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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

Please share your brilliant insights!