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From Delicious To Diigo - Lancaster, May 2009

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Presentation given at the University of Lancaster's Postgraduate Statistics Centre CETL by Dr Jamie Wood in May 2009 on the use of social bookmarking software for supporting IBL for first year History students at the University of Sheffield.

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From Delicious To Diigo - Lancaster, May 2009

  1. 1. From delicious to diigo: Using social bookmarking to support inquiry-based learning<br />Jamie Wood<br />Centre for Inquiry-based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences (CILASS)<br />University of Sheffield<br />
  2. 2. Overview of talk<br />Who am I?<br />What is CILASS?<br />What is inquiry-based learning?<br />What is social bookmarking?<br />What I did…<br />What the students thought…<br />Reflections and practical considerations<br />Social bookmarking…<br />
  3. 3. Context - personal<br />Peripatetic <br />LDRA role at CILASS – support for and research into inquiry-based learning<br />Previous teaching experience in History <br />Idea of students generating bibliography seemed a good one<br />Student use of the internet – is it really that bad? <br />
  4. 4. CILASS<br />Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning<br />5 year programme (2005-2010) of reward, development, innovation, research <br />Core community: Faculties of Arts and Social Sciences; extending to other Faculties<br />“Modelling the process of research in the student learning experience”<br />
  5. 5. Inquiry-based learning: Two definitions<br />“Inquiry refers to instructional practices designed to promote the development of high order intellectual and academic skills through student-driven and instructor-guided investigation of student-generated questions” (McMaster University)<br />“An array of classroom practices that promote student learning through guided and, increasingly, independent investigation of complex questions and problems, often for which there is no single answer” (North Carolina State University)<br />
  6. 6. Inquiry-based learning in practice <br /><ul><li>Student-led exploration, investigation and research
  7. 7. Guided and supported by academic and learning support staff
  8. 8. Problems; case scenarios; field-work; experiential learning; small- and large-scale research projects
  9. 9. ‘Full’ IBL – the design principle for whole modules/programmes
  10. 10. ‘Hybrid’ IBL – activities incorporated into more traditional curricula
  11. 11. Often, more directed inquiry approaches at lower levels, leading to more open-ended, freer approaches at higher levels</li></li></ul><li>Social bookmarking<br />Social bookmarking is a method for Internet users to store, organize, search, and manage bookmarks of web pages on the Internet with the help of metadata, typically in the form of tags. <br />Users save links to web pages that they want to remember and/or share. These bookmarks are usually public, although they can be made private or shared with restricted groups of people. <br />Most social bookmark services encourage users to organize their bookmarks with informal tags instead of the traditional browser-based system of folders. They also enable viewing bookmarks associated with a chosen tag, and include information about the number of users who have bookmarked them. <br />Many social bookmarking services provide web feeds for their lists of bookmarks, including lists organized by tags. This allows subscribers to become aware of new bookmarks as they are saved, shared, and tagged by other users.<br />(Adapted from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_bookmarking; accessed 18.05.09)<br />Importantly, articles on sites such as JSTOR, or behind passwords, can sometimes be bookmarked; in History, a large number of sources are available on the open web<br />
  12. 12. Social bookmarking and IBL<br />Active engagement. <br />Social/ collaborative element. <br />Allows for collaborative construction of knowledge/ learning. <br />Therefore potentially useful for supporting IBL… <br />‘tag cloud’ created by my classes in 2008<br />
  13. 13. Context<br />1st year core History lecture-based module <br />1 seminar per week for two groups<br />Oral presentations (2) and contributions assessed (17% of course mark)<br />Assessed essays (33%) <br />Exam (50%)<br />
  14. 14. 2008 course<br />2 basic aims:<br /><ul><li> To get students to practice their questioning skills and explore the relationship between questioning and IBL
  15. 15. To encourage efficient and effective use of the web through a constructive approach</li></li></ul><li>What I did – 1<br />I set up a delicious site for the students and I to use<br />Common login; public<br />Weekly homework: <br />‘bookmark’ 3 websites (1 primary source; 1 secondary source; 1 ‘other’ source)<br />provide a short description of the site and ‘tag’ the site with a number of descriptive keywords, including student’s name<br />I did the same<br />http://delicious.com/paganschristiansheretics<br />
  16. 16. What I did - 2<br /><ul><li>Collated resources were shared between my 2 groups
  17. 17. I created a course blog, to which the students posted a weekly question arising from their preparatory readings = inquiry?
