Netvibes Dashboarding – LMS/CMS integration

posted by myNetvibes

Dashboarding is the term for this inernet information aggregator.  I would consider this in the early stages of innovation for education.  Moodle and other LMSs have really taken a hold of the educational market.  There is no problem in that by any means and I have been using Moodle for years.  I love the LMS format; it’s easy, logical and more reliable for education than having an uncontrolled fleet of faculty webpages.  The standardless universe abounds with faculty HTML…   I am really digging on the dashboarding idea!  In conjunction with a LMS this has real potential!

I built a little netvibes page and put some HTML widgets in there.  This allows you to put the URL of any page you want displayed.  Right away this is appealing to me as an instructor since I have several pages that I would love to have loaded in plain sight within a single page.  I added in my Moodle page along with a link to the online textbook which has homework activities for the students and an Explorelearning link which hosts a variety of flash-based science simulations.  All my daily basics, awesome!  I will add email a little later and I am a bit worried about the chaos that might cause on the page.  I threw in a YouTube widget so I can type in the subject matter and bam!  I am ready to roll!

I just read a netvibes blog that talked about the ability to drag n’ drop facebook and twitter feeds into the Netvibes Dashboard:

http://blog.netvibes.com/drag-and-follow-facebook-myspace-and-twitter-widget/

This just adds another capability to the dashboarding idea being the integration mechanism between CMS and LMS.

The more I dig, the better and better this looks for educational uses!

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Netvibes in Education – The CMS/LMS Hybrid

Netvibes is an aggregator of web information.  A centralized interface where the user can control information that is fed into it.  I have been using iGoogle for a while now as an aggregator for my news feeds, email, calendar and a wide variety of other things I keep track of in my day to day life.  It is great for my personal information.  I want a better way to organize educational information.

I have been using Moodle for several years now.  This is a fantastic Learning Management System in regard to its ability to allow teachers to provide resources and other educational content in an organized fashion.  I use it in my school as do many other teachers.  Students have content of the week broken down into lectures units.  There are writing prompts, YouTube videos and downloadable lectures to get them engaged in the day’s topic.  Along the right and left column are scientific RSS feeds showing the latest topics being published in the scientific community.  This is great and yet how do the students interact?  How do they demonstrate learning through this medium?

Image of Nervous System unit in 8th Grade Biology.  Scott Kley Contini's Moodle page.

They can’t really.

So how do people interact online?  Everyone has at least heard of Facebook,  MySpace, Flickr and YouTube.  These are popular forms of Content Management Systems where users can organize their own content for others to see and also control what content they see from other users.  This is allowing users to post content and interact with one another, the definition of Web 2.0!  There is still a disconnect however since you cannot feed all of this information seamlessly into one location.   In comes the aggregator!

Jeff Utecht from The Thinking Stick, writes about Netvibes and some of the innovative ways educators are using it in the classroom.

Image and link to the blog: The Thinking Stick, Netvibes.com in the Classroom by Jeff Utecht

I am truly impressed with these ideas.  Teachers and students can run their own pages that feed information from tons of different sources all to one place.  One of the topics I am exploring is a class blog where students can post learning reflections and opinion pieces on science articles.  The problem being having a singular location to see it all from!  Netvibes can do that!

What about having a window for the class LMS, another for email, RSS, YouTube, online textbooks and every other tool that I use?  You can do that too!  I am convinced.  At least enough to try it!  Netvibes might just be the next step in a succinct e-learning interface.