As part of the ICT PLT this year, John has been using a site called Diigo. Diigo (if you’re wondering, according to edutopia it’s pronounced dee’go and stands for Digest of Internet Information, Groups and Other stuff) is a site where you can keep, organise and share websites.
Using Diigo in the classroom
As you can see from the image above, John has used Diigo to share websites with his VCE History students and asked them to comment on the sites that he has shared. As he pointed out, it is not only an easy way to disseminate information, but also one that caters to different learning styles. Through using Diigo in the classroom he has been able to elicit responses from students who would not normally participate readily in a class discussions.
Setting up a Diigo account
In order to use Diigo in your classes, set up a free account here and get your students to do the same. Make sure that they use a username that protects their identity* but also allows you to identify them easily such as the standard Aitken College username format: John12345 (first name student number).
* While Diigo groups are accessed by invitation only, we have to assume that anything that is published online may at some time be made public. For example, there is no way to stop members of the group copying the page and pasting it elsewhere as I have done above. As a result, we should make sure that our students are not identified and that they moderate what they write on the page.
Creating a group
Once you have signed up, go to the My Groups page and click the Create a group… button (pictured below).
The Create a group… button will take you to a page where you can specify the settings for your group. These settings dictate who is allowed to access your group and the ways that members can contribute to it. If you have successfully conveyed to your students the importance of protecting their identities and their responsibilities when publishing online, there is no reason why the page couldn’t be made public. This means that you will be contributing to the global discourse on your given topic – which your students might get a buzz out of (‘Look mum, I’m online!’).
Keys to success
In order to make your group successful, ensure that you contribute to it regularly including responding to the comments that your students make. You can also build contributions from your students into their work requirements or ‘contribution to class discussion’ grades. If you are doing so, make sure that you outline your requirements clearly to the students before you use it.