Questions and Answers about Social Bookmarking

What are social bookmarks?

Social bookmarks are a way of marking websites of interest and keeping them together in a library.

How can I start a social bookmark library?

Go to a bookmarking site such as Diigo or Delicious and set up an account.  Then, when you visit a site you would like to remember, click on your account button and bookmark that site.

How can I organize my bookmarks? 

Add tags to each bookmark with a subject that you would associate with that site in a search.  You will see all sites that have that tag when you search for subjects in your account.

Why is it called “social” bookmarks? 

“Social” refers to the fact that you can share your bookmarks with othesr and you can see other people’s bookmarks as well.  This is great for teachers who may teach the same grade level or subject.  They can look at each other’s bookmarks for good web resources to use in the classroom with out having to do an exhaustive internet search.

 

I recently started a Diigo account and was very pleased with the ease of bookmarking and tagging entries.  I now have easy access to websites with great resources to teach reading, math, science, and social studies.  I also have some sites that will be great for my students to use such as “Reading Bear,”  “H.I.P. Pocket Change,” and “Weather Wiz Kids.” On a personal side, I can see potential in using the site “Themeefy” which I bookmarked because I ran across a description of how it can help you organize web resources in a magazine format. It’s nice to know that I have a large library of sites at my fingertips to use and that I personally put them there!

If you would like to look at my Diigo library use the link below:

http://www.diigo.com/user/amymccown

Amy McCown

 

 

 

 

 

 

Google Reader

For the last six weeks I have been following several educational blogs using Google Reader.  All of the blogs have been very informative and insightful.  Here is my list of blogs I am following:

Cool Cat Teacher                                                               http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com

Will Richardson                                                                                 http://willrichardson.com

Larry Ferlazzo                                                                                    http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org

Free Technology for Teachers                                                                          http://www.freetech4teachers.com

Media Specialists Guide                                                                 http://mediaspecialistsguide.blogspot.com

Creating Lifelong Learners                              http://feeds.feedburner.com/CreatingLifelongLearners   

Fun in First                                                                                                                                                  http://fun-in-first.blogspot.com

Although I like all of the blogs and find them very useful, my favorite blog would have to be Fun in First.  Being a first grade teacher, I enjoy reading about another first grade teacher’s classroom.  I also had access through this blog to several good resources such as fluency packets, theme ideas, holiday crafts, skill practice games, and general teaching ideas. It also provides links to other good sites and blogs about first grade.  This is definitely a site I will continue to follow.

Up until today, my favorite blog post was Vicki Davis’ “11 Lies Social Media Hides” on the Cool Cat Teacher blog. But today I read her post, “Keep Cranksgiving out of Your Thanksgiving.”  Even though this was more of a personal improvement post, it really was an article I needed to read.  It encourages everyone to look closely at self and work toward making necessary changes in our lives rather than being grumpy about what we don’t like about ourselves.  This has so many implications for classroom teachers and how we can improve ourselves and our teaching skills.

I am enjoying follwoing blogs on Google Reader.  It can get overwhelming at times, but I like having quick access to many good bloggers sharing helpful information with their readers.

 

Digital Citizenship

Digital Citizenship is a rather new term with major implications in this digital age.  It refers to the guidelines of behavior one should follow when working and socializing in the digital realm.  One may ask, “Why should I follow any rules on the internet? No one will ever know what I do?  It really doesn’t matter what I do or post on social websites.”  This mindset is careless and shows a lack of understanding of the digital world.  Let’s consider why digital citizenship in important.

First, any individual using the internet and Web 2.0 resources should realize they are accessing a public forum.  Information shared on the internet can be stored and retreived for many years.  This can present problems when potential employers search names of prosepective hires and view material posted about an individual, which may reflect poorly on the applicant.

Secondly, relationships with friends and co-workers can be complicated when users do not follow basic “netiquette” rules in email and on social networking sites.  A good digital citizen will always identify self and respect the privacy of others.  He or she will also use appropriate language and be very careful to convey emotions correctly.  A good citizen also avoids bad language and does not “scream” at people by typing in all caps.  Not following these etiquette guidelines can affect people’s opinions of indivdiuals on social networking sites.