  18. 18. I read the blog and delicious site, using them as a basis for seminar preparation
  19. 19. Experimentation occurred </li></ul>http://paganschristiansheretics.wordpress.com/ transferred to: http://paganschristiansheretics.blogspot.com/<br />
  20. 20. What happened<br />Between us, the students and I<br />Posted 199 bookmarks to delicious, using 364 different tags<br />Posted 56 posts to the blog<br />
  21. 21. Reflections on delicious – positive<br />It’s easy for both the students and I<br />Most (over 80%) of the students engaged with it<br />Some students have engaged with it consistently<br />Seminars were more relevant to what the students had done – e.g. sources we looked at/ questions we addressed<br />Useful for me to chart process of student work (e.g. websites, searches)<br />The students like it<br />
  22. 22. Reflections on delicious – issues<br />Some students haven’t engaged with it (issue of logins)<br />Some students have only engaged with it in passing<br />Tension between direction/ modifying student use of the internet<br />Was this inquiry? <br />Time constraints – how to fit this into seminars? <br />Repetitive? <br />Will the students do it without chasing? <br />
  23. 23. Student feedback<br />‘Reading a primary and secondary source made me well prepared for the seminars.’<br />‘The delicious website was really useful, although sometimes it takes a little looking around to find really useful sources.’<br />‘The delicious site was useful as a compilation of resources and to generate discussion about the use of primary materials.’<br />‘doing my own research on the internet was good/ useful.’<br />‘[..] the blog was useful as it meant that one could direct one&apos;s thinking during reading by seeing what other people had asked, and if you came up with questions yourself it confirmed that you had understood and engaged with the material/topic. The blog was also a good framework for seminar work.’<br />
  24. 24. Student feedback<br />‘The delicious site, whilst I&apos;m sure was very useful to some people, wasn&apos;t very useful for me. Even though there were lots of resources in one place online, I still preferred consulting the reading list in the course handbook to find reading for seminars/essays.’<br />‘[delicious was] helpful as it made sure I did some meaningful reading... If I&apos;m honest I didn&apos;t look at anyone else&apos;s entries generally as I found useful sites on my own that I used. But even if I haven&apos;t gone back to it much it was still helpful to have that incentive to do some reading’<br />‘Initially preparation each week was very high but this deteriorated over time.’<br />
  25. 25. ‘I assume this [the blog] was quite helpful for you to see what direction to lead the seminars in. Some weeks I found myself searching for a question rather than burning to ask one and other weeks I did put up genuine questions that I thought would be helpful for everyone. A bit mixed for me but I still think it was worthwhile and got you thinking about the topic before the seminar which would help you come along with clarified thoughts.’<br />
  26. 26. 2009 course<br />Based on feedback and reflection I decided to move to a different platform that could host both the blog-type function and the bookmarking/ tagging<br />I chose diigo.com <br />
  27. 27. Discussion forum<br />Replaced blog<br />Primarily a place for students to post pre-seminar questions or other activities (feedback)<br />Place to upload weekly homework/ handouts <br />
  28. 28. Bookmarking <br />Similar basic functionality to delicious<br /><ul><li> Description
  29. 29. Tagging
  30. 30. Sharing</li></li></ul><li>And more…<br />‘diigo for educators’ account – private, separate logins<br />Highlighting <br />Sticky-noting<br />Sharing<br />“I just think that this bit is interesting when we consider how quickly Clovis decided to switch allegiances to the Christian God from the Pagan gods.He seems pretty adamant in this extract that his gods are better than his wife&apos;s Christian God. It might just be me but I can&apos;t help but think that Gregory has missed something out in his analysis of Clovis&apos; conversion, in between this point and when Clovis makes a deal with Jesus when he is losing a battle against the Alamanni.”<br />
  31. 31. Pre course survey<br />Majority of student preferred for questions to be set by the tutor, although: <br />‘It is good to set the questions ourselves as I feel it makes us think more about what we&apos;re doing and we&apos;re able to focus on areas which interest us.’<br />All students: <br />thought that questions were either ‘very’ or ‘quite’ important to their learning.<br />were happy with setting questions for seminars. <br />were positive about the opportunity to use an online discussion forum for questioning and interaction. <br />They could see the potential benefits from working together and sharing information and perspectives:<br />‘I feel fine with the forum as you can see other questions, topics that interest your peers or aspects that they find difficult also.’ <br />‘Multiple input should create a more in depth analysis so it should be beneficial.’ <br />There was some concern about technical aspects of the software, getting used to using it. <br />
  32. 32. What happened<br /><ul><li>19 students and me
  33. 33. We ended up (over 11 seminars) with 147 posts to the forum
  34. 34. 314 bookmarks (including ones from last year’s course which I had transferred over and edited where links no longer worked), using 590 different tags</li></li></ul><li>Varied activities – some examples<br />Locating and bookmarking source(s)<br /><ul><li> Find and bookmark primary/ secondary source
  35. 35. Add description and tags</li></ul>Non-written sources<br /><ul><li> Find and bookmark a non-written source (YouTube; Flickr)
  36. 36. In description, explain why this source is relevant to the seminar</li></ul>Essay writing<br /><ul><li> Respond to feedback on essays by bookmarking a relevant site
