Monday, April 4, 2011

Week 4: Social Bookmarking & Other PLN Connections

This week I actually taught a section of the class on Diigo, the powerful social bookmarking tool.  I have written in this blog in several past posts about the value and power of Diigo.  I think it is hard to beat the many features of Diigo.  The ability to immediately organize your bookmarks with tags, lists and groups and the ability to collaborate within class groups or other social groups makes it very powerful.  The now defunct Delicious allowed for some of this, but the interface was less intuitive and required a lot more knowledge to organize and sort through information.  I also found it more challenging in Delicious to join groups.  Delicious didn't have an Educator Console like Diigo.  This console makes Diigo fantastic for organizing your class groups and working together on research, sharing, highlighting and commenting back and forth within the class groups.  This just wasn't possible with Delicious.  The Educator console even allows you to print out student logins in easy to cut apart and pass out strips.  Very cool!  Another feature of Diigo is that you can follow people and read the bookmark lists they've found to be helpful.  This is another way to further build your PLN.  I don't really chat with the people I follow on Diigo, but I do like to look at the bookmarks they have amassed, especially on topics that I teach and have in common with them.  Most of the educators I follow are people I met through ning networks or on Twitter.

During the second part of class we further explored the concept of social networks that are specifically for educators.  Ning networks are some of the most common. You don't have to be an educator to join a ning, but they are very popular amongst teachers.   I joined the various networks that were introduced in class, but I must admit I haven't really networked much on these sites yet.  I feel I already have a pretty developed PLN and by adding too, much to the mix I may actually dilute the quality and frequency of my interactions.  I think the ning networks that I belong to are useful and effective because the members of the nings are very actively involved in the conversations.  They are checking the posts daily or at least weekly and get back to you if you have posted a question or comment.

I am already following the Art Ed2.0 network and also the NAEA secondary educators ning network.  Both of these are vital communities that have taught me so much.  The conversations range from nuts and bolts to highly intellectual and philosophical.  I have learned a great deal about other web 2.0 tools through these networks and have also enlarged my Twitter community because of them. Lastly when attending the National Art Education convention a few years back I didn't feel I was there alone, because I got to meet and mingle with many of the online PLN members I'd met through the ning. 

I have fully embraced social networking both on a personal level and as a professional.  I decided this week to draw a line between these networks.  I un-friended people on my Facebook network that aren't really my friends on a social level.  I decided that from now on Facebook will be for me on a more social level.  I will still post art eduction sites and links and comments because as a person I am an artist and I can't undo who I am.  I will use Twitter and the nings I belong to for more professional networking.  I like that there will be a distinction.  There are still some professional ways that I will use Facebook as my Art Club has a page and so do my AP Art students.  Facebook is the easiest and fastest way to get a message to students so it will still be there for that.

1 comment:

  1. JEanne, Thanks for leading the session on social bookmarking. It makes it challenging when the learners are all at different places - uch like a true classroom. You did a great job of sharing your knowledge and passion about what you do with Diigo.

    You are a gifted educator and committed to your students. Thanks!