Thursday, October 9, 2008


In the recent ranking of the top 100 learning tools put out by the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies, the top tool chosen by the panel is Delicious. This is somewhat incredible. While delicious is certainly becoming more well known, the panel chose it over such stalwarts as Microsoft Word, Power Point, and Excel, as well as Internet Explorer and Firefox. Even Google's search didn't rate as high, which is the only online tool a large portion of teachers and students use. In other words, if there was any doubt to the power of delicious, you should be using it... now.

Delicious is a social bookmarking site. After creating a free account, you can save your bookmarks to your account. Since other users are saving their accounts, you can cross-reference (this is the social part). Say, for example, I bookmark a site which gives me a good recipe for chicken curry. On Delicious, I look and see 35 other people have bookmarked that site as well. I can now look at their bookmarks and find additional recipes, er... sites that I might like. I've just found access to a lot of valuable information on the web without having to take time to dig for it.

This gets even more powerful if you tag. A tag is a keyword placed on your bookmark. For my chicken curry recipe, I could use "chicken_curry", "Indian", "spicy" and "food". If I wanted more chicken curry recipes, I could search the "chicken_curry" tag in delicious and get all the other sites that have been so marked. Or, I could search for "Indian+food" and expand my search. And since it is a search, I can use RSS and subscribe to the feed. Every time a person in the world tags a site as "chicken_curry", it comes straight to my RSS inbox.

This is the definition of a 21st century tool. I have taken the entirety of the world wide web and made it manageable. While Google search gives a computerized way of sifting through the web, Delicious gives it a humanized way of sifting.

Just like RSS, Delicious gives teachers a way to expand their own knowledge base, be it with their content area or pedagogy. But more importantly, this is a tool that students need to use. In a connectivist classroom, each student should be given the chance to become master of some content. Given RSS and Delicious, they should be challenged to see how much knowledge they can attain on that subject... can they stay on top of new aspects? Can they find expert opinion? Can the fully discover the past history? Can they find obscure angles?

As a professional development coordinator, I use Delicious to expand the variety of examples I can use to share with educators. Whereas before, when I had to make a quick web page to share the sources with teachers, I now can simply point them to my Delicious account, which not only I can update, but others can too, since I subscribe to tags. My account is here, by the way.

How can you use Delicious?

No comments: