A bookmark: simple, elegant. A bookmark is a way to easily save a specific place in a text for quick access and reference in the future. A bookmark can be a plain sticky note or piece of paper, or an elaborately designed work of art. Social bookmarking is the digital version of the old stand-by: a digital way to ‘mark’ or ‘tag’ information from the web for future reference. Since it is digital, social bookmarking tools also provide far more powerful tools for both organizing information and sharing information with others that are not afforded by a traditional bookmark.
Social bookmarking is not a new concept, but we are often inundated with social bookmarking for social uses. The professional applications of social bookmarking often receive far less attention. Social bookmarking can be used to generate new ideas, to organize research from online sources, to provide resources to learners, or to create communities for resource sharing among educators, learners, or both. There are numerous social bookmarking tools available to choose from, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Five of the most popular social bookmarking tools among educators include:
- eduClipper: EduClipper is a social bookmarking (and more) site designed specifically for education needs. You can create ‘clips’ and organize them into ‘clipboards’ for easy organization and distribution. Beyond basic bookmarking, eduClipper also includes features for creating groups, classes, assignments, presentations, and even portfolios.
- edshelf: Edshelf is a very specific type of social bookmarking application. Edshelf allows the user to create a ‘shelf’ or collection of technology applications related to teaching and learning. The ‘shelf’ can be customized to fit a specific need and can be shared with others.
- Reddit: Reddit is one of the most popular community-based networks for linking to web content and it features numerous subreddit communities specifically targeted to different areas of education.
- LiveBinders: LiveBinders allows the user to create a virtual ‘binder’ or resources that can be organized by topic and shared with others.
- EverNote: EverNote is an important bookmarking tool, as it is one of few that also allow many options for mixing off-line content, such as notes, documents, photos, or audio, in addition to online content.
All of the social bookmarking tools above and the many more accessible on the web all perform the basic bookmarking task: saving and organizing information for future reference. There is undoubtedly a bookmarking tool that provides the right level of ‘flair’ in its design to meet your particular needs. As you consider ways to incorporate bookmarking in the design and development of learning programs or as a way to actively engage learners, try out several tools to see which one will help you reach your goals.