Thing 13: Tagging

Share your thoughts about tagging. Is tagging a useful way to organize your digital resources and why? What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages? How could you use a word cloud or tag cloud in your classroom? What is important to think about before assigning tags to bookmarks or other Internet content?

I think tagging is very important. For me, it helps keep me organized. I use tagging the most on EmbraceModern. It helps search engines like Google find relevant content in my blog for searches conducted by other people with the same interest. I think that it is safe to say that after good content, tagging is the single most important part of the blogging process.

I can hear some of you already, and it is a legitimate concern, "But we don't want to be found. Our blogs will just be for our classrooms and the parents of the students in our classrooms."

Since we know, at least I think that we do, that you can make your blog private and require log-in to see it...did we cover this....the creepy factor of having some weirdo reading your class news should go away. So now tagging becomes a tool for your approved readers.

Lets say you are blogging every day, "WHAT!" I can hear you say, but yes, every day. Once you have subscribers, your classroom parents, you may want to. Lets say you send an important note home for the parents in little Fanna Banana O'Sasquatch's backpack. You then log in to your blog and just post a quick note that says:
Just a heads up parents. Today we sent home a note about the the field trip to Dinosaur Farm in three weeks which includes the permission slip. Please sign it and return it ASAP so I can put that behind us.
If you set them up under Settings: Email & Mobile: Email Notifications (see below)

Then they receive an email every time you publish and we know how much email makes the world go 'round. One would like to believe that having that sitting in their inbox would provide a reminder for them to respond by filling out said form.

I know, I haven't told you how Tagging would work in this scenario. Well here we go. Assume for a second that little Fanna's parental units did not respond appropriately to your blog note. Two weekends later, over a lunch consisting of a Cream Cheese Sandwich with Chocolate sprinkles (true story) Anna says, "OMG, I am so excited to go on our field trip next week!"

"Ding" a bell goes off in the parental unit's cerebral cortex. Frantically the parental unit scrambles for the computer, logs in to your blog and stops. You have been a good blogger. there are two weeks of posts between him/her and the information they need.

You have been a good blogger though. You've tagged your posts well. On the left is a tag cloud with the words "Field Trips" and "Dinosaur Farm" floating in it. The parent clicks on "Dinosaur Farm" and your request for permission slip compliance is displayed.

If they want to read about the field trips they click the "Field Trips" in the tag cloud and all of your postings about field trips are listed.

It's all good clean fun.

When tagging, be careful of repetition. When I started EmbraceModern I went a little tag crazy. I would tag and article about Marcel Breuer mentioning his association with Walter Gropius with "Walter Gropius". Ok not bad. But other postings that had Gropius would have tags like "Gropius" or "Walter A Gropius" or even "Walter A G Gropius". They all meant to reflect the inclusion in the posting of the same person.

Now I am more careful. Walter gets "Walter Gropius" and I am very careful to reuse tags that are applicable.