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I hope all of you had the chance to hear Joyce V on WOW2.0 early March. (SHOW #65) During some great suggestions, she was talking about teaching students how to create their own information portals. She suggested using pageflakes, netvibes or IGoogle.

I started working with students during Teen Tech Week using IGoogle, but would love to hear more of what you are doing! Do you have student exemplars? What should and shouldn't be included?

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I have just been playing with IGoogle and think it looks great. However, I want to add information that is specific to our library but can't gigure out how to add web links. Do you know?
So glad you responded. I just spoke with some more kids about this. I'm getting more and more convinced that this is the right thing to do. Also, I'm finding just about everything on there, and more "add stuff" all the time.
Try clicking on "add stuff" then use a logical keyword for your search. In this case...try bookmarks, hyperlinks or even comes up with lots. I'm trying different ones to see which one I like the best. Looks like they are ranked with the number of users that have installed them, so I tend to pick ones with big numbers (or cool features) just added twitter to my account tonight. Hope it works.

Keep it to kids and see what they think about using it for themselves! ~guybrarian
I did a lesson last week on RSS feeds with our Journalism class, and then we set up Google Reader accounts. They loved it! We also talked about iGoogle, and several set up their own accounts for that, too. :-) Here is our mini pathfinder:

I'd love to do a lesson on pageflakes!

Buffy Hamilton
Hi Phil,
I created my own iGoogle page in minutes and pitched the idea of students creating information portals to one of our advanced teachers. He thinks its a great idea and we are going to collaborate on this in the future. His students keep a log all year long for their math/science combo classes and we talked about students using blogs instead of the log. He likes this idea because one of their problems is that the teachers want to give a grade for the log book, but they don't want to collect logs because then students wouldn't have their log book every day, and they need it every day.
So we're going to work on the individual info portals, setting up blogs, and I showed them 5 alternatives to powerpoint - free online programs. Making progress!
Thanks Buffy and Kim-
I have talked to my AP Eng teacher and we are going to practice making these in the near future. Thanks for the good ideas Kim and Links Buffy. I just read that Kathy Schrock shut off IGoogle in here district: VIA TWITTER from kathyschrock: I just got gmail apps for all grade 6-12 studnets. I has to shut off the igoogle start page cause of al the iffy plugins.

Something to think about, but do we shut it off, or teach them how to choose wisely? hmmm
Thanks Kathy for popping in!

I imagine this to be true. Because if you can do the RSS feeds another way, it still meets the needs for our students 'launching pages' that Joyce V talked about on WOW. Igoogle just looks like a smooth way to do it...but I could see how some of the gadgets could be quite distracting. Hmm. Now I don't know what to do. I don't know if I'm capable of creating personal space for my students to take the place of the IGoogle launching page ideas. I'm just getting into IGoogle so still need lots of ideas! Can others give me some too? Thanks! ~guybrarian


I have played with Pageflakes, and while I do like it, I think iGoogle is much easier. I also like the Google Reader features better---it seems to have more capabilities as a reader than Pageflakes.

This sounds like a good topic for research! :-)

As of right now, our students have full access to iGoogle and its widgets (and Google Reader, too), but that could always change as security is always a concern.

Wow - this is exactly what I've been contemplating doing, and it's great to hear that others are already doing it. I've yet to get a teacher to commit to partnering with me, so I haven't done anything but explore iGoogle, NetVibes and PageFlakes for myself. I'd love to hear specifics of what others have done - how they introduced the idea, what the student response was, and what they learned/are learning.
I'm also playing with investigating information far I like pageflakes and pagecasts; inserting feeds to be listed in edublogs via "agr." Ability to pull in video from voicethread, schooltube, teachertube and, hopefully soon, YouTube. [See edublogs notes -- YouTube has made changes which allows us to restrict the "related" video feature. Maybe school districts will reconsider usage of YouTube.]

I've also tried igoogle and MyYahoo -- each has a few special widgets/gadgets for the moment; constant changes and additions.

Loving the iphone feel of the new Google desktop: seems another extension of feeds/networks/mobility etc.

Working on gathering up the bits needed -- thinking of following a collaboration template -- gathering collections of items / examples for each section: forms / materials / tools / survey / activity / rubrics etc -- basically linking a static page of favorites and a separate "pagecast" with feeds to glean new items and ideas.

Also, I'm working with the "personal research assistant" Zotero (a firefox add-in) -- everthing seems easy enough to me, except the main thing for students: how to get it to export / print out.

During our Spring break I'm using a borrowed laptop with open source google and works on it -- enough of a difference that it may be the reason for my troubles with Zotero. Otherwise, I love the functionality of Zotero.

Whew! Thank goodness for a network where this stuff can be discussed without eyes glazing over in the first three seconds!
For PAT R:
Go to "add stuff" at right - in search window enter "url"
My try turned up with two responses: "url redirector" and "Hyperlinks."

There may be others, in my brief trial runs of igoogle the search doesn't turn up everything.
I 've also done a lot of browsing to locate finds.

This may answer KATHY's concerns? Once you have a page set up - go to the drop down arrow beside your tab and select "share" to email your page of goodies (must-haves) to others.

EVERYONE: SpringWidget is also another gadget option,
perhaps a next step beyond netvibes, pageflakes and iGoogle and MyYahoo start pages.
(I'm also loving the Google desktop update which delivers gadget options.) SpringWidget is being used by the Georgia Standards Org. to deliver their first podcasts, but you can also make your own gadgets to do numerous other things. I linked their code into my blog - it look sleek and it works swell at home, seems to be blocked by school filters.
Hello everyone,
Thanks for the great tips. I just purchased a book called " In Command: Kids and Teens Build and Manage Their Own Information Spaces" by Williams and Loertscher and this seems to be answering all of my questions.

I feel like this is kind a dumb question, but I am new at this and learning, so I'll ask it anyway. How is an information portal different from a wiki? Or could a wiki be used as an information portal? Thanks for the clarification!


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