So many tools and don’t they all do the same thing?

First I found Livebinders, then there was Scoop.it, Symbaloo, Evernote and Diigo. But don’t they all do the same sort of thing? Unfortunately, the answer is yes, and no. There are certain features that are common to all, but each has unique features as well.  I will attempt to explain my experience with each of them as a method for curating websites in the hope it will help you decide which one you might prefer, if at all.

Livebinders  

 Pluses

Livebinders allows you to create collections of resources containing websites, PDFs, Word docs, PowerPoint presentations, images and videos. You can search public livebinders for content (without having an account) which you can then add these binders to your own collection. After downloading the ‘Livebinder it’ toolbar, collecting web pages is a breeze. The toolbar works on PCs and mobile devices. You can creat tabs and sub tabs in each binder to organise your information. Editing your binders is straightforward. You can give students the URL to your binder of resources for a topic. The URL remains constant regardless of changes you make to the binder – no need to reissue/alter the URL.A Livebinder can be a collaborative effort. 

Minuses

The very ease of adding web pages to binders can make binders unwieldy, because you can inadvertently add the same web page more than once and tabs and sub tabs can get disorganized. This requires visiting your binders frequently for maintenance if you are using the ‘Livebinder it’ book marklet. You cannot immediately see the content of your binder, only the cover and the titles of the tabs, until you open the binder. 

Read my previous post on Livebinders here

Scoop.it

Scoop.it by AJC1, on FlickrCreative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  AJC1 

 Pluses

Visually appealing, magazine like format – you can see a snapshot of each web page that is included in your Scoop.it. You can set Scoop.it to send you content on your set topic from social media sites, so it is always up to date. You can ‘re-scoop’ other people’s content. Provides content for your twitter and Facebook accounts. 

Minuses

The page can be indefinitely long – you have to keep scrolling down to see all the content. For more information on Scoop.it, read this post

Symbaloo

 Pluses

Visually appealing – webmixes appear as small tiles with icons. Would appeal to students. You can give students the URL to your webmix of resources for a topic/task. The URL remains constant regardless of changes you make to the webmix – no need to reissue/alter the URL. You can set Symbaloo as your homepage. 

Minuses

It can be time consuming to create tiles, especially if there isn’t already an icon for the website and you have to create one yourself. The search function can be frustrating – I have searched for public webmixes that I know exist, but sometimes can’t find them. (User error?)  For more detailed information, read the post on Symbaloo here

Evernote

Evernote

 

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License

  by  /Sizemore/  

Pluses

Evernote is much more than a tool to curate websites, it can hold images, files (PDF, docs, presentations, spreadsheets) and audio recordings. Once you have downloaded the ‘webclipper’ which works on any device, you can ‘clip’ the whole or part of a web page. Evernote creates a unique email address for you so you can forward email directly to your Evernote account and into specific notebooks. All text is searchable – including inside images, making it extremely easy to find what you’re looking for. Evernote syncs across your computer, phone, tablet and the web, so you have access to your data wherever you are. Notes and/or notebooks can be shared with others. (Premium version needed to allow editing, otherwise, view only) 

Minuses

I can’t really think of any for Evernote as a whole package, but as a way to curate websites, other tools do this better. You need a premium account to have off-line access to notes and notebooks. Read my previous post on Evernote here

Diigo

diigo notes

diigo notes (Photo credit: AJC1)

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  AJC1 

 Pluses

Annotate, archive and organise your web favourites and share them with others. Teachers can create private groups for students with an educator account. Student profiles are private, so no cybersafety concerns. You can create and join groups of like minded people, sharing the content you find. You can add images. Everything is organised with tags to make searching simple. You decide how often you want emails with updates of activity in the groups you join. You can import your browser favourites & Delicious tags. You can add highlighting and ‘sticky notes’ to web pages that can only be viewed by members. This allows you to point students to the most relevant section of a webpage and pose study questions. The Diigo Diigolet can be loaded on any device. This allows easy collecting and annotating of webpages. 

Minuses

You need to remember to do ‘housekeeping’ on your tags to keep them consistent. You must search by tags to find websites, as the collection is linear. The iPad app only shows your library, you cannot add to your library from it. You need to do this from Safari, where the Diigolet is installed. Adding the Diigolet to the iPad is a little complicated. View this video from a previous post to see how some students are using Diigo to collaborate. 

Conclusion 

New tools will constantly be developed, but there is no need to jump on the latest ‘band wagon’ and switch tools every time you hear about a new one.  If you find a tool that you like, that works for you, use it. Don’t change until it no longer suits your purpose.

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7 Responses to So many tools and don’t they all do the same thing?

  1. Fiona Millimaci says:

    Thanks guys. This is a great article!

    Fiona Millimaci
    Head of Languages
    Chisholm Catholic College

    • blacca says:

      Thanks Fiona. There is such a constant deluge of new tools that people feel they should be using. I think it’s important to know it’s OK to stick with your favorites. Please let me know if I’ve missed any pros or cons for any mentioned.

  2. Pingback: Diigo – Bookmarking Made Easy « CYBERGIRL

  3. mimi chau says:

    Hi there,

    Thank you for mentioning Symbaloo. We appreciate the love! This is a great article and we enjoyed reading the comparison between the different tools. It gives the readers an overview of which tools is the right fit for the tasks that they need. We always appreciate feedback via email: edu@ymbaloo.com. You’ve mentioned that you’re having problem with the search engine. Please feel free to email our team, feedback@symbaloo.com or contact me personally, mimi@symbaloo.com. I will be more than happy to assist. More information about SymbalooEDU can always be found at SymbalooEDU.com, latest updates are posted to our blog http://bit.ly/SymbalooEDUBlog.

    Mimi Chau 
    Social Media Manager
    @Symbaloo 
    @SymbalooEDU
    Email: mimi@symbaloo.com
    I use Symbaloo! – Create. Share. Discover.

    Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/symbaloo
    Or Friend us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/symbaloo

  4. June Jones says:

    Thank you so much for this comparison! It is exactly what I was looking for to help my staff.

    • blacca says:

      I’m glad it was of use June. It is something I had been thinking of writing for some time. There are so many tools available, with more arriving each day that it becomes quite overwhelming. I was quite addicted to Livebinders but am now something of a Diigo convert these days!

  5. Pingback: A guide to organising school work on your iPad | eLearning blog – Chisholm Catholic College

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