I recently discovered iGoogle, which lets users customize a homepage to suite a variety of needs. The picture above is a shot of what’s on my iGoogle page right now. Here are a few of the gadgets I’ve added and how I hope they’ll make my life easier and more interesting:
- To do list – This should be useful for obvious reasons. I’m a big list-maker, and if an item isn’t on the list, it doesn’t exist in my world. Don’t be fooled by the lack of items on there right now; I just hadn’t started transferring my paper list when I took this screenshot.
- Google Reader – This tool helps organize all sorts of content from various online sources. It’s comparable to my own personal news feed. Here, I’ve subscribed to lots of education-related feeds, like the New York Times Education section and The Learning Network.
- Literary Quote of the Day – Everyone needs a little inspiration, and the gives me a quick daily dose. I’ll probably end up saving some of my favorites and sharing them with students.
- Weather – Most high school teachers leave for work before the sun comes up, and we need to know what to wear at that early hour, right?
- Twitter Gadget – This links to the people and publications I follow on Twitter. Easy to just stop here and pick up inspiring tidbits and ideas without having to separately log on to the Twitter web site.
- I also have a Google News feed to help me keep up with current events, a calendar gadget, and a link to Epicurious, which features recipes, because I like to cook and need new ideas for dinner!
Overall, iGoogle strikes me as a useful organizational tool. It offers easy access to new information and ideas through the Twitter, Google Reader, and news-related gadgets. I could see myself bringing some of the interesting/relevant articles to the attention of my students, so in this way it will support their learning. Being able to stop at this one page for all this information is efficient and can help me, as a teacher, stay informed and current with what is going on in the world of education. The more efficient and informed I can be, the better position I will be in to teach well. It will also help me be a valuable member of the professional community, because I will be able to forward useful information to my Twitter and blog followers, and bring ideas to my own colleagues.