Lastly, some laws can be broken through careless use of the internet.  Copyright laws apply to many different media accessible on the internet and plagiarism can take place when writers fail to credit sources in writing.  Good digital citizens should be aware of copyright laws and be careful to give credit and cittations when quoting material in written work.

Everyone using the internet and Web 2.0 resources should strive to protect their reputation in the digital world.  A good reputation will be an asset whereas a poor reputation will be a hindrance in many areas of life.

(Information gathered from Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching by M.D. Roblyer and Aaron H. Doering, Fifth Edition. 2010. Pearson Education, Inc.)

 

Educational Simulations

Thinkport.org has some great simulations teachers and students can use in the classroom.  These simulations are engaging and highly interactive.

I spent some time working with the “Maryland and the Underground Railroad” simulation.  There are questions and answers about slavery and the Underground Railroad in Maryland, recordings of passages from biographies of people such as Harriet Tubman, and primary source documents to view.  I chose an activity called “You are a Maryland Slave,” and was able to decide whether I was going with my sister or my brother on the Underground Railroad.  This let me explore many of the decisions and hardships the slaves went through as the traveled to freedom.  The sight also explained the importance of secret maps hidden in quilts and provided an opportunity for students to design a quilt block of their own.  This simulation would be great for class viewing, group projects, and individual explorations during a study of the Underground Railroad for upper elementary, middle school, and high school students.

Another interesting simulation was called Math by Design.  In this simulation, students could choose to help design a playground or an environmental center.  Students then use math to solve problems, such as figuring how much mulch to put on a playground.  The simulation provides tips and hints as well as a way for students to check their work. Another part of this simulation shows videos of people and how their careers use math.  I watched a video of a cake decorator explain how she uses math to plan cake servings, make cakes symmetrical, and use turns and reflections to help with piping designs.  This simulation would be great for incorporating career studies into math classes and help students use math in real world situations.

Simulations like these are very interesting and can be a great way to help students explore topics in a more in depth way.

Comparing Software Review Websites

Over the last few days I attempted to explore some software review sites such as Education World, Super Kids, California Learning Resource Network, and SREB EvaluTech.

Education World is a website for teachers which includes professional development, technology information, resources for administrators, and lessons plans.  The site offers software reviews under the technology section.  The list is not extensive, but it can be helpful to teachers who want to learn more about new software.  It was not clear how recently the reviews were updated.  The reviewers are classroom teachers and technology coordinators and reviews are based on classroom use.

Super Kids is a site mainly dedicated to software and educational review tools.  There is an extensive list of reviews by educators, parents, and children.  Software titles can be searched by subject and are arranged alphabetically.  It was not clear how recently the site was updated, but it seems to stay on top of new titles regularly.  Titles in blue have a review, while titles in black do not have a review.

California Learning Resource Network is a site that not only includes Electronic Learning Resources and reviews, but it also includes Web Information Links, Online Course Review, and Electronic Learning Assessment Resources.  The strength of this site is that not only does it review software, but it also links it to state standards in California.  This is an excellent tool for teachers who want to be sure the software they purchase will help reinforce teaching standards.  There is an extensive list of software reviews by classroom teachers.  The site was recently updated as of a few weeks ago.

I was not able to access the Southern Regional Education Board’s website EvaluTech.  The site would not come up using the URL address I had.  I noticed during a google search that other web searchers have not been able to access the site as well.  According to the main SREB website, EvaluTech does provide reviews of software, CD roms, and videos and books. It also stated that media specialists, teachers, and other professionals.

After my search I concluded that CLRN and SuperKids have the largest lists of software reviews.  CLRN has the most recent reviews.  I would most likely use  CLRN for my software reviews because of its timelyupdates and links to teaching standards.  CLRN also was the only software review site which had an in-depth training procedure for its reviewers.