I have fallen a bit behind, but I’m ready to catch up! This year all of the teachers and students in my school district received Google accounts, so I already had an iGoogle page set up, but I decided to add to it based on Polly’s suggestions.
I really like using iGoogle as a kind of personal home page where I can organize all of my web materials. I also find the layout really easy to navigate – I like that all of my gadgets have their own physical space on the page. For this reason I added a separate RSS feed for each website or blog that I want to keep up with, rather than using GoogleReader – I just find it more visually appealing when each source has its own box, rather than being all clumped together in the reader. I added feeds from a variety of different content areas, including libraries, technology, and top news stories. So far this has been a great way for me to get the “headlines” so that I can keep up with the latest hot topics, and then I can explore the stories deeper if I have a relevant interest (and if I have the time!)
I also added some gadgets, including basic things like the weather forecast, along with the Upper Hudson Library System search box, which I think is really cool! Overall, I enjoy using iGoogle as an organizer of my personal Web. Now I would love to extend this tool to students. It would be a great way to teach them how to organize their information when searching on the web, and it’s fun too!
I explored NetVibes too because I wasn’t as familiar with it. I found that I don’t like the tabbed layout as much for my own personal organizing. However, I have been using it to keep track of the Cool Tools blogs and I can definitely envision using it with classes, especially because it allows you to create a public page that can be shared.
While iGoogle works great as a personal home page, I see NetVibes working very well as a tool for gathering information in one spot – specifically I would show students how to use it as a kind of “virtual file folder” for gathering web resources for a research project or I would use it to present information during a lesson that can be accessed by students afterwards. I believe RSS feeds have huge potential for information literacy education and I can’t wait to come up with some fun ways to use it with students.