Diigo: A Powerful, Hands-On Research Tool for Students and Teachers

Informational Texts Common Core Standard #1 – Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. Remember back when we were in school and research meant pouring over books in the library with a stack of note cards? When I was in college, I became very handy with Post-it® notes and multi-colored highlighters for finding "textual evidence." I miss those days hunched over a notebook amid piles of old books. I loved rolling up my sleeves and immersing myself in the physical work of learning. Students seldom set foot in brick-and-mortar libraries for research anymore, and they rarely flip through actual paper books or periodicals either. Most research is done with electronic resources now, and I don't know any current students who know what a library card catalog looks like (you know, the ones with the long, narrow drawers full of 3×5 index cards). It might seem like the advent of technology has meant the loss of the hands-on element of research and in some ways it has. However, I think there still can be (and should be) a tactile component to the process. That's what I love about the online application Diigo…it's a perfect research tool for the 21st Century, one that allows students to highlight, clip, annotate, organize, and even collaborate…on the internet. It's a modern tool for rolling up the sleeves and getting busy with research. It even features virtual sticky notes you can "pin" to the screen for review later. In The Classroom A very important skill students must develop for 21st Century college and careers is collaborative problem solving, so try using Diigo's groups feature. First, install the free Diigo toolbar in your and your students' browsers (I recommend Chrome or Firefox). Next, create groups and add students to the groups. This works best when you have all of the students in the classroom or computer lab with you. As the students in your groups locate useful resources while logged in to Diigo, they can highlight them, post notes about them, bookmark them, and then share these notes and resources quickly and easily with everyone else in the group. Diigo is one of the best collaborative research tools on the web and students using it can't forget their work at home because it's all in one place—all accessible from any device connected to the internet.