Sunday, February 10, 2008

Another option for teachers

In my continued exploration of social bookmarking, I found Forbes' October 2004 article Using Web-based bookmarks in K-8 settings: Linking the Internet to instruction, in The Reading Teacher.

Forbes describes using what I see as the progenitor of social bookmarking: web-based bookmarks. Rather than having access to other people's bookmarks and searching through them through tagging, she demonstrates the use of iKeepBookmarks as an online favourites folder. This easy to navigate service could be a better alternative to social bookmarking for teachers of young students who are using teacher-selected web pages rather than searching for their own information sources, however, older students can contribute links to the service just as they would to a class network on

While tagging links and sharing them with others has great potential for young researches, the expereince is dependent upon a fairly sophisticated set of literacy skills. Web-based bookmarking is much more narrowly focused, allowing very young students or special needs students with limited reading and writing skills to experience navigating the internet. Forbes describes an activity she designed for a kindergarten class in which students navigate to two different websites to learn more about the night sky, while reinforcing an earlier lesson on recognizing the letters V and W. While might be a great resource for kindergarten teachers, I wouldn't dream of setting my kindergarten students loose in that text-rich environment.

I used iKeepBookmarks to create links that young students could explore as part of a prehistoric animals unit. I found the site a bit less intuitive that, but I still think it could be a viable alternative to social bookmarking for younger students.


Arlene said...

I wondered about how social bookmarking could be used with younger students. Your example with ikeepbookmarks helps me to see how it could work. Arlene

Jennifer said...

I don't see social bookmarking as the only way to organize this stuff. I would hope that I could work with teachers in my school to collect and share websites for class research and curriculum support. I would continue to use my school library website to support younger students' Internet use. I would keep the links tagged on but put the two of use right now for a class on the school library webpage so that they can easily link back and forth.

I would have pages for each class on the school library website with links, videos, podcasts, etc. chosen specifically for the topic and the class and the teacher.


Cindy said...

I had not heard of ikeepbookmarks until you blogged about it. Definitely worth looking into for Div I students. I love the fact that this course enables us to find out about great resources that have been successfully utilized/integrated in school settings by our colleagues.