Friday, October 14, 2011

Why Diigo Rocks!

Recently, I was asked why do I use Diigo for my social bookmarking tool. The more I thought about it the more I needed to write about all the great features Diigo is not just for regular ol' users but has some great features for educators too.

First, what the heck is Social Bookmarking? Most people are familar with favorites or bookmarks in their browser. Basically, when you come across a website you want to make sure you come back to later or want to visit a lot, you bookmark it (or for you Internet Explorer users you favorite it). But there is a flaw. Unless you have some add-on installed or special program, your saves don't travel with you from computer to computer and device to device.

Enter Diigo. When you save to Diigo your saves go anywhere because they are saved to the cloud. Sounds mystical doesn't it? The social part is because you can make your saves public and share the wealth of knowledge with others. Say you are a science teacher. Your fellow science colleagues can go and view your saves because you have made them public.

There are loads of other features as well, like highlighting on a webpage, adding sticky notes to pages, saving pages to read later without actually adding them to your collection and so much more.

One of the most powerful features is the tagging. Basically, if I save and don't tag it, I will have to remember the name of the site or something in the address. That can be tough when you start to get 1000-2000 saves like I do. Trying to remember exactly the name of a site I want to share just isn't going to happen. Instead I use tags. With tags I can categorize my saves. So, looking at I might tag that as "Search" or "Search Engine." So this way I look at my tags and find what I need. Now, I do at this point have too many tags but its super easy to go back in and reorganize things.

Another feature I love is the ability to auto-post to my blog. If you look at the post previous to this one you will see 10 of my favorite saves from last week. I set that up through my preferences. I tell Diigo what saves I want to post (either everything I save or specific tags) and what time I want it to post. And presto! A fresh blog post of resources to share.

And the groups are great too. Have a special interest or area that you want to find resources for and share with? Maybe you have an Interactive Whiteboard or you are interested in Pre-K education. Or perhaps you are in a 1:1 school. There are groups for all these where members can share their saves to not only their inventory but to the group as well. Diigo will email you once a week with all the new content. Pretty neat, huh?

Anyone can do any of those things. Joe Smith off the street can sign up for a Diigo account and do all of those things. But if you are an educator, watch out! So many more features await you.

First thing to do is get a regular Diigo account. Then visit the Educator Area and apply for the Educator upgrade. Once you get upgraded you can access all the new features in the Teacher Console. You can create class groups and student accounts.

The next step is to create a group. This could be one group for all your students or individual groups for individual projects. You give the group a name and it gets a unique URL. And one of the best features is you can make the group private, meaning only who you want to see the information will be able to.

Once the group is created you can create student accounts. No email addresses needed. You create the username and password. Then you can add those created accounts to the group. If you have already created accounts you have the option to just add those accounts then.

The advantage here is that anything the students save goes to the group. So if students are working on a group project they can share their saves together, automatically. Or as a class, if you are working on something everyone can contribute information they find.

There are so many more features to learn about. Check out this video from the good folks at the Palm Breeze Cafe to learn more.

And don't take my word for it. I asked this on Twitter.

And these are a few of the responses I got back...

There you have it. Head over to Diigo and get started.

Oh if you want to check out my saves you can do that here.

What do you think about Diigo? If it is something you already use, what do  you like about it. If you don't what do you think you will like most about it? Leave some comments below. 
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