Part of making learning personal to you is in what you read and more importantly, what you keep.  You can learn a lot about a person by the books, magazines and digital print they leave lying around.  Haver you ever noticed that?  One of the first things I do when I enter someone’s office is to quietly scan their shelves and look at the titles of the books they have collected.  Undoubtedly, they have something there that I have read and if not, I take a mental note of what they are reading so I can check those pieces out for myself.  We are defined by what we know and what we do with that knowledge.  One of the ways of “knowing” is in what and how much we read.

Yet, libraries as we know them will cease to exist in the near future.  Of this, I am quite sure.  Quickly, traditional print materials are being replaced with digital copies that can be shared at a rapid pace with anyone around the world simultaneously.  This isn’t to say that we won’t continue to have traditional print books – personally, I love reading a true “book” and being able to turn pages – it’s just that they won’t be the only options anymore.  One of the ways I know this is because we already have a system out there that allows you to create your own personal library and take it with you wherever you go – Diigo.

Diigo has been around for a while, mostly as another social media site for sharing interesting stories that were found across the web.  However, this system has evolved to a point where the impact can have much more broad-reaching effects.  Diigo can now be installed as a toolbar on your browser and anything you read that is of interest with you can quickly be added to your personal library with a click of a button the the toolbar.  You’ll never have to worry about finding that article again.  What’s more, you know that it’s relevant to you because you’ve tagged it as such.  And you can access your library from anywhere in the world, as long as you have an internet connection.  Your library, with as much information as you need or desire, is available at your fingertips.

Let’s take it a bit further though.  Now, you can share your library with anyone who wants to follow you, and you can follow as many people as you like.  This means that you now have access to as many other personal libraries as you desire and others have access to everything that you’re reading as well.  Think about the possibilities of this kind of networking!  You can…

  • Read what your students are reading for research
  • Categorize your own learning based on personal interests
  • Build joint libraries across topics and networks
  • Be “hooked in” to the larger global network while at the same time, making that network personal to your own knowledge base

Diigo is a wonderful tool to use to both reach in and reach out with learning and to make critical connections in and out of the classroom.  Again, it’s not just about what you know – it’s about what you do with that knowledge.  Diigo makes both of these important skills available to you in limitless ways.  Enjoy exploring and if you’d like to follow what I’m reading, just go to http://www.diigo.com/user/Sriley81 – I’m happy to open my library to you!