Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A draft idea for a paper: A case study on teachers' use of social tagging tools to create collections of resources - and how to consolidate them?

UPDATE: the submitted paper, comments welcome!

This paper explores how a group of pilot teachers (16) create collections of digital learning resources using tagging tools. We study two different tools: an educational portal (MELT) and We first look at the characteristics of these collections (number of resources, languages of resources, number of tags used, etc), and then propose a way to display the resources and tags from on the learning portal (MELT) using Attention Profing Markup Language (APML). This allows a higher level of integration between a learning portal and an external social tagging service like, and thus enhances the wider variety of digital learning resources to be discovered.


We selected 16 pilot teachers to be subjects of this study from the MELT project. These teachers have both an account on the MELT portal and on the delicious bookmarking service. These teachers are primary and secondary teachers in science, language learning and ICTs in Finland, Estonia, Hungary and Belgium. 7 of them are females and 10 males. One participant is under 30 years old, 8 are under 40 years, 5 under 50 years, 3 under 60 years old.

They have been part of the MELT project since Summer 2007, when they were first introduced to delicious during a summer school. In March 2008 they were also invited to create a profile on the MELT portal, where they were able to access multilingual learning resources for different topical areas.

From the MELT portal we know the detailed profiles of these teachers: their names, topics they teach, country where they teach and languages they speak. Moreover, we have information regarding the learning resources that they have bookmarked using the portal. This includes the information about the resource itself and the tags applied. We additionally have asked for their delicious username to be part of this small study.

From delicious, using the html service, we were able to download the 100 last bookmarks and tags that these teachers had posted on delicious. We also took all the data regarding the tags and people these users had in their network. Lastly, we recorded the number of posts each teacher had on their account.

We collected the following data for our selected 16 users:

Additionally, the delicious data contained the following information regarding the networks. Two people had chosen to keep their networks private:
  • Number of distinct people in the networks: 104
  • Number of people in the networks: 270


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