Bookmarking is something that I have done on many occasions. I have seen many colleagues do so as well. However, the lists can become quite cumbersome, and at times, I don’t even remember why I bookmarked a site in the first place. Social bookmarking could redefine how sites are bookmarked. Educase (2005), defines social bookmarking as “the practice of saving bookmarks to a public web site and ‘tagging’ them with keywords”. It’s the last part of the definition that is appealing about social bookmarking.
In my arena of education, I am always searching for new information on ideas to help my colleagues become better at their craft. Not only can I bookmark the sites that I find, I can tag them with keywords so I remember what they are about, for example, close reading. Also, since they are public, the sites that I bookmark can be shared with my colleagues so they can read the information. The concept of sharing bookmarks in this manner fits right into the idea of professional learning networks, or PLNs. Maloy, Verock, Edwards & Woolf (2016), define a PLN as “an anywhere, anytime source of ideas and information that supports and expands your work” (p. 19). In addition to the PLN, teachers can begin to change practices with students.
Writing was a big initiative in my district as a teacher. Teachers might have students curate their own lists of resources used, and share it within a group created for the class. Using a predefined tag, and the group, teachers could easily verify their students sources. Teachers could be the curator as well. Thinking back on an assignment in my science class, students needed to read articles throughout the year. These lists could be curated by the teacher on those different topics. Students could then pick from what they wanted to read from the list. It also allows the “teachable moments” to remain accessible, and more importantly, easy to find when needed again. Keeping with the research idea, students could extend their learning by searching for other ideas and topics that they may come across in their reading and research.
It wouldn’t take much to begin using social bookmarking. Once the site you wish to use is identified, and an account created, it becomes easy to start. Keep in mind ease of the bookmarking, many sites like Diigo offer a web extension to make your curation easy. Getting more teachers to use it will take some work. Coming from the classroom myself, I am aware of the many tasks that consume the day. Leading by example will help stimulate some teachers into using the idea, however, for others it may take modeling of an assignment to see the value, and ease, in using social bookmarking.
One thing to keep in mind when searching the social bookmarking sites for ideas – there is no oversight to how people curate and tag their lists and resources. Educase (2005) states, “This could lead to inconsistent or otherwise poor use of tags”. This could be very beneficial, as it may extend your topic into new areas. It could also bog down a search. Either way, you don’t really know where it can take you, so just prepare for the ride!
Educase Learning Initiative. (2005, May). 7 Things you should know about social bookmarking. Retrieved from: https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7001.pdf
Malroy, R, Verock-O’Loughlin, R, Edwards, S., Woolf, B. (2016). Transforming learning with new technologies (3rd ed). Boston, MA: Pearson. Kindle Edition.