How To Choose Education Content That Leads to a Treasure of Learners

2014.02.11_Treasure Chest

Pirates are treasure hunters that don’t always play by the rules.

As an association education professional, you too can buck tradition by searching for hidden treasures of content and delivering them to your members.

The Pirate Spirit

Many of us have negative images of pirates as shipmates that pillage and rob other vessels. Some of us think of the children’s version of Captain Hook in Peter Pan or of Johnny Depp’s drunken, flamboyant Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean.

Curating like a pirate, though, has nothing to do with the Wikipedia definition of a pirate and everything to do with a pirate’s spirit.

Pirates are daring, adventurous, and willing to set forth into uncharted territories with no guarantee of success. They are unsatisfied with status quo. They refuse to conform to society’s traditions that may stifle creativity and independence.

Pirates will travel to the ends of the earth to find what they value. While they are fiercely independent, they are floating crews of democracy.

As a professional development professional searching for the right education mix to offer, if you’re willing to live by the pirate’s curation code, commit to the voyage, and pull your share of the load, then you’re ready to set sail.

Remember, pirates fly their flags in defiance of outdated traditional methods that don’t work.

(Hat Tips to author David Burgess Teach Like A PIRATE who founded the concept that educators should embrace the pirate spirit!)

Curation As The Lay Of The Education Land

Shiver me timbers, thar’s the treasure map!

So, where is that mysterious X that marks the spot where the education treasure is buried? Where is that intersecting X that guides association leaders to the right content for the right person at the right time delivered in the right manner at the right place?

It starts with curation.

Curation may be as old as dirt. Yet it has tremendous potency that makes digging up hidden gems very valuable for your customers.

Curating, curation, and curator have their roots in the Latin word curare meaning “take care.” In ancient Rome, curators were senior civil servants overseeing aqueducts, bathhouses, and sewers. In medieval times curators were priests dedicated to the preservation of souls. Today, curators are professionals dedicated to preservation and display of artwork, historic artifacts, scientific collectibles, and unusual objects.

The Swashbucklers’ Curation Code

Batten down the hatches, ye swashbucklers all. Keep your eye’ess peelt for the right education programming mix to offer.

Hatches are watertight covers that, when closed, block access to other parts of the ship. Figuratively, it’s keeping your focus on the swashbucklers’ curation code so you can heave ho forward.

Mind yer stations and FOCUS:

1. Filter

Curating starts with filtering with intention. It means making judgments, seeing trends, finding buried meaning and deciding relevance. This will be the most difficult task of the curation model. It has to be context-driven for the audience that will find value in it and what the future benefit will be. Filters are flexible and adaptable to situations.

2. Organize

Your customers expect you to bring some type of a classification system and arrangement to the education programming you curate. Labeling and categorizing the programs based on levels of experience is critical to your success. Learning outcomes, prerequisites and purpose will help your organization process.

3. Context

Curating content means you must apply meaning to the offering and frame it within the user’s context. Context is the key information related to our professional and personal lives. It is looking behind the surface and helping participants discover a deeper richer significance.

4. Utilize

Your education programming must provide relevant, practical takeaways that your participants can utilize immediately. If it does not apply to their personal situations, it is worthless. They often don’t care about the back story, research steps, or history unless it’s something they can use to solve their problems.

5. Share

Avoid the “We’re an awesome association!” trap. Don’t overshare everything related to the topic you’re curating. The question to ask is “Will this curated content be more valuable than the silence? Will this content help the participant succeed or keep them from failing?” If not, don’t share it!

Learn More

At ASAE’s 2014 Great Ideas Conference, March 9-11, in Orlando, Florida. in the Next Generation Learning session Curate Like A Pirate: How To Choose Education Content That Leads To A Treasure Load Of Learners.

Adapted from an article originally published in Association Now Plus Professional Development eNews.

How do you curate your organization’s content for programming and conferences? Why is curation so critical for successful 21st Century education.

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  1. […] Pirates are treasure hunters that don’t always play by the rules. As an association education professional, you too can buck tradition by searching for hidden treasures of content and delivering them to your members.  […]

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