Monday, March 28, 2016

Social Bookmarks using a Google Form & Awesome Tables

Last January I had the pleasure of attending a Teacher’s College workshop hosted by Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs.  Dr. Jacobs reminded us that the process of evaluation, selection, and categorization is especially valuable in our information rich world. She encouraged us to help our students curate their own web experiences. Inspiration struck: I thought, “Why not create a social bookmarking tool for elementary students using a Google form?” I wanted to create a student-centered alternative to the static list of links that are often found on teacher sites. This post is the result of that inspiration.

Inspiration is not an individual endeavor.  If Heidi Hayes Jacobs helped me to think of the what, then +Baptiste Quin showed me the “how.” Baptiste generously shared an Awesome Table experiment, gorgeously modeled after Google Keep. He opened my eyes to the potential of using CSS with Awesome Tables and provided the perfect starting place for my project. So, a big thanks goes out to Baptiste.

My remix of Baptiste’s work edits out some of his features (which are very cool in their own right, but didn’t quite fit my project) and adds others. Each bookmark “card” has a title, a description, information tags, how many times the bookmark was shared, who submitted the site and when. Students share bookmarks using a Google Form. I tried to design the form to be as short as possible to make adding a bookmark easy.  The Google Sheet compares usernames (collected automatically from the form) against a list to determine the submitter's building and classroom. To further simplify the process, I’ve created a simple Chrome extension that will open the form and pre-fill the title and url of the current page. I’ll blog about this extension in another post.

I’m really excited about this system. The chrome extension makes it easy to add new sites on the fly and the Awesome Table can be embedded on any website. I’ve added the bookmark interface into our edublogs student template so that each student blog has ready access. This connects all of our students and becomes a vehicle to teach the new ISTE standard for Knowledge Curation. Feel free to copy the demo sheet and make it your own. I wrote a brief instruction page in the sheet for anyone who wants to give it a whirl, but I’ll be writing step by step directions in an upcoming post. Let me know in the comments if you use this idea, make it better, or find a bug - it would be much appreciated!

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