The first Social Bookmarking site that I checked out was Pinterest. This is an interesting site that allows a very visual display of like sites and informational productions. Each site or link is displayed in ‘Pins’ which are visual representations of sites with tags and written descriptions. Similar to much of the social networking sites out there Pinterest allows you to follow groups of pins along with creating your own pin boards, which can be comprised of repins (pins created by others that you have take to your board) or original pins that you create yourself. The first thing I searched for was some pins to help me with a student that I am tutoring in ESL. The first thing I found was this funny but simply affective cartoon that would get my student thinking about his word order. I believe it could be even more affective because I am sure he is a Star Wars fan.
I was quickly able to navigate to several ESL boards full of links to different educational sites such as http://busyteacher.org. The following is a ‘Pin’ from busyteacher.org:
After you find a board you like it takes one click to follow it from your Pinterest homepage. My second search was for a Librarians board.
I quickly found a great deal of information including a pin that takes you to an article by a librarian outlining the uses of Pinterest as well as an activity that can be done in a library.
One of the possible student uses that can to mind was a research assignment to gain background information before starting a novel. As I used “In the Heat of the Night” previously I thought I would just keep rolling with it and create A Heat Board. The assignment would instruct students to find a site on many components of the novel. Some imagery, historical context, theatre and film adaptations, etc… To this end I created a few pins and put them up on my board. Creating a pin is very user friendly and I do not think it is beyond many high school aged students.
Another idea for student uses could be as a web research journal that chronicles students’ use of online materials during a course. Students could go through which online resources they used for various projects, assignments, and tests and rate the sites personal effectiveness for them. At the end of the course student would have a living hub of information that they could use again when called for.
The second site I tried out was Delicious.com. My subsiding but ever present phobia about the ‘Big Brother’ aspects of the web was tingled again as I clicked the Discover tab on Delicious. Waiting for me was a list of links that were based on my interests. The first was a link to a CNN article titled, “Anxiety you’re not the boss of me.” That made me a little anxious. As I scrolled down the list of links based on my interests it appeared to be a compilation of the users of this computer, namely my Dad, my wife and I. There were many sites in international investing and the S&P 500 which is my Dad, some sports articles that seem to be me, and a ton of pop culture stuff that my wife enjoys. I don’t dig it man.
After browsing around delicious for a while the differences to Pinterest seemed quite stark. Delicious seems much more of a tool for professional to quickly and efficiently share information on sites. If you are not getting the extra vetting from a network of professionals that you respect the screening process seems very similar to simply using Google yourself. The power of Delicious seems to be in the professional network.