Slide Thinkfinity into the Curriculum with Diigo Slides

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by Miguel Guhlin - mguhlin@gmail.com

Introduction

“Thinkfinity?” said one Gifted and Talented Coordinator as I stumbled over the term, “What’s that?” To be honest, I wasn’t sure myself. It has only been a few weeks since I first heard of Thinkfinity, a rich library of resources that teachers, students and after-school programs can use. I had stumbled across the Thinkfinity brochure, discovering that this was the next iteration of MarcoPolo. But, what a difference!

Thinkfinity boasts access to a host of 50,000+ educational cross-content lesson plans, interactive tools that work well for math, science, and literacy development at multiple grade levels. But what quickly becomes apparent is that there are so many awesome resources available via Thinkfinity that, well, you’re overwhelmed. As one of the participants in a June, 2008 Thinkfinity—facilitated by Karen Horn, Thinkfinity Certified Trainer—asked, is there one place in Thinkfinity that will organize my bookmarks and favorite resources?

The answer is, “No, not yet.” However, those who are using social bookmarking tools like Diigo.com don’t have to wait for added functionality. Instead, you can get your free Diigo.com account and get going bookmarking and tagging your favorite sites.

How can we organize those? Use Diigo, the social bookmarking and annotation tool, to help organize your bookmarks, and then use the slides feature of Diigo to present the web pages to students, colleagues and friends. This article addresses how to accomplish this and responds to these key questions:

  1. What is Thinkfinity?
  2. How can you use Diigo to store your favorite bookmarks, annotations (highlights and comments) for Thinkfinity?
  3. How can you use the List and Slide features of Diigo to present Thinkfinity resources to others?
  4. How can you enhance your Diigo Slide with audio?

WHAT IS THINKFINITY?

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In June, 2008, I attended Thinkfinity training and decided that this is a tremendous resource! It is actually a collection of lesson plans, interactive web tools that allow you to manipulate numbers, images, data, and much more. Looking for interactive games that are age appropriate? Thinkfinity has them with appropriate lesson plans and web resources. Best of all, Thinkfinity has 4 portals—Educators, Parents, Students, and Afterschool—that allow easy access to select resources that are available at no cost.

The Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) has launched a Thinkfinity Partner Program to bring Thinkfinity to Texas schools. Are you interested in becoming a Thinkfinity Trainer? Find out more!

How can you track all Thinkfinity resources?


Using Diigo.comread a description of this here—you are able to easily create lists of bookmarked resources and activities you want your students to use, or that you want to share with other educators.

For example, here is a list of Thinkfinity resources that I think are phenomenal for teaching poetry writing (although there is tons of stuff for math and science).
Bookmark, highlight key portions of the Thinkfinity resource pages, add comments to them sites and then share them via the Web. Instead of having to click your way—or having your students click—through multiple web pages, you can save instructional time by going directly using the Slides feature of Diigo.

How can you use the List and Slide features of Diigo to present Thinkfinity resources to others?


The List feature is described in this way by Diigo:

  • “List” is a great way to organize, share and display specific collections of bookmarks. Once you add bookmarks to your list, you can easily drag and drop items to arrange the order in any sequence that you’d like to present. Best of all, once you create a list, when you click the button, you can browse, play and annotate any list of URLs as a slide show! It’s great for content browsing, sharing, and creating unique presentations based on web content.
Source: http://help.diigo.com/How-To_Guide/Lists


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Once you’ve created your list in Diigo, you are actually able to add new bookmarks to your list, then turn that list into a slideshow. To begin, let’s follow these steps:

1. Create a list in Diigo.com.
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2. Bookmark links to your Diigo.com and add to the list you’ve created.
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and bookmarks show up in your My Bookmarks section of Diigo:
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3. Go back to My Lists on Diigo and click on the Web Slides button external image think5.png
This Web Slide button appears on the MyLists page of your Diigo.com account and looks like this:
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4. Once you do that, you’ll be able to play your Web page-based slide show using Diigo for your students and/or colleagues. To share your web slideshow, simply send them the web address that appears while viewing your WebSlide: http://slides.diigo.com/list/mguhlin/tpoetry
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5. How can you enhance your Diigo Web Slide show with audio?
One of the aspects of Diigo Web Slides that is captivating is the fact you can add audio narration, or music, to your Web Slides show. Be sure to either Turn off auto play, unless you change the timings on each of your slides (they are set to 10 seconds each) or indicate in your audio narration when you are switching to the next slide in your web slide show.
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Once you click on that button, you’ll see this screen:
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Your next step is record the audio for your Diigo WebSlide…then upload it. When you click the UPLOAD button above, you’ll see this window pop up:
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Sample WebSlides

Below are three examples of Diigo WebSlides I have created for use with Thinkfinity, a way of introducing Thinkfinity to folks in your school.
  1. Example 1 - An Introduction to Thinkfinity’s Content Partners
  2. Example 2 - Exploring the Thinkfinity Interactive Sites
  3. Example 3 - Connecting with Others Using Thinkfinity
and, of course, there are other uses of Diigo WebSlides, such as this one for sixth grade from Alice Mercer.

To plan out my WebSlides above, I followed this process:
  1. Wrote a short narrative for the introduction
  2. Created a List in Diigo so that I could save my bookmarks to it while bookmarking the web pages I would use.
  3. Actually Bookmarked the web pages that I would use, making sure to highlight and add comments about parts I wanted to call attention to, as well as check the box that said ADD TO LIST and choosing the list I wanted to save bookmarks to.
  4. Recorded my audio using Audacity (free audio recorder that works on Windows, Mac and GNU/Linux computers)
  5. Viewed the MyList page and clicked on WebSlides, then clicked on the preferences to upload my audio.
  6. Adjusted the duration of the slides to match my narration.
  7. Relaxed and enjoyed the audio narrated WebSlide.

Be sure to share your examples of educational Diigo WebSlides!

Conclusion

You can use the power of Diigo to quickly bookmark sites to a list of resources—such as from Thinkfinity—you want to share with your students or colleagues, then use those to create a slide show—with audio narration—of that content. And, the beauty of this is that you can easily use Thinkfinity for free and share it with others using Diigo.