In July, I began playing around with gadget/widget-based information portals as alternatives to textbooks.
I absolutely love iGoogle and plan to continue to work with our classes as students set up individual information portals, but sometimes a librarian just has to broadcast to the universe and there’s no time to enter the email of every potential user.
So I started to experiment with PageFlakes’ PageCasts. The variety of gadgets is not nearly up to iGoogle’s standards, but the ability to broadcast makes the trade-off worth it.
Turns out, after just two weeks of school, the idea is looking very sticky. Global Studies teachers were thrilled "This is our whole curriculum!" A new science teacher asked for one with a physics focus. A Spanish teacher asked for one focusing on news from Spanish-speaking countries. A French teacher made an appointment to have me help her set up her own.
Our Social Studies department chair asked for one with a general currents event theme, heavy on national news, convinced that the Eagles’ opener is not the only story out there.
I will probably continue to refine, but take a look at our baby PageCasts: