Classroom Tech, Part I: Delicious

Like most teachers, I enjoy my summer vacation. The weather is hot, dry, and sunny, I don’t have to go to school, and I have an abundance of time to spend just relaxing. Of course, like most other teachers, I like to waste much of this vacation sitting inside on the computer, planning for the next school year, preparing brilliant lessons and engaging projects for my students. It’s a compulsion, really. I don’t get paid for this time, and often my ideas don’t pan out come September, but I just can’t help it – something inside me wants to give my students the best that I have, and if I have 2+ months to come up with ideas, by golly I’m going to use it.

Since I know there are plenty of other teachers out there just like me, I thought I would begin a series of posts outlining how I plan on using technology during the coming school year. I’ll share some tools, resources, and ideas that I intend to use with students in the classroom, and hopefully you, the reader, will share some advice or thoughts of your own, either in the comments section, or on your own blog (just let me know if you do!). In the final post of the series, I’ll discuss some of the “best practices” related to teaching with technology, as well as some additional resources. But without further adieu, I’ll get to the first piece of technology I plan to use this year: Delicious.

By now, most people reading this blog know what Delicious is. For those that don’t, it’s a social bookmarking service – a website that lets you bookmark (save) web pages to either access later or to share with others. For a good explanation, watch CommonCraft’s “Social Bookmarking in Plain English.”

I’ve been using Delicious for a little over a year now (kind of a late bloomer on this one), and like most, I use it daily. I subscribe to a number of education and technology related sites in Google Reader and frequently find myself saving entries and/or links when I flip through Reader each morning (feel free to check out my Delicious to see what I mean).

It was only recently, however, that I began to realize how it may be useful in the classroom. Just a couple of ideas I’ve tossed around:

  1. Create a tag for your class and start saving links that your students might find useful or interesting. Share a link to this tag with your students (and parents) on the class syllabus, class website, or even just a URL on the whiteboard. I’ve already started preparing this for the school year (you can see how it’s going here).
  2. Have students create their own Delicious accounts. When they come across links that might be useful or interesting to the class, have them tag it with your class tag.
  3. If students are doing individual research projects, they can create a project tag to organize their research.
  4. If students are working on a group project, they can add the members of their group to their Delicious network. They can then use the “for:” tags to share links with other group members.
  5. Teachers can monitor students’ progress in research by monitoring students’ Delicious pages. In addition to seeing how many pages have been saved, you might utilize the annotation portion to have students summarize and/or evaluate each page they save. This would be great as a rough draft of an annotated bibliography.

These are only a few possibilities that I’ve thought of. What other ways might you use Delicious in the secondary or elementary classrooms?

In the next post, I’ll be sharing my plans for iGoogle and other Google tools.

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5 responses to “Classroom Tech, Part I: Delicious

  • Mike S.

    I really found this post helpful.Thank you.
    I was introduced to Delicious about a year ago and quickly dismissed it as a classrom tool. As an art teacher I do artist research projects with my students and this could be an effective assessment tool for me to check how it’s going for them.
    Also, it may even streamline their research and save them time. I would also be interested in knowing how you use this in the classroom, and if there are any negatives to social bookmarking when used by students.

    • thehurt

      @Mike S: Thanks for the comment – I recall having the same initial reaction with a lot of web tools (and still do – Twitter would be a good example of one I don’t really “get”). I’m also interested in seeing the negatives. With social bookmarking, I struggle to foresee a lot of problems – maybe bookmarking/sharing inappropriate websites or something. That said, students are quite resourceful and, as they say in Jurassic Park, they “find a way.” I’ll definitely share some reflections once I’ve actually started using Delicious with students.

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  • Chris

    As a technology teacher, I can use this tool for students to look for different activities they would be interested in building in class. A homework assignment could be find a project that you would want to do in class. After you have a collection of these sites, you can send the ones that you agree with to other students and let them choose one of three projects. I took an assessment class and the instructor said, if you give students more opportunity to choose their assessments you will get better quality of work, and more students will become successful.

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