Mar 19 2013

Death of iGoogle and Google Reader- Consider Protopage as a Replacement!

jim

http://www.protopage.com

In the beginning, Google created Google Personalized Homepages- and they saw it was good. Next they improved upon it and created iGoogle- and we saw it as very good. Then they decided to kill iGoogle- which prompted tens of thousands of users to launch “Save iGoogle campaigns” and such (probably to no avail).  Google is putting iGoogle to rest November 1st, 2013. To deliver our personalized news, website changes, and RSS feeds, we switched to Google Reader (as Google themselves suggested). And just last week, Google announced the end of life for Google Reader for July 1, 2013. Grrrrr.

Those of you who liked Google Reader and want to stay with that look and feel, try www.feedly.com. They even have tools there to help you transition from Google Reader. That website has a much more polished look than Reader, but the basic layout and features are similar.

For those of you still mourning the loss of iGoogle or you just like the ability to add and rearrange widgets on a custom screen, try www.protopage.com. This is very similar to iGoogle and you can actually import your iGoogle or Reader OPML files right into your own start page.

 

Features of Protopage I really like:

 

  • Page is not tied to a Google account so I can share it easily with others (want to see mine? Look at http://www.protopage.com/talljim)
  • Can add multiple “tabs” (pages) like iGoogle
  • Can share only certain tabs of your portal
  • Can add built-in widgets or RSS feeds from various sites
  • I love the Web Widget which allows you to paste in embed code from Web 2.0 sites to test & display

 

 

 


Aug 16 2011

Full Screen Messages with Class- You’ve got Gzaas!

jim

http://gzaas.com/

I have no idea what that name means- and honestly don’t know how to pronounce it. So just make up some logical combination of sounds that use those letters and you’ll be as smart as the rest of us. What I do know is that this is a nice and simple way to display an online message with its own unique URL. Those of you who use Text Bin or some other textbin website, you’ll immediately start thinking about all the cool uses of this site.

Here are some examples:

And my favorite…

So how can these be used? Let me count the ways…

  • Main Idea posters
  • Things ___________ would say (character from reading)
  • Describing functions of scientific structures (ex: cellular organelles)
  • Vocabulary terms and definitions
  • Political slogans
  • Quotations from a reading passage explained
  • Post card writing activities
  • Narratives

Have other ideas or want to show off your own creations? Comment below!


Mar 8 2011

Wicked Cool Organizing- Wikicards!

jim

http://wikicards.net

This is one of those sites I have been waiting for! I love using index cards to organize my thoughts, create outlines for classes or lessons, and to review all sorts of material. The ease in which they can be created and rearranged and grouped is what I like best. And until now, I have never found a suitable digital solution. Sure, I could use electronic post-it notes, but how are you supposed to group those? And what if I want more than just text on a card? And now enters Wikicards!

This awesome site allows you to create as many “cards” as you want. These cards can be text or uploaded files such as documents, images, website shortcuts, almost anything! Then the cards can be grouped, tagged, and rearranged. To top that off, projects can be shared with others, password protected and more! The possibilities for this are endless. Here’s my example of research for events leading to the American Revolution. If you want to see the actual project, follow this link.

Now, there are some limitations, so before you get too excited, read carefully. In order to drag files into your project, you must be using Chrome, Safari, or Firefox 4+ (which is still in beta at this time).  This is due to utilizing several components within HTML 5 (which is in its infancy at the moment). Also, after adding cards or files, you may need to click the refresh button on your browser to see the changes.

How else can this be used?

  • Arranging ideas and planning for writing assignments
  • Managing “to-do” tasks
  • Grouping and arranging photos
  • Vocabulary lists
  • Classifying items
  • and on and on and on

Aug 4 2010

Glogster- Multimedia Web Posters

jim

OK, so most of you already know about this- and many of us have used this for years. But I just realized I have never mentioned it in our blog or link directory- what great injustice! So what is it? It’s easier to show you than to try to explain. So take a quick look here or take a look at it over at the Glogster website:

It’s sort of a multimedia online poster of sorts. Remember the Daily Prophet newspaper in the Harry Potter movies? Yeah, it’s kinda like that! You can put together a poster with text, images, stamps, backgrounds, videos, and more.

As you can tell, this is a poster about a cool book series called The Shadow Children. As an aside- it’s a great book series and fun to read! Can you imagine the possibilities with any curriculum? Consider these…

Instead of labeling a pre-printed worksheet on the water cycle, create a water cycle glog!
Instead of writing a book report, create a glog with a book trailer!
Instead of writing a report on a historical figure, create a glog with images, videos, and quotes!

What category of web apps do you put this in? I’m not sure, so I include it in “Website Generators,” though it’s much more than that.

And one more thing… there are lots of glogs out there that may be inappropriate for students. Enter Glogster.edu- a safe and private platform for students to create their media-rich blogs! It’s also a great site to find examples of what others are doing. If you already have a Glogster account, you can migrate it to edu.glogster by sending an email to edu@glogster.com.


Sep 17 2009

Disposable Web Pages- Dinkypages!

jim

http://www.dinkypage.com/

I’ve been up way late too many nights already this week finishing our new book to write, but thought I should throw this out there!

OK, so this one is not earth-shattering, but I ran across this handy website a few days ago. If you need to post something to the web real quick and don’t want to hassle with logging in to your wiki or blog, then this may come in handy. It’s real simple- you build a quick, free, ad-free website by using their simple editor, or if you prefer, use their HTML editor. This is great for testing code and posting content to the web in a quick way.

And yes, the site allows javascript so you can embed widgets here!

dinkybutton

Try it out! And, oh yeah, one more thing… there is no logging in which means there’s no going back to “fix” a posting.


Jun 4 2009

Wix! It’s a wonderfully wicked website builder!

jim

www.wix.com

I am not one to re-invent the wheel. No, I’d rather use my time making what’s available suit my needs. And when it comes to creating websites, there are so many website builders out there that create some pretty awesome websites in a hurry! Flash websites look great, but who has time to learn and troubleshoot such a difficult program? So when it came time to build a website for our company, take a look at what Wix did for me!

Yeah, so now I just worry about the content. I couldn’t have designed a better site myself. Oh, and did I mention I used the FREE version? They are a freemium site (see previous posting if you don’t know what this word means). So I built it FREE- and they host it on their servers for FREE. I am liking FREE stuff!

But I didn’t stop there. Being the insomniac & educator that I am, I asked how could such an amazing site be used with students. And here is my answer embedded here:

Free websiteWix.com

Now isn’t that cool! Since students don’t have to worry so much about the intricate details of web design, they can use Wix to quickly build a curriculum-centered website.

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