For my LTMS525 class I am creating a fictional project that I hope to actually incorporate into my classroom.

How can teachers encourage students to be more efficient with online research?

I know when I am doing research online it is so easy to get off track or off topic. The trail of links seems endless. There is also the problem about being able to trust sources. I find that saving them and returning to them later gives me better perspective. The saying ‘sleep on it’ has a new meaning in the digital age. You are wiser the next morning so you might not be as willing to buy into what you read. Diigo is a tool I wish I was able to utilize during my high school and undergrad years. It would have radically changed the way I did research and wrote papers.

I want to teach my students skills to be successful with future research. I think that a great tool would be Diigo. Diigo has educational accounts which provide extra layers of separation from students and the web. It allows teachers to add students who do not have their own Internet account. As a school, we have used Delicious in the past; however there are a few features that make Diigo even more efficient for storing and sharing information – such as the highlight and comment features. There is often a specific section of a website that is relevant, not the entire thing. Why re-read the web page to find a single quote? Diigo allows you to highlight and saves the highlighted text and any comments you want to leave about it along with the website address. Very useful. Diigo also allows a user to create sub groups. So I can create a different Diigo groups for each of my classes. It separates my personal and my school links without requiring me to sign in and out with separate user names and passwords.

Spanish might not be the most logical place for students to be exposed to a research tool; however, I think if there is a tool that will benefit students, it does not matter who shares the knowledge.

ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more Basically, the project is to create a project that would use technology applied to different learning theories – I think in the future I will actually be able to use it. The project involves researching holiday traditions for navidad in Spanish speaking countries around the world.

  • The students will be working in a 1:1 laptop class, so they will each be able to search and add simultaneously.
  • The students already have background knowledge on searching, using Diigo will emphasize the saving & retrieving of the information they find.
  • The current unit of study is geography, each student already has a country assigned and they need to become the expert.
  • There are many similarities between the countries and their celebrations, which will show up as we tag in Diigo. Also, many sites have information about more than one country, so it is a collaborative effort.
  • Each student will need to find, describe, & tag websites
  • Screencasts have been created of the different steps to using Diigo, the students can reference them at any time through the Wiki. I used Jing for screen captures and YouTube to publish the videos, than I was able to grab the embed code for the wiki.

I am using Wikispaces as the ‘home’ for many projects and extended activities in class. Moodle is my main course management system; however, I find that students are able to follow directions and steps with less hand holding if everything is laid out in a Wiki. They like the extra visual elements I can easily incorporate into the Wiki. It is also easier to link within the wiki than Moodle. The home for the current fictional project is DiigoNavidad.

Sorry, a lot of rambling, by writing about the topic I was able to work out some of the details. As you can tell, I am a big fan of Diigo (and I just learned about it this summer). There were a few kinks when the teacher accounts were established, but the people at Diigo are always quick to reply to questions. I will not go as far as saying writing research are fun, but Diigo has taken much of the torture out of trying to re-find the perfect quote or necessary data when writing.

About Lisa Butler

Middle school geography teacher, tech trainer, Flocabulary MC, Nearpod PioNear, and Edcamp Hershey Founder. I have embraced the power of purposeful technology and am creative with their application. If I am not doing something with ed or tech, I am probably reading children's books, baking with a toddler sidekick, running around, or dreaming of traveling.
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