As educators, we are bombarded with new teaching and technology ideas from Twitter, blogs, news articles, podcasts, emails, videos, and other sources. But without a way of storing and organizing this information, it quickly gets lost. How often do we vaguely remember an interesting article or video that would help us with research or a classroom strategy but can’t find it?
I struggled with finding a place to save it all until I discovered Wakelet. Wakelet is a free, wiki-like website that allows you to store and organize all the content you find on the web, including links, images, tweets, videos, and articles, along with your own ideas. You can save this content in a private bookmark space just for your own reference or add it to a collection that you share with others by making it public. You can even embed the collection in a blog or website. Additionally, you can add one or more Wakelet users to a Wakelet group collection and collaboratively build a robust collection of resources. For a few months now, I have been using Wakelet to bookmark all the interesting content I see daily in my email, on Google, on Twitter and Facebook, and on my favorite education-related websites. This content is now in one place where I can easily find it when I need it.
I have also been creating collections to help organize my projects. For example, because I’m working on an article on how to use technology to effectively manage K–12 classrooms, I have created a collection that allows me to add all kinds of content related to this topic, including scholarly journal articles, tweets about specific technology, meme images that I find entertaining, and specific links to education and educational technology websites. Since I’m coauthoring the chapter, this is a group collection to which my coauthor can add content; we can write our notes and ideas using the text option or share our ideas through video recordings using Flipgrid or Screencastify. In addition, I’ve made collections to house my presentation and various related links to share at conferences. When I shared Wakelet at our December faculty meeting, a few faculty members jumped on board right away and made collections for conferences they were presenting at the following month!
Adding content to a Wakelet is as easy as pasting URL links, uploading PDFs or JPG and PNG files, typing in text, or locating your files from Google or OneDrive. In addition, Wakelet is integrated with both Flipgrid and Screencastify, so once you connect your account(s) to Wakelet, you can use the Flipgrid camera or Screencastify app to create videos in your Wakelet collection. Wakelet also has an app for both iOS and Android devices so that you can bookmark content or create a collection while you are on your smartphone. In addition, if you add the Wakelet extension to your Chrome browser, you can easily click the “W” icon to add content as a bookmark or to a collection in Wakelet.
First, you’ll need to create an account through Google, Office 365, Facebook, or your email address and a password. Like other social media accounts, you can, as an option, create a profile with your picture and information so others can easily find you and view your public collections. Then you can go ahead and start bookmarking content or creating your first collection. Once you’ve created a collection, you can choose to display the content by selecting one of four distinct settings: media view (linear up and down), compact view (as tiles and descriptions only), grid view (side by side in a grid), or mood board (visual and engaging board view). You can keep your collections private for your eyes only, collaborate on them with a few others, or make them public for all to see and copy for their own use.
Wakelet is also an effective tool in the classroom. In the education program at our school, teacher candidates have been creating literacy portfolios in a traditional way by combining their own philosophy, classroom literacy strategies, book reviews, website reviews, and personal reflection into one PDF file to submit to their professor. This semester I worked with these future secondary teachers to instead use Wakelet for their literacy portfolios; this led to the creation of more dynamic portfolios shared among classmates. Instead of a static document, the portfolios now have clickable links to internet resources, are more efficiently documented for future use and can be easily shared with anyone.
Wakelet is both an excellent way to curate the vast amount of content that you are exposed to regularly and a dynamic classroom tool. Watch this tutorial on how to use Wakelet, and learn more from The Educator’s Guide to Wakelet, a free e-book that includes links to a variety of educators’ collections. Also, feel free to follow me on Wakelet to view my public collections @MadCraig or on Twitter @madcraig. Cheers to a more organized 2020!
Madeline Craig, EdD, is an assistant professor of education at Molloy College.