Reaction from a conversation I overheard


I think it was at EduCon, but it could have been from somewhere before that, or even in a twitter discussion, but Joyce Valenza was given credit for coining the phrase “I want to be a widget in your learning space.”

That got me thinking, and since I have been playing around with using iGoogle or Pageflakes as the hub of a class I am creating, I told myself to try to find out if that is possible: a teacher with a presence in their students learning space. This is the closest I have come.  I built it using something called Sprout, which was fairly easy to navigate.  Go check it out and see what you think of its potential.

I know I took the quote literally, but the ideas coming out of this are pretty intense:

  • marketing classes designing page-specific ads
  • running for student council?  Why not insert widgets into your friends pages on Facebook or Myspace?
  • use the RSS feed aspect of the widget to have pertinent class information displayed immediately on your widgets (edits follow the widgets wherever they are placed).

What are you ideas?


3 thoughts on “Reaction from a conversation I overheard

  1. Patrick: I think it’s important for teachers to have a stronger presence in a student’s learning space, more so than just a blog address where assignments and links are found. And I am intrigued by Sprout. Never heard of it until now, but I’ll check it out. And great ideas for students to tie in some of the “teacher” tools to their other online presences. Food for thought.

    As for pageflakes, I began using that a little more this year and my first experiment was in my public speaking class. Each student has a blog and they are all linked on the pageflakes page, as are other resources and materials we’ve used in class. What’s gotten nettlesome for me is trying to develop something simple enough for students to navigate through, but complex enough to allow for dynamic growth and collaboration. So far, pageflakes is passing muster…

    If you want to check it out, it’s at

    As always, lots to think over here.


  2. Hi,

    I see blogs, and the use of other possibilities on line as extensions of our student’s learning spaces.
    I see them as places where students can exchange ideas, research, ask questions, and the like. I think they are all opportunities for teachers to share their “tricks” of the trade. I am just beginning to learn about things that will help me build a blog, and things at pageflakes that is meaningful, useful, and purposeful to the graduate students I teach. I have a long way to go! : ) It seems to me that most educators start small and build things into their blogs as they are learned. My mission is to find just the right things to include. There is so much!! : )

  3. Bing and Susan,

    Thanks for the feedback. I am glad to see that both of you are finding success in being more of a part of your students’ learning spaces.

    Bing, you bring up a good point about finding a tool that does exactly what you want it too. If one is passing muster, than go with it, and keeping your eye on what is out there can become cumbersome and overwhelming. Using your students to scout might help here too.

    Susan, if you really want to connect to other educators and put your network to work for you, there are so many ways to do that. I would start with and twitter. Personally, I love having people so much smarter than myself working for me at a moment’s notice.

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