Yesterday, we were working with our secondary school Professional Learning Communities, and as I was waiting for my turn, decided to try and check the wireless by twittering out a comment on my iPod. I just mentioned that I was about to do a presentation about Delicious.
I figured that the message would be one of the ones that just goes out into the gaping void that is Twitter and ignored by folks. I was wrong; there was a response from someone wanting to know if my presentation was online. I had to reply no – I’m not a big presentation package user – particularly if I’m showing some aspect of computer use or software. I prefer to go live with what I’m doing. I also like to have a rough idea of what I’d like to say but to be flexible enough to go where the audience takes me. So, while I did the presentation twice yesterday, it was slightly different both times.
But, in a nutshell, here’s what I did.
We went to Google and did a search for a story that’s currently in the news. You know the one – the director who was recently arrested in Switzerland. Good old Google was great and responded with over 8 000 000 hits based upon the name. We noted that there were stories about this person that was recent and there were some that were quite old. The new Google feature showing a timeline confirmed that. We then used the “within 24 hours” to take a look at the most recent. Then, it was off to the Wonder Wheel to talk about related content. All are great ways to zero in on specific information on the topic but results are still pretty massive.
So, we went over to take a look at my Delicious account. Very few people knew of this resource which I consider my #1 place to go for new learning. Once there, we took a look at the number of things that I’ve bookmarked. After we had a good laugh and a few “Get a Life, Doug”s, we dug into the heart of why I do this. First, I have multiple computers so how to I get at the good content if it’s bookmarked on one computer? Secondly, I’ve personally looked and previewed the pages before saving them so they’ve already had my once-over and I’ve deemed that the resource is worthy enough to bookmark for future reference.
I also illustrated the power of a descriptor to each link and how each is tagged with keywords for easy later understanding and retrieval. Next, we talked about the Ministry’s rollout of the new Computer Studies course and how it wasn’t finalized when we had our training on the curriculum. However, a bunch of us used the tag ICSXX to tag resources that might possibly be of use later on. With the power of all computer studies teachers in the province doing the same thing, this has the potential of being an incredible collection of collaborative thought. Pause to think how this sort of asynchronous activity would work with topics in their own PLC or even in subject area. Imagine if every teacher in the board tagged MDM4U resources when they found them? Imagine everyone rowing in the same direction!
So, this was just the preliminary to the power of creating a network on Delicious. I showed who I followed and gave a brief explanation of why and then also noted that there were some people who actually followed me.
With the power of online collaboration and the creation of an appropriate network, it gets really powerful in a short period of time. There were lots of lights turning on and I could see a little talk back and forth about how they might work this into their research. Perfect – that’s what days like today are for.
Oh, and the director above? We did our search on the power of the entire Delicious network and got a very manageable resource count of 600 with incredibly appropriate and interesting content. However, we all were quick to note that these weren’t just random links with the search term in them. These were resources that had spiked the attention of someone enough to have them take the time to annotate and bookmark them. So, in essence, they have all been peer reviewed before posting.
It’s just like having your own personal research department.
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