Saturday, June 21, 2008

Summer Professional Development - Part II - Social Bookmarking

Recently at my school all teachers’ laptops had to be collected for re-imaging. A major source of anxiety for many teachers was fear of losing all of the websites they had bookmarked in their browsers. I gave many people directions on how to export their bookmarks as an html file to use and import back into a browser when they get their computers back. This experience gave me the opportunity to introduce a number of teachers to social bookmarking.

Social bookmarking refers to using a web-based service to bookmark and, if you would like, share your bookmarks with others. The first benefit of social bookmarking is that your bookmarks are available to you anytime you’re online regardless of which computer you use to connect to the Internet. The second benefit of social bookmarking is that you can share your bookmarks with other people and you can explore the bookmarks of other people interested in the same topics you’re interested in.

Here is a short video produced by Common Craft explaining social bookmarking. After the video continue reading for ideas about using social bookmarking in education.

Applications for Education
Social Bookmarking has some great benefits for teachers and students. For teachers exploring the bookmarks of other users is a great way to find information and lesson resources. Simply search by topic or keyword to see what other people interested in the same topics as you’re interested in have found and bookmarked.

Social bookmarking can be useful for sharing Internet resources with your students. Through services like PortaPortal teachers can bookmark websites that students will find useful. Students can then log-in to PortaPortal and explore the websites you have bookmarked for them. This can be a real time-saver if you’re trying to conduct a short Internet research based lesson.

Finally, as mentioned earlier, using a social bookmarking service makes your students’ bookmarks available to them on any computer. If you teach in a school where the students have to go to a computer lab to get online, social bookmarking allows them to access the websites they use frequently.

Here are some popular social bookmarking services you may want to explore.