Fresno State Digital Campus

eScholar 2.0

Blogs, Wikis, Social Networks, Social Bookmarks, Podcasts, RSS Feeds, and the list goes on of the many Web 2.0 tools native to today's students. This blog will provide the eScholars at Fresno State with the opportunity to explore many of these tools and discover how they may be used in education. If you want to comment on this blog, you will need to create a Google account if you do not already have one. Questions? Contact Mary Bennett

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Social Bookmarking

Social Bookmarking
Social bookmarking allows users to engage in a collaborative construction of knowledge where participants share, connect, and create. With social bookmarks, users read what others read as well as organize information within a community of researchers.

Common Craft explains Social Bookmarking in Plain English

What are tags?
Tags are what make social bookmarking so powerful. Think of “tags” as keywords to the site you are viewing. Each time you save a website you will want to “tag” it with a unique word. You can tag sites with one or several words. Websites with the same tags are linked together and users may use the tags to search for sites with similar information. For example, if you find a great site for teaching fractions you may want to tag it with “fractions” and “math.” This system is great for organizing your bookmarks but it goes even further when someone else posts related content using the same tags. A collaborative repository of organized information begins to emerge.

Tags are often represented in “tag clouds”. A tag cloud is a set of related tags with corresponding weights. Typically tag clouds have 30-150 tags and the weights are represented using font size. Tag clouds are frequently hyperlinked allowing users to drill down on the data.

The Power of Social Bookmarking
By now it is clear that social bookmarking empowers users to organize and find relevant information. The great thing about social bookmarking is the fact that within the community of “researchers” on these sites accepted tagging systems are emerging called folksonomies. In contrast to taxonomies, which classify and categorize information, a folksonomy is the practice and method of collaboratively creating and managing tags to annotate and categorize content.

A December 2006 survey found that 28% of Internet users have tagged or categorized content online. Furthermore, on a typical day 7% of Internet users indicated that they tag or categorize online content online.
Pew Internet and American Life Project Online Activities and Pursuits - Tagging

Social Bookmarks in the Classroom
Explore the following social bookmarking resources:
7 Things you should now about social bookmarking
Site to See: Social Bookmarking

Ideas for using social bookmarking in the classroom

  • Share bookmarks with parents to help their children find valuable and relevant resources.

  • Have students brainstorm keywords to build folksonomies.

  • Develop a tagging system so students can easily find quality resources.

  • Collaborate using special tags to collect and organize bookmarks that are relevant and useful to entire groups.

  • Browse other people’s favorite bookmarks who have already found information on subjects of interest to you.

To see the power of social bookmarking in practice explore the following site at the University of Pennsylvania . This site acts as a central location that students can access and contribute to covering many topics and projects.

Exploring Delicious

Delicious , like other social bookmarking sites, allows users to read and connect with what others are reading.

Complete the Techtorial – Bookmarking without Boarders

Create a site on Delicious.
The first thing you may notice is how simple is in design. To register all you need to do is add a username, select a password and you are ready to go.
A beginners guide to Delicious

  1. Type in a keyword of interest and see how many others have tagged information with the same keyword.

  2. Click on several of the sites and read the comments.

  3. Check out this site of frequently used tags on Delicious

  4. Add several websites and tag them. You will see a field for tags when editing or saving a bookmark. You may enter as many tags as you want with each one separated by a space. When adding tags you may want to think about words that will help you remember the site. You will also see a list of popular tags, which represents the tags other people have used for this site as well as recommended tags which are a combination of tags you have used and what other people have use for this same site.

  5. It is easy to check to see who else have saved websites using the same tags as you. Type in the following address: yourtag.

Absolutely Delicious Tools Collection

Check out my site on

furl is another social bookmarking site finding its way into the classroom. What sets furl apart is the fact that you can save an entire “snapshot” of the entire page so when one of your favorites in no longer available on the Web you have a copy of your furled pages.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Once again, Common Craft explains!

What is Twitter
Wikipedia says, “Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send updates via SMS, instant messaging, email, to the Twitter website, or any one of the multitude of Twitter applications now available”.

Twitter asks the question, “What are you doing?” and allows you to send a small update (limited to just 140 characters) to your followers. The concept is amazingly simple and that is perhaps one of the main reasons why it has caught on like wildfire. The restriction to 140 characters has resulted in Twitter being labeled “micro blogging”. A traditional blog is a log of what somebody is up to, but in a richer, more detailed format. One of the key benefits of Twitter is that you can send and receive updates (also called tweets) via your browser, email , instant messaging clients and SMS so you can keep in touch no matter where you are.

