Sunday, February 10, 2008

Let's All Learn to 'Share'!

The educational benefits and classroom applications are numerous for social bookmarking. The Web2tutorial at listed a number of possibilities;
- teachers could network with other educators around the globe who share their interests.
- as TLs we could create social bookmark accounts for our school's academic departments. Teachers within the department could all contribute to the growing database of web resources.
- school staff could contact other people for professional networking, based on their social bookmarks.
- classrooms could collaborate on projects with other schools, sharing bookmarks
- the TL or classroom teacher could choose specific sites and bookmark them. Their students could go directly to a bookmark that supports a concept or research project instead of the student 'Googling' and trying to wade through all the irrelevant information.

Will Richardson in Taming the Beast(2007) discussed having collaborative groups, classrooms or districts decide on a unique tag that everyone can use when they bookmark something of interest. He gave the fascinating example of a AP(Advanced Placement) calculus class in Winnipeg who when students found an interesting and useful site about calculus, they would bookmark it at with the tag 'apcalc06'. He goes on to say that not only are they collecting sites for themselves, they are collaboratively building a classroom resource.

I am quite interested and curious to know more about social bookmarking for books. Richardson briefly discusses this idea using Library Thing or Shelfari bookmarks. You first start a free account that allows you to create an online catalog of all of the books in your school library, and then add notes, descriptions and tags that describe what they are about. You then get connected to everyone else who has tagged that book and you would be able to view their comments, see the other books in their library and get ideas for what to read next. I think it has possibilities... has anyone heard of this before or done this?

Through collaboration and sharing teachers and students do benefit from utilizing social bookmarking tools.


Jennifer said...


I have heard that some small school libraries are using this instead of buying a library management system.


Arlene said...

Hi Cindy and Jenn,

I read about LibraryThing as well but wondered if it was less a social bookmarking tool and more a social networking tool.

From my exploration, a user adds titles rather than links to other outside resources. If someone is so inclined they could keep track of the books they read, would like to read or books they own and tag, annotate, share or comment.

My test search was for Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series and Gordon Korman as both are very popular. When I "stopped by" I felt like I was dropping in on a book club discussion!

I wonder if this could replace a hand written student reading log or even a reading response journal and would help students connect to others reading the same book, suggest titles and share what they are reading with a wider audience outside of school which could include family, friends and peers from near and far.

As with other websites, students would need to know what to do if they came across inappropriate content.

This also made me thing about the Chapters WishList tool. With a user account you can save titles. They can't be annotated but they can be shared or searched by email address. In this Chapters and other online big box book stores are capitalizing on the social aspect.

One of my colleagues uses the WishList tool to share titles of books that she wants to read with her mom who lives in Asia. Her mom will order books from the list and have them delivered to her daughter's home here in Edmonton. She also shared it with me for the purpose of identifying graphic novels that we should add to our school library collection. Arlene