I have a fear of commitment…to bookmarking sites.
Maybe I’m too picky. I’m waiting for the “Holy Grail” of sites: The free site that easily organizes both documents and websites and then pushes those items to my mobile devices. I want to put everything in one place – for free. I dream that this perfect system will one day appear on my dashboard and it will be love at first sight.
Then again, maybe I’m not “getting out there enough.” How can I meet the perfect site if I keep haunting my favorite hangouts?
I’ve ventured out a bit. I subscribed to iCloud, Delicious, and Dropbox. I suppose my interactions with those sites were more like speed-dating. I haven’t taken time to switch all bookmarks and files to an online format. Some of my grad school bookmarks are in Delicious, some are not. I can’t remember which ones are where. I have lists of links in document files that I may or may not have dropped into Dropbox. If I dropped by those sites, would they still remember me?
So, as I read articles like Summer PD: A Primer on Compiling Digital Resources by Mary Beth Hurtz, I wondered if I will ever find the perfect match. Can one site keep all my files and bookmarks in a single location where they can be shared with colleagues and students?
But the question extends beyond me: Am I passing this fear of commitment on to innocent students? If I can’t keep my own bookmarking systems straight, how can I teach my students to fall in love with a system of digital organization?
What do my students (and me) really need? Here are a list of my “Must Have”s:
- Simplicity. The fewer clicks, the better. More clicks = more potential for distraction.
- Shared access so that both teachers and students can add links. My email box is already flooded with emails. Many of my students are eager to share links with me. They email the links and I generally add them to a second, third, and fourth email that is re-sent to all my students. I’ve also added links to my classroom website or my school intranet page. Given Web 2.0, I no longer want to manually do what students are fully capable of doing.
- Global access. I’m an expat teacher working with students who travel extensively. The first semester, my 5th grade students are not allowed to take their laptops home. They need to access their bookmarks so they don’t have to email site links to themselves.
- Longevity. I wish I had a crystal ball that could tell me which sites will be around forever. I don’t want bookmarks to disappear when computers are re-imaged. I don’t want to switch bookmarks from site to site.
- Student anonymity. I get nervous about anything that requires email sign-in. I become hypocritical if I ask students to be careful with personal information and then ask them to use their email address to sign up for a bookmarking site.
- Ideally, both files and bookmarks can be shared in the same place.
I see some potential mates. But, my ideal would probably be a combination of LiveBinders (with free, unlimited storage) and Diigo. Until those are combined, I’m most tempted to continue my relationship with Dropbox, adding documents that students can access/share for the sole purpose of adding links (and descriptions of the links).
That said, I’m always open to input from my colleagues and readers. I need to know two things:
1. Are any of my tables (above) incorrect? If so, let me know.
2. Am I missing anything? What have been your experiences with file sharing and bookmark sharing?
Also, I realize tables are difficult to read. Sign up for updates by email and I’ll send you a .pdf version.