5 Ways to Use Social Bookmarking in the Classroom

Too much information is a common complaint heard from students and teachers in regards to conducting research online.  Teachers do not have the luxury of limitless time to allow students to work through the clutter online in order to find the best information.  Students do not have the patience to work through less than stellar websites and often settle for what they find first. Social bookmarking presents a way to organize the “good” information we do find online and have it readily accessible for when we need it.  Delicious being one of the more commonly used social bookmarking sites offers a clean interface and organization method.  With most students and teachers and students using two or more web-enabled devices a day, social bookmarking can help keep what is most important to them in one place.

While social bookmarking is nothing new using it in the classroom is not readily undertaken.  Many teachers feel that the set up is too time consuming or are scared off by the word “social.”  I would like to share five easy ways to utilize social bookmarking in the classroom.  These methods can help students and teachers stay organized and better connected with the content that is available to them online.

1) moreabout tags – Most social bookmarking sites utilize tagging to organize and identify links.  When a user finds and interesting link they save it to their site and add tags that they can later use to find the web page.  One way a teacher can create a resource for their students is to tag interesting links with “moreabout_topic.”  The topics can be something current in the news or a set in stone requirement of the class.  Teachers can then share their social bookmarks with their students.  When students want to know more about a topic beyond what is provided in their textbook they can search the moreabout tag.  They will then find resources already reviewed by the teacher that they can use to enhance their learning.

2) link show and tell – In my experience, students who enjoy being online want to tell others about what they did and found on the Internet.  Social networking sites have allowed students to connect and share with their friends but we should not limit this to the time outside of school.  Encourage students to find an interesting link.  The link can be on a specific topic or open to the students’ imaginations.  Have the students tag the link with “showandtell.”  Then, in class have each student present their link to the class.  Students will then have a tagged collecdtion of show and tell resources that they can view and use throughout the year.

3) web link portfolio – For teachers who have a consistent access to a computer lab a web link portfolio is a great way to collect what students have read and said during the school year.  To start have each student create a unique tag such as lastname_portfolio.  When the class reads and article or visits a site have the students tag the link with their portfolio tag.  Then, have students respond to the article/site online through a discussion board or wiki.  Students should subsequently tag their response.  At the end of the year the students will share their bookmarks with the teacher.  The teacher can search the tags and see what each student has read and said all year.

4) trend watching – This is a quick and easy opener to any class.  Open a social bookmarking page and ask your students for a keyword relating to the topic you are currently discussing.  Look at the results that come back based on the keyword.  Which ones have been tagged the most?  What other tags are connected to them?  Why do you think this is?  This can also be used to validate the credibility of a link based on the number of tags and user feedback.

5) data grab – Have all of your students signed in to a social bookmarking site.  Present them with a new topic and give them twenty minutes to find a useful link on the topic.  When they find the link have them tag it with their last name and datagrab_topic.  Then share the links and review as a class.  In twenty minutes you will likely have hours and hours of information on the topic.  This can then be saved as a resource for a larger project.  You can also give extra credit to anyone who finds a unique link that no other student tags.  This will encourage them to not tag the first result in a Google search.

Social bookmarking is easy to set up, easy to use, and easy to implement in the classroom.  In the comments section let me know what other ways you use have used social bookmarking to improve student learning and capitalize on web2.0 innovations.

15 thoughts on “5 Ways to Use Social Bookmarking in the Classroom

  1. Pingback: Social Bookmarking | klj45

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  3. Some really great ideas for older students!! I particularly like the ‘show and tell’ paragraph-this helps make the experience meaningful for each student, and I’m sure gives them a sense of accomplishment by being able to share with classmates. The data grab is another great idea, and love the built in incentive!!! I work with pre-k students, but can see the value of these ideas for any teacher in upper elementary, middle school, and up.

    • There are good ideas for upper grade levels. With internet restrictions where I teach, some of the above ideas wouldn’t work. But my students would be all over the link show and tell and trend watching. My fifth graders love bringing objects and telling about it. They would enjoy learning how to catalogue websites and sharing as well.

    • I totally agree that children would really enjoy sharing what they have found with the “show and tell” technique. I really think those students that can read could do a modified version of this depending on what can be found on the web????? In high school they still enjoy sharing their own findings but we don’t always call it “Show and Tell”. LOL
      The incentive idea is great because we all need those to motivate us.

  4. There are some great ideas. I love the idea of web link portfolio. I often get links via email about good websites I can have my students go on. However, when it comes time to retrieve them, I have to go through all my emails and remember the topic and who sent it. Thus, I don’t use them as much as I would like. So this idea would really come in handy to organize my influx of sites.

  5. I have never used social bookmarking with any of my Spanish classes. In fact, I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t use much technology in general. One of my frustrations has always been that it’s hard to keep track all of the different websites and how to get some of those ridiculously long URL’s to the kids. I am excited to get ideas on a place to, not only save, but to organize all of the resources and information I find on the web in one place that is easily accessible for my students.

    • I think it is very exciting that this tool provides a means to organize the sites for future use. It truly can be frustrating to know you have seen something “good” but can not find it again. This also seems to make it quite user friendly to open the sites and use them for teachers as well as students. I hope you find it much easier to use with your students once we finish the class.

  6. What really amazes me is we as educators and students have capabilities of using this technology. I think that the show and tell technique can be used in elementary school as well as secondary. Most of my Home School parents have personal computers and this is something that I intend to show them to help them access additional information. They in turn will be able to expose their children to this service.

  7. As I read this article, I realize just how much I didn’t know you could do with social bookmarking! While my Kindergarten students can’t apply all of these things, could I use some of them with my families as a communication tool and way to foster some social activity among families?

    I’m thinking I could use the link show and tell to share links and resources with my students families.

    A question I have is: Can I start this at this point in the year or should I wait until next year?

    • You could likely start right now. Using a bookmarking site such as Diigo allows you to import your existing bookmarks quickly. This can help build up your base repository. The steps for letting others share are minimal so it should not be too difficult to get parents on board even at this juncture in the school year. The great thing about social bookmarking is that it doesn’t expire so these parents could continue to explore and contribute next year even as you welcome in a new host of students.

  8. My big take-away from this article is social bookmarking doesn’t have to be teacher-driven whatsoever! This is very-student-lead and as a result, the students take more ownership in their work and put more effort into it! Not only is this better for the student, but it takes a lot of pressure off of the teacher in terms of planning. I really like the idea of the “data grab” as I think I would be able to use this with my 6-8 students in general music, pertaining to composers, musical eras, etc. Making it almost a competition always causes students to put more into the activity and lends itself to more student learning.
    I would love to read an article that is specifically related to social bookmarking in relation to music. I would love to see/read social bookmarking ideas that others have used pertaining to music class.

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  11. I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t know there were websites to put your bookmarks in. With my 5th and 6th graders, I usually find a handful of good sites for them to use for a particular research project and drop them into their Google Classroom. However, if I’d use a site such as Delicious, they’d be there for me for the next year, next project, etc.
    I really like the Data Grab Activity as I’ve often found that 5th and 6th graders tend to gravitate towards the first link that pops up when they do a Google Search. It would also help compile a list of great websites that I didn’t have to create!

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