Gotta Be An Easier Way

Using technology to make your life easier!

Archive for the ‘Bookmarking’ Category

With A.nnotate you can upload pdf,doc, web pages, presentations and allow others to add notes, tags and other things to allow collaboration, evaluation or anything that you can dream up. It is all hosted online so now you can put up one document and send the link to hundreds of people who can then see it and annotate to it if needed.

The free service allows you to upload 30 pages per month and have unlimited commenters and a pricier solution for institutions allows unlimited everything for one server to be outfitted.

So what could A.nnotate be used for in education? Because the free version is limited I will limit my ideas to those that require the students to have accounts and upload papers of less than 30 pages per month.

  • Have students get accounts to A.nnotate and send their papers to you the instructor for marking, this way they see nearly the minute you are done how they did.
  • Use it for collaborative writing assignments
  • Have the students critique each other before they submit papers
  • Give it to students for note taking on their own papers

So what would or have you used it for?

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  • Filed under: Bookmarking, Collaborative
  • Can you Diigo it?

    I wrote an article extolling the social bookmarking tool Diigo. In my zeal I left out some really important ways that Diigo can and is used so I thought it was worth a revisit.

    Diigo’s tools in a nutshell:

    • Research tools
      • tagging
      • list creation
      • persistent highlighting (if you highlight text on a web page it will show up there every time you return and if you make it public anyone else will see it, or only allow people in a group view it instead of the whole world) Try it out yourself by clicking the link no signup required.
      • persistent commenting (same as the highlights )
      • archiving bookmarks
    • Presentation tool
      • Webslides via lists (add bookmarks to a list as well as your own slides. It all plays back to whomever you send the link to with full web interactivity and they don’t even need a Diigo account, check this one out and you can even print it out)
    • Social bookmarking tools
      • tagging
      • public and private access to individual bookmarks
      • search engine
      • unread bookmarking functions
      • create bookmark lists
      • share bookmarks to entire groups
      • see bookmarks that your groups post but you retain the right to not bookmark them.
      • discover people who have similar bookmarks, tags, groups
      • show the sites you bookmark most
      • messaging
      • cloud lists
      • Posting to blogs (I posted this article to my blog from Diigo)

    There is more but I only have so much space.

    So what can an educator use this application for?
    Here are some ideas I came up with,

    • Use the annotation tools to keep notes for yourself on important websites, I know sometimes its nice going to a website i haven’t seen in a long while and have a few notes or the important text highlighted.
    • Make your annotations public and have your students become Diigo members which will allow your
    • Create a list of links that are important to a course, this creates a webslide presentation that you can share with whomever you want. This will then bypass deep linking copyright (as far as I understand the copyright laws). The links in the presentation are still navigable and provide students an overview of resources.
    • Broaden your knowledge horizon by joining a group. I have found dozens of E-Learning and Education groups which harness the power of the masses by bringing you all the best resources on the web regarding whatever topic you choose.
    • Why not create a web research quiz? Set it up like a scavanger hunt by finding a bunch of websites that your students need to do research on and post questions on those sites using the “post it” annotation tool in Diigo. This displays your questions to them on the page that they needed to research which teaches them research skills and they won’t know the question until they do the research.
    • Create a group for your whole class and make the research process a group activity spreading the knowledge around.

    These are just some ideas that I came up with but the possibilities are there for the taking.

    I want to hear about what you use Diigo for or ideas that you may have on how to use it for education.

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  • Comments Off on Can you Diigo it?
  • Filed under: Bookmarking, Email/Communications, Research, Search
  • Gmail – Simply the Best/Easiest

    I have been using email or a form of email going back to the BBS days in the late 80’s the Kermit based access to the University of Alberta in the early 90’s and then through dial-& and then ISDN access through commercial ISP’s in the mid 90’s up to the broadband access of today. There are very few email servers (Sendmail & Exchange), systems (PINE & ELM) and clients (Eudora, Pegasus, Outlook, Thunderbird) that I have not used on all platforms (Windows, Mac, UNIX and Linux) so this perspective is not coming from a “Johnny come lately” nor does it come from someone who is “religiously” tied to a particular OS or platform.



    I started using Google mail (Gmail) back in 2005 after receiving an invite from a colleague in Silicon Valley. Gmail as introduced in early 2004 and up until 2005 it was being tested by a relatively small group of beta testers. In 2005 you had to recieve and invite from a current Gmail user to get access to the system. It wasn’t until early 2006 when Google introduced an integrated calendar that I decided to give up all my other email system ties and rely exclusively on Gmail. Until a better system comes along I will continue to use Gmail because it is simply the easiest and best system available. Gmails advantages include:

    • Free
    • Web-based – access from anywhere
    • Enormous storage capacity
    • Searchable
    • Integrated
      • Calendar
      • RSS Reader
      • Google Docs
      • Contacts
      • Chat
      • Video-conferencing
    • Development community
    • Hundreds of plugins

    As the resident computer guru in my family and circle of friends I am often called upon to help diagnose and help people solve their problems. This means that I am often called upon to help people out with there Internet problems which are more often than not related to the sending and receiving of email. The sooner I get people off of their POP/SMTP based email and onto Gmail the sooner their (and my) problems go away.

    Gmail just works and is the simplest (you don’t need any training to use it) and most effective email system we have yet. I say yet because I am still looking for something that will be even easier to use and when that comes along I will be using it.

    Just go to and give it a go.

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  • Filed under: Bookmarking, Calendar/PIM, Email/Communications, Slideshow
  • Social bookmarking at its finest

    Have you ever been at someone’s house, office, or even using a second computer and you want to bring up a website that you have bookmarked on your main machine and can’t remember the URL? Social bookmarking has set out to eliminate this problem and there are several tools to help you in a situation like this but 2 in particular stand out, Diigo and

    The big dog on the block is which allows you to put all your bookmarks up on the web and accessible wherever you are in the world all you need is an internet connection. It has great functionality and is a great tool for collecting your bookmarks, it even has plugins for Firefox, IE, and Safari that allow for easy bookmarking and access to bookmarks.

    My pick for best social bookmarking tool is the young upstart is Diigo (even though I use both). Diigo is a Research tool, a knowledge sharing community, a social annotation tool; you can highlight text (with comments) on a website, add sticky-notes to any page all visible to everyone (if you choose) who has Diigo installed in their browser. It can even create lists of bookmarks that can then be presented as a slideshow that can be accessible to anyone in the world if you so choose. These interactive browsing slideshows take you through a list of urls at predetermined intervals all the while still allowing the user to look through the webpage and be in control of the experience clicking links and using the webpage. Use it to bundle important websites together for students or co-workers. Try out the slideshow for yourself no download required (  and here is an example of how to use it (

    Like Facebook you can check out how your friends are bookmarking, send messages to them, share bookmarks with them and create groups (like “web 2.0” or “good recipes”) to facilitate the whole process.

    Both Diigo and are very well integrated into your browser and use a tagging organizational structure so you can easily find 1 bookmark within thousands very fast and very easily. So long story short  focus is more on strictly the bookmarking functionality whereas Diigo has that functionality and adds to it many different social aspects and annotation tools. If you already have a account Diigo even makes the transition easier by allowing an easy import and bookmarking to both services through Diigo.

    delicoious bookmarks

    delicoious bookmarks

  • Comments Off on Social bookmarking at its finest
  • Filed under: Bookmarking, Research, Slideshow