Tweet, Tweet
Each Twitter post is known as a tweet and users 'follow' the tweets of their network. Often the tweet describe what an individual is doing, or working on. However there are many more possibilities, tweets can be responses to other tweets, questions to your twitter network, links to interesting resources. It is really hard to wrap one's head around until you start tweeting and build a personal network. For examples of how this tool may be used in education, take a look at Twitter in the Classroom, part of the Web 2.0 Primer for Newbies site.

Twitter in the Classroom
Twitter is currently finding its place as an educational tool. In fact, many educators are finding Twitter to be an extremely powerful teaching tool.

100 Tips, Apps, and Resources for Teachers on TwitterExplore just how Twitter is becoming the revolutionary new way that communities are being brought together, people are learning from each and keeping up to date with all that is happening.

Twitter in the Classroom
One professor’s tips for using Twitter in the classroom.

The Chronicle of Higher Education According to one university professor on using Twitter to interact with his students, "It was the single thing that changed the classroom dynamics more than anything I’ve ever done teaching,"

Quick and easy polls for Twitter.

I just discovered Edmodo several weeks ago. Like Twitter, Edmodo is a microblogging site, but it builds in significant additional functionality to support classroom interactions. Check it out!

Are you ready to Tweet? If so, join Twitter and follow Digital Campus at Fresno State – DCatCSUF is our username : )

Friday, April 3, 2009


Wikis are excellent tools for collaboration. When wikis are used students learn to collect and share information as well as publish and negotiate.

This short video from Common Craft explains Wikis in Plain English

According to Wikipedia, the most well known wiki, “A Wiki is a group of Web pages that allows users to add content, but also allows others (often completely unrestricted) to edit the content.”

Wikis were invented in 1995 by Ward Cunningham who defined a wiki as “the simplest online database that could possibly work.”

Wiki – short for wiki wiki – comes from the Hawaiian term for quickly or super fast. In a nutshell, a wiki is a website that allows a user to add content, but also allows that content to be edited by another user. Wikis are community based and easy to use. If you can type an email or create a document in Microsoft Word you will be able to create a wiki. Wikis can include text, audio, and video and users can look through the history of the page to see how it developed. In addition, users may revert back to an earlier version of a page.

Wikis in Education as a tool for collaboration
Wikis can be very useful for the classroom teacher. Any time students collaborate on a project, wikis should be considered as an option. They work well as a means of sharing and editing data for the creation of collaborative knowledge. Wikis also provide users with a central spot to gather their work.

These are a few ideas for using wikis in the classroom:
  • Have students publish notes on a wiki. All students would benefit as they would be responsible for making sure the content was accurate.

  • Student created encyclopedia. Each student would be responsible for publishing articles and editing the work of others. Check out Mrs. Cassidy’s Grade 1-2 Dinosaur Wiki

  • Creative writing assignments and peer editing - You could create a page with an introduction and then let your students publish their writing assignments on a wiki. Students would be responsible for editing the work of their classmates. This would allow them to correct spelling and grammatical errors as well as develop or revise other writing traits.

  • Wikis work great for posting meeting notes or conference planning.

  • Teachers can use wikis to supplement the curriculum. Take a look at the Houghton Mifflin Technology Resources wiki.

More about wikis:


Wikipedia page on wikis

Wikis in Education

Wiki Ideas for the Classroom

The Power of Wikis in Higher Ed

Wikis in Higher Education: Pros, Cons, and How-Tos

Wikispaces for Teachers
Start a wiki in 30 seconds

Want to create your own wiki? Try using PBWiki – Yes, PB stands for Peanut Butter. According to the developers creating a PBWiki is as easy as making a Peanut Butter sandwich! At any rate, this is a great educational tool that is easy to use.

Go to PBwiki and create a wiki

Wiki Ideas for the Classroom by Will Richardson

There are many other wiki resources – some are fee based and some are free:





Add a comment about your wiki exploration. Remember you will need to have a Google account to do this.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


RSS or Really Simple Syndication allows users to easily keep track of content on the Web that is new and relevant. Discover exactly how Aggregators and RSS Feeds work and how to find the feeds you want. Explore the many ways RSS can be used in the classroom.

