Saturday, February 9, 2008

Social Bookmarking: Applications in Education

An educational approach to social bookmarking is explained in “7 Things You Should Know About Social Bookmarking” found at Educause Learning Initiative (http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7001.pdf ).

Educause outlines the uses of social bookmarking; one being that it is particularly useful when collecting a set of resources that can be shared with others. This makes it the perfect tool for group collaborations. It lets you find information about a topic you are researching even in areas that aren’t obviously connected to the primary topic.

According to Educause, the implications of social bookmarking for teaching and learning are:
* it may become less important for us to know and remember where information is found, and more important to know how to retrieve it using a shared framework
* it simplifies the distribution of reference lists, bibliographies, papers and other resources

Here’s an example of what one educator had to say about the significance of social bookmarking. This was posted on the Classroom 2.0 blog site by Lynne Wolters:

“When asked which social networking or Web 2.0 tool you could not give up - hands down it is delicious social bookmarking. http://del.icio.us Features I [Lynne Wolters] appreciate and use often:

1. Personal network - I have added top leaders, thinkers, and developers in educational technology. By having a look at what they are posting, I become aware of quality sites and can view with interest where their current thinking is taking them.
2. Ability to send bookmarks to anyone in your network - just added their tag to the tag list.
3. Ability to view my bookmarks from any computer with an Internet connection.
4. Open to anyone who wants to view my bookmarks.
5. Ability to organize by tag designations.
6. High quality resources posted. The del.icio.us community are their own filter for content.”

(Retrieved from Classroom 2.0 web site: http://www.classroom20.com/forum/topic/show?id=649749%3ATopic%3A45675by )

Some final thoughts

Anyone can participate in social bookmarking. It is not formal; but rather an “amateur” method of classifying information. There are no hard and fast rules that govern tagging. It develops a social community of people with common interests, and leads to development of a unique structure of keywords to define resources: folksonomy.

However, the nature of folksonomy means that there may be inconsistent or poor use of tags, which is not always understood by all users. It raises some questions about the ways in which we have classified information in the past, and how it will be classified in the future. Social bookmarking has the potenial to redefine this. It is possible that the design and function of databases, or the way information is labelled, will mature and alter with the growth of this technology.

I have now entered into one of these social bookmarking communities with my EDES 545 colleagues. We are sharing resources of interest to our course topics, and using a folksonomy which is understood by one another. It is becoming clearer how useful this particular web 2.0 tool can be, particularly for educators and students. Social bookmarking is another way to strengthen smaller or similar-interest online learning communities, and thus, an invaluable tool for classroom use in the Information Age.

1 comment:

Val said...

Hi Ronda:
Group collaboration made easy, is how I'm finding sb sites. We are currently doing a collaborative project with the TL's in our district and I see how social bookmarking could be used to all our advantages. We are using a wiki which is great. I like Lynne Wolters features, being able to go to any computer and pick up the information is great.
Cheers
Val