Monday, April 6, 2009

The right tool for the job at hand

While I have been away from blogging for awhile, I have not been idle by any means. I have been out exploring other social web environments. I now have a Facebook account, an ooVoo account and even a Zootoo account and it's been fun! Why shouldn't it be? Just as children learn by exploring unknown places, trying new things and playing with friends then adults can learn that way, too.

The one serious tool I have been checking out is Diigo. Diigo has a huge following among educators and I can see why. Teachers by nature love to share not just what they read, but also their insights on the piece or topic. Diigo allows you to highlight sections of text and make your own comments on "sticky notes" before bookmarking a site. Also, when saving, Diigo offers a variety of sharing options. You can save it to a list you've made, either public or private; you can share it to a group; you can "Twitter" it; and/or you can send it out via email.
In Diigo you can have and meet friends, form and join groups, and browse communities of people who have annotated the same articles you have or use the same tags you do. And as in other social networks, you can upload a photo, build a profile and choose how much or little to disclose about yourself. I can see where with Diigo along with Twitter and blogging, one could certainly construct a solid network for professional development and support, but that's not quite what I need from a bookmarking site. That's why I think I will be going back to using Delicious as my primary bookmarking tool.

Delicious is better at meeting my needs because I am not a teacher and I don't spend a lot of time and energy analysing and extrapolating material. I do support teachers and want to provide them with as many useful resources as I can and I want to collect bookmarks in an orderly, easily accessible place. Delicious works for this purpose. I keep my tags simple and purposeful. This teachers can look at my bookmark collection and know exactly what they'll find. Using the tags we can search broad topics or drill down to specifics. When asked I can send out my list of links for math games for primary students or online science museums for field trips. I group and regroup sites by any number of related tags and post the links to these collections on my technology support wiki. Then as I add sites to those tags in Delicious I know the wiki links will show the newly added sites. All these features may be possible in Diigo, but from my perspective Delicous is more straight forward about them. Diigo will be a great tool for people who want to utilize the community benefits of learning together with bookmarking, but Delicious is a better resource for me to serve my staff at this point.

Now...having said all of that...My Diigo bookmarks are set up to save to my Delicious, so I could keep using Diigo and the staff could keep finding my bookmarks in Delicious. The trouble I have found with this plan is Diigo hasn't been able to "learn" my tags. Delicious is wonderful at suggesting the tags I already use when I am ready to save. Diigo, on the other hand, rarely suggests my existing tags and I end up trying to remember, opening up Delicious anyway to look, and many times just missing tags I would normally when I save there.

Additionally, Delicious allows me to sort my tags alphabetically. Diigo is missing that feature. As someone who alphabetizes the spices in her cupboard and I can't imagine a database that can't be alphabetized. Conclusion: Diigo is tasty, but my primary social-booking tool will remain Delicious.

No comments:

Post a Comment