This video from Common Craft that explains RSS in Plain English

RSS Feeds RSS Logo
With Web1.0 users often would “bookmark” the sites that they wanted to visit often. As the list grew, users became overwhelmed with the vast amount of sites they visited to check for new information. Enter RSS. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. RSS allows users to “subscribe” allowing them to get an update on the newest content on websites, blogs, podcasts, and even news sites. Sites that have RSS generate a code called XML which is similar to HTML. This behind the scenes code is what allows subscription so users no longer have to visit the site itself to get the new content. Sites with a RSS feed have the familiar symbol somewhere on the page, often in the address bar, which you either click on or copy the address of to subscribe. Feeds are collected using an aggregator which goes out and compares the feeds to what you've already viewed and provides a listing of the new content since your last visit. As you might imagine, you are not longer visiting numerous sites looking for information. The newest content comes to you.

Using RSS in Education

  • Keeping updated on students' blogs or podcasts
  • Sources of information for current events
  • Tracking updates on collaboration projects using wikis
  • Tracking updates on services that use tags (pictures from Flickr or sites within Delicious)
  • RSS Search Feeds
  • News
  • Weblogs
  • Websites

RSS: A Quick Start Guide for Educators
Will Richardson’s guide for educators.

RSS Ideas for Educators

Try RSS!

You may want to consider Bloglines because you can check your feeds from any Internet connect and it is easy. All you need to do is go to the Bloglines site and “Register for your Free Account”. Once you receive a confirmation email you are ready to go.

Using Bloglines Tutorial

Once you have your Bloglines account set up you can now begin looking for feeds.

This is a great You Tube video highlighting how easy it is to add feeds to Bloglines:
Add RSS Feeds to Bloglines

Explore these resources for finding RSS Feeds relevant for education:

RSS Feeds from PBS
RSS News Feeds for Educators
peer-reviewed online teaching and learning materials.

Other Web-based RSS Feed Aggregators:
Google Reader

Adding RSS Feeds to your Blackboard Class
You may place RSS Feeds directly in Blackboard allowing you to provide up to date content from relevant resources in your course. There are several ways to do this:
Follow the instructions on the "How To" sheet found in the Tips and Tricks area for Adding an RSS Feed in Blackboard or you may use the Dynamic Feed Control from Google - either way, this is simple!

Monday, March 2, 2009


Weblogs aka Blogs are powerful tools for connecting ideas and resources. They facilitate “connective writing” and allow the instructor to support diverse learning styles. Blogs may be used to archive learning or act as a resource repository.

This short video from Common Craft explains Blogs in Plain English

The following articles will lead you on an investigation of how blogs are used in education:

Blogging 101 – Weblogs go to School

Educause Examples of Blogs

Educational Value of Weblogs

Edublog Insights
Comments, reflections and occasional brainstorms by Anne Davis

Computer Centers
A blog for kindergartners, using clickable pictures

The Write Weblog
Blogging adventures of 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders

As you can see blogging is increasingly finding a home in education. This is due in large part to the fact that the easy-to-use software removes the technical barriers to writing and publishing online. Additionally, the 'journal' format encourages students to keep a record of their thinking over time. Because readers have the ability to add comments blogs facilitate critical feedback, which could be from teachers, peers or a wider audience. Because the content created by students and teachers becomes part of wider body of knowledge when published to the web, blogs are truly a constructivist tool for learning.

Pedagogical/Technological Principles

In addition to their simplicity, blogs encourage interaction in a student/participant centered environment. The digital accessibility of blogs has the potential to extend learning as students may receive immediate feedback from teachers or peers.

Will Richardson created a collaborative learning space with students in his English literature course through blogging. His students published a readers’ guide to the book The Secret Life of Bees. The author of this book, Sue Monk Kidd, agreed to participate on by answering questions and commenting on what the students had written. The result was a truly collaborative learning environment.

The Secret Life of Bees

Blogging with Blogger
Blogger is often used by educators and it is simple to get started.You will want to explore all the "gadgets" available and think about how you can use them with your students.

Blogger Quick Tutorial

Blogger Buster
Helping you make the most of your Blogger Blog!

Blogging Safety and Security
If you decide to use blogs with your students it is important to remember that blogs, like any website, may be viewed publicly. Access, privacy, and security must all be carefully considered.

Making a Blogger Blog private

Hide Blogger NavBar so student can not click to "next blog"

Bloggers Code of Ethics

Sample Code of Ethics

Add a comment and describe your Blog exploration.