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StumbleUpon - StumbleUpon

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Want to "stumble upon" some great sites? Use StumbleUpon to browse websites without having to enter search terms and click through search pages. Choose categories that you are ...more
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Want to "stumble upon" some great sites? Use StumbleUpon to browse websites without having to enter search terms and click through search pages. Choose categories that you are interested in. These can be updated at any time. Choose hobbies, interests, or teaching subjects. When the StumbleUpon button on the tool bar is pressed, StumbleUpon presents a website to fit your interests. Simply click the thumbs up "I like it" or the thumbs down symbol on the tool bar to "teach" StumbleUpon what you like. StumbleUpon seeks out interesting pages you might otherwise not see. The more you Stumble and indicate your preferences, the more Stumble Upon will refine its understanding of what you like. On the StumbleUpon site, you can see your favorites, as well as the top rated websites, videos, and photos from their many "stumblers." Firefox or Internet Explorer is required.

tag(s): bookmarks (69), evaluating sources (15), social networking (107)

In the Classroom

The best use of this site is for teacher research. Hit the Stumble button once or twice a day to find new ideas and new sites for teaching. Skills needed: Join the site (free, but requires email). Download and install the tool bar for Firefox or Internet Explorer and create your "identity." Click the Stumble button. Though you may not get websites relating to just one specific topic, many in your field or interest group will come up. Bookmark these for later use. LOG OUT of Stumble Upon when you are not at your computer to avoid unauthorized use.

Be wise and choose your interests carefully. For example, if you are interested in photography, you will receive random photo sites. Though many have wonderful photos, a few may have questionable content not appropriate for education. Since StumbleUpon has other uses, such as "dating" and "friends," and the ability to see other "popular" sites, you will want to use a single class account to model and teach web site critique and evaluation as a whole class. Individual student profiles can be problematic to supervise unless your school has built a strong, enforceable Acceptable Use Policy, signed by both student and parent, that holds the STUDENT accountable for his/her behavior, not you.

If your school uses a filter (U.S. schools are required to do so by law), any streaming media and other sites may be blocked. If you "Stumble" at home and find a useful site, follow your school's technology policy to request unblocking of specific URLs that are directly related to curriculum.

Editorial comment: Be sure to SHARE your reason for using the site with administrators and school decision-makers to demonstrate why school policies should permit such powerful tools for teaching and learning. You may have to "prove" the worth of StumbleUpon by providing specific examples of the content you have found through this tool, especially since many schools prevent users from downloading and installing any software at all. Be sure to talk about -- and follow through on -- teaching students how to critique and evaluate websites as research skills. General surfing the web in the classroom is not considered best practice, and your example will speak volumes. You may need to become an expert "Stumbler" at home to build your case for accessing and demonstrating the tool at school.

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