  37. 37. Revise thesis statement from first essay and post to discussion forum</li></ul>Highlighting <br /><ul><li> Highlight and comment upon relevant sections of a document which I had pre-selected</li></ul>Questioning<br /><ul><li> Post a question based on reading to the discussion forum</li></li></ul><li>Student feedback<br />15 responses to questionnaire. <br />In general, positive about diigo, more so than delicious in previous year:<br />Collaborative generation of ideas <br />Practical use in preparing essays<br />Enjoyed the opportunity to find own sources: ‘In regards to preparation, I like how it&apos;s not always reading long pieces of text and how we have to find our own sources.’<br />Freedom: ‘There is more freedom of choice about what to read.’<br />Different way of learning: ‘I like the use of diigo, it is much more interesting, and because you are not only reading, it is easier to absorb the information.’<br />Difficulties: “The only thing I would say is using the diigo site, not because I don&apos;t think it&apos;s a good idea, just because I&apos;m not very good with technology and I found parts (e.g. highlighting and sticky noting) very confusing at first!”<br />
  38. 38. Setting questions – 3 conceptions<br />By tutor: Helps to give direction; reassuring; makes sure what you are doing is relevant and useful; gives focus to research; links to lectures; student questions might not be challenging enough; more likely to lead to a ‘good’ answer; helps with new areas of study<br />Mixture: <br />“A mixture is best to make sure key themes are not overlooked by setting your own questions gets yourself and others thinking more.”<br />“A varied set of questions from myself and the tutor would be good as I could concentrate on areas I enjoyed as well as looking at questions I may have not considered.”<br />By students: More interest; more control over learning; opens up discussion; allows exploration of topics students are uncertain of<br />“I like the fact that we&apos;ve got to set our own questions as it means that we focus on areas that I or other members of the group are unsure about. I think I&apos;ve learnt more from it.”<br />“I prefer setting the questions myself, mainly because it forces us to think about the issues in different ways; with the diigo site because people are reading sources in different ways so a wider range of issues comes up.”<br />
  39. 39. Changing conceptions:<br />“I used to prefer having the questions set for me but I think it has been more useful setting them myself as it has made me think about the reading more.”<br />“I used to like just being set questions, but now I have realised how beneficial thinking of your own questions is. I much prefer it.”<br />
  40. 40. Usefulness of posing questions to diigo<br />Thinking about sources<br /><ul><li>‘it forces you to think about the source material and be analytical in response to it’
  41. 41. ‘makes you read the article properly as you have to think about it’
  42. 42. ‘It has definitely made me think more about what I was reading and thought how it related to lecture topics as well’
  43. 43. ‘it makes you think about what you're reading a lot more, and opens up the area of reading to different paths of thought.’</li></ul>Learning from others<br /><ul><li>‘it allows me to look at topics from a different perspective’
  44. 44. ‘it has been good to see what other people have put and there was probably more variation in the questions than if the tutor was to set them.’
  45. 45. ‘it allows you to see a wider range of issues that come up from sources - some that you may not even have thought about.’
  46. 46. ‘I've found being able to see other people's questions helpful, as it brings up new points that I might not have previously thought about.’</li></li></ul><li>Improved research skills<br />80% of students felt that the use of diigo and the seminars had improved their research skills, including use of internet; ability to search; use of sources; self-direction; broadened conception of sources<br />‘normally the reading for seminars is set for you, whereas we often have to find our own reading for this seminar...I have become much more adept at using JSTOR&apos;s search functions.’<br />‘become more effective at researching and locating articles, as well as being better at extracting quotes from articles.’<br />‘having to highlight and tag has meant I have considered them [the sources] in depth.’<br />‘I&apos;ve searched for more primary sources and articles than I have before.’<br />‘particularly with reference to primary sources. The course puts more focus on primary sources than any module so far, and they were a bit of an abstract concept before…I feel better able to find, evaluate and use them now.’<br />‘it has made me more aware of where sources can be found i.e. not just JSTOR.’ <br />‘I think I&apos;m better now at analysing how useful a source might be and how you can use it.’<br />
  47. 47. ‘The whole of diigo has been invaluable. It is an excellent resource to find articles for essays and the tags and descriptions people have assigned to journals give a good summary. The questions on the forum raise issues that I may not have thought about otherwise.’<br />‘It is useful as I then identify areas of the module that I am less confident with and can address them with extra reading. They [the questions] also stimulate my thinking, and I think about other issues that interest me relating to the course, not simply what the tutor has asked of you.’<br />
  48. 48. My reflection – practicalities<br />Issues<br /><ul><li> Problems with tagging protocols
  49. 49. Move from common logins to different student accounts…allows tracking
  50. 50. Assessment not as important as I’d thought in generating engagement – though rationalisation is preferable
  51. 51. Reminders help
  52. 52. Support resources – can be tagged in diigo (e.g. past papers)</li></ul>Tips<br /><ul><li> Variety of tasks
  53. 53. Specificity of tasks (what and why)
  54. 54. Modelling of tasks
  55. 55. Bring the technology into the classroom
  56. 56. Support for engagement </li></ul>Other<br /><ul><li> Versatile beyond IBL
  57. 57. Room was important
  58. 58. Possible to replicate functions in a VLE, for example</li></li></ul><li>My reflections – learning<br />Develops range of skills (technology; information literacy; research)<br />Models disciplinary processes and develops disciplinary skills (summarising; use of sources) and knowledge<br />It is inquiry-based learning<br />
  59. 59. Some more from the students…<br />