I’m teaching an online class on Web 2.0 technologies this week and several of my students have been singing the praises of Symbaloo. Symbaloo bills itself as a new way “to organize, share your online life and discover that of others.” While the concept is not that new, the end product is pretty unique. Each user can create their own “webmix” which manages all of their web resources (news pages, websites, etc) into graphical tiles which are customizable. Rather than creating a list of text links as some sites do, Symbaloo allows users to move tiles into groups and create different tabs for different topics. A webmix can be shared with others and can be set as a homepage in a web browser. These features allow educators to create an online springboard directing students to relevant sites for their class. The process can also be handed over to students. An educator could create a Symbaloo site and allow groups of students to create their own webmixes on different tabs. With its graphical nature, Symbaloo would be a great resource for teachers working with emerging readers or for teachers working with English language learners. The only real downside is that the site is not accessible with mobile devices (iPod Touches, iPads, smart phones), but Symbaloo hopes to offer that ability in the near future.
Social bookmarking is one of those unique Web 2.0 categories that evolved from tasks that people used to do in very isolated manners. Before Web 2.0, when I came to a website, I would bookmark the site and that bookmark would live on my computer. More specifically, that bookmark would live inside my Internet browser. If I wanted to share that bookmark with friends, I usually wrote down the site on a piece of paper (how cumbersome!) or I copied and pasted the link into the body of an email. Although I could categorize these bookmarks, I didn’t really have any way to search across my bookmarks to find something I bookmarked days ago about a specific topic.
In the Web 2.0 world, however, my bookmarks can live online and can be shared easily and quickly with my friends or with a larger community. I can “tag” the bookmarks with relevant terms so I can group my bookmarks and search across the bookmarks when I need to.
There are a bunch of different social bookmarking applications available on the web. This week I’m going to feature one of the most popular social bookmarking applications, delicious. With delicious, you can bookmark sites as you come to them and they’re stored online. You do need to set up an account to use delicious, but it’s free. To make the bookmarking process seamless and effortless, buttons are available that easily install within your browser (Firefox, Google Chrome or Internet Explorer).
I think social bookmarking has tons of applications in our classes and in our work at the university. Having students collaborate on research projects and sharing their bookmarks with one another can be really powerful. Imagine setting up a small research group and having the members sharing their bookmarks. Very quickly, the group can generate a large list of important websites for the entire group to visit. Social bookmarking could also be beneficial for committee work, for faculty research projects, or for service projects on campus. In a way, social bookmarking with sites like delicious allows for greater participation across a community where information is freely distributed across the members.
Be sure to check out the tutorial below for help with using Delicious.