Whether you are a student, instructor, or administrator, staying up-to-date with research and trends in higher education is essential. But, keeping up with the constant flow of information isn’t getting any easier. Neither is the process for evaluating each website for relevance to your work, credibility, and currency.
Fortunately, there are several groups out there continuously collecting resources and providing updated lists of the top articles and posts. These aggregators pull together feeds from multiple sources, so that you can access them all in one place. And the best of them involve a curation process through which experienced educators are monitoring the feeds, evaluating them, and selecting them for inclusion in the larger collection.
Here’s a list of several sources I use regularly as central hubs for articles about learning and technology. Should you add them all to your reading list? Probably not. But, you may find one or two that will bring interesting and helpful information to you via browser or email. You never know what will spark a new idea for your curriculum or class assignment.
- Spigot.org “aggregates news, research, opinion and info for those working at the intersection of learning, technology, and youth.” This site is produced by The Digital Media and Learning Research Hub and funded by The MacArthur Foundation. In addition to a “Popular Today” list, you’ll also find separate feeds for Research, Practice, Videos, Presentations, Publications (e.g., MindShift, Edutopia, NPR: Technology), and more. Search by keyword or browse the main page. You can also suggest new sources to the curators.
- Alltop wants “to help you answer the question, ‘What’s happening?’ in ‘all the topics’ that interest you.” And since it really does seem to cover all topics, there are several ways you can add your own filters to narrow the scope of information presented. You can search for specific topics or view by category. I regularly check the feeds by searching for “elearning,” as an example. Create your own MyAlltop account to customize your own collection. You can follow other MyAlltop accounts as well.
- TheDailyEDU seems to be one of the newest options out there, but it offers a lot of choices. From the Home page, you have access to the headlines from multiple news sources and a “Popular Today” list. This page also features TED Talks, YouTube videos, and tabs with feeds related to more specific categories of interest including K-12, Higher Education, and Technology. You’ll find a range of sources included from The Huffington Post and The New York Times to Ed.gov and TechCrunch.
- Lumina Foundation “strives to help people achieve their potential by expanding access to and success in education beyond high school.” Part of this effort includes monitoring the latest news about higher education, public policy, and the workforce. Lumina’s curators share their lists of top articles and posts in daily and monthly email newsletters. Check out their subscription page for samples and instructions for signing up. This is a “go to” resource for me every morning.
What makes these aggregators worth your time? Besides serving as one-stop shops for current education news, they also:
- Allow for some personalization in terms of searches and account set-up
- Make the content easier to access and more usable with visually attractive screen layouts, easy-to-scan lists of headlines, quick summaries, and links to full articles
- Make it possible to share what you find with your network via social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Google+) and bookmarking accounts (e.g., Delicious, Diigo).
As you consider adding an aggregator to your daily routine, take a closer look at each one to find out:
- Who maintains the resource – is it a group or individual with expertise in education?
- How often the feeds are updated – weekly, daily, hourly?
- Which resources are featured – the aggregation is only as relevant as the feeds it contains, are they ones you trust?
Select the tools that are easiest and most convenient for you to use, as well as most relevant to your interests, so you’ll return to them often.
Develop a plan for exactly how you’ll work these into your already busy life online.Thanks to Morning Coffee, one of my favorite Firefox add-ons, my selected sites, including aggregators, open in new tabs when I am ready to review them each day.
How do you get your news about education and online learning? Share your recommendations with us here!
Image credit: DBduo Photography, Flickr, CC-BY-SA