This blog will be a reflection of my experiences this summer and beyond, as I strengthen my PLN and discover new Web 2.0 tools that will engage my students in authentic learning experiences. Also, this blog will be used as my portfolio - a collection of created "products" - as I explore different online tools and activities. Through technology, we have the opportunity to connect and communicate with individuals from all over the world. My hope is that this blog will develop into a resource and inspiration for other educators.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Web Exploration: Organizing & Collecting Content

When using Web 2.0 tools in the classroom, my confidence lies in the tools where my students create, explore and present information through project-based learning.  This is where my exploration began during the 2010-2011 school year, as I began implementing 21st century skills and Web 2.0 technology tools in my day-to-day classroom activities.  In the beginning of last week, I focused on finding and researching different tools that would allow me to organize and collect content from the web. In my exploration I found: NetVibes, Delicious, Paper.li, Diigo, Symballo, LiveBinders, and more. Before I made my final decision on the project, I needed to first research and spark conversations on Twitter about how some of these tools could be used in an elementary classroom. 

As a result of my searching, I have decided with the collaboration of my friend and colleague @Beverly_Libell to focus my project on using Diigo, a social bookmarking tool, with my students this year.  How will I use Diigo in the classroom?  For students, I believe it is important to start with discussing the importance of social bookmarking and how using this tool will help them share information with each other and others outside of school. My early lessons will consist of modeling to my students how to bookmark and tag, how to add to a list, and how to write a good description of the site. I started my Diigo with six teacher-created lists (used to organize the bookmarks): technology tools, reading, math, science, social studies, and interactive games.  As we work with Diigo, students will be encouraged to work together to organize our content even further by adding more lists to our library.  Once we practice using Diigo for the "basics," we will move on to learning how to annotate notes and share our information.  I am currently in the process of typing an informational letter to post on my classroom website for my students' parents.  In my letter, I will inform the parents about the importance and student benefit of using Diigo and also encourage the parents to download the Diigo toolbar at home. 

I have also created my own Symbaloo webmix with a variety of websites that I use often in my classroom and at home, which is currently my homepage on Firefox.  When seeing Symbaloo (thank you, @MrTRice_Science), I decided that this dashboard was more appealing and elementary friendly than NetVibes (my opinion).  After creating my own webmix,  I am debating how I want to use this tool in my classroom.  I would love some ideas in this area, especially with my focus being on the use of Diigo. I do not want my students to be using two different tools for a similar purpose.  Here is my personal webmix.

Through our use of Diigo, I hope to find other 4th grade classrooms to share our accounts with and form groups within and outside of our school. Last year I used Diigo as a professional tool and with my fourth grade team (which did not catch on, yet!).  I am excited for my students to have access to our "McCabe 4th" account (all using a classroom gmail account to log-in) and watching them learn together as they add content to our content library! :)

I would appreciate any thoughts or advice for using these new tools in my 4th grade classroom.


  1. I am really excited to see how you incorporate Diigo with your students. I like that you explored a bunch of similar tools before deciding on the one that works best for your teaching situation.

  2. http://www.diigo.com/user/hra3rd

    It says 3rd because I taught 3rd last year, and had no idea I would be changing... But will be teaching 4th this year and would love to follow you on Diigo!