Educators as Discerning and Creative Consumers of Content

This post was inspired by a recent chat with Kirsten Winkler (uncut version) regarding some of the web tools she is currently using.

See her talk on Tools to Handle Information:

Kirsten addressed a variety of topics during her talk, but the one slide that drew a few questions from the audience was where she distinguishes between consume, create, and curate.  This subsequently sparked a few questions in the backchannel (e.g., Hotseat) regarding the distinction between curation and aggregation.  So let’s unpack these terms, shall we?  And how do you relate to these terms as you become a more engaging, effective, and efficient educator and learner?


Aggregation refers to directing information to the individual.  Web tools that currently do this quite well are RSS aggregators,, iGoogle, NetVibes, among many others.  Aggregators can also provide filters that pull information based on certain criteria…Yahoo Pipes comes to mind.  Using aggregators saves a lot time when searching the web for information of interest.


Curation more typically refers to those individuals who manage museums. “Curators oversee collections, such as artwork and historic items, and may conduct public service activities for an institution. Museum technicians and conservators prepare and restore objects and documents in museum collections and exhibits” (OOH, 2012).  In education however, the role of the educator can be seen as taking on a curator role – as in Curatorial Teaching. is one of many excellent curating web tools that allows the user to not only aggregate content, but curate it as well.  Curation speaks of the intentionality of the teaching process by purposefully selecting content for a particular group of people.

Consumption and Creation

Consuming content relates to using information for one’s own benefit as well as sharing content for the benefit of others.  Blogs, wikis, facebook, Google+, and Twitter are just a few web tools being used to consume and share content with others.  When it comes to content creation, Creative Commons licenses now provide educators the means for gaining recognition for your innovative pursuits.

In order for educators to be creative consumers of content, they first must be able to weed through the vast amounts of information found on the web in order to find the most salient content for a particular educative experience.  Creative Commons licenses now permit educators to legally reuse, recopy, remix, and redistribute content for particular purposes – taking the notion of content consumers and content creators to new levels (refer to each CC license for details).  Today, educators as discerning and creative consumers of content are those who have the will to share with others what they know and can do, dare to take risks regardless of the outcome, and care enough to help others succeed while realizing they are helping themselves in the process.

In what ways are you a discerning and creative consumer of content?

Benjamin Stewart holds a master’s degree in education, curriculum and instruction: technology and is pursuing a doctoral degree in educational leadership. He is an EFL teacher educator and researcher and is interested in how PLNs impact teaching practices and belief systems. Benjamin is founder of EduQuiki where he contributes to open educational resources, open courseware, and open research. His work in Edukwest is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.