Old Skool del.icio.us

I know that many are raving that diigo trumps del.icio.us with its ultra-bookmarking and extra bags of tricks. But for many teachers I work with, del.icio.us is an ideal starting spot for them in the world of social software subverted for educational purposes. It's simple but powerful. Too many bells and whistles just scare nervous teachers away.

We've been trying to build a collegial network of users and I'm pushing the line that sharing favourite sites and links is much easier this way in preference to the email out to all staff with the "Have you seen this?" tagline. We've started using unique tags to tie all of the web links for our inquiry units together but some teachers' eyes still glaze over when we mention phrases like "common tags", "adding fans to your network" and "bundling tags."

Some are uneasy about the public nature of the service.

"It's only websites," supporters say.

But as my colleague and friend, Alex Hayes, has pointed out, a long term or active user of del.icio.us does lay out their entire digital learning history for the world to access.

But the interest is building. Our switched on teacher-librarian has been pushing the social bookmarking barrow enthusiastically and gradually more and more teachers who want to use the internet as a regular part of their learning program are realising that it is impossible to manage 300 + bookmarks in Favorites! But it is weird that a service like del.icio.us which has been around since 2003 is already viewed by many edubloggers as old skool when the vast bulk of teachers are only just becoming aware of the power of this simple but highly effective tool.


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12 thoughts on “Old Skool del.icio.us

  1. warrick

    Thanks for the reminder Graham, sometimes those old ‘new’ tools are the best. I know three teachers (all Maths interestingly) who first got into the whole web 2.0 thing via delicious. Never underestimate the importance of an accessible starting point!

  2. Bill Genereux

    Sometimes I know a technology exists, but don’t take advantage of it, or at least use it to it’s full potential. It is a matter of trade-off. If I invest the time learning something, what will my long term payoff be? I think it is always helpful if we can readily demonstrate the long-term benefits of investing the time in learning something new. Sometimes this simply can’t be done until we realize that we have a problem to solve in the first place.

  3. mscofino

    I’m a big fan of “the simpler, the better” mindset. Making tools approachable for teachers is more important than giving more functionality than they need. It always a challenge to remember what that entry point is – especially when you’re a high end user yourself. Either way, I agree with @warrick above – the accessible starting point is the key to successful use for all new users (teachers and students alike).

  4. Sarah Stewart

    I agree as well. To many of the people I work with even del.icio.us blows them out of the water. I prefer it to diigo which seems too complicated to me. Delicio.us is short & sweet but I have felt the pressure to deal with diigo although I don’t like it, so I cant keep in the with ‘in crowd’.

  5. Elaine Talbert

    I am mostly sticking with del.icio.us, even though I have signed up to diigo to check out the hype. I am finding some of the diigo groups useful. I like google shared too.

    The point about just getting teachers onto social bookmarking via del.icio.us and we then move onto the next big thing, is an important one. Those that are not passionate about this web 2.0 stuff can get very confused etc.

    What is more amazing, is how few teachers and even techies are using or have even heard of social bookmarking. I lost my tags a while ago when I changed my profile. The hardest thing was to explain what tags were. Trying to explain the many features of applications in the “cloud” is a real challenge.

  6. Pam Thompson

    The majority of teachers I work with haven’t heard of del.icio.us, at least until now. We’re having our first session about it this week to encourage more of them to set up networks with colleagues. I’d be lost without my del.icio.us account now.

  7. janning

    This is the site that made me explore del.icio.us from a library point-of-view – http://www.wagga.nsw.gov.au/www/html/1301-tag-cloud.asp?Thankyou=1. From memory Wagga Wagga Library have been tagging and displaying this cloud for over a year.

    I did use delicious as a current awareness service while at my last school. We scanned the ISBN number of new books that came into the library and then Google searched, found an informative web page and then tagged that into our library delicious account as Fiction or non-fiction. Teachers and kids could subscribe to the rss feed for a tag and be informed by rss of the new additions in the library collection. Of course you could increase the number of tags to suit your users. Your TL may be interested in trying this way of keeping library users informed of new purchases.

    Just another useful way to use social bookmarks and rss – they are both very valuable tools when handling and distributing information.

  8. Graham Wegner

    Thank you all for your insightful comments. The other thing I would add about using del.icio.us is that it becomes more useful the more frequently it is used. Building up a big repository of links that is searchable, adding other users into a network that provides a stream of personally recommended links and searching like-minded bookmarkers becomes more powerful as time goes by. I know that diigo adds bookmarks to del.icio.us as you go but at the moment, I know del.icio.us really well and can describe its potential and operation better to my non-techie colleagues.

  9. Kyra

    Hey Mr. W its Kyra! Great website thing! Looks better than mine any way just wondering if you could post a page on how to start your own wikispace yeah because I got asked how do you start one and I forgot!

    From Kyra


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