Taking Research to the Next Level with Online Collaboration

How often does a student take information from a site but they don’t remember to annotate the site they have used.   The other problem the seem to run into is finding a site again after it has been used.  Here are two resources that can help with these problems along with a few extras!

sboxed

SimplyBox (Watch it in action instead of reading about it!) allows you to have co-editors on a box so that you and your fellow teachers can all be adding resources on, for example, 6+1 Writing Traits to the same place.  It allows you to share the resources and the work!  Think about this for students collaborative research projects.  The students can all share a box to store and comment on resources for their projects.  They can also share it with you so that you can monitor the progression of their work!

diigosc

DiigoWatch to learn Here is another online resource that allows you to bookmark all of the great resources you find while you are surfing the web!  Diigo is different from SimplyBox however, because it is not a visual bookmarking application.  Also though Diigo allows you to share your bookmarks with others, they have to be members of Diigo and a part of your group to see your bookmarks.  Diigo has different bells and whistles!  Diigo allows you to highlight and add sticky-notes to the page that you are reading, so as you research a topic you don’t have to waste paper to note the important information.  You can do it right there on the web page.  If you make your highlights and sticky-notes public than all Diigo users can read what you thought or you can make it private and keep it to yourself!

Students who are collaborating on a research project can form groups on Diigo and share their highlighted and annotated web resources with each other.  Please be aware that this is called social bookmarking so there is a social networking aspect to this site that could provide connections to those outside of you school.  When instructed on proper etiquette and safe surfing this can be a great attribute of the program.

Depending on the content you teach and the web resources you are using one may work better for you than the other.  I recommend SimplyBox for younger students, because of the visual aspect and the one stop shopping with sharing only one link.  However, Diigo is handy for high schoolers who are doing more in depth research and would benefit from the highlighting and annotation features.

All in all, there are tons of online bookmarking resources out there, but these are the two that stand out when it comes to educational technology resources.

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