I’ve been keeping a lot of resources for a long time. I felt the need to do so when I had a computer at home and a computer at work. It was then that I realized that bookmarking a link on my computer was a pretty limiting activity. Even more limiting was bookmarking different resources on different computers and then trying to remember where the heck I left it. Surveying the online landscape, I realized that there were a number of better solutions. I chose to use a service called Backflip. It served me well. I could bookmark things as I found them and then it didn’t matter at all what computer I used to access them. This was good, very good. The process was exceptionally good when I realized that I could share the resources with people who weren’t me! All that I had to do was give them the public address to my resources.
Sadly, Backflip went out of business. So, I went looking for a replacement and found Delicious. This had the same good features as Backflip and continued to add more to it. I think that it was Delicious that first impressed upon me the importance of tagging things so that they could be accessed later in a quick and meaning manner. Before that, I would organize resources by subject. That made cross-subject or them categorization difficult.
Delicious also allowed me to post links that I’d found automatically to this blog. That was even better. I’m really all about automation when I can swing it. Not too long ago, Delicious was cut loose by Yahoo! and it looked like the end was near. Fortunately, I’d been playing around with Diigo not only because of its bookmarking abilities but because of the classroom feature built into it. Diigo posts nicely to my blog, it can post automatically to Delicious so that I have an automated backup. This is very nice.
During presentations, I can create a group to share with participants if I have a bunch of links to support my talk. It’s also a great way to make documents available for the same sort of activity.
Recently, along comes a new service called Pinterest. This is very intriguing. Rather than just a link to a resource, you’re asked to select an image on the page being pinned. Within Pinterest, there’s a huge activity of sharing pins and resources. Couple that with following others and you have a rather dynamic and attractive environment. Pinterest, in fact, has exploded in popularity. I have experimented with a number of ways of using it and really like what I’m finding. On the other hand, Pinterest is so popular for way more than education. By following pins, it’s easy to get very, very lost!
Then, recently a service called Learnist comes along. It’s still in its infancy; you need to ask for an invitation or get invited to join. You log in with your Facebook account once you’re granted access. But, once in, it seems at this point to be the best of all the worlds for education. Devoted strictly to education, there are far fewer random detractors in its operation.
While you’re waiting for your account, you can explore most of what Learnist has to offer. Just select a category from the ribbon at the top of the page. You can go directly to “Education” from here, for example. Explore the results and you’ll see bookmarks, you’ll see the ability to “like” a resource, you’ll have the ability to follow people; and you’ll have the ability to add your own comments to the entry. Once you have your own account, Learnist provides you with a bookmark button to easily tuck away a bookmark while you’re browsing the web.
From what I’m seeing, Learnist has “it all” – or at least whatever “all” means as of this writing. The highly attractive and feature filled environment pack a great deal of educational potential. One of the best professional learning activities that one can do for oneself is to read and reflect. Reading is easy; reflecting when you’re reading on the web means revisiting resources when necessary. By bookmarking it on Learnist, you have that functionality. But, it goes further. For professional learning, you can create your own “board” of selected resources to share with your audience. And, if your audience is students, share it with students!
Learnist is the newest of all the resources I’ve look at in this genre. In my world, it hasn’t replaced anything yet. I still like my Delicious and Diigo accounts and all that they generate. I see Learnist as another level for another application of bookmarking for professional learning. It’s interesting to note that even the term “bookmarking” is starting to sound dated in favour of the newer term “curating”.
I think this service is one to keep your eye on. It definitely has a smaller target audience that the whole computer using web – us!