A del.icio.us Use Of The Web

In a stack of papers called Connections.

  • Jan
  • 26
  • 2006

Treating the class more like a journalism exercise means that I need to gather writings about a lot of different topics, many of which textbooks do not address or are terribly outdated on. Instead of making copies of things, I’ve decided that most articles and research that we’ll read about these topics, those things that we will use as models for our own writing, will be read online.

With this many computers in the classroom, there’s no reason to be locked into making copies for everyone when students can pair up on a computer and read. They can increase the font size if necessary and those students who do not have access to the internet at home can request a hardcopy printed for them. Everyone else will have access to all the articles through the del.icio.us page I’ve set up (and I’ll post a link to that inside School Loop in case some people forget how to type del.icio.us, something very easily forgotten).

Right now, well past 6:00, I’m sitting at a computer in my classroom lab, adding sites to a del.icio.us account I created for my classes. I want to provide the account to the class, but also want to maintain control over what pages are posted and what descriptions are listed (there’s tons of room for egregious misuse of a system like this).

Changing the password each day before I go home is one way. Another option is to simply have the “post to del.icio.us” link on the browsers in the classroom, with each computer logged into the account during the day and logged out before I leave. No one needs to know the password since all the computers are already logged in. That prevents anyone from adding an interesting article at night, when they perhaps are doing their best surfing, and it means I’ll have to keep a better eye on the computers during the day. It’s a problem, but it may not even end up being an issue. It certainly isn’t going to stop me from using this idea.

Remember, if you want to create a page full of links for your students to look at, but don’t want to create the page from scratch, just get a del.icio.us account (or Jots or Furl or BlogMarks or digg or BlinkList or Shadows or whatever you’ve got). You can create categories (like “English3” or “Hawthorne”) and send kids directly to the category page; they’ll only see all those links that you listed in that category. It’s a very cool way to give you kids access to specific pages you want to use for class and you don’t need to know HTML.

Allowing students to add articles that interest them directly to the account, one concern being anyone adding porn sites from home as a big joke on everyone and another being flagrant misuse of the account like changing the settings and password on me, I feel the excitement of creating a page of links specifically for my students, relieve pressure from myself by not having to build a page from scratch, and imagine all the useful sites students will be exposed to.

1 comment

1. Ben says:

[1/26/2006 - 7:43 pm]

Your thoughts on the security of online accounts couldn’t have come at a better time. The Flash Card Machine account I’ve been using with my class wasn’t a problem, until I had both classes using it. Thankfully, none of my students are malicious enough to go changing the password or login (most of them haven’t even realized they can do that), but some of them have accidently deleted or overwritten other’s cards. I’m thinking for the next chapter in science I’m going to have them all create their own accounts.