Category: writing and research

Ever get the feeling that you just need a little “shot in the arm” or “refresher” to remind you of best practices?  If you’re an educational technologist or instructional designer working with creating eLearning (or a beginner at creating eLearning), if you haven’t bookmarked the eLearning Heroes community site (part of the Articulate parent site), you’re really missing out.

eLearning Heroes landing page

e-Learning Heroes Landing Page

Even if you don’t use Articulate products, the site also has downloadable templates for PowerPoint which can be converted by other eLearning programs. Win-win!

It also has a plethora of ebooks on subjects like best practices when it comes to eLearning creation, how to work with SMEs and stakeholders, and project management for eLearning. Most are short and to the point, so you won’t have to spend days staring at the screen (which, if you’re like me, you already do enough of!). In addition, you’ll find downloadable organizational sheets to aid in project management and communication. You could also spend all day catching up on articles and blog posts by people in the industry who are working “in the trenches” developing and offering their expertise on a wide range of eLearning topics.

And membership to the community is free. What’s not to love?

Check it out and you’ll soon see why I’m happy to be an eLearning Heroes Addict!

It has been a while since I’ve posted here. I have somewhat kept up my content curation on and, though I have not been as active as I once was. However, when I logged in to this evening and saw the announcement of the upcoming changes, I felt the need to delete my account. Basically, what they have managed to do is cap content to ten per day and are getting rid of the ability to share to most social media outlets (as well as doing away with the ability to personalize–which wasn’t all that great to begin with) unless curators pay up now.

I will find another venue– had already started to become “stale” in feel. At one point, I thought it was great. Now, however, the company behind the site has decided to make people pay for things that have always been free, on a site that has not improved in years.

As far as this curator is concerned, no thanks.


Hi everyone!

Still trucking away gathering data for my dissertation. I’m still looking for people who have used Particle Laboratory to teach themselves how to work with particles in Second Life.

The survey can be found here .

Thanks in advance!

In my last post on this subject (which was a while ago), I walked readers through how to set up the different types of Google Alerts.  In this post, I’ll focus on offers social curation on the web for free (for their most basic package). Power users may want to upgrade to have more topics and posts available. To set up an account, simply go to and click the “Join Free” button in the top right corner of the screen. Most people already have a Facebook or Twitter account (at least those interested in social curation) and, by using one of these, it makes sign-up a breeze.


In the example, I used the ILC’s Twitter account to sign up.

Scoopit Signup

Scoopit Signup

I’ll simply fill in the email and desired password. The profile picture is already pulled from the Twitter account but it can be changed, if desired.


The next step is to choose the topic you want to curate. Give your “paper” a name (this will show as the title of your page of “scoops.”) List keywords or phrases (separated by commas) that are connected to your topic. will search the web and social media sites to pull in posts with those keywords/phrases.

Creating a Topic

Creating a Topic

Click the “Create a Topic” button.


The next screen will offer a bookmarklet. Don’t forget to drag and drop it into your bookmark bar on your browser!



Once the bookmarklet is in your browser’s bookmark bar, you’re ready to start curating your topic! Click the “Start Curating” button and get ready to dig in!


The next screen should be your topic page and you’ll see a list of suggestions to include on the right.

Click the title of the article to access it on the web and peruse it. If it’s something you’d like to include, click the “” button. If not, you can click the trash can icon to delete it. Scanned through and nothing looks promising? Click the “Discard Suggestions” button at the top of the list to delete multiple suggestions. You can also add more keywords and phrases as needed by clicking and typing into the keyword box and clicking the “Apply” button. Suggestions Suggestions


Once you’ve chosen to “” on a selection, you’ll get a pop-up box.

At the top of the pop-up is the name of the selection and a blurb about how it appeared on the web (i.e. social network posting). Beneath this is an area that you can add your thoughts—for example, were there points in the article that you found particularly interesting or things you disagreed with? (This is optional but it does give you more of a presence within your curated topic.) Near the bottom are icons for the various social networks that you can link to via Right now, in my example, I only have Twitter connected as that was what I used to create this account. I can easily add more by clicking the “Add More” button and entering the necessary information. Selection Selection

Why would you want to connect networks?  It’s simple. By adding your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts to, you can easily share information and articles on your topic throughout your social media networks, just by making sure the boxes are selected whenever you publish a new “Scoop.” Once you’re satisfied with the “Scoop,” click “Publish” and it will appear on your page.

Continue through the suggestions, adding those you find valuable. Once done, simply click the “Discard Suggestions” to get rid of all of the old suggestions so you can start fresh tomorrow (or whenever you return).

