Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sample E-learning Bookmark


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Social Bookmarking

1. Reflections on the process of learning about the tool
I chose to use the social bookmarking tool, Diigo and my decision to do this was based on some online reviews that I came across and Richardson’s comparison of it with Delicious in the text. I had before hand heard of Delicious and the bookmarking capability that it offered, but had always left made a ‘mental note to self’ that someday soon I was going to explore the site. Sadly, that mental note never made it on my to-do list, but now that I am covering the topic of bookmarking in this Web2.0 course and I am required to use a tool, I chose Diigo.

Of course, for me, it was a breath of fresh air to create a Diigo account, just create a user name, enter your username and password and you are ready to start using the service. For the most part, using Diigo was like participating in a ‘guided learner’ environment as Richardson in sharing with us all the cool features of the tool, took the fun out of my exploration and ‘aha’ moments.

I just need to work out the dynamics of this bookmarking tool and see how best it works for me. I have started bookmarking some pages and following some persons. I must say clicking that “Follow me” button gave me an unnerving feeling.....It just feels weird to have total strangers follow me or for me to be following them, -it’s a Twitter feeling that I just haven’t been able to shake yet. Since I installed Diigo, I at times get an Internet Explorer error that tells me it has to close the page. Although the page is bookmarked, it is frustrating to keep launching Internet Explorer. I am thinking that maybe that’s something that has to do with the settings on IE. When I have some free time I will attempt to correct this problem.

2. Discussion of the tool in terms of my own personal learning

Social bookmarking, what in the world is that? I know what book-marking is, so if it’s done electronically, why isn’t the name electronic bookmarking? Social bookmarking, that just sound like it’s a kind of bookmarking that involves interactions with other people, but then why should it? These were some of the initial questions that I had when I saw the topic – prior to my exploration of social bookmarking. Well now that I have done the readings and created my own Diigo account, I have come to appreciate and understand the concept of social bookmarking.
Now, I have bookmarked web-pages before, I always do, but then I don’t usually use it as a point of reference. I just happen to stumble on some of these pages when I am bookmarking other pages and then I would say “Oh, this is where I had placed it”.

Well, in exploring Diigo, I realized that I could import other bookmarks that I had created, and that’s just what I did. More importantly, I realize that, it’s not just about bookmarking, I need to go a step further and organize all the information that I have bookmarked. As we spoke about in our group discussion, we constantly have to sift through a pile of information – unless we categorize this information, it will just make our lives more complicated and force us to waste time sorting through all the bookmarks that we have made.

As a graduate student, I am now working on my thesis and social bookmarking comes in quite handy where accessing resources online are concerned. I immediately started bookmarking pages that relate to my research topic. It not only helps in that respect, but I can also see other articles that individuals with similar interest have bookmarked and choose from those list, and they can do the same from my public lists. I thought to myself that the only thing that Diigo falls short of is referencing, that would go along perferctly with book-marking, especially for my thesis (it would be great having a ‘Refworks’ of my own). Then when reading I discovered a tool that offers both functionalities- Connotea. That is definitely a tool that I will be toying with in the very near future.

It really gives another dimension to collaborative work. We are regularly placed in groups to work on different tasks and this usually involves sending emails back and forth, with documents attached or sending links. There is just so much more that can be done with Diigo as we can highlight text that we need group-members to take note of and even leave sticky notes (now how cool is that?).

3. Discussion of the tool in terms of teaching and learning
“There is something in the air, and it is nothing less than the digital artifacts of over one billion people and computers networked together collectively producing over 2,000 gigabytes of new information per second. While most of our classrooms were built under the assumption that information is scarce and hard to find, nearly the entire body of human knowledge now flows through and around these rooms in one form or another, ready to be accessed by laptops, cellphones, and iPods. Classrooms built to re-enforce the top-down authoritative knowledge of the teacher are now enveloped by a cloud of ubiquitous digital information where knowledge is made, not found, and authority is continuously negotiated through discussion and participation.” (Wesch, 2009).

After reading Wesch’s article, I reflected on just how this explosion of data has really thrown out the door, the notion of ‘teacher’ as the source of knowledge. The author entitled the article “From knowledgable to knowledge-able” and this play on words sends the message home to the reader. The new technologies that now exist allow students to have new and ground breaking research at their finger-tips that they are ready to share in the classroom, research that their teachers may not even know exist.

When reading about what social bookmarking has to offer, I question what will become of librarians? Will their skills still be needed and how functional will they be when everyone can now tag and ‘shelve’ their research according to specific titles? Wastay suggests that librarians of the 21st century will have the following roles:
•Cultural Role
•Teaching Role
•Providing Access to Information
•Space Provision
•Act as Information Advocates
•Advising Role
•Information Organisation and Retrieval
•Knowledge and Digital Management
•Information Mining

I think of the teacher in the classroom and the tensions that may arise, if they introduce their students to ‘social bookmarking’. How do they get their students to improve or develop their research skills when at the click of a button students can pull a list of resources that other persons have already researched and made readily available?

These Web 2.0 technologies are constantly raising the bar and changing the parameters within which teachers and students interact. While many administrators have embraced this and are encouraging educators to factor this in their delivery of content, the methods of assessment seems to still depict a traditional way of thinking. In recent times, the style of teaching has changed – the teacher is no longer sage on the stage but a guide on the side, the teaching aids have mostly become ‘technological’ in look and feel, but the assessment seems to still be stuck in the ‘achievement test’ mode. Curricularists and school boards will need to review their processes, and the objectives and tests that are being set need to start reflecting ‘a climb’ towards the higher order skills that Bloom’s taxonomy depicts. (Trivia: I just read that the page that I researched on assessment and bookmarked was first bookmarked by Will Richardson :) )

Discussions of social bookmarking in terms of teaching and learning...I see numerous potentials for this tool in the classroom, but I am left with more questions than answers about how it will really impact the dynamics that occur within classrooms.

Wesch, M. (2009). From Knowledgable to Knowledge-able: Learning in New Media Environments. Retrieved from