Bookmarks are things you stick in books to mark your place. How do you mark your place when you are reading online? One of the ways to bookmark a website is to save it to your favourites/bookmarks folder in your browser. How many sites can you keep track of that way? Pretty soon you’ll have an endless list of links piling up, overwhelming your structure.
Social bookmarking is a way to save, store and group your bookmarks online. It allows you to have access to the sites you value most at home, at work, on the go … because they are stored on the cloud. Besides you can share your discoveries with your friends and colleagues, or the whole world (if you choose). And you can follow, or be followed by, individuals who collect similar types of bookmarks to your own, increasing your chances to find valuable resources on the web.
Diigo, or Digest of Internet Information, Groups and Other stuff, is one of the available social bookmarking services. Diigo lets you do more than just bookmark web pages online. It allows combining bookmarks with sharing, tagging, annotation and very powerful search tools. It’s a web annotation system and a knowledge sharing community.
Let’s take a step back of websites and think about reading books. Do you have a strategy that helps you focus and remember as you read a book? Do you use a highlighter, or post-its? Some people write notes on the margins. For many people it’s easier to read and remember things if you can interact with the text in some ways. Using Diigo you can actually use these techniques as you read online (e.g. https://diigo.com/01ibwg).
There are many potential uses for social bookmarking in EAL/ESL teaching and learning.
Through individual or collaborative Diigo annotations (sticky notes), webpages can become an asynchronous discussion tool. This discussion on the top of the webpage can be used to activate learners’ prior knowledge, to encourage reading for gist vs. reading for specific information (Through individual or collaborative Diigo annotations, webpages can become an asynchronous discussion tool. This discussion on the top of the webpage can be used as a brainstorming activity to activate learners’ prior knowledge (e.g. https://diigo.com/01j2e9).
You can ask learners to highlight key ideas of the text to enhance reading comprehension. Plus, if a learner goes to his library he will be able to share highlighted text with a group. The rest depend on your creativity: for example you can ask other learners to comment on this post by writing a short summary (after reading key ideas only) and then read the article itself (e.g. http://goo.gl/OYXhi7).
You can highlight new vocabulary in the article yourself and anchor sticky notes to the words/lexical chunks and ask your learners to guess the meaning of the words/phrases from the context (e.g. https://diigo.com/01j9ga).
Another application of Diigo is a customized glossary creation. EAL/ESL learners, especially newcomers, are to read dozens of texts online (job postings, upcoming events in their community, weather forecasts, government services websites, etc.) Whenever they come across words/phrases they don’t know, they can look them up on any online dictionary website and add this webpage to their Diigo list. (e.g. www.diigo.com/list/margaritaeo/Glossary/2zey69c90).
The real bonus of using social bookmarking with your class is the possibility to work on project-based learning tasks with your learners. You can share annotated bookmarks with a class to research a given topic. Students can perform their own research, and share a useful website with the class. The collection of tagged and annotated webpages curated by your learners can become an invaluable resource for other learners and your colleagues.
Feel free to join our Diigo group Resources for Newcomers to Manitoba (click ‘Apply to join this group’ on the right side of your screen; you will need a Diigo account for that) to explore Diigo and to share resources you might have with other teachers.
For more tips and examples you can watch the webinar recording or look through handout materials.
Thank you and see you online!