Like many of the web 2.0 tools, social bookmarking can be used to enhance learning in today’s classrooms. I liked this web2tutorial on social-bookmarking, presented on a wiki, which includes some good examples of educational benefits and classroom applications. It also contains a list of real-world teachers’ bookmarks.
All Together Now, by Donna DesRoches (2007) looks at how librarians can use social-bookmarking tools, offering specific examples of working collaboratively with a theatre arts teacher, a biology class and a health teacher.
The article Identifying Key Research Issues, points to the The International Society for Technology in Education’s Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technology (CARET), which says technology improves student learning when it directly supports curriculum objectives, provides opportunities for student collaboration, adjusts for student ability and prior experience, is integrated into the typical instructional day and provides opportunities for students to design and implement projects that extend beyond the curriculum. The technology of social-bookmarking could be used in ways that would meet all of these critieria.
As well as providing students with a way to organize and access what they find useful on the web, social-bookmarking could be used for teachers to automatically send information to their students. Teachers could set up a folder on Furl for a subject they are teaching. If their students subscribed to an RSS of that folder, they would automatically receive all the links (and the comments on those links) that the teacher adds to the folder. This system could also be used to individualize learning by having separate folders for each student, sending them links and comments or questions, particularly suited to their area of study. If students are doing their work on a blog, teachers could tag students’ best work in a folder (with a unique tag) for parents to search on the social-bookmarking site. Students could also save links to a class archive (with a shared password). Teachers would be able to see if all students are participating. The list of links would be useful not only for research but for teaching critical thinking in evaluating the resources. Perhaps the evaluated list could be exported to become part of a pathfinder on that topic.
I see many uses for social-bookmarking in teacher collaboration. Saving, tagging and sharing sites with colleagues will not only make our jobs easier in terms of access to resources but will also evoke professional conversations, adding to a culture of learning in our schools where we move from isolationism to collaboration.