Today I’m going to share with you a very useful tool that will help you make your reading experience much more enjoyable and definitely easier.
My students know that I always assign some quite lengthy articles as homework, most of which are not exactly graded to a specific level, in other words, texts are not stripped of difficult words, idioms or long sentences. Obviously the task focuses on something that I know students are capable of producing, but even so, the reading task itself can be quite challenging.
It involves looking up words in dictionaries, trying to infer meaning through context and making notes, sometimes lots of notes.
In order to make students’ lives a little easier, after all, I’m a monster I know, but not a heartless one, I started recommending the use of Diigo. Have you heard of it?
Diigo is a free program that allows students to collect and tag resources, make notes on web pages and PDF files, organise bookmarks and several other resources.
In practical terms, imagine that you’re reading an article or news on the Internet and you come across a new word. You look it up in the dictionary and a few paragraphs later there is the word again and you simply don’t remember it. Frustrating, right?
Well, if you have Diigo installed in your computer, you can make a note explaining the new word and when you see it again all you have to do is check your notes. It saves you time and helps you memorise new vocabulary.
Take a look at this example from a BBC News page my student used in class today:
Source: BBC Learning English
As my student didn’t know the meaning of forest-clad and cheek-by-jowl, she made notes of the meanings as comments to help her remember it. The process is quite simple, you just highlight the term you want and a comment box appears when you click twice on the word or expression. After that, the page together with her comments are saved to her Library in Diigo and when she chooses to read it again, she can see all comments added.
Apart from that, while you’re reading online, you can highlight sentences, words, paragraphs or even create a snapshot of a page and read it later, add a stick note or show annotations made to the page.
All information collected is stored in the cloud in My library and you can access it again from any device, your notebook, ipad, smartphone.
These are just a few examples of several resources offered by this fantastic tool.
If you are a visual learner, you’re definitely going to benefit from using this tool since it helps retention.
Got interested? So take a look at this video showing the program and its resources.
Enjoy your learning.