Sunday, January 31, 2010

Using Resource Depositories to Your Advantage

This past Saturday I attended the NICE conference held at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire. I was thoroughly impressed at the number of presentations available for the $5.00 fee. I decided to attend 2 of my three sessions on Web 2.0 tools and another on Professional Development. The presenters are all very well know in the area of technology so I knew from the start I would leave with my head spinning. As I sat in each session, I wondered how I could be more like each of the presenters and what made them "so smart" in this area. Well, I think I found their secret (and even if I didn't, I discovered a way to make me look smarter, anyway.)

All three of the presenters, as well as many of the others, I presume, have developed smart ways of searching. They would never use a search engine like Google as that just gives you too many sites to look through. Google does not give you a ranking system of what is useful and what is not.
So, I am going to share their secret, and once you hear it, you may be asking yourself the same questions I did. Like, "Why didn't I think of that?" If you already knew this trick, then at least humor me, please. What all three presenters do is search their Personal Learning Networks Delicious or Diigo accounts and bring those sites into their own sites. What they have all essentially done is let someone who must have far more time than themselves do the searching and then they get to use the sites. I learned how to narrow down the searches within Delicious so that I do not have to look at 500 math sites when only 75 will apply. While all of this searching is dependent on the tags the person has put on their entries, it certainly is less time consuming than starting with Google.

Now that I have found their secret, I am going to use a new Web 2.0 tool to compile my own fantabulous list of resources. I am going to use
SimplyBox to categorize my favorites into files.

I have been wanting to do this for years but never found the time. I like this tool because rather than a web address, I am going to be able to have a screen shot of the website. The unfortunate aspect, if you are a fan of another browser, of Simply Box is that it is an add-on for Firefox only. It is very simple to use and allows comments to be added as well as tags. I have developed only one box so far. Boxes can be public, private, or shared. I am still new to this tool so I am not completely sure of all of its capabilities but I do know it is something worth taking a look at. It is fun and easy so I know it is a tool I will use in developing collections of sites for the teachers and, hopefully, getting them to do it themselves. Most importantly, it doesn't matter what computer you are using, your favorites will always be available.


michael said...

SimplyBox works with Explorer as well. And the paid Education version allows for "boxing" from documents and applications, not only web pages.

Craig A. Cunningham said...

Cool....I wasn't aware of this alternative to Diigo and Delicious!

callmela said...

Cool is right!!!! Thanks for introducing me to this nifty tool Alice. I have tried to use other apps for organizing my online life with little success. After reading your blog post I went to the SimplyBox site to check it out. Love it!!! (I even embedded the video from the site on my Sampler cause I think other people in class will like it too.) On the Simply box home page there is a tab that takes you to information for how to use the application in educational settings. I think it has loads of potential. Am eager to see if the site is blocked in my district. If not....I think it will open lots of doors for innovative instruction.