Back in the day.....
Remember that time saving button the “handset locator” they invented years ago to put on cordless phones to help locate the phone when you left it behind the couch pillows? You press the button and the phone beeps so you can find it easily. Brilliant invention wasn’t it? Think of all the time and frustration it saved you from searching high and low, between couch cushions and under stacks of newspapers, mail or magazines. Well, today it’s something different and it will save you even more time!!!
“If I could only remember that website that I have bookmarked on my home computer, it would be so useful right now. I could pass it on to the teacher so they could check it out”. Have you ever thought this? Perhaps it was for yourself or a friend, or family member. Way back in the dark ages (2004’ish), we were stuck with our bookmarks on one computer and remembering a url was completely dependent on your memory at any given time. No longer is this the case. Sites such as delicious and furl have enabled you to access all your favourites from any computer or personal device that is hooked up to the internet. In these social bookmarking sites, attaching tags to your sites with key words enables you to share and collaborate with others regardless of your purpose. Oh, and did I mention it’s easy?
I found immediate success and pleasure working with Delicious. I found the process very easy to follow and easy to manage. It is quite easy to organize my bookmarks how I would like them to be organized and the time I spent with it is certainly worth it when I access the net on a computer other than my home or work computer. This does not happen often, but I definitely see the power of being able to access such information wherever I am. I can certainly see myself using my delicious account more as I use my iPod touch more often in the school day & beyond. As I travel from class to class as a t-l. I am now able to access websites very efficiently and effectively with a few simple clicks. For example, I have bookmark folders and tags attached to each website for different subject areas at different grade levels. This way if I am in a grade 4 class that is studying pioneers, I can quickly access my bookmarks through any computer to find a website that may be relevant for students or teachers working in this area. Then, as I move to a grade 8 class to teach about authenticating websites, I can easily access my information literacy sites in this area of study. As our role as t-l’s continues to evolve, the importance of being able to access information from any place at any time becomes of the utmost importance. Delicious will definitely impact the effectiveness and timeliness of materials I can access.
Unfortunately I could not say the same for Furl. Apparently Furl doesn’t accommodate Mac users that use Safari as their primary browser. This was disappointing as I am a Mac user that does 75% of my web surfing using Safari. I am also of the thought process that if I can’t figure it out in the first few minutes, I’ll abandon exploration and find something that is easier to manage. In today’s technological age, why waste time with something that isn’t user friendly? It’s kind of like writing code to create a website instead of using a free, simple web creator to make your own website.
The most valuable learning that I took from researching and “playing” with social bookmarking sites such as delicious, is that not only do I benefit by organizing my bookmarks by using tags, but I now have access to bookmarks of other individuals. As an educator this is extremely helpful and can drastically cut down on the amount of time you may spend looking for appropriate and applicable websites. The “social” aspect of social bookmarking can be an incredible tool as your bookmarks and others are now public and not limited to a select few. For a great overview of social bookmarking, check out the You Tube video “Social Bookmarking in Plain English”. Now of course you do have the choice to keep your bookmarks private if you do so wish, so you don’t have to worry about any privacy issues that may arise whatever those may be.
The educational benefits are far reaching. “It’s quickly becoming a popular way for teachers and students to store, classify, share, and search links, all of which are gathered by many users.” Donna DesRoches states in her article “All Together Now
Social bookmarking offers a new way to store and share Web sites
By” published in the School Library Journal (Jan, 2007). Social bookmarking creates another opportunity for students and teachers to collaborate on-line. You are now able to access other individuals professional resources without having to contact them immediately. Another benefit is that you are able to create social bookmarking communities with individuals who have similar interests. By establishing these communities, you know those in your community have similar interests or purposes in the collection of their bookmarks.
Wrapping It Up
"7 Things you should know about Social Bookmarking" offers a good overview of social bookmarking for anyone new to this organizational and collaborative tool. In addition to this, wikipedia’s social bookmarking site also gives a good introduction and offers several links to further explore social networking sites.
I’m busy attaching tags as we speak to my already large collection of bookmarks in my delicious account so wish me luck and happy social bookmarking & tagging to all!