Clusters: a Firefox add-on for personal knowledge management

Clusters is a Firefox add-on that helps you organize your most valuable web-based resources.

The technology (or what are my powers?)

Clusters is a free add-on to your Firefox browser that allows you to create a cluster of your frequently accessed Web pages on a single Web page rather than having multiple open tabs that you toggle between.

The video below explains how to get started with Clusters.

Clusters is extremely easy to use and you can share your Clusters pages to a variety of social media sites. When you create a Clusters page, you also gain access to widgets that allow you to embed your page in a Web site or blog. However, the default state is that your Clusters are private. As an additional privacy measure, you can also password protect a Clusters page.

Some features I’d like to see:

  • An ability to drag and drop thumbnails to reorganize them on a Web page (i.e., to put my most frequently accessed Web pages at the top of the Cluster)
  • An ability to add some metadata to individual tabbed pages so that I can see this information when I hover over a thumbnail (useful for larger lists when the thumbnail itself is not all that informative)

You will see ads on the right-hand side of your Clusters page. Although the video suggests these will be related to your clustered items, in my experience, they were not. However, the ads are not too obtrusive, and I’m fairly used to ignoring sponsored ads so they didn’t really interfere with my experience.

Instructional strategies

Clusters is most useful to create a single view of a manageable number of bookmarked Web pages that you return to again and again. For example, I created a Clusters page of my current frequently used personal knowledge management tools.

I also created a Cluster of elearning and Web 2.0 web pages that I return to frequently.

For larger lists of Web pages, I do prefer my Diigo lists,  since I have more flexibility in adding metadata (tags for my individual web pages), screenshots of images on the page, and annotations that provide me with cues as to why I bookmarked the page in the first place.

Here’s a view of health literacy resources organized using Clusters (a partial collection; I haven’t duplicated all of my Diigo resources here yet).

16

healthliteracy

A collection of health literacy …

http://www.clusterurl.com/854jm8r

Compare this view to the view of my resources*on Diigo, shown below. Although you don’t see thumbnails, you can view tags associated with individual Web pages and comments I’ve added.

Bottom line: Clusters has its niche as a personal knowledge management (PKM) tool. The very act of clustering requires a learner to think about relationships between items and to prioritize the most useful items.

For more information about personal knowledge management (PKM), personal learning environments (PLE), and personal learning networks (PLN) you might be interested in these posts:

*As an aside: You can also join the Health Literacy Group on Diigo via this  link. You do need a Diigo account to join the group but registration is free. To learn more about Diigo, read this post.

One response to “Clusters: a Firefox add-on for personal knowledge management

  1. Pingback: Using bit.ly bundles to create a learning module | Instructional Design Fusions

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