Turned onto Trailfire by Dr. Kevin Oliver at NC State University, I have come to really like Trailfire as more than just bookmarking.  Intended to be used as a social bookmarking site, Trailfire allows you to collect bookmarks into a category, or "trail."  The trail is then linked linearly with navigation buttons.  You can include comments or annotation on each of the Web pages that are part of your trail. 

For me, this was a great opportunity for preservice teachers to create a self-instructional unit for students to follow.  A teacher collect a series of Web sites to be included in her trail.  Then the annotations are instruction and directions to the student.  These annotations may include critical thinking questions, notes to pay particular attention to a diagram or animation or directions to perform a task as a result of visiting the page, such as create a list or summarize a statement.

Another reason I really like Trailfire is its ease.  Students have real success with using Trailfire, and I don't have to spend a lot of time teaching them how to use it.  The support on the site is straightforward and well done. I find "it just works."  I also find because it just works, the emphasis then becomes on locating the best sources of information possible and not on learning the tool.  Another emphasis is placed on creating instruction that is meaningful and age appropriate. 

At my Jumptags, I have bookmarked a number of examples of student products created with Trailfire.  I've also located a great trail about how to use Trailfire that was created by aprilpc as part of her presentation for the K12 Online Conference.  Here's a few for you to peruse:
    • Magnetic Materials by George Richardson
    • Native Americans by Kimberly Boyd
    • World Religions by Lauren Weber

Have you used Trailfire?  If so, how?  What do you like about it?  What would you like to see improved? Here's a short tutorial on how to use Trailfire.


 


Comments

Katie

Wed, 29 Oct 2008 08:33:55

I used trailfire in my "Technology in the Classroom" class at Union University. I created a trail that others could view. I had no idea that this kind of thing was even possible until this opportunity. Several students set up their trail as something that kids in their future classroom could use. It was definitely a learning experience for me. This is a fun and useful tool for all ages!

 

Beth

Wed, 29 Oct 2008 13:24:26

I used trailfire for the first time in my "Technology in the Classroom" class. I had no idea that something like this existed. It will be a great tool to use for my future classroom. The students will be able to use it with only a couple of instructions. It will be very helpful for students when they are doing research on a topic that they will have to share in clas. It was a great learning experience for me.

 

Emily Davis

Wed, 29 Oct 2008 14:41:09

I used trailfire for the first time last week. I was amazed at how simple it truly was to use. I think that it is a great tool to be able to share with fellow teachers the websites that you have found concerning certain topics. It is also a good tool for students. In the classroom, I thinkn trailfire will be of particular use in getting the students to really dig deeper into a topic without sending them all over the internet to find an answer. The teacher is able to mark where she wants the students to find the answers. I think that trailfire is a very exciting tool and look forward to using it more.

 

Darline Douangvilay

Wed, 29 Oct 2008 16:41:01

I used Trailfire for the first time this semester. It is such an amazing site! I think that all teachers should be introduced to this site. It is such a great way to incorporate technology in the classroom, and at the same time, ensure that the students will obtain the information you expected them to by the questions that can be placed on the marks. It is also very simple to do. It is also great because you can view other Trailfires that other teachers have put together. This is a great opportunity for teachers to use each other to find the best tools and resources for the classroom.

 

Sarah Thompson

Sun, 09 Nov 2008 21:08:24

I was first introduced to Trailfire in my education class this semester. I was amazed at the ease in which you could connect all of the websites together and incorporate information into the sticky notes. This is a great tool for both teachers and students alike.

 

Thu, 16 Sep 2010 18:13:17

Love is ever the beginning of knowledge as fire is of light.

 

Thu, 14 Apr 2011 00:43:52

Actually, I was not aware of Trailfire. I was using bookmark. I will look forward to use in future.. This article has filled me with the knowledge of Trailfire. Thanks for sharing the information with us.

 



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