Oh, sure, I know how to do it. I get what the orange symbols mean and I tell other people how to use social bookmarking for their classes. But do I do it? No. Not yet. I’m waiting for my History of England to be an honors sections, and everything to go all student-created and constructivist because I’ll only have 25 students instead of 40.
But then, the “need” hit. Some students have trouble finding primary sources (or even recognizing them, as I’ve noted). And I enjoy looking for English primary sources as much as the next person… well, ok, more.
I’m so frustrated with my textbook for the class that in looking for a better one, I was of course considering not using one at all. I went to a site that has a huge book-type thing (Britannia.com) but it now has so many flashing ads it could induce seizure. So I checked out the BBC history site, and there was so much good stuff. But they’ve already told me on the evals, they really want a printed textbook.
In looking at the cool sites, however, I came across some good collections of primary sources, Adding such sources is the half of the whole discussion idea, since last fall. Gee, wouldn’t it be nice to collect all the cool sites I was finding? I started to bookmark them in Firefox and thought, that’s dumb. So I began collecting them in Diigo. First I tagged them “hist105”, as I do everything related to that class.
Then I started adding a “hist105resources” tag. I went into my Diigo bookmarks, confined the list to that tag, and copied the RSS button’s code (right click, copy link location).
Then I went into Moodle, and added a Remote RSS Feed block to the main course page, pasting in the RSS code. I called it “A few primary source sites”.
I realize I could go even further. I searched on Diigo and no one else uses the tag. I could have students use Diigo and tag what they find, and it will be automatically added to the block so long as I change to the RSS button code on the page referencing everyone’s tag, not just mine. That would take 2 seconds to do.
But…one step at a time. If I have them use the tag and collect, I’ll have to teach them Diigo and bookmarking and tagging as well as how to identify a primary source. That on top of a textbook, my lectures, seven quizzes, a weekly discussion requiring posting and thesis writing seems like to much. For me, if not for them!
But at least now, I’m not just talking RSS — I’m using it for an actual class.