Improve Educational Research with the Diigo iPad App
Students and teachers can improve educational research on the web with Diigo. Diigo enables students and teachers to easily catalog web information for education. Diigo also works on desktop computers and mobile devices but takes a very different approach to saving and organizing web content than Reading List for Safari and Instapaper.
What differentiates Diigo is that it uses tagging, annotations, and highlighting tools to give you far greater control over how you manage and manipulate the content you save. Learning deepens when you connect new information to your existing knowledge and experience and see ways to apply it. There’s that “aha” moment when you read something and the light goes on. Diigo lets you capture those moments with highlights and annotations.
To see if you like Diigo, install it and start using it by following these steps:
Go to the Diigo website and sign up for a free account.
Diigo offers a free upgrade to premium accounts for educators. Diigo Educator accounts have additional features such as the capability to create student accounts for an entire class and to automatically set the class up as a Diigo group so students can share bookmarks and annotations. It’s a terrific way for students to compile, annotate, and share content.
Install Diigo on your browser toolbar.
As with Instapaper and other script-based bookmarklets, installing the Diigo button on your toolbar will differ slightly on desktop and mobile browsers.
Desktop browsers: On the Diigo home page, tap Tools in the top toolbar. Tap to select Diigolet under the Bookmarklets category, and follow the instructions to drag the Diigo button to your browser toolbar.
iPad (and mobile devices): Start by downloading the Diigo app. Tap to open the App Store on your iPad home page, and search for Diigo. Download the free app.
Once it’s installed, tap to open it, and log in with your username and password. Tap the Settings (gear) icon in the lower-left corner, and tap the Install Web Highlighter option. Follow the directions to install the Diigo Web Highlighter on your browser toolbar.
When you find a page that you want to save, tap the Web Highlighter/Diigo button in your browser, and tap Bookmark.
You’re prompted to add tags that help you find that page later. You can add multiple tags; just separate them with spaces. You can create multiword tags by using a character such as a dash between the words or by enclosing them in quotation marks. As you start typing a tag, Diigo will prompt you with any similar tags you’ve used in the past.
When you finish typing your tag, tap Save.
(Optional) Tap the Web Highlighter button, select any text in the article, and then tap Highlight.
You can also add a Sticky Note if you want (see Step 6). When you add a web highlight, Diigo adds a colored overlay. It’s as though you used a marker to highlight it. That’s a nice tool to help you scan the main points of the article when you come back to it later.
(Optional) Tap the Web Highlighter button and then tap the Sticky Note button.
A yellow note opens.
Type your notes in the body, and tap Post when you’re done.
Diigo leaves a little yellow icon on the page that represents your note and opens it whenever you tap on it.
Whenever you come back to that page in the future, whether on your iPad or any other computer, Diigo remembers your highlights and notes and presents them to you when you tap the Diigo button.
To search for content in Diigo, open the Diigo app on your iPad or go to the Diigo website in any web browser.
You might prefer using Diigo in a web browser because it offers more options than the iPad app; however, the developers promise more iPad app updates soon.
Using a desktop browser, you’ll see all the tags you’ve used in the left column, and you see how many times each has been used.
Tap (or click, if you’re on a computer) a tag, or type it in the search field next to the My Library Tagged heading on the top left.
All the articles that use that tag immediately appear, complete with any highlights and notes that you’ve added to them.
Another part of the magic of Diigo is that it’s a social bookmarking tool. That means you can follow other Diigo users and what they are saving, and you can also share with them the content that you’re tagging.
For example, if you upgraded to an Educator account, you can set up a private group that includes your students. That’s a great way to create and organize class research and to build a knowledge base for your course. You can also create subgroups that can share findings when working on collaborative projects.
What’s the difference between tagging content and organizing it in folders? Folders use a linear, top-down tree structure for storing content. It’s like keeping papers in a filing cabinet in which you organize in separate drawers, folders, and files. The problem is that our lives are flooded with information these days, and it doesn’t always fit neatly into a single category.
For example, suppose you just read an excellent article about the Great Depression. Do you file it under a folder for Economics, History, Politics . . . or maybe Prohibition? Probably all of them. That’s why tagging is such a great way of archiving articles. It uses the computer’s capability to search content quickly and compile results for you.
You save content with tags that trigger your association to it, making it that much easier to find. When ou later search for prohibition for example, Diigo presents a list of all the articles you tagged with that keyword, complete with any highlights and annotations you made on the page.