Wake up! If you have not heard about Wakelet, it’s time to learn. There has been a lot of buzz generated recently about Wakelet. If you are like me, you find all kinds of amazing resources, articles, and ideas floating around cyberspace…all the time! Typically, in the past, I would email myself articles or save them to my favorites. Enter Wakelet. It makes curation easy to do and allows you to organize what you want to save, share, and comment upon.
When you sign up for Wakelet, you’ll want to start by choosing a minimum of two categories you are interested in. Education and politics were my first ever Wakelet picks. Once you complete that step, Wakelet lets you know “you can start saving, organizing, and sharing content from across the web.”
What is so amazing about this service is that you can bookmark anything–videos, articles, music, or even podcasts–and create collections while adding images and little notes to yourself or others that truly make your collection customized to you. Finally, you even have the option to make your collection private or public and/or embed them on your own website. Wakelet is curation at its best.
Not only can Wakelet be a powerful tool for your own professional learning network, but it can also be a great tool to use with students in the school library. What follows next are 5 ways you can utilize Wakelet in your school library.
Many of us subscribe to amazing databases and other resources that students can use to find information that they need. Many students (and teachers) still turn to Google and have to wade through a plethora of results that may or may not be what they wanted. By creating a pathfinder in Wakelet, you can direct your students not only to the most useful resources for their research project, but also to the resources you know are trustworthy and reliable. Of course, it goes without saying that you would modify your Wakelet according to the age and grade of the students you teach. You would want to be very specific pointing a first- or second-grade student to the exact resources, while creating a pathfinder of multiple resources to get older students started on their way to a research project.
PRO TIP: If your district uses a learning management system, you can embed your Wakelet in your system or even email it to students.
As school librarians we are advocates for our programs. We want parents, teachers, our administration, and our communities to know what is happening in our libraries. Wakelet allows us to load pictures, texts, videos, social media posts, and more. We can highlight events, projects, celebrations, and book recommendations in a library newsletter created easily on Wakelet.
PRO TIP: Even better than a librarian-generated newsletter highlighting the school library: a student-generated newsletter!
Use Wakelet to create a schoolwide book review page. Students can write summaries and book recommendations that can be easily added with a picture of the book and their review to a page.
PRO TIP: One thing students love: using emojis to indicate their love or dislike of a book. Two thumbs up anyone?
Bibliographies, Notecards, Annotation and More
Because you can add text as well as links and other media to a Wakelet it is a great way to help students organize their research. As they are getting started, they can save their links with a brief annotation to review later. How many times have you had a student come back to you and not remember what source they used to find information? By saving to Wakelet, they start building their bibliography right away and can use the text feature to take notes–just like on a note card. The best part is, they save and go. When they return to their research, students can pick up right where they left off. Scaffold what you expect students to save for what is appropriate to their grade band.
Crazy Idea Journal
Finally, you and your school library learners can use Wakelet for curating interests and ideas. My husband has what he lovingly refers to as his “crazy idea journal.” These are all things he has read about and maybe wants to try. In his journal he keeps ideas for building projects. Once, we built a replica of a TARDIS in our backyard after he jotted it down in his notebook. Wakelet can act as an online “crazy idea journal.” Bookmark, annotate, and save ideas and interests. It’s a great way of introducing students to ways to follow their passion and share their ideas with others.
PRO TIP: When building a full size replica of a TARDIS, build it in the general area of where you want to place it. They are hard to move!
How are you using or planning on using this tool in your own school library? Share your thoughts and your ideas with me. There’s power in the collective mind!
Author: Jennifer Sturge
Jennifer Sturge is a Specialist for School Libraries and Digital Learning for Calvert County Public Schools. She has been an educator and librarian for 25 years and is always looking forward. She is a member of ALA and AASL and is President Elect for the Maryland Association of School Librarians for 2019-2020. She is a 2017-2018 Lilead Fellow.