Since we’re getting practical around here, I just wanted to share a Pageflakes page that I’ve been using in my RSS workshops to show how anyone can create topic specific portals with feeds. This page on Darfur/Sudan (not the most uplifting topic, I know…we have much to be thankful for) is built on tag feeds from YouTube for videos, Flickr for photos, the New York Times AND the Sudan Tribune for news, del.icio.us for what people are bookmarking, and Google Blogsearch for, well, blogs. What you get is a dynamic, constantly updated page of content about what’s happening in that part of the world and what’s happening in other parts of the world in response.
From a teaching standpoint, pages of this type can be pretty effective for bringing in potential content and then making decisions about what to do with that content. Not everything that shows up here will necessarily be suitable for some ages. (I have, however, created a same page for my daughter Tess about horses that I let her read at her discretion…she’s nine.) From a student standpoint, I think it’s a great way to introduce RSS, to give kids some ownership over the type of page they create (assuming you’ve had all the responsible use conversations already) and let them start working out their own processes for consuming and deciding about content in this content rich world. And the good news is that they can keep these pages private, or they can share them with groups (or teachers) so they don’t have to be as transparent as this example.
Additionally, the Pageflakes folks have been creating some interesting edu-specific “flakes”
that teachers can use. See this page, for instance, that has among other things a grade tracker, message board, to do list, and contact list. Again, since the student has the ability to keep these portals private, there are all sorts of ways that we can start introducing RSS and content management types of skills.
Finally, let me just emphasize the idea that in this environment when we can start collecting information from so many different sources around the globe, it’s imperative that we be modeling ways to do that. Imagine the types of global newspapers you could build around relevant topics with something like this. If we continue to just get the US perspective, I think we’re wasting a huge opportunity to expand and challenge our thinking.
technorati tags:pageflakes, darfur, education, learning, reading
Diane Quirk says
I’m so glad you posted this – it reminds me to go back to my notes from NYSCATE to review this. I’d been using PageFlakes as a tool to organize some projects that I’m working on and had not begun to consider its potential in the ways you describe in your post.This is the potential that for using information that would really make learning so much more engaging for our teachers. Much better than playing a Jeopardy game with PowerPoint! 🙂 Thanks for your continuing insights into the future.
John Pederson says
Ok. This was my first playing with Pageflakes. It kept me entertained for 2 hours straight. Very, very cool tool. It reminded me of the first time I used Moodle about 3 years ago. The entire thing completely flows…the interface stays completely out of the way and the ideas and possibilities just keep opening up.
You made my mind hurt tonight. Thanks!
Ole Brandenburg says
Thanks for the great review and the nice comments. I invite everyone to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org should you ever have any comments or suggestions.
Julia Colby says
What a great teacher tool. I work in an elementary school and rather than let the students have free reign on the Internet we try to make a listing of sites for the students to research for their projects. This is a fabulous tool that can be “teacher controlled” yet at the same time give the student choices. Thank you for pointing this out.
I have a question for Ole..and you, too, Will.
I went through a year of using Telcaster.com (beta) until it disappeared. Then I showed teachers AudioBlogger (beta) until it disappeared. Now, we use Odeo Studio.. but it’s hidden deeper now and off the main Odeo.com page.
I demonstrated PageFlakes to teachers after hearing about it from a workshop in Western NY. They loved it.
If it gets wide use, is there a business plan or a means of maintaining it if it fulfills its promise? Will it go the route of Quia.. eventually costing XX$$$ per teacher to maintain etc, with school business adminstrators suddenly faced with teachers demanding it be paid in order to maintain their considerable work?
I hate to bring things to teachers if they may disappear as resources, or if they are to become “for fee” resources in the future.
My key question: How will PageFlakes be supported into the future?
Kyle Brumbaugh says
I am doing a similar thing with the Google Personalized home page. I don’t think it is 100% ready for primetime, but there are some value added things that Google is doing that will allow teachers and students to use this tool very effectively in education. More to come!
Kate Farrell says
Although I’ve shown my pupils Pageflakes and Netvibes, they much prefer Yourminis.com, which is a similar portal to RSS feeds etc but much more customisable in terms of look and widgets. It’s worth a look. I still use Netvibes though as it copes with a large number of RSS feeds better
Thanks for bringing this to our/my attention. I was just able to put together a pageflake page for my students (7th and 8th grade science students) with a whole world (so to speak of resources).
It makes my former list of links on my school website so puny in comparison.