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How to use social bookmarking software as a learning tool

Updated on February 2, 2011

With the evolution of the internet the methods of teaching and learning has been changed drastically. The classroom centered teaching is been changing into internet based learning over time and social bookmarking software can play a key role in the new way of teaching and learning.

So first of all what is this social bookmarking software.

A couple of years back If you find some interesting article when surfing the internet what would you do is bookmark it in your web browser for later use. Whenever you want to retrieve the bookmark you visit your bookmarks folders and select the respective bookmark. But there are problems in this approach.

Problems with the browser based bookmarks

1. The biggest problem is that they are saved in a local machine. So if you need to access a bookmark when you are working at office but the bookmark is saved at the home machine, there is no way of accessing it unless you have some way of synchronizing(link) all the machines that you are working with.

2. When you have too many book marks it is difficult to manage them. What you would normally do is create a folder structure within your browser and save the bookmarks accordingly. Then what happens if the same bookmark should go in two folders? The worse is when you want to retrieve a bookmark you saved but you can’t remember exactly where d you save it. Sometimes it may be easy to find the file from its original location using Google than searching it in your bookmarks.

3. When you want to share your bookmarks there is no way of doing it other than opening them and sending them to the interested people through email.

These are the exact things that social bookmarking software tries to solve.


What social bookmarking software does?

Social bookmarking software is nothing more than a web site which allows you to save your bookmarks there and tag those using keywords. You can categorize bookmarks as private- which only you can view and public- anybody can see them. Some sites periodically check the URLs that you bookmark and inform if any of them are broken. Visitors to the social bookmarking sites can view the bookmarks by keywords, person or popularity.

Advantages of Social bookmarks?

1. A new way of classification and categorization data using tags

2. Can make social connections with others

3. Folksonomy- Over the time the community will develop a structure of keywords to define resources

4. Allows like-minded people to act together to develop new communities

5. In research you can take advantage of the insight of the other people


Disadvantages of Social bookmarks

1. As Bookmarking and Tagging is done by amateurs sometimes the tagging may be inappropriate or it might not reflect or create the best resources for the keywords defined

2. Real world human interactions are reducing . This is a much talked disadvantage of the internet, social bookmarking further improves it.

How social bookmarking can be used in teaching and learning?

1. A very good method to collect information for a research

Wherever you are working weather it is home, office or some other place if you find something useful you can add them to the list

2. The lecture can distribute the further readings through a social bookmarking site with proper tags. As these sites have RSS feeds as well, whenever the list is updated the students know about it

3. Student groups can use social bookmarking services for their group project works. Use a common account for the group to login and tag all the information collected by them using a unique keyword. People outside the group also can add links to the groups using the unique tag.

Future of the social bookmarking

At the moment social bookmarking sites allow only tagging of web pages. But in the future tagging of images, videos and emails will be possible. We have to wait and see what the future of these tools will be when web3.0 and web 4.0 comes into the play in the near future.


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