Tagged: social bookmarking

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Organizing the Web in 3 not-so-perfect ways: Inbox by Gmail, Save to Google, Google Keep

favicon Google’s mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Everyone uses Google to search, but what happens after you find something good? There are a ton of options, and now Google is offering choices, too.

Over the past couple weeks, Google has released three new products:

Inbox by Gmail– Inbox by Gmail Extension. This extension allows you to save links to a bundle in Inbox by Gmail. This might be good for you if (a) you already use Inbox by Gmail and (b) you tend to save and organize links by sending them to your email. What’s not great, though, is that I don’t think you can send those links to friends once they’re in Inbox. (You can send them directly from the extension.)

Save to Google. This extension lets you save and organize webpages from your computer to a dedicated bookmarks page, google.com/save. You can add tags and notes, plus you can view your links on your phone. (But you can’t add new links from your phone.) Again, the biggest weakness of this extension is that you can’t share those links later on (unless you go back to the original webpage, of course).

Google KeepSave to Keep. This extension allows you to save links as new notes in Google Keep. If you already like Keep (I sort of do), this might be a good option. Once a link is a note in Keep, you can share it with friends (especially if they use Keep, too). The bad news, though, is that links are hard to organize easily, though the service now allows you to add hashtags easier (#) via phone.

While it’s nice to see that Google is taking some steps to help us organize the internet, I have to say, I’m not really sure what the company is doing. Each of these products offer just a tidbit of the entire puzzle. For people who don’t want to keep tons of tabs open, and who don’t want to keep sending links to their email, there has to be an easy way to save-organize-share. Right now, Google is not providing those three basic features. favicon

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The new Diigo is a major improvement

newdiigologofavicon I’ve liked Diigo for a long time. (Here’s a post from 2009 and another from 2012.) In fact, I used to be (a tad) obsessed with Diigo.

But then, something happened, and Diigo wasn’t being developed as consistently, and I lost interest as glitzy social clipping services like Pinterest and Snip.it and Bundlr and Scoop.it came along and made Diigo look so, well, ordinary.

But now, I’m happy to report, Diigo is back. And so am I.

Most impressive is Diigo’s site redesign. It’s a major overhaul. Gone is the clutter. The look is clean and clear. Here’s my library dashboard:

Diigo Screenshot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you take a closer look, you can tell that the developers took extra care with details. For example, the number of annotations for each clip is highlighted next to the title. You can expand or collapse your annotations.

Better yet, the new search bar works extremely well. The default (see the M?) is called “Meta Search,” which locates search terms both in post titles and annotations. It’s so good that I made the big decision to get rid of tags altogether. Tags weren’t helping me organize my clips very well, and I figure that I can use Diigo lists if I want to curate and save a “best-of” collection. If you don’t like the Meta Search, you can also search by tags or by full text (if you have Diigo Premium.)

Diigo has also improved its already-excellent Chrome extension. Seriously, this is one of the most useful extensions out there. Here are some of its features:

  • Save a webpage to Diigo,
  • Annotate a page,
  • Save the page to read later (I prefer Pocket),
  • Take a screenshot (genius),
  • Share the page via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Gmail, or an annotated link.

I can’t say enough good things about the extension. No other service allows you to annotate the Internet as smoothly as Diigo does. Once you start highlighting or taking notes, up comes the “Annotation Toolbar,” which lets you change the highlight color and write a sticky note. Or you can reorganize the clip by changing the title, adding tags, and sharing to a list or a group. (I could do an entire post just on these features. Yeah, maybe I will!)

As a teacher, the only problem I see with Diigo is that I don’t see it working seamlessly with students (despite Diigo’s “teacher console,” which makes it easy for teachers to create and manage class groups). It’s just a little too advanced and too text-heavy. Once students get used to reading and researching a lot (maybe in the 11th and 12th grades?), they probably would see the many benefits of Diigo. But because Diigo lacks a strong phone app (particularly on Android, where Power Note is only mediocre), it just won’t fly with the average student. Students (and many adults) are too attracted to big and beautiful images, and though I don’t want Diigo to emulate Pinterest, it wouldn’t hurt to move at least a little in that direction.

I can’t wait to see where Diigo heads next. It has tons of users and a huge amount of potential. In the meantime, I’ll be playing around with Diigo, experimenting with it, and doing a whole lot more highlighting and annotating. If you use Diigo or try it out, please let me know what you think! favicon

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Why teachers like me like Diigo

faviconDiigo may be hard to pronounce, but pretty soon, everyone will be using it.

If you haven’t heard of Diigo (DEE-go), it’s an application that mixes web highlighting with social bookmarking.

Yeah, I know: That’s still confusing. Let me try again.

Have you ever wanted to show your students a great website and then highlight crucial parts? With Diigo, you can do that. Better yet, you can share your thoughts with your students and have them respond, all on the same website. It’s like a chat room based in online text. That’s the web highlighting part of Diigo.

How about this: Have you ever wanted to share with your students a collection of online resources for their research? How about asking your students to keep track of their own research and be able to cite their sources? Yep, that’s Diigo, too, the social bookmarking part.

I won’t lie, it seems confusing, but let me tell you, it’s worth it. Here’s a video that might help:

I plan on piloting Diigo with my students this year, and I can’t wait for the possibilities. Here are a couple ideas I have for early in the year:

  • Interactive assignment sheet. When my students get a new assignment sheet and rubric, I rarely know if they understand what’s expected. After all, they don’t always take notes or ask questions. But what if students had to share their thoughts and concerns about an assignment? With an assignment online via Google Docs, I’ll make my students identify important or confusing passages from the assignment sheet and to add sticky notes with comments and questions. My hope is that the online conversation will lead to better understanding.
  • Interactive Reading Assignment. All reading teachers say that we must do a better of teaching students to interact with what they’re reading. I already teach my ninth graders concrete ways they can mark up their texts, but because there’s no Elmo in my classroom, there’s not an easy way to display my students’ thinking. So I plan on uploading a reading to Google Docs and having students make annotations online. It’ll be great to see how different students tackled the reading and what different interpretations materalized.

Yes, I’m pretty excited. No, Diigo is not perfect — the user interface is not pretty as, say, SimplyBox, but it’s a powerful resource. I’ll keep you updated about Diigo as the year progresses. I hope it all works out. favicon