Saturday, March 29, 2008

Chiming in on Diigo

Much like I feel in love with Obama after seeing this video, I got hooked on Diigo after a similarly stimulating four minutes. :) Well, maybe I'm exaggerating a little....

A friend tweeted out the above noted video for the Diigo Beta V3 this week and it kicked off a firestorm. I've been playing with Diigo all week, just like the rest of the Twitter Freaks, and am really intrigued. While most of my friends in the network are excited at how Diigo combines the tools from Delicious, Facebook, and Zotero, I'm just ecstatic about annotated url's. Sounds a little strange to say outloud but let me explain.

I hate textbooks. I don't use them, and so far have been lucky enough to avoid them in my four years of teaching. I've always known there was a reason I didn't like them. Used to think it was because they only promoted rich white men, and were super boring, but besides that couldn't put my finger on why they made me so uncomfortable. Then I read James Loewen's book called Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong and it all made sense. Between him and Howard Zinn, I decided that I would do my best to avoid textbooks during my teaching career.

Normally I research sites on the web and then direct kids to those sites when I want them to get a piece of info. Sometimes its complicated because I say things like, "click here, read the 3rd and 7th paragraphs." That's pretty silly but without cutting and pasting to create a new document, that was my only option. Enter Diigo. I can go to a site, highlight the passages I think are the most relevant, comment (sticky note) on those passages and produce an annotated url that I can give to my students. That special url comes complete with highlights and comments from me or from everyone who has annotated that page if I wish.

I teach online. Only online. So every lesson I create for my students, whether its for the Web 2.0 class I'm developing for next year, or the Travel course I made last year, all my resources come from searching the Internet. Diigo is a one stop solution to including that material in my courses. There are still some pretty gnarly quirks they have to figure out (annotations don't work all the time, 'twitter this' function is spotty, and lots of stalls in application processing) the potential is ridiculous. And thats after only one week of playing, there is still way more to learn.

For a comprehensive analysis of the social networking benefits of Diigo, check out Kristin Hokanson's blog from earlier this week.

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