Students & Internet Resources: 21st Century Cavemen?

While doing some research for this post, I can across an interesting article by Miguel Guhlin that I think does a really great job of explaining the rationale for this post.  In his article, “Spending that Internet Gold”, Guhlin makes a good argument for effective website searching by quoting Dr. Judi Harris:

1. We all begin on the Web by “telegathering” (surfing) and “telehunting” (searching. This we can do pretty well. What we don’t do very well yet is to take educationally sound steps beyond telegathering and telehunting).
2. We need to help our students and ourselves “teleharvest” (sift through, cogitate, comprehend, etc.) the information that we find, and “telepackage” the knowledge that results from active interaction (application, synthesis, evaluation, etc.) with the information.
3. Then, we need to “teleplant” (telepublish, telecollaborate, etc.) these telepackages by sharing them with others…who use them as information in their…
4. …telegathering & telehunting, and the process cycles back around again.
Most of us are at the tele-gathering and hunting stage, finding and collecting web sites that we believe are useful. How many educational web sites do you visit that have a list of lists, collections of fantastic sites on the web? Impossible to keep track of and maintain, these lists are just more information that each of us has to wade through, each time creating our own links. The pack mules can’t carry all the gold that we’ve found out there. Maybe, now that we’ve accumulated the gold, it’s time to do more than look at it. To do that, we have to know what’s valuable, what’s not. According to Jim McNamara (, evaluating something means being able to extract the value out of it.

QUESTION: “How do we help out students determine and extract the value of web resources?” or as Guhlin puts it, “pan for internet gold”.  How do we help our students to think critically in such a fast-paced, multi-tasking culture, when they typically have ten internet tabs open at once, an IM’ing window open as well, a Youtube video streaming AND their iPod playing in the background?

ANSWER: The best way to help our students better evaluate internet resources is to get them (students) to interact with them (websites).  That’s what Web 2.0 is all about-Collaboration, Evaluation & Synthesis




TOOL: A great way to harness the power of Web 2.0  and interact with websites is Social Bookmarking
 is my favorite social bookmarking tool because it has AMAZING educational possibilities. The social aspect of learning is important, especially with our increasing focus on conversations that add value to what we are learning! What sets Diigo apart from other social bookmarkers is that Diigo not only lets you bookmark Web sites but also have online conversations about them… on the actual sites themselves!.

As soon as you start playing around with Diigo, you’ll figure out countless applications for your own personal use & communication with colleagues, so I’ve decided instead, just to share a few really great ways to use Diigo with your students:

  • Create a slideshow of clickable web sites grabbed from your bookmarks (A great way to present awesome resources for children, parents and colleagues)
  • Annotate and add comments to a web page via Diigo, and invite your students to do the same.  You will essentially be hosting online, critical thinking & writing excercises about internet content on the actual webpages themselves!  (All of the comments you & your students make will remain on the webpage for you all to see anytime you are signed in on Diigo & visit the site)

  • If you have students posting their own work online (ex. Literary students writing their own blogs), you can use highlighting & sticky notes (annotations) to leave public feedback of their work with invisible ink.  A wonderful modeling tool for your students to learn how to appropriately & meaningfully comment on each others work.

Clay Burell: 3 Uses of Diigo in the Classroom


Innovative teachers all over the world are constantly discovering new ways to use Diigo with their students.  If your interest is peeked,  check out some of the following videos:

As you begin to use Diigo & develop your own educational uses, join the conversation and share your ideas with the rest of us :)

Now that you know about Diigo, you can help your students evolve from Internet Cavemen, hunting & gathering information that can sometimes be harmful and can often be useless, into modern Digital Citizens, harvesting information in a safe & sustainable manner, which includes contributing their own thoughts and ideas to online conversations.  Sure that takes more work, and the results may seem slower to realize, but as any responsible farmer will tell you, it’s the only way to ensure that future generations will also be able to reap the benefits of the seeds we plant now…

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One Comment;

  1. nora cavaluzzi said:

    I made an account a while ago but never used it. This video inspired me to give it a more serious look. You are inspirational Heather!

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