One of the nice things about is that you can do it as often or as little as you want. Your suggestions will simply keep in your suggestions stream until you’re ready. That said, regular curating and sending new and interesting articles out to your social media networks (and hosting them on your page) will grow your network of followers. Better yet, these new followers tend to be interested in the same topic(s) you are!


Now we circle back around to talk about Google Alerts and how to use them with

If you have Google Alerts set for your topic, you’re probably getting a lot of articles into your email inbox. To get these into your page, simply click on the title of the article in your email.

Google Alert

Google Alert

Remember the bookmarklet we added to our bookmark toolbar? Once the webpage opens, we’re going to click on the bookmarklet icon. Bookmarklet Example Bookmarklet Example

This opens a pop-up window just like the one you had earlier when selecting a “Scoop” from your suggestions list. Even without having open, clicking the “Publish” button will send it to your topic page and to your social media networks (if desired).


Congrats! You’re well on your way to being a social curation guru! In the next part of the series, I’ll show how to use to send out regular online curated “papers” on your topic to your social media followers and networks.


I guess you could call me a snooper.  I snoop out tid-bits, news, and new programs/gadgets that help me know more about the field of educational technology and, more specifically, my areas of interest. At one point, I’d keep all of these to myself or point it out to a few coworkers. Now, thanks to the growing list of social media technologies, I don’t have to keep such finds to myself. I can share them with my followers on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Because these tools have their own webspace, they can also be found by those doing keyword searches using Google or Bing.

One of the ways I find things is to have them brought to me rather than my having to do daily ongoing searches. Sound too good to be true? It’s fairly easy. Through setting up Google Alerts, both basic and Scholar, I can view both what is being said in the mass media (or by lay people in blogs and non-juried articles) as well as what is being written about in peer-reviewed journals and being published in books.

The basic Google Alert can be set up by clicking on the Google Apps icon in the top right corner if you’re logged in to Google.  Then click “More.”  The selections in the box will “flip” and you’ll need to click “Even More from Google.”


Google Apps Button

Scroll down the page that appears until you see the Google Alerts selection.  Click on it.


Google Alerts Link

A settings page will open in which you can select the keywords and limits for the alerts.  For this example, I put virtual worlds in quotations to make sure that I catch the phrase, not just the words virtual and worlds, willy nilly.  And I want specifically to have educational information presented to me, so I added the term education.  I tend to select “Everything” but you have the option of only receiving information from blogs or books or news, etc.  I’ve learned that “Once a day” is a good setting–“As it happens” can clog your inbox with emails and “Once a week” can produce a confusingly long email (not to mention some of the info can be old news by the time it gets to you!).  Selecting “Only the best results” keeps down the old information and tagged spam posts.  Finally, select the email you want the alerts sent to (if you’re logged into Google already, your Gmail account will show in this field automatically). Click “Create Alert” and now you have news and information set to come to your inbox automatically!


Google Alerts Settings

To set up an alert for scholarly articles and books, there’s a bit of a different method of setup.  Again, you’ll click the Google Apps icon at the top right of the screen (as before), click “More” and then “Even More from Google,” but this time as you scroll down the page of options, you’ll click on the Scholar link (it’s in the same section as the Google Alerts link).


Google Scholar Link

The page that opens looks like a normal Google search for the most part, but this is a specialized search engine, as it searches mainly “articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites” (from the About Google Scholar page). Fill in the search box with your terms as before (again I placed quotation marks around virtual worlds to keep it as a phrase). Click the magnifying glass to search.


Google Scholar Search

What you should see now is a plethora of academic articles, books and presentations to peruse. However, if you wanted anything new on the subject to come to your inbox, you’d need to click the Alerts link at the bottom of the menu on the left side of the screen.


Create Alert Link in Scholar

Once you click the Create Alert link, you’ll be taken to the Scholar Alert settings area.  There aren’t as many selections in Scholar (mainly because it’s already a specialized search). You can choose to receive up to 10 or 20 results at a time (and again, if you’re signed in to your Google account, your Gmail will automatically be listed in the Email field). Click the red Create Alert button and you’ll now have notices of academic items coming into your inbox.


Create Alert Settings in Scholar

(Note: Many academic journals require a subscription so though you may get the notice of an article or presentation being published, you still may have to order or access the article through your school’s library system.)

Now that you have all of this fabulous information coming into your email, how do you share it with others?  I’ll explain how I use and to create online “papers” in Part 2!

My proposal is finally starting to shape itself into something I can defend.  Trying to unlearn MLA in order to learn APA format has been tricky to say the least.  At least I know I’m closing in!  Aiming to defend within a month!