if you have a second to leave any feedback for my kids directly on their Scoop.it page, I’d dig that too!  Do you see any sites that are from unreliable sources?  Is there anything about the organization of their content collection that could be changed?  How could they make their page more engaging to readers?

———————-

Related Radical Reads:

Teaching Kids to Curate Content Collections

Managing Information in the 21st Century [SLIDE]

Teaching Students about Digital Conversations

2 comments

  1. Megan

    I love this idea. As an English teacher, I think it would be cool for students to have to use another group’s collection of sources to write an opinion essay. That way, their authentic audience would be the students in their class.

    • Bill Ferriter

      Great idea, Megan…

      I’ve thought about having students go in and critique the collections that are created by other students. You can leave comments on individual “scoops,” so if a student thought a bit was biased — or that students had misrepresented the content of an article included in the collection — they could say so.

      It would create a ton of instant opportunities for articulation.

      Bill