Saturday, October 4, 2008

"Everyone Must Know"--Social Bookmarking Services

Back when I was at the University of Saskatchewan (for my B.Ed), I took my friend's 5 year-old son to see the dinosaurs in the Biology/Geology building. I showed him how even the rocks on the walls had fossils in them. He got very serene for a moment, then whispered "Everyone must know...." He proceeded to approach passing strangers saying, "did you know that there are fossils everywhere? You should really know that." He just had to share the joy of this new and amazing discovery, and that is how I am feeling tonight after exploring the social bookmarking services of Diigo and Delicious. I am holding myself back from approaching total strangers on the street to tell them about the possibilities of social bookmarking.

A Tale of Two Social Bookmarking Services

Being new to social bookmarking services, I really have no instant preference between the two sites I have been working with . Both Diigo and Delicious are relatively easy to navigate through, and offer an easy way to take your bookmarks with you wherever you go (as long as you are wired). Below, I will list a few of my observations about each site.

Glimpsing Diigo

  • When going through the Diigo Dashboard, you can easily preview your bookmarks without leaving the site. This would be a useful feature if you are browsing student's bookmarks for content/appropriateness; it is a time-saving feature.
  • On the toolbar (which you can download to your browser for free) you have the option of highlighting information on the website that you are bookmarking. You can also add comments by way of "floating sticky notes"--this seems like an organizational benefit--you can post reminders about why that website was important.
  • Tagging itself is not as apparent--there is no pop-up screen which asks for tags as there is on Delicious.
  • There is a feature that allows you "play webslides"--this presents your webpages in a slideshow. I think students would enjoy this feature to give them a visual taste of the websites bookmarked.
  • Getting social on this site seems easy--there is a section on the dashboard that invites you to "Meet people" the site will recommend other users "with similar interests to you". (I tried it, but did not have luck as I did not have enough bookmarks/tags listed yet).

Glimpsing Delicious

  • I have not found a preview or a slideshow of bookmarks--I liked this on the Diigo site and think students would too (if there is this ability on Delicious, please let me know!)
  • Tagging is very easy as a screen pops up as soon as you click on the tag icon. Tags are suggested in this screen which makes it easier to decide upon appropriate language.
  • There are more users, I don't have to search for a social community--it's already starting as many classmates have chosen Delicious.
  • On the browser you can "send to OneNote" which I have found useful. In OneNote students can see their webpage and make notes that they do not want to share on the Delicious Network.
Ponderings about Social Bookmarks and Student Learning

Where I think these services would be most beneficial is in collaborative projects. I think many students would take ownership over their own learning if they were tagging sites that they found useful and sharing them with their classroom community. The social aspect of sharing their bookmarks also puts a certain amount of peer pressure to find good sites, perhaps making students be more critical of the sites they are using. It would be an interesting study to see if social bookmarking sites like Diigo, Delicious, Furl, etc. are changing the relationship students have with their resources. Do they read more critically? Do they feel more organized? Do they feel more pressure or less (because they have access to each others bookmarks). These are just a few of my ponderings; I'll be looking for answers in my classroom experiences to come.


Jo-Anne Gibson said...

I loved your "everyone must know" story. Very fitting because we now know how much a social bookmarking site can do for the average digital consumer.

I agree that students would like the slideshow feature in Diigo. I haven't seen the OneNote feature you talk about. I'll have to go "digg" some more.


Jan said...

Thanks for the comparison between the two...I choose Diigo and spent the week pretty wrapped up in it that I didn't have much of a chance to give delicious a try.
The Diigo toolbar is great and does have a feature where you can post(or put into edit)directly to your blog.

Joanne de Groot said...

Hi Carol,

I loved the story at the beginning of this post--kids can be right on the money, everyone should know!

Thanks too for your comparison between diigo and delicious...interesting to see how they are similar and different!

Carol said...

Cute story about the fossils. Do you think you will maintain both Delicious and Diigo for bookmariking?

carol t

Carol N. said...

Thanks for the feedback-now to answer Carol T's question--I don't think I will keep both bookmarking sites going, I will for a bit longer and see which one becomes the most useful.