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May 16, 2007

Edtags

Via Stephen Downes, via Jorge Gonçalves I note the emergence of Edtags, a social bookmarking service for educators.  I remain unconvinced...

When I first started at Eduserv I suggested internally that we think about developing something called Edutea, an installation of Connotea configured to focus on the needs of the education community.  There would have been little software development as such required to put this together because Connotea is Open Source.

In the end I decided not to progress this because I couldn't bring myself to create a service silo within the education domain.  As I blogged previously, I don't think the education community is best served by this kind of development.  Rather, we should use the tagging facilities in existing mainstream social services (in this case del.icio.us, Digg, Connotea or whatever) to partition learning-focused sub-sets of content within those broader services.

Perhaps I'm missing something more compelling about what Edtags are offering?

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"I don't think the education community is best served by this kind of development. Rather, we should use the tagging facilities in existing mainstream social services..."

Agreed.

"Perhaps I'm missing something more compelling about what Edtags are offering?"

I understand your point about sticking to the mainstream social services; however, I will explain my take on the value of Edtags.org (since I am its creator).

The primary affordance of http://www.edtags.org is the ability to connect with educators sharing similar interests with whom you may not have otherwise connected. To this end, we are updating our profile pages and rolling out a related educator recommendation system by July 31st. When you log in, you will see up to 5 educators who save and categorize resources similar to yours. Whereas del.icio.us contains the most resources on any one social bookmarking site, Edtags.org offers education-related resources and more importantly, the opportunity to make "birds of a feather" connections.

Other key affordances of Edtags.org are:

1) Educators can search through a pool of information that to some degree, has already been vetted as related to the field of education. Edtags.org is *actively managed.* In other words, we do our best to purge spagging (spam tagging).

2) We are creating a thesaurus for the field of education. Also set to roll out on July 31st is our tag recommendation system. We are honing algorithms that will recommend words users determine to be synonyms and also keywords that are related but one or two generations from a synonym. In other words, keywords you may not have originally thought were related to your query.

3) Upload gray literature. We host your ed-related files. This feature is ideal for teachers and professors to archive exemplary coursework.

4) Research first...July 31st also marks the roll out of our researcher interface. Since Edtags.org is my research project for doctoral work at Harvard, the public will be able to access cluster visualizations for both tags and users. Other stats will be made available to the public. The open nature of Edtags.org will contribute to its uniqueness among the many social bookmarking services.

Check out our blog (http://www.blog.edtags.org) if you'd like more information.
Thanks for your interest in Edtags.org!

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