As teachers and students browse the Internet, they often find websites, articles and videos they want to share. However, finding those resources again is often a challenge, as it is nearly impossible to keep all of those links organized. Social bookmarking tools make the process of finding, organizing and sharing online resources much easier, and can also be put to use in a variety of ways within the classroom. We have handpicked some of the best social bookmarking tools for educators to organize their online resources.
The main appeal of social bookmarking tools is the ability to save and organize resources. Some tools do that particularly well. Delicious, Bag the Web and We Heart It are simple bookmarking tools that use tags to help organize and find bookmarked content. A similar tool, Historious, saves a cached version of a page so you can find content again, even if it is deleted later. Livebinder takes the traditional 3-ring binder online, allowing teachers to create and share binders full of resources. Another very popular bookmarking site, Pinterest is one of the Internet’s fastest-growing websites because it not only gives users the ability to pin ideas from the web, but to search for ideas others have pinned as well.
Some social bookmarking sites are focused on sharing more specialized content. With Edshelf, teachers can bookmark and share applications they want to use in lesson plans or have students use in the classroom. Similar to Pinterest, Educlipper is focused on sharing educational content, allowing teachers to add content to specific clipboards that can be shared with students and colleagues. Another unique resource, Evernote gives users the opportunity to share content not found online by allowing them to take pictures, record audio and scan documents to add to digital cabinets.
In the classroom, teachers often want to share resources with students for a specific reason, or need to make a note about a resource to remember why they saved it in the first place. Multiple social bookmarking tools allow users to do just that. Diigo bills itself as a personal information management system. After saving resources, users can add highlighting and sticky notes to help remember what they were thinking as they read. Jog the Web is a similar resource, allowing users to annotate websites, insert guiding questions and even tell others what order in which to view a collection of sites.
Middlespot takes the idea of highlighting and taking notes a step further. Users create dashboards that serve as a way to organize all sorts of documents, videos and webpages needed for research or major projects. With tools like Scoop.it, users take interesting content they find online and turn it into a digital magazine, presenting the bookmarked resources in a unique way for students.
For those of us who don’t have time to browse the web for resources and ideas, we can still benefit from social bookmarking sites. StumbleUpon recommends websites and resources based on users’ interests and have an education stumble that is worth a read through. One of the Internet’s most popular sites Reddit, allows users to submit links which are then rated and appear in search results based on their popularity. They have a dedicated education network which has some excellent resources updated daily.
/r/Education: A place to discuss the news and politics of education.
/r/AdultEducation: A place for adult educators to discuss tips and tricks to engaging an adult audience.
/r/ArtEd: A place for art educators to discuss the importance of art education and to share and collaborate on resources.
/r/CSEducation: A place for computer science educators and education researchers.
/r/ECEProfessionals: A place for early childhood educators to learn, grow, and contribute as professionals.
/r/ELATeachers: A place for English teachers to share ideas and lessons and to brainstorm and collaborate on new curriculum.
/r/HigherEducation: A place to discuss and share articles related to higher education.
/r/HistoryTeachers: A place to discuss and share resources for history educators.
/r/ScienceTeachers: A place for science educators to collaborate on and contribute tips, ideas, labs, and curricula.
/r/SpecialEd: Where special education teachers can discuss and share resources related to the education of students with special needs.
/r/Teachers: A place to discuss the practice of teaching, receive support from fellow teachers, and gain insight into the teaching profession.
/r/TeachingResources: A great place to share and discover teaching resources, such as demos, blogs, simulations, and visual aids.
/r/MusicEd: The Music Education subreddit.
In the classroom, the goal of social bookmarking sites is to help teachers be able to actually find and use the great resources they come across. Instead of sticky notes with scribbled down website addresses and disorganized favorites folders, teachers can have organized, annotated, searchable files full of resources to return to when lesson-planning and share with students and colleagues. Students can get in on the action to by creating their own files and lists to help them with research or share with their peers.
Samantha Kotey is the editor for AvatarGeneration and has a background in educational technology and virtual worlds. A mom of two, she is passionate about all things related to toys and technology.