Networks, Ecologies, and Curatorial Teaching

George Siemens, Connectivism, Aug 28, 2007
Commentary by Stephen Downes

There has been an interesting discussion on the iDC list of new media as a form of curation rather than merely creation, especially contributions by Barbara Lattanzi and Pamela Jennings, and it is in this light that I read George Siemens on 'Curatorial Teaching'. "The joint model of network administrator and curator form the foundation of what education should be," he writes. "An expert (the curator) exists in the artifacts displayed, resources reviewed in class, concepts being discussed. But she's behind the scenes providing interpretation, direction, provocation, and yes, even guiding." I don't think it's that automatic and that all-embracing. There's an aspect of curation that stresses presentation, and to that degree it is similar to teaching. And there's an aspect of curation that stresses interpretation, and to that degree it is similar to learning. And it's the latter, I think, that's more interesting. With curation, we are presented with the opportunity to observe an expert strive for understanding within a field. The curator, quite properly, lets the exhibition speak for itself. The student learns by observing, not by following.
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