There are a number of bookmarking tools available on the Internet, Diigo being one of them. According to their website, Diigo is a “cloud-based personal information management system” (Diigo, 2012). The title, Collect and Highlight, Then Remember, says it all. Diigo allows its users to collect and save webpages, notes, images and documents as well as allowing highlights and sticky notes to be added. New tools with Diigo 5.0 let’s people also capture and take screenshots of webpages and easily share them with others. Educators can upgrade for free to receive a Diigo Education domain (administrators for the whole school) or a Diigo Educator account (individual teachers). The advantages of this are that student accounts can be set up as part of a group so students can collaborate and share information within or between classes.
Of the six Web 2.0 tools we are to look at for this assignment, Diigo was the only one with which I had previous experience. A Web 2.0 workshop I attended at a Professional Development day a couple of years ago touched briefly on Diigp’s use as a research tool. With Diigo, the user is able to highlight text on web pages, add sticky notes and create bookmarks that can be accessed by any computer. However, at the time, I didn’t pursue its use. I didn’t really have a personal need for Diigo and as a TOC I didn’t see much of a professional need for it as well. Since I know a little about it I decided to start with Diigo when looking at these Web 2.0 tools.
When I logged into Diigo once again I discovered my library of bookmarks but I no longer had my Diigo toolbar. I have recently switched home computers from a PC to a Mac, and found out you can’t get Diigo toolbar for Safari. Instead of downloading Firefox (a browser which supports Diigo toolbar), I decided to see how much I could do with Diigolet. Diigolet is available for Safari, though it not as powerful as the Diigo toolbar. With Diigolet the user can highlight, post sticky notes, bookmark pages or save them to read later offline.
What I really like about Diigo is the ability to bookmark webpages and then be able to access them from any computer. As students don’t often have the option of working on the same computer all the time, this feature would allow them to more easily keep track of their online research wherever they are working. Though Diigo claims that highlighting and adding sticky notes leads to active e-reading and better retention with information (Diigo, 2012), I think this is true only if the tools are used properly. Being able to highlight text on a webpage is good, but students may not process the information as well if they are not taking their own notes about the topic. One thing I did as I was looking for information for the Space Unit for Science 9, was to highlight sections of the text and then add a sticky note that summarized the information in my own words. If students are encouraged to use the sticky notes in this way I think there would be “better retention” and it may lessen the temptation to plagiarize.
Another thing I like about Diigo is My Library, where all your bookmarks are stored. Bookmarks can include descriptions, tags, and lists, so it is easy to organize and then retrieve them. Highlights and sticky notes are visible for each bookmarked page at My Library, so students don’t have to return to the website and hunt for their highlights within pages of text.
For this assignment I wasn’t sure how to share how I used Diigo without the Diigo toolbar, which allows for screenshots users can share. I was going to download Firefox on my computer, when I found Diigo browser, an application I could download on my iPad. The browser has many of the same tools as the toolbar. It allowed me to take screenshots and upload them to awesomescreenshot.com. I couldn’t figure out how to “share” them with my Blog, but the links should take you to them. The first one is an example of how a webpage can be annotated using the Diigo browser (or toolbar). Diigolet only allows you to highlight and add stick notes, not capture anything. The second link is an example of how bookmarks are stored in My Library. Tags and lists make it easy retrieve the information.
I have started to use Diigo for my own research and readings for this course. It allows me to work from my computer or iPad because both are synced together. I no longer have to remember which webpage I bookmarked on each device.
Next Steps: The next step (if I had my own classroom or library) would be to get an Education account. It has a few limitations, but it is free and it not only gives the students an opportunity to use the tool, but gives myself as a teacher, the chance to monitor how they use it. I see Diigo as a way to allow students to be more organized with their research while at the same time allowing a teacher to help teach research skills. By monitoring students’ highlights and sticky note summaries, a teacher can provide feedback to the students about their research skills: are they highlighting the main points, have they missed something important, are they highlighting too much, are the summaries appropriate to the information collected and in their own words. Though these skills are taught without Diigo, I think by having a visual record of highlights, students would more clearly be able to see the answers to the above questions, especially if the teacher models the process with Diigo beforehand.
Collaboration is another use of Diigo proposed by the website. By allowing students to collaborate and view each other’s research, a greater understanding of the topic being studied can be achieved. However, I would not encourage collaboration between students until they are comfortable using Diigo themselves first.
I have not tried any other bookmarking tool so I have nothing to compare it to, but in the future I will definitely encourage my students to take advantage of a bookmarking tool like Diigo.
Diigo (2012). Collect and Highlight, Then Remember. Diigo Inc. Retrieved from https://www.diigo.com