Knowing how to organise, filter, research, evaluate and bookmark resources online is a valuable skill for students to gain.
However, we can’t assume giving students access to a social bookmark tool means they’ll know what’s expected or will gain the necessary skills.
This guest post by Donal O’ Mahony shares his experience and advice using social bookmarking with students.
Social bookmarking with students
When I first taught social bookmarking we jumped straight into using Diigo, a social bookmarking tool, and I soon discovered that the students dumped links irrespective of their quality.
I’ve now learnt that:
- Students need explicit instructions and instructions to get the most out of social bookmarking.
- Students must see the point of aggregating bookmarks that they can return to for further use. Don’t expect them to initially appreciate the value of why they should bookmark.
- Students need to be aware of the types of bookmarks they can save. I teach history, so a bookmark could be a link to maps, photos, documents, quotes and so on –it’s like collecting different artifacts online.
- Students need to understand bookmarking is about finding quality links and not quantity.
Teaching quality bookmarking skills
Nowadays I use a different approach.
Step 1: Focus on how to judge the quality of a link
Initially I focus on spend time teaching them how to judge the quality of a link and how to search for a variety of links.
We start by first gathering the links in their Moodle account rather than using a social bookmarking site. If you don’t use Moodle this could be easily done using a Google Doc or a wiki.
Below is an example of a student is collecting links in their Moodle account on WT Cosgrave, first President of the Executive Council) of the Irish Free State from 1922 to 1932.
In the computer-room I focus on moving them from “Look what I found!” to explaining “Why they think it is a good link!”
Step 2: Teach them how to social bookmark
Once they appreciate how to judge the quality of links then I teach them how to social bookmark.
By taking this approach they learn that the true strength of social bookmarking using a Diigo group is individuals saving quality links to it.
There are numerous approaches you can use to set up Diigo:
- Originally I created an account for each student in a group we called TYHISTORY. Diigo is easy to set up and use –other than the usual issue around students remembering passwords! Here are instructions on how to set up a Diigo account and groups.
- If I was starting again I would have one class account only and let the students save their links using their first name as an identifier each time they post a hyperlink
You’ll find more about social bookmarking with students here:
- Using Social bookmarking in schools and with students – Part One
- Using Social bookmarking in schools and with students – Part Two
- Classroom Collaboration Using Social Bookmarking Service Diigo
- Using Social bookmarking in education
This is a guest post by Donal O’ Mahony.
Donal O’ Mahony is a secondary school teacher at Portmarnock Community School in North County Dublin, Ireland.
Donal firmly believes that it is all about the teaching and learning. Technological applications work away in the background allowing the teacher and student to engage with content in engaging ways.