Posts Tagged web 2.0

Using Diigo, finally

Diigo is another one of those tools that has been around a while but that I never really got into the habit of using. Lately, though, I’ve been finding it so handy.

It’s basically a social bookmarking site, but the highlighting and sticky note feature make it especially useful in the classroom. I pulled up Edgar Allan Poe’s Wikipedia page today before reading “Cask of Amontillado” with my 9th graders. I used Diigo’s highlighter tool while skimming the article for key info with the kids. The next time I pull that page up through my Diigo bookmarks, I can click the Diigo icon in my toolbar to reveal the highlights I’ve already made. 

I use this Chrome extension.

I’ve also been collecting articles and photo galleries on the Occupy Wall Street protests, since I know I’ll be introducing Marxist Criticism to my seniors soon.

I can open each of these pages in my browser before class starts and be ready to go. I love how, with the toolbar extension, collecting these resources can be such a natural part of my everyday web-reading. It really only takes about five seconds to make the boomark, select the tags, and maybe write a quick note about it. It’s what I’m always looking for with web 2.0 tools: something that subtracts steps in the process of incorporating technology into my teaching and doesn’t add any.

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Popplet like it’s hot

[It might be a problem how funny I think this post’s title is.]

I used Popplet today, not for the first time, but it was one of those times where the idea to use it came to me on the fly, in the midst of an activity. This is the place I want to get to with web 2.0 tools: where I have a massive, Batman-esque tool-belt, filled with items to help enhance any lesson or solve any problem. And there would be so many tools that my students wouldn’t keep seeing the same one twice, but, instead, would be able to be consistently surprised, staying engaged to see how things turn out.

Like Batman, who happened to have shark repellent in that helicopter. 

Popplet allows you to very easily make attractively rounded text boxes (which can also easily be photos or other media) and arrange them or connect them. It’s one of those simple systems that has so many applications.

Today I had my frosh in small groups, writing out the subject, main idea, author’s purpose and theme of a story (“Word Problem,” by Bruce Holland Rogers). Each group collaborated to write those four sentences on one sheet of paper. They then handed those in, and while they chatted with their group members for 5 minutes, I quickly typed up the responses into a series of popplets I had arranged earlier (it should have been much earlier, but I did it while they were working, since this is when I had the idea. Also, I could have had something else for them to work on while I did this, but they are still getting to know each other, so I think the chatting was a great activity.).

I then turned on the projector (worked like a charm) and started evaluating each group’s response. I made a chart on the board and graded each one on a 4-point scale. The kids were pretty rapt. I think it felt like a valuable behind-the-scenes moment to figure out how to get full credit on something for me. We’ve only been at this for a couple of weeks. They still don’t know me. I’ve been getting very little homework turned in, and I’m sure that for some kids it’s because they are afraid they aren’t going to get full credit (so they make the brilliant choice to turn in nothing. I kind of get it.)

One student, who was still chatting when I started reviewing the responses, eventually looked at the screen, bewildered. “Hey, that’s what we wrote! How did it get there?”

It’s not quite as bewildered as I was when I saw Batman whip out his shark repellent, but it’s getting there.

I’ve also used Popplet to make character maps:

And tree maps to plan essays:

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