Saturday, November 8, 2008

tt4t_062 Time to cleanup some delicious bookmarks

It's Saturday, November 8th, 2008 and welcome to episode 62 of TechTalk4Teachers, I’m Tom Grissom. If you are like me you probably have a lot of extra resources lying around and in a state of disrepair and begging to be organized in some form or fashion. If only there were enough time I would love to get some of these resources better organized. Way back on episode 12 of TechTalk4Teachers I talked about the social bookmarking site called delicious. At that time and until recently we had to use the rather clumsy website address of to access delicious bookmarks but as reported in episode 50 the delicious website has finally changed its web address to the more user friendly and added some new features along the way.

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Before delicious came around I actually wrote a php script I called share-a –link that allowed me and other students to fill out a form and access an online database for links that could be shared with others. So when I found out about delicious a few years ago I jumped at the opportunity to use this free service from Yahoo. It was like my share-a-link script but so much more.

I love the delicious social bookmarking service for several reasons, first of course, is that it is free! Free is one of those keywords that we teachers appreciate. Secondly the delicious service allows for anyone with a delicious account to add bookmarks that are stored and accessed online for future reference. Third is that delicious bookmarks can be accessed from any computer with an Internet connection. Fourth is that you can see what other delicious users have bookmarked and therefore learn a lot from the work of others. Finally one of the best features of delicious is the ability to “tag” websites with keywords that allows you to easily sort related bookmarks by a tagged keyword.

Teachers can benefit by using the delicious service to bookmark sites by keyword for a particular course or unit of study. You can use more than one tag per entry if a website might have several uses for you. The important thing is that your tags should be short and descriptive and you must be consistent with whatever tag naming convention you develop. For example when I find a website that is a good candidate for use with a smart board I will tag it with the keyword smartboard and iwb. I use the smartboard keyword because that is the descriptive name that most teachers are familiar with but I also use the tag iwb, that stands for interactive white board, because this tag reminds me that the particular site I am bookmarking is interactive and could also be used with other brands of interactive white boards besides Smart. I might also add additional tags like third grade or science to further define what the smartboard website is about.

With the recent revamping of the delicious website delicious users have some new features including better sorting options and sharing options including the ability to embed delicious bookmarks into other websites and blogs in the form of a tag cloud.

Now I have had my old delicious account called gtgrissom for some time now it has become a bit of a mess. Learning is messy and I am not the best organizer in the world so my delicious list has grown a little out of control for this account. I try to model best practices to the best of my ability so I recently created another delicious account to be used in conjuction with the Instructional Technology Center website. I will glean many of my bookmarks from the older gtgrissom account but I am going to be much more selective with what I tag and try to have a more minimalist approach to the eiuitc delicious account.

Displaying your bookmarks in the form of tag clouds is an easy way for others to quickly find tag related information. Tags are weighted and therefore as the number of entries a particular keyword tag has there will be a corresponding increase in the size of the font to display the tag. In other words the larger the size font of the tag the more entries that particular tag has. You have undoubtedly seen tag clouds on websites as they are becoming more and more common. I have embedded my eiuitc delicous tag cloud into the TechTalk4Teachers website if you would like to see an example. Please remember this is a work in progress and the nice thing about using the embed code is that this blog website will automatically be updated as I add new links to the eiuitc delicious account.

eiuitc delicious tag cloud example:

What about you? Do you have any tips and tricks about using social bookmarking in the classroom? If you do please leave a comment in the TechTalk4Teachers blog so we can share with others.

Technology Pick of the Week

My Technology Pick of the Week this week is a Web 2.0 service that may be of help to you when you want to print out just a selective piece of a website. The name of this service is called Print What You Like and a link is provided in the show notes.

To use this service copy the web address of the website you want to selectively print and then go to the printwhatyoulike website. Paste the web address into the box that says Enter a URL to Start and then press the Start button.

You can then move the mouse around to different sections of the webpage and click on the sections you want to printout. Use the control panel on the left-hand side to control the area you want to print. This could save a few trees so give it a try and let me know what you think.

That wraps it up for episode 62 of TechTalk4Teachers. Show notes
for this episode and archived episodes are available on the web at the EIU Instructional Technology Center website at just click on the Techtalk4Teachers Podcast link. If you have a comment of suggestion please send and email to or leave a comment on the TechTalk4Teachers blog. Until next time, this is Tom Grissom, keep on learning.

1 comment:

etalbert said...

Hi Tom,
Nice post.I have to find some time to go back through your posts to listen to all your recordings.
Like you, I love delicious. Even though, I like diigo too especially the groups I've joined, I am sticking with delicious for social bookmarking.
The PrintWhatYouLike site looks very useful.