The del.icio.us hack:
Del.icio.us is a social bookmarking web site. (For those who are familiar skip this paragraph and go to the next) What del.icio.us allows you to do is bookmark web sites, but make these bookmarked web sites viewable over the internet (this is all free). This means you can take them with you wherever you go. Also del.icio.us works by having users “tag” bookmarks. Think of this as labeling the bookmarks, and grouping them together. Each bookmark can have several tags. You can check out my del.icio.us site here and see the various categories I have created. So, for example you could bookmark academhack and tag it as related to “academics” “pedagogy” “technology” etc. Del.icio.us will recommend tags, but you can create your own, and than see what others have tagged, and what other sites they have tagged. Now this is tremendously useful when surfing the internet and discovering interesting sites that you might have ignored or passed over.
Now for making this useful to teaching. First if you don’t already have one, sign up for a del.icio.us account. One of the problems I have when doing presentations is that you can never count on whatever set-up the room has working with your computer. If you want to show web sites, images, etc. for your presentation, and as long as they are available on the web you can use del.icio.us to make your slides available over the web. This way you don’t have to rely on your computer working with whatever system the room has, or on burning your images to a CD and hoping that they are readable, and you do not have to spend time collecting all the web addresses, or spend time searching. The trick here is to tag all of the sites you want with the appropriate tags, and with an additional tag, I usually use something like “TuesLecture” (you can’t have any spaces in a tag). Why? This way you get to the classroom, access your del.icio.us account, and click on the tag for “TuesLecture” and your set to go. Now whenever you want to reference something, show your students a site or image you just click on the appropriate link. Even better use a web browser with tab browsing and load all of the pages before you begin you lecture this way you do not spend time waiting for pages to load. Del.icio.us also has the added bonus of letting your students see all of the images, web sites from home after the class is over. (Warning though don’t put any bookmarks on your del.icio.us account that you do not want your students to see.)
Click here to see how I used this for a lecture I gave on researching on the internet. If you have more than 10 links you can set the page to show up to 50 links.
And see the screen shot below to see how I would load all of these into one browser window, multiple tabs-ready to go for the lecture.