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Monday, March 19, 2012

Three Tools Students Can Use To Collaboratively Organize Online Research

One of the challenges that I always give to students when they work on collaborative research projects is to "go deeper than you would if you were working alone." The idea that I try to convey to them that the purpose of working together is not to make the assignment easier it is to make it possible for them to discover more information than they would if they were working alone. If the students are researching a topic online, often a series of emails with links to useful materials gets bounced between them. To alleviate the inbox flood, here are three tools that students can use to collaboratively organize their online research.

Diigo is my number one choice for collaborative bookmarking. Students can create groups or you can create groups for them to which they contribute bookmarks. Bookmarks can be annotated with notes about what makes that bookmark useful for the project that the students are working on. My friend Mary Beth Hertz wrote a nice overview of Diigo a couple of years ago, you can read that post here. The video below provides an overview of Diigo's features. 

Diigo V5: Collect and Highlight, Then Remember! from diigobuzz on Vimeo.

Think Binder is a website that gives students a place to create online study groups. In each group students can share files, share links, chat, and draw on a collaborative whiteboard. Students can create and join multiple groups. As you will see in the video below, getting started with Think Binder takes just a minute.
Embedded below is my brief video overview of Think Binder.


Searcheeze is a relatively new and neat service for curating the web with your friends. Searcheeze is basically a social bookmarking service with an extra publishing feature added to it. Here's how it works. Searcheeze provides a bookmarklet for bookmarking the things you find online. When you click the bookmarklet it opens up a sidebar to which you can drag as much highlighted text as you like from the webpage you're viewing. From that sidebar you can specify which of your collections of bookmarks you want send your highlighted content and bookmarks to. Then back in your Searcheeze account you can arrange your content and publish it for others to see. If you want to curate content with other Searcheeze users you can do so by sharing a collection and working together to add to it.
Searcheeze has been shutdown. 

The video below offers a short overview of Searcheeze.

Searcheeze - Search collaboration made easy! from Searcheeze on Vimeo.

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