Tag Archives: Web2.0 tools

Guiding Learners with Trailmeme

I discovered Trailmeme by reading the always excellent “Free Technology for Teachers” site by Richard Byrne and thought I’d give it a try.

The technology (or what are my powers?)

Trailmeme is a bookmarking tool that allows you to display a visual trail of your search results.

You can add a Trailmeme bookmarklet to your browser toolbar. Clicking on it allows you to add a Web page to a new trail or a pre-existing one.

You can link the page to a previous page or just add it to a collection that you’ll organize later. Even if you’ve linked pages together when you first created a trail, you can always reorganize your relationships later.

Next, you’ll add bookmarked items to a trail if you have not already done so. You can also create a new trail at this point.

Once you’ve collected the resources you want in a particular trail, you’ll start mapping.

Your next task is to organize and/or reorganize your collection of bookmarks on your trail.

Once you’re satisfied, you can make your Trailmeme public and share your trail to a number of sites including Twitter, Facebook, and via email. You can keep it private as well.

Instructional strategies

As a learner, Trailmeme can allow you to visualize and reflect on your search strategies by visualizing your search trail.¬† More importantly, you can organize the information you’ve found (or reorganize it) by creating relationships between your bookmarks. Here’s an example of a Trailmeme I created to assemble my personal knowledge management resources.

As an instructor, creating a good Trailmeme actually takes a bit of practice. My thoughts after a few tries:

  • Keep your TrailMeme topics simple; you can always create more than one Trailmeme
  • Select the “best of” bookmarks and avoid redundant Web pages
  • Provide descriptive titles to help your learners understand their path through a Trailmeme
  • Use metadata to tell a story

The illustration below shows a Trailmeme I created to help people find credible health information online. The trail ends in a link to an interactive tutorial to check understanding.

Here’s the link to this TrailMeme so you can see the Metadata I used.

You can use Trailmemes as a stand-alone tool to connect different Web pages or you can use it to complement the navigation of an existing site you’re building, i.e., as a visual student’s guide.

More best practices for using TrailMeme are described here.

Some Trailmemes I’ve created include: