Dennis O’Connor was an early adopter before being an early adopter was cool. As an educator in the 1980s, he was always looking for new ways to bring emerging technologies into the classroom. In 1983, Dennis set up a literary bulletin board system for student writers run on an Apple computer.
Dennis was always interested in tech innovation; he studied this in all of his years of early and undergrad education. He then went on to earn two masters degrees, one in Online Teaching and Learning, and the second in Technology Integration and Instructional Design. I’m not at all surprised that Dennis is one of the early users of curation in the classroom.
According to Dennis, curation was a natural outgrowth of his work with the 21st century Information Fluency Project. With this project, he has worked for over 10 years creating curriculums on how to search, evaluate, and ethically use digital resources. Dennis had begun using curation within this project way before Scoop.it eve existed, but when he found it he was anxious to give it a try.
Dennis’s original goal when joining Scoop.it was to create a resource for his audience. He initially began using Scoop.it to “re-purpose years of blog content and … share his extensive reading lists.” In doing so, he learned that Scoop.it could actually serve as his own social media dashboard, and was “immediately impressed” with the ability he had on Scoop.it to manage so many media outlets.
With this power, Dennis was able to begin curating content on the major themes of his expertise: writing, information fluency, e-learning, and online teaching. While creating these reading lists and collections of his previously published blog content, though, Dennis realized that his readers weren’t the only ones benefitting from his curation. He knew that Scoop.it would be a great tool to organize and share his lists, but what he didn’t exact was that there would be more people out there interested in what he was posting!
After using Scoop.it for some time, he has found that he can continue to build significant audiences for his topics. He has used Scoop.it as a tool to publish to three different Facebook pages, a WordPress blog, two Tumblr blogs, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and StumbleUpon.
By sharing his content to all of these different channels from the same place, Dennis is able to save time and expand his reach. He has become an increasingly influential figure in Information Fluency and E-Learning and continues to learn more about these topics each day as he curates and shares new information for his readers.
As with many new technologies, there is much to be learned in the realm of content curation. One thing that Dennis learned only in the practice of curation is that it could very well be the future if search. When he joined Scoop.it, Dennis did not expect to find “such a rich and expert community of searchers.” He knew that he would have a place to share all of his content and build a resource for his audience, but what he found in this practice, he never could have expected.
With his continued use of Scoop.it and curation, Dennis has found that he can rely on other curators as a vital source of information discovery. He even chooses Scoop.it over other tools as a search engine! What makes Scoop.it unique for search is that all of the content you will find is selected by thoughtful editors with an expertise on the topic that is being searched for. Dennis has found that the quality of search results on Scoop.it has been unmatched by a regular search engine algorithm because of this. He has found numerous pieces of relevant content intelligently selected by other curators, as well as being discovered for the content that he has curated.
There’s no question that Dennis O’Connor has found much success on Scoop.it. It wasn’t all coincidental, though. Dennis shared with us two of his best curation secrets and tricks:
It’s important to carefully think through the keywords that you set for your topic so that Scoop.it can crawl the web and provide you with interesting and relevant content and inspiration. In addition to taking full advantage of this, Dennis also uses other sources like Twitter, StumbleUpon, and Prismatic to find content to share on Scoop.it. Once he finds the content he wants to share with his audience, he uses Scoop.it as his social media hub to add value to that content and share it everywhere
Dennis takes a lot of time to tag each of his posts. This allows him, he explained, to assemble publications based upon his tagged topics. When he’s using his information on Scoop.it for his E-learning classes, it’s easy for him to filter his Scoop.it pages based upon different subjects and easily compile a list of posts and articles on appropriate topics to provide to his students. Something interesting that Dennis does with his tagged articles is to pull them by subject and create “special editions” of his topics on his blog for special classes and events that he is teaching.
As a man who’s been in technology for quite some time, Dennis had a large repertoire of content to share before he even joined Scoop.it. Using the platform as a place to collect and organize all of his content was a great way for Dennis to begin discovering all of the added benefits that Scoop.it has. Through archiving his old content as well as discovering and sharing new content and becoming a resource for his students, Dennis was able to learn that the benefits of curation are close to limitless and there’s always something new to be learned.