It’s only the 2nd day of NaBloPoMo and I’m already having trouble finding inspiration for blog posts. To help give me some ideas on what to share with you, I decided to visit Diigo. This is where I stash anything that I find of interest that I hope to visit again soon. There is a ton of stuff in there, and I have to admit, I do more stashing than I do revisiting the content. Some day. Well, today is that day apparently.
As I sit here and reflect on my usage of Diigo as an archival service for my interests, I’m feeling that sharing with you about how I use it might be as beneficial as sharing what I have there. Let’s focus on the former. I switch over from Delicious to Diigo a couple of years ago after I saw what @rrodrigo was doing with it, and Delicious had just been bought out by Yahoo! I felt that my “brain” was being messed with, so I needed to switch to a safer place that wasn’t going to disappear on me. Diigo was the choice, mostly for the added features over what Delicious was offering.
I had started using social bookmarking in my ENG102 research paper writing class, and I desperately needed an easier way to group students together by class and have them engage with each other online over their shared research projects. This was cumbersome in Delicious, but proved to be a breeze in Diigo, as Diigo has Groups, and is set up for teachers to easily add students and organize them in these groups. I was in heaven after I discovered this. But the best features that really sold me on Diigo were the annotation tools. I love that my students can highlight sections of a web page and make notes. They can comment on pages that have been saved and “Like” links that have been saved. And we can even have a discussion forum right in the middle of it all. It’s truly awesome for shared research assignments.
My students love it because it’s easy to use. They have lots of tools to make Diigo easy to use. They include Bookmarklets and browser addons. Students were able to simple drag the Diigolet up to their Bookmarks Toolbar. And there are tons of mobile apps and Web Services. My favorite is Save to delicious, which automatically cross-posts to your delicious account. I couldn’t just abandon Delicious. We go way back.
I also use Diigo as part of my Personal Learning Network (PLN). I’ve subscribed to groups and even created a group for CyberSalonAZ. One group that I’ve found great resources in is Diigo In Education. Once you subscribe to a group, you can select to get daily updates on new content via email. It’s easy to keep up with the posts when they come to email. You can also choose to have no email or maybe a weekly update. You should all join our CyberSalonAZ Diigo group and start sharing. See below for joining and seeing what we’ve saved recently.
Diigo Image from http://www.customicondesign.com
This screencast covers the basics of signing up for a delicious account, installing the delicious toolbar/buttons, saving a website, and updating your personal profile.
To learn more about delicious and social bookmarking, check out the Common Craft video below, Social Bookmarking in Plain English.
Yes, just this semester I tried implementing del.icio.us into my ENG102 (research) class to help students share their research with each other. I wouldn’t say it was a huge success, but I still believe it is a worthwhile assignment. The main problem was that many students are not familiar with social bookmarking and can’t see a need for it. Students tend to “live for the moment” meaning they search for something in Google, find what they need, use it for whatever purpose, and then they are on to something else. It’s hard to get them to think in terms of “saving” for later or even sharing it with someone else. I also had to teach students how to download the bookmark extensions for the browsers in class and how to use the extension. This is all time consuming.
The assignment was based around a unit theme for the course, personal freedoms. This was an exploration assignment to get ideas for topics that fit into the theme. We used the notes section to practice summary skills. They wrote 3-5 sentence summaries of what the web pages covered, and we used the tags section to come up with keywords related to the topics. They could later use those same keywords to do further searches for periodicals and books. A requirement was that one tag must be: personal+freedoms. By using this tag we created a repository of web pages on the topic of personal freedoms, which then becomes a starting point for students exploring a topic to research and argue. Here is a list of our collection: http://del.icio.us/tag/%22personal%2Bfreedoms%22
We needed to spend more time on the tagging and keywords. They did do very well there.
I then used the RSS feed to port the collection into Blackboard, explaining to students that they could view the collection right from there, and whenever anyone added more to it, it would automatically repopulate with all the new content.
The evaluation part came in later. We were only concerned with gathering and sharing ideas with that assignment. The next assignment was to choose a page from the collection and evaluate it. The lecture discussed how web sources are not always reliable and are not always the best for college papers. My guess was that many of the pages collected would not be great sources, so an evaluation would point out some major flaws. They were then asked to search and share again, armed with this new knowledge, but I’m not so sure the second batch of pages collected were any better than the first.
I hope that explains it. If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask. I’m already think of better ways to do it next time.