Editing and Sharing Widgets on Netvibes

Ease of use is key if you are planning on implementing an online management system in education.  Students come in with such a wide variety of skills and educational content is so demanding that there is not a lot of time to fumble around with a new system.  Netvibes uses widgets to organize the pages of a users site.  Once a widget has been placed on the netvibes page, typically by drag n’ drop, the user can edit or share the widget.

Here’s a little HOWTO video from YouTube on editing and sharing widgets:

posted by myNetvibes

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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.