For the past several days, I have been thinking that I was unhappy with my tagging system for my bookmarks in del.icio.us. Don’t get me wrong or think that I’m speaking out against del.icio.us – I love it. It was just that when I started out, I still didn’t get the foundational importance of proper and consistent tagging of my bookmarks. Every time I went to find something in my del.icio.us account, I would just go back by date and guess and hope. It was frustrating because I knew that the link was there – I just couldn’t find it!
I had heard a lot about Diigo as another great social bookmarking site from my PLN (personal learning network). I hadn’t tried it out yet, but Friday night I decided it was the time. I opened my del.icio.us account in one tab and my new Diigo account in another. I didn’t want to import/export. That was part of what got me in trouble in the first place. So, I started in on the 1710 sites that I had previously bookmarked. These are sites I have collected in my 10 years of teaching for my personal use, classroom applicatoin and professional development training purposes. Most of the links still worked and most still fascinated me. In fact, it felt like Christmas! I had a blast revisiting and sharing the sites that I had previously bookmarked.
So, two days later, here I am. I have revisited all of these links and re-tagged. I actually feel like I can find something again! Woo hoo. But, why don’t I feel more excited. I am thrilled that my bookmarks are going to be more navigable by myself and by others. That’s one of the things I love about social bookmarking! But, again… I’m not as excited as I thought I would be. I don’t know that is a bad thing.
Despite the fact that I re-discovered a thousand things (1700 actually) on the internet that I love, I don’t think that I’m going to walk into my classroom tomorrow and do anything drastically differently. I think this is the greatest testament to the use of technology in the classroom. Using technology to enhance learning is not about the latest cool tool – if it were, I would be throwing many of these items in my bookmarks at my kids first thing in the morning. Since I have 1700 bookmarks, I must be a great teacher? No. I know how to use a minute fraction of these sites to make learning meaningful and applicable to the 67 fourth graders I see in my classroom every day. That is what makes me a good teacher.
Remember this. Build your network. Broaden your resource base. Just keep your focus on the individual kids you serve each day!
P.S. That said… I will definitely keep you all up-to-date on my del.icio.us versus Diigo debate. I haven’t ventured into highlighting and annotations yet, but don’t worry. I will.