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Social bookmarking tools

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What is Social Bookmarking

There have been many different attempts to classify web sites through the use of more traditional classification systems such as Gail Shea Grainger's "Dewey Browse." Dewey Browse uses the Dewey Decimal System to classify web sites for grades K-12 students. The problem is that web sites come in and out of existence. Other commercial ventures offer a more up to date list of web sites for students and teachers at a monthly price. A few examples are "StudentLink" and "NetTrekker."

All these services, free or commercial, use a top down approach for organizing web sites into predefined categories. Where individuals might make suggestions through a submission form on categories or web sites, but have very little effect the organizational structure of the web site.

Social bookmarking sites turns the hierarchical model upside down. In the past an individual might have saved their favourites or bookmarks on their local computer. Their bookmarks might have been organized under a few general headings. The social bookmarking web site allows individuals to store their bookmarks on the Internet and makes them accessible anywhere.

Shared online bookmarks have been around since April of 1996 with itList.com, and a number of other services link Backflip.com. The contemporary version of social bookmarking sites use an organizational strategy known as tagging.

Each social bookmarking site is a little different but all include the ability to include a description of the web site. These descriptions include keywords often referred to as tags, which help to classify the web site for the individual, similar to how you might use a heading in your bookmarks on your local computer. (see Clay Shirkey)

When many people use a social bookmarking site their tags seem to be repeated by others who use the same keywords to describe their bookmarks. This allows the users of the social bookmarking site to find out other web sites that have been tagged in the same way. Or a user can search through another person's bookmarks, as long as they remain public. Some social bookmarking sites offer the ability to make your bookmarks private and opt out of the social components of their sites.

Delicious.png Del.icio.us "edsocialbookmark" links

Tag your social bookmarking account with "edsocialbookmark" using del.icio.us to appear below, and share resources
with other educators.


Ideas Around Social Bookmarking

1. create a set of resources that can be accessed on any computer connected to the Internet

2. conduct research and share that research with your peers

3. track author and book updates

4. groups of students doing a classroom project sharing their bookmarks, a teacher subscribed to their rss feed to see the direction of their research. (FURL - teacher can review and comment on resources that are bookmarked)

5. resource teacher does a PD event with a group of teachers creates a shared del.icio.us account where teachers can post research and information bookmarks that they gather throughout the year. All members continuously benefit from this shared resource.

6. rate and review bookmarks to help with students decide on usefulness of resources

7. setup a group tag in order to share educational resources (IE. Dekita Exchange and on this wiki in Geocaching for Educators)

8. unintended learning through the discovery of resources and information shared by others through their bookmarks

9. Share links to current news itemsz that relate to classroom discussions.

10. Examine the popularity of a web site that a student had listed and examine those who have tagged that resource in order to find new resources. (and perhaps unintended learning opportunities)

11. Share one del.icio.us account between a number of different subject specific educators or a school in order to share resources with each other. (see Willowdale Elementary School and District6

12. Share one del.icio.us account between a large number of educators across a school district that teach in diverse settings in order to create a broad and deep set of resources. (see Traverse City Area Public Schools for district wide social bookmarking)

13. Students bookmark on a subject before a lesson (as a reading exercise), then review those sites after the ‘talk and chalk’ part of the lesson.

14. Students bookmark sites during a lecture, then review during question time.

How It Works

Create an account at del.icio.us or Furl to store, sort and share the web sites that you feel have worthwhile information for your students (and colleagues). Share your del.icio.us and Furl bookmarks with your class using their RSS feeds or referring students to your account.

These web services use keywords called tags that are freely chosen by its users to organize the links, often referring to as folksonomies, rather than a predetermined set of categories. You will use tagging to sort shared photographs, bookmarks, and in other social software.

An RSS feed can be found on the bottom of almost every page within del.icio.us. You can use your in-box to subscribe to other people’s feeds or by tag. The inbox merges all of these feeds together into a central feed. This central feed will keep track of all the bookmarks people are adding to the community that I have flagged.

You can also search through your bookmarks by keywords or by tags, and you can access your bookmarks from any Internet connection or through a public feed based on your username. Another feature of social bookmarking sites is the ability to search resources by popularity.

Another similar service, CiteULike is a free service to help academics to share, store, and organize the academic papers they are reading. Because your citations are stored on the server, you can access it from any computer. You can share your library with others, and find out who is reading the same papers as you. CiteULike is a great tool for writing and research.

(See Folksonomy and Tagging for more information)

Social Bookmarking with More features

Newer social bookmarking services allow you to focus on specific types of media or have enhanced features, that give it specific functionality. The functionality of these services can be repurposed by educators for collaborative classroom using Web 2.0.

A few examples:

Pixrat - Collect, organize and share pictures from the Web.

Stumble Upon - Allows users to create groups, collectively rate and tag web sites with a thumbs up or down rating.

uLinkx - Media organizer, bookmark, tag and search for videos and music on the web.

Create Your Own Social Bookmarking Site Locally

Scuttle offers the ability to run your own social bookmarking service locally on a board or school server. You now have many of the same functions as Del.icio.us, but have the database held locally rather than a third party site.

Adding RSS Feed of Bookmarks To Any Web Page

By using a service like Feed2js you can create a set of links or references and embed them in an online course, school or personal website. You are creating a personalized learning object for the class, which evolves over the term, by formatting your del.icio.us feed into JavaScript, and then placing the code on your website.

This is an example of a live del.icio.us rss feed on the tag "socialbookmarking." The latest 5 resources by users will appear below:


Educators Using Social Bookmarking Sites

Preservice Teachers

Elementary Teachers

Secondary Teachers


Educational Technology Geeks

Higher Education

Guides To Social Bookmarking Tools

These guides will get you started, as well as provide a few more ideas around social bookmarking uses in education.


Screenrecording Of How to Use Deli.icio.us from Teaching Hacks Del.icio.us Video

Jon Udell demonstrates Del.icio.us Del.icio.us Screencast

Screenrecording Of How to Use Furl from New Media WorkshopsFurl Video


Simply Del.icio.us! by David Muir Del.Icio.us Guide

Furl Furled Furling by Jim Wenzloff Furl Guide

David Warlick's Del.icio.us Guide

Del.icio.us Basics Us.ef.ul:A beginner's guide to The Next Big Thing


7 Things You Should Know about Social Bookmarking from Educause EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative

Education Focused Social Bookmarking Web Sites

Scuttledu K-12 Educators

Connotea Higher Education

CiteuLike Higher Education

Edtags.org General Education

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