By Claude Almansi and Jan Schwartz
Scoop.it is a new application that is still in beta, although it’s fairly easy to get an invite to join. Claude Almansi found the app, sent an email about it to a list serv, which prompted Jan Schwartz to join. We’ve only been at it for a month or so, but already both of us have found some good information that we otherwise would have missed, and we are helping to spread the good work about education technology and change.
First, some information about Scoop.it that Claude dug up. The web service was conceived in France, launched in December 2010 and its web site is in English. It’s a social site for sharing news events and articles via subscription. Even if you don’t subscribe, Scoop.it can be used to look for information items selected by others on a given theme via its public search engine. You do need to subscribe if you want to create and curate your own topic on a given theme or subject.
For example, Jan was particularly excited to find a blog written as a result of a live chat sponsored by the Chronicle of Higher Education, which talked about the topic of Cathy Davidson’s recent book, Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work and Learn. There were four panelists and 1500 participants on the chat and one of them, David Palumbo-Liu, wrote a blog about his experience, which was very different than Jan’s and so an interesting read for perspective. She would not have found that blog if not for Scoop.it.
Just as in other social sites you can follow others and they can follow you. Each day an email comes in that suggests articles and blogs that are within your search fields. (You can indicate pertinent keywords and Scoop.it will submit to you relevant information found by its search engines). The site allows you to read the material and, if you choose, you can re-scoop.it to help the article reach a wider audience.
Another way to increase content to your topic is to use the Scoop.it bookmarklet to directly add the content of any web page you are browsing. It is very intuitive to use and the results are immediate. When you re-scoop via the bookmarlet a side bar will pop up and show you what the scoop will look like and you then make the decision to scoop it, or not. At this point you can also add your own text to the beginning of the article to introduce it. This community feature enhances the diffusion of topics and in addition, you can share with other social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
While most of this can be done with online book sharing services, Scoop.it is particularly user-friendly. The two columns on the topic page easily resolve into one when viewed on a smartphone or listened to on a screen reader. Images and videos may also be inserted. Especially noteworthy is that Scoop.it enhances the viewings of the items presented on the site.
By joining around the same time Claude and Jan have been able to try out different functions without embarrassing themselves with strangers. For example, Claude recommended an article to Jan and Jan was sent an email letting her know. She wondered what Claude would see if she either accepted or rejected the recommendation so we tried it both ways. Either way the recommender receives an email. It was nice to see first hand the email as it was received so we could be sure it was not offensive (the app is international so one may not be able to predict the cultural implications of an email).
You can find out more about Scoop.it by reading the Scoop.it blog , “Scoop.it: Curation Made Social” by Diana Rees, and two YouTube tutorials, Scoop.it with subtitles in Italian and French (so far) and Exlpore the Scoop.it Community.