Nuts and BO.LTs
With all the potential learning tools that the interwebs can almost infinitely provide us, as an educator I am always interested in what others are trying. For the time being, I have a cluster of tools that are my must-haves. I use them regularly. I
pretend to use them to enhance my own learning and make my “grid” time more effective. Then there are those that not only serve a personal purpose but quite possibly could provide my students with a more engaging or more meaningful learning experience or mode of sharing.
For me, that new tool is BO.LT
. And to be completely honest, I’m still new to BO.LT, but I’m working it into my cluster of tools as well as looking into ways it can add to my students learning experience.
So what is BO.LT? Well. I’m still learning what BO.LT is. So far for me, BO.LT is:
A new way to bookmark
BO.LT allows you to cache webpages to your account. This is a little more than what a typical bookmarking tool does. Most often, bookmarking saves the URL of a specific page. However, that page may move or change without notice, potentially leaving you without the information you had hoped to return to at some point. BO.LT grabs that page and keeps it intact for you to view and share at anytime. And like any worthwhile bookmarking tool, BO.LT encourages you to share your links with your Twitter followers and Facebook friends.
A new way to consume and create
Everybody’s digital data consumption habits are different. I often like to read a few blog posts, check on the Phillies, click a few links shared on Twitter and read what’s going on in Google Plus. And like many of you, some of those links, stories or insights you find are worth sharing. BO.LT makes that easy. Using either the bookmarklet or the Chrome extension–or even copying and pasting the URL into BO.LT itself–you can quickly create a new link that shows your account name in association with BO.LT and a customizable shortened URL.
Now that you have the page/link saved, or BO.LTed, you can go ahead and share it or make it your own. The uniquest feature of BO.LT is the user’s ability to actually make changes to the webpage. You can change the pictures, modify the text to add emphasis to the original content or information provided. Make minor tweaks to draw attention to a portion of the page, or change all the pictures so your 4 year-old sees himself all over his favorite children’s site. The possibilities are truly endless.
And this is where I see the most potential for my students–in the modification or recreation of content on already established sites. Earlier this month
I discussed with Christine Harmel
ways in which BO.LT can become a classroom tool in all areas of learning. By BO.LTing a page, students have access to a design, a current context, even a newly uncovered passion. The pages are then available for students to modify to post a review of their own story on Amazon.com, or provide a modern context for the retelling of Washington’s crossing of the Delaware on the front page of the Times of Trenton, or share last weekend’s crushing lost to their in-town rivals right on ESPN’s home page. The context, the relevance, the at-their-fingertips that BO.LT provides students with for creating and sharing can be used in any area of learning and during any stage of the process.
By no means am I an expert at BO.LT, but I see potential. I see its potential as a member of my must-haves, and I see it’s potential in the classroom as a meaningful and purposeful technology tool that can help provide context and relevance to student sharing. Take it for a spin. Give it a try. Let me know what you think.