Using Diigo in the Middle School Classroom

One of my goals this year was to teach my students to use Diigo.  With a focus on inquiry-based learning, my students do a lot of digital reading, and collaborate within and outside of the classroom.  Diigo is an excellent tool that enables students to bookmark, tag, highlight and annotate their online text, which can be accessed anywhere, anytime.  This annotated text can be privately or publically shared with other students or groups, depending on their settings.  In addition, Diigo allows my students to make more efficient use of their time by accessing similar sites from other Diigo users with shared interests.

While Diigo offers education accounts, I chose to have my students set up their own accounts.  As these students move on to high school next year, it’s important they carry their virtual filing cabinet with them.

I began the class by showing an introductory video, followed by a tour of my own Diigo library and network.  Next, my students set up their own accounts using their school appointed email address, username and password.  Within minutes, they had figured out how to follow me (“I’m creepin’ you Mrs. D!”).  Imgine that, students wanting to see what the teacher is planning!

Once my students had added each other as followers, I directed them to my “responsibility” tag in my Diigo library.  Using various web 2.0 tools, each student will be creating a biography on an activist of their choice who demonstrates this trait.  Rather than post the introductory link on the class wiki, Diigo saves time as I can bookmark the site once, and direct my students where to find it.  Once they had saved the specified site into their library, they spent some time surfing through the site, highlighting text and writing sticky notes.  It’s important to let students “play” and discover when learning a new tool.

The students love it.  “No more mess of papers that I can’t find.  Everything for my project is here”.  They were excited, and were planning out their next steps.  “Summarize the text on the sticky note, copy my “jot” notes into a Google Doc to edit, and post the final project on my blog.”

My next step is to have students create their own groups as we move into shared readings and collaborative projects.  Within these groups, they can set up a topic and have discussions, similar to a running a chat room.  Bill Ferriter, a 6th grade teacher, shares a wealth of social bookmarking uses in his wiki, Digitally Speaking.

My students recognize Diigo as a tool they can use to collaborate and share, improving their productivity and learning.  They’ve taken another step as they develop their digital footprint.


2 thoughts on “Using Diigo in the Middle School Classroom

  1. Great post!
    I have used diigo with my grade 12 students – I agree with the student and teacher sentiments you’ve included. My favorite thing about this post is that you have been very explicit about how you have introduced diigo and what you & your students have gained. I will share this post via email and diigo to help other educators get started.

  2. Great post! I really like how you are infusing great tools for students to use in order to enhance their learning! I teach 6th grade currently and have been incorporating different “tech” tools and skills through what we call “Techy Tuesday.” The students look forward to Tuesday every week and have been using their new found skills in their learning. Another colleague of mine and I run the “techy tuesday” blog for the kids ( I think Diigo would be an awesome addition to our techy tuesday in the next few weeks! Thanks for writing the post!

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