Unit 4 : Teaching and Learning Tools

Diigo

I decided to look at the the on-line tool Diigo to investigate the Terms of Service and the Privacy policy. Browsing on the membership portal there didn’t appear to be an obvious place to locate the Terms of Service so I then searched Google under Diigo.com Terms of Agreement. What I did find interesting  was  the diigo team consisted of only 12 people !       “We are a 12-person team with diverse experience in software development, marketing, academia, and investment management, who share the common traits of information junkies :-)” Such a small group for a pretty amazing product!

The Agreement is 9 pages long which is a bit daunting and most likely the reason why I didn’t read it initially when I signed up.  The language however is not that difficult to read although it is written within a legal framework and states at the very start that the terms of Agreement are legally binding if you use the service. They also add “Please read this Agreement carefully and save it. If you do not agree with it , you should leave the Website and discontinue use of the Services immediately.” They also mention that in order to participate in certain Services  you may be notified that you are required to download software or content and agree to additional terms and conditions which could be a concern. Another surprise was that Diigo can modify this Agreement any time through a post on their website and they remind the user to review the Agreement regularly. They also ask the user to choose carefully anything you post as they reserve the right to reject, refuse or remove any posting including email and can restrict, suspend or terminate your access for any or no reason with or without prior notice.

Diigo also reserves the right to charge for Services and to change its fees anytime at its own discretion, if you are a paying customer for Premium use. The Privacy policy is incorporated into the agreement and is made reference to.

Another interesting clause in the Agreement was termination if there was any illegal use of the Services including collection of usernames and or email addresses for the purpose of sending unsolicited emails being prohibited, along with any posts promoting racism, harassment,  nudity, violence, offensive subject matter and providing telephone numbers, street addresses or URLs to name a few. Diigo can also restrict the number of emails Members can send in a 24 hour period or unsolicited bulk email messages in order to protect its members from advertising and mentions the sum of $50 fines per unsolicited email or communication. All very interesting although this is found at the bottom of page 5 in the fine print. Diigo appears to have covered all its bases.

Exploring whether Diigo has a method to back up data or export data was simple enough to find. I was fascinated to read that last year Diigo was hijacked  and the service became unavailable , the company was blackmailed and ended up paying the ransom money. This is the link to the story if you are interested- Diigo recovering after domain hijacking nightmare. You can easily back up your data  by going to tools in your account and selecting export your library with a choice to save to your computer or link into Delicious if you have a previous account. There is also an excellent  page from Bright ideas (Cam probably wrote it! )  explaining all the details along with other tools such as Evernote. I also came across another useful blog by “doug- -off the record” who recommended sending an automatic feed from diigo to Evernote creating a link note in your notes through a service called IFTTT (If This Then That) It looks simple enough but would need more exploring.

Terminating the service by the user is also clearly defined under Term and can be carried out any time for any reason through the accounts setting page by clicking the link – cancel my subscription.

In conclusion I believe Diigo has covered all their bases well, they are a profitable company with paying customers for services with extra benefits and I would be happy recommending others to sign up for the service.

Evaluation of  Learnist

I decided to evaluate Learnist due to a recent tweet from Brave new world March 24, 2013. The author Tania Sheko in her blog described it looking a lot like Pinterest which I use and a little bit like scoop it which I have been thinking about exploring.

You have the option of signing up with an email address or through Facebook , I chose the email option. The service does require a log in and you need to give your email details and choose a password when signing up for an account. The Terms of Service and Privacy policy are included as a link on the sign up page and are quite detailed with a fair amount of legal jargon, they also include a Copyright policy and mention that their services may contain links to other websites & software. They clearly state that they do share the information with third parties and generate statistics and other user information, so perhaps this could be an issue for students.

Learnist is visually appealing in magazine style format offering a social network and allows you to browse boards under Featured, New or Popular or search under categories ranging from Art & Design, Education, Technology , Business, Politics, Science, Society, Sport and Health & Fitness. For this reason I can see Learnist being used in an educational setting as these areas I imagine would be very useful for students, allowing them to explore boards curated by others with specific research tasks for subjects. Each board gives some detail about the author and and you can identify how many have read their boards or see how many likes. Apart from browsing the user can rate and comment and follow the authors of each board. Students could also curate their own board on a particular topic by browsing  for specific information and sharing it with the class. This fits in with the SAMR model  in the Transformation stage, as the learning task has been modified with the technology allowing the student to embed images, use audio or video and collaborate and share educational content. It is also possible to share a link with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Linkedin or email the link.

Other categories of interest are Entertainment, Games, Lifestyle, Travel & Places, Products, Food & Drinks and Music. I can imagine it could become addictive! After your first log in it also asks you to choose from a range of interests and tailors the boards to cover those interests such as learning, high school, reading, technology, social media and education. You could use this tool in your professional learning by following particular people or boards  or create an individual or shared Learnist board with your faculty, you can also add tags or suggest a site to an existing board. I can see it being used across the wider school community as it allows people to learn from each other. I recently checked the site and today there is a board featuring April Poetry Month with lots of good ideas to use in the classroom.

Learnist is very user friendly and I created a board- Teaching Information Literacy in the 21st Century. Are we teaching students the right skills for life long learning? I chose 6 articles for my board- one including a short film, a you tube clip from TED and an article from an interesting blog site Have iPad– Will teach. Once  completed  you can check to see if anyone has liked, commented or added tags to your board. In summary I think Learnist has captured all the tools we often use such as Facebook, Scoop it, Pinterest and rolled them into one but in an educational framework.

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2 Responses to Unit 4 : Teaching and Learning Tools

  1. Heath Graham says:

    Phew, nine pages! Nice that they protect against bulk emails and marketing too. I think it can be a hard balance to walk between covering themselves legally and being friendly and readable.

    Great Learnist board, and a very important question. How do you think we’re doing?

    Heath, for the PLN team

  2. Thanks Heath for the feedback

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