Sunday, January 31, 2010

iGoogle as a Virtual Planner

Google has a lot of neat tools and most of them have great applications for the classroom. I am currently working on a podcast series for the MI Learning channel of iTunes titled "Google- More than Search" [iTunes link]. I haven't posted any of the episodes on my blog yet, but yesterday I discovered a neat feature that I think is especially worth sharing.

Fellow blogger Andrew Marcinek blogged this past April about replacing student planners with iGoogle pages. I think the idea is a great one and teaches students the skill of training information to come to them rather than running all over the web hunting down information.

The addition of a new feature within the iGoogle pages makes Andrew's idea even easier-- sharing tabs. Teachers can create an iGoogle "student planner template" which they can share with an entire class simply by entering their e-mail addresses. Students can then use the iGoogle page as it is or personalize it. Schools that have implemented Google Apps will find this feature especially useful as it integrates seamlessly with Google Docs and Calendar.

Here's how to do it

Anyone who has looked through the available gadgets for iGoogle pages has most likely noticed that not all are appropriate for students. Fortunately, you don't have to eliminate the tool because of this. If you are a Google Apps school, you can turn on a gadget "white-list" that will restrict the gadgets that students are able to see. Full details can be found here.

Has your class or school adopted iGoogle "virtual planners?" I'd love to hear your experiences and how this is working for you and your students!


  1. Yep, its my home page and organizer. It rivals Outlook for my attention and I switched my feeds over to Google if for no better reason than I can check them on my Mobile.

    I am not sure if I would advocate it as a student planner. Our division communicates around Outlook and I desperately wish my student's email was organized around that too. Instead we use a cautious DeskNow system.

  2. Thank you so much for this idea. I was inspired to add an announcement page to my google site. Now, students can subscribe to that page and keep up with announcements on their igoogle. I was experimenting with igoogle pages in my classes, this just allowed me to go one step further.

    Next month, my World History classes are sponsoring a family night. I am thinking about doing a session for parents called "getting connected" and teaching them about igoogle and rss feeds.


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