In my last blog entry, I wrote about how social bookmarking can be an effective and time saving tool for teachers. Delicious is an example of a social bookmarking site that teachers can use to view or collect themed links to guide student Internet research. In that article, I highlighted the Ancient Egypt stack, a set of sites gathered especially for elementary students to read about and look at the wonders of ancient civilizations.
Next, I’d like to share a stack of websites that can be a valuable resource for a unit raising environmental awareness. Environment is a list of over 60 links about acid rain, energy, waste, pollution, and more. These sites were chosen for their suitability for middle school students engaged in a science unit centred on the theme of the environment. Most of the links are to reliable, trustworthy, and respected organizations such as:
- World Wildlife Fund
- National Geographic
- National Wildlife Federation
- Sierra Club
- government sites
- non-profit trusts
These choices model the importance to students of gathering information from primary sources, non-commercial organizations, and scientific, unbiased sites. There is great value in having students learn Internet search strategies. But if time is limited, having a ready-made catalogue of sites geared to the topic of study is beneficial for both teachers and students.
A list of favorites on the bar of the browser is a similar tool. But in addition to just the link, the social bookmarking site Delicious allows the creator of the stack to add a picture to help convey the content, a short description, and an excerpt from the site itself. Students can browse through the bookmarks to search for information connected to their area of inquiry. Whether they are looking for general topics such as stewardship or specific data about endangered species, students can scan the list and find relevant websites. Time spent viewing unrelated or unsuitable sites is minimized and the opportunity for student success is increased.
A science project or a technology project based on environmental awareness can gain a significant advantage by using a themed stack of links. Easily shared and accessed online, a premade set of links such as Environment can be a useful tool. Have a look and fill out the Comments section at the end of the stack to give me your opinion.