Harnessing the Web for Better Music Teaching with Diigo

The Inefficiency of Web Surfing

I surf the web...... a lot. I gave up on saving bookmarks in my browser a long time ago. If you have more than 100 bookmarks you know why. It's a losing battle. Looking at your bookmarks, you'll be lucky if you can even recall what 25% of your bookmarks are about, based on the name alone.

So nowadays I find myself thinking "what the heck was the name of that site I stumbled upon for sightreading...." or "what was that high school on the west coast that had a great looking website...." Then I do what most of us do: I "Google it" until I can find the site again.

Hopelessly inefficient.

I've also added many links to facebook. Sure, that's a nice way to share something you've found, but what if you want to get back to it later? Facebook does not have a way to organize or search links that you have posted. You have to page back through your links to find what you want.

Again, hopelessly inefficient.

Enter Diigo.com

Then more recently I found out about diigo.com. I posted about it, and some of you have checked it out. But clearly I did not make enough of an impact upon many of you, so I thought I would blog about it. I'm hoping that by the end of this post I will have convinced you to give diigo a try. I believe it has enormous impact for us as teachers.

So in short, diigo is a site for bookmarking sites. Big deal right? Well, on the surface yes, it can seem like no big deal, just one more thing to worry about. But there are two big reasons why you should try diigo. The first is for simple productivity. How many of you have large music libraries at your school or district? Can you imagine trying to find music without a database, master list, or other system? Some of us have taken on the task of creating a catalog system for our music libraries, so we know first hand how wonderful the outcome can be. Now, instead of picking through drawer after drawer in search of a piece, we find it quickly and easily.

Well, that is what diigo does for the web. Every time I find a website that has something of interest, I send it to diigo where it gets cataloged for easy retrieval. And I can get to my diigo links from any computer easily (or even from my phone). Diigo allows you to add tags to your bookmarks, so for example I can visit my diigo page and type "wind ensemble" and I will instantly pull up all of my bookmarks tagged as such. Very powerful.

The second major reason to try diigo holds exponential power for us, and that reason is collaboration. Diigo allows you to create groups. I have created a group called (shockingly) teaching-music. Anyone who is a member of that group can share any of their diigo bookmarks to the group. Imagine the possibilities. Sure, we all teach music, but we all have our areas of specialization. If everyone shared even just a few of their favorite websites, we could build a library of thousands of helpful sites. And it all happens automatically. The group library can be sorted, searched, discussed, etc. You can receive automatic updates via email anytime links are added by others. You can post annotations over the top of sites that point out specific features. It holds tremendous promise.

Right now our group has just five thirty-two members. I hope you will seriously consider joining and adding just a few of your favorite sites. College students, I'm talking to you too! Even though you are not out in the field yet, you know a lot of great sites. One of the biggest problems we face in our profession is a resistance to working together. Please everyone, let's step up to the plate and be willing to share.

First, join diigo (it takes seconds) and then join the teaching-music group.