I know that Jane Hart will be compiling a new list of top 10 tools in the near future. Every time I see her call for contributors, I am in the middle of a major project. So as the year ends, I decided to do things different and spend the next 10 days listing a different tool in my top ten, and why it is important. Also, in line with my desire to begin to identify the affordances of a tool and therefore, how that tool could be used (which instructional goals can be met, limitiations of the tool) will also be included.
Today's tool is top on my list for this year: Delicious. Delicious has become a life saver for me in my teaching, my research, as I move from computer to computer, and as I try to share resources with my colleagues, especially those I am trying to help into the 21st Century.
Delicious for Dummies (I'm not saying that I think my readers are Dummies, but rather using the format used in ".... for Dummies" books!!)
For those that may have heard of delicious, but really don't know how you could use it or how it works I will give some general information. Delicious is a public site of "links". I initially used it by going on delicious and searching for resources (without joining). You type in a key word and links that people have saved using that key word can be found. Once I became more accustomed to the features of delicious (I am definitely NOT an early adopter), I found I could keep links I found when working on multiple computers, in multiple locations (home, work, the library) in one place accessible through the web, regardless of where I was.
This year, I began to use delicious as a way to keep track of sites and links I wanted to use in my classes. As I teach technology and communication courses with only one computer in my classroom, I wanted to be able to demonstrate what I was teaching. Delicious made it easy for me to identify my links quickly, so I had less set up for the various sites I was going to. In the classroom, I could not save URL's so using delicious made it possible for me not to have to type in the same sites over and over.
As a member, you will have the ability to download a toolbar addition to your browser. What this means is that an icon will be added to your browser, and when you want to add a link to delicious or access your delicious account, you need only click on the icon. The directions for adding this accessory is very easy to follow (even my sisters have been able to figure it out--and they're old!).
Two other features newbies need to know about are tags and Notes. The one pet peeve I have with delicious is that tags can only be one word. So if you have a two word descriptor, such as international communication, you will need to either use an underscore (international_communication) or put together the terms without a space (internationalcommunication). I would recommend deciding from the beginning which you will do and sticking with that. However, you then need to understand that others will use both formats when tagging their own information.
I use the notes for two reasons. First, it reminds me of why I chose a link so it helps me to find links I saved for my classes or dissertation. Secondly, it helps others decide if they want to click on the link when they come across the resource on my list.
This leads me to the social networking feature of delicious. Once a member, you can do a search using tags that will allow you to access others links. I found one member that must be doing a similar dissertation project as he not only saved my delicious account, but had many links that I had been searching for.
At first, many might look at this as just a depository of information. However, I have also used it as a means of sharing sites (through tags with group names, such as the course number or project name). This allows groups to create a database of resources. Delicious also allows for collaboration, broadcasting of information, and social networking.
Instructional Design requirements
Integrating delicious into the classroom can be as easy as giving a link to a list identified through the class number (i.e. delicious.com/vmyonkers/ACOM203). However, if it is going to be used as a collaborative tool, the group needs to come up with a way in which they will share the information (either creating a separate account for the group, friending others to your list, or creating a common tag for shared resources).
I would be interested in knowing how others use delicious and what affordances they see in the use of this tool. Also, how do you integrate it into your instructional designs?
- V Yonkers
- Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.