Creating Curators: Storify in the Classroom


4.28.11 | Storify, the start-up that enables users to piece together content from Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, YouTube and other sites, opened to the public this week after months of limited availability during a private beta period.

Claire Cain Miller reports in The New York Times:

Storify, based in San Francisco, is one of several Web start-ups — including Storyful, Tumblr and Color — that are developing ways to help journalists and others sift through the explosion of online content and publish the most relevant information. Investors are also betting there is a market for filtering the social Web for high-quality posts. Khosla Ventures has invested $2 million in Storify.

Even though journalists may not be the first on the scene, they select the most reliable sources, digest loads of information and provide context for events, said Burt Herman, a founder of Storify and a longtime Associated Press reporter.

“We have so many real-time streams now, we’re all drowning,” Mr. Herman said. “So the idea of Storify is to pick out the most important pieces, amplify them and give them context.”

Storify provides endless possibilities for combining media to tell more comprehensive narratives that include multiple perspectives. And while the tool has largely received attention for its journalistic uses, it’s not a big leap to see how Storify might be used in classrooms for research and presentations. It’s also a valuable tool for teaching media literacy and digital skills, including collaboration.

Mandy Jenkins’ list of 10 ways journalists can use Storify provides tips that could be adapted for classroom lessons, including curating topical content and creating a timeline of events.

Students can add their own content and commentary to the information bits they piece together. Once a story is created, it can be shared through Twitter or Facebook and embedded on blogs and websites.

Earlier this year, Ryan Cordell, assistant professor of English and director of Writing-Across-the-Curriculum at St. Norbert College, described what he liked and didn’t like about using Storify. His post at The Chronicle of Higher Education also includes a story he created for English majors considering graduate school.

“I used Storify because it allowed me to do more than list a series of links to relevant resources,” writes Cordell. “Storify made it easy to contextualize those links with the advice of academics from around the country, and from a range of institutions—and with a bit of humor through the Simpsons clip. Instead of presenting only my opinion about graduate school—they get enough of that in person—they could hear from the many smart folks in my twitter community, which I think lent more authority to the advice.”

Plus: In other tech news this week, YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen acquired the social bookmarking site Delicious from Yahoo, quenching fears among Delicious users that the free service would be discontinued (whew!). Here’s a FAQ about the transition.

I frequently recommend Delicious when teaching social media workshops, and there’s usually an audible “Ahhhh” whenever its potential for gathering and organizing information is revealed. While there are some similar services, none seems quite as simple or handy—especially for learning environments.

In fact, writing today at Poynter, Katy Culver discusses why Delicious is “an ideal teaching tool for tagging content to share with students or other teachers.” For those just getting started, Teach Web 2.0 has a useful wiki on learning and using Delicious in the classroom.


delicious, storify


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