Review by Erin Brereton, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2013

Diigo

Social bookmarking encourages discovery, collaboration, and sharing

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Teachers say (16 Reviews)
$avg_user_learning_rating
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Grades
7-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Customization options and social features help students learn key Web skills such as curating and sharing online content.

Cons: Users need to be logged into Diigo and stay within one browser tab to use the system; advanced searches can turn up questionable content, and there isn’t much guidance on selecting sources.

Bottom Line: With a Diigo educator account, teachers and students have a safe space to organize, customize, and share Web content while learning about a variety of subjects.

The sharing aspect may be of particular interest to educators, who can use the site as a classroom tool by signing up for a Diigo educator account. Teachers can create student accounts and set up a Diigo group for classmates to access group bookmarks and forums. The functionality lets educators highlight key text and images, gather pages into thematic groups, and encourage online conversations about the materials. In addition, collaborative groups allow students to gather and annotate their own resources, strengthening their research skills. Teachers can use their educator account to create assignments that will boost students’ reading skills and encourage teamwork and collaborative discussions.

The educator-created accounts also offer additional safety measures. Pre-set privacy settings prevent anyone but teachers and students from using the group to communicate. The only ads are from education-related sponsors, and public search engines can’t access student profiles.

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Diigo has evolved from a simple bookmarking tool into a collaborative destination (website or Chrome app) for collecting, commenting on, and sharing information online. Users add the Diigo bookmarklet (Diigolet) to the browser's bookmark bar and then use it to save pages to a personal library section on Diigo. When you find a webpage worth bookmarking, just click on the Diigolet button to add a sticky note to the page, highlight certain words in one of four colors, and save it to your Diigo library. Users can also designate the page as something to read later or share it with other users via Facebook, Twitter, or email. You can also search for content through Diigo using Google or by typing in a term and searching other users’ bookmark libraries.

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Kids learn how to manage online content with Diigo's various features. They can search for, bookmark, organize, annotate, collaborate, and share resources they find online. They can also learn about numerous subjects by conducting searches with Google or other users' libraries. User groups exist for nearly 20 general categories, including business and finance, entertainment, music, hobbies, sports, religion, relationships, science, and travel. Moving from searches to groups to your library can be a little confusing, but overall, Diigo offers a great toolkit for developing key tech skills.

Diigo offers reading and communication skills practice to users who comment on and share bookmarked pages. It also gives teachers a way to share relevant, pre-screened website content, with notes to reinforce any lessons in the text. Group research assignments can help kids learn to collaborate and express multiple viewpoints when discussing which pages are the most applicable.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
3

The list-based design isn't too dynamic, and ads that precede Google searches may confuse users. However, the collaboration and sharing features should inspire repeat visits. 

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

Kids organize and manage online content as they bookmark, annotate, and share resources. The tool is great for collaborating and sharing ideas, but kids won't get any tips or instruction on research practices or identifying credible sources.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
3

Plenty of how-to videos help users figure out the features, but as far as tips on how to best use the tools for school, work, or personal projects, kids won't find much to guide them.


Teacher Reviews

4
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Featured review by
James D. , Other
Other
4
Diigo: My SECOND favourite curation tool

Diigo is a great tool, and I use it myself for most of my own 'bookmarking' activities. I say 'bookmarking' because diigo really pushed the boundary of traditional bookmarking.

They added:

1. sharing to specific groups (like classes)
2. annotation of webpages
3. search functionality within your bookmarks when you do a google search (if you enable it)

They also made it incredible teacher friendly. Teachers can:

1. create student accounts quickly and easily in batches
2. control rights and log on credentials (because students NEVER forget passwords, right?)

It's actually the best bookmarking/curation tool I have found in terms of functionality, but I find flipboard (which I reviewed here: /app/flipboard-your-social-news-magazine-teacher-review/4067671) to be more appealing and engaging to students because of the visual magazine format.

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