Social bookmarking is one way to organize the vast amount of information available on the internet. While many people save websites as “Favorites” or “Bookmarks” on their own personal computer, it is more efficient to save favorite web sites online, so that you can access them anytime, anywhere.
Furthermore, a social bookmarking system allows users to share their bookmarks with others and even join groups of people with similar interests. (Bookmarks can also be kept private.) In a school setting it means colleagues can share academic websites easily and students can share subject websites. A defining aspect of social bookmarking is that it simplifies how we share information with each other, and makes it easier to retrieve resources.
Web-based bookmarking also allows users to file their favorite web sites in a variety of ways that make sense to them. A social bookmarking service like Diigo provides highlighting and annotation tools users can provide descriptions and “tags” to help them search for web pages. (Specific tags allow others with similar interests to find shared resources.) For a class that is working on a project, social bookmarking gives teachers and students the chance to help each other find useful web sites, and they can learn from each other via notations made on each web site.
The two most popular social bookmarking services among teachers are Diigo and Delicious. We recommend Diigo since it offers more features and because Yahoo is no longer supporting Delicious. In any event, once you decide on a social bookmarking site open a free account and save your favorite web sites to this account. Give them as many “tags” (keywords to organize content) as will be helpful to you. You can easily retrieve these sites in the future, you can make notes on them (with “sticky notes”) and highlight important sections, and you can share them with others. You can also “follow” other people who mark the same kinds of sites that you do, which is a way of building an online “personal learning community.” If students use these tools, they will begin to take charge of their own learning by controlling the information that they access and use.
A great web-based platform for saving, annotating, and sharing bookmarks, students, teachers, departments, and even institutions can collect, share, and publish their online resources. Diigo serves as a research and collaborative tool and also a knowledge-sharing community.
Diigo Educator Accounts
These are special premium accounts provided specifically to K-12 & higher-ed educators. Once your Diigo Educator application is approved, your account will be upgraded to have additional features. You can read the About Diigo section on their website for more information on the service
This is a popular alternative to Diigo, though it is no longer supported by Yahoo.
These related tools can also help you and your students clip, organize, and bookmark web content:
With Evernote you can add notes, images, URL and clips from the web to this online organizational tool. With a free account, students can create folders for specific classes or research projects. Each new note that is added can be placed in a specific folder. Key features include:
- Ability to tag notes with specific keywords. Keywords can be searched later to find specific research notes.
- Pictures taken with cell phone can be text messages or emailed to evernote account. iPhone & Android application allows for research and note taking away from computer.
This is a free online organization tool, similar to Evernote. You can create new folders to store an organize notes, bookmarks & URLs. Key Features include:
- Google Chrome Extension & iphone application.
- Ability to look up ideas within Springpad that you want to add.
- Ability to tag notes with keywords.
With WebKlipper find online content, a website or a document. Insert the URL into Webklipper and the website can now have notations placed onto the content. The notations made on the URL are saved via a unique URL that can be shared with others. Users can demonstrate analysis of a document based on the notations left behind.
See also our Research section for more related tools.
Here are examples of social bookmarking groups at Diigo that you or your students might join:
- English Companion Ning Group – A Diigo group for members of the English Companion Ning (http://englishcompanion.ning.com/). Share resources related to teaching literature and writing.
- EFL Classroom 2.0 – A group for teachers and students of English to share the sites they find most helpful.
EdTechTeacher Diigo Tutorial
Social Bookmarking in Plain English
We suggest you create a group account for your classroom and encourage students to contribute to it. Students can save web pages to both their individual account and a group classroom account.
Social bookmarking can be integrated into English and language arts classes in a variety of ways. Here are some ideas:
- Have students bookmark web pages they come across during the year to a group classroom account.
- As part of a research project, ask students to bookmark web pages they visit to their individual account or your group classroom account.
- Have students highlight important passages from a web page and then bookmark the page to an individual or group account.
- Have students place a “sticky note” on a web page with their commentary on the information on that specific web page or web site. (This might deter students from padding their list of research sources with web pages they have not examined.)
- Create a department or school account and ask colleagues to bookmark their favorite online resources to the group account.