If you’re super connected to social networking, use different instant messaging products, have several email accounts, or want to toggle between texting to/from your cell and your computer, the first tool may be for you. It gives you instant access to, and a running stream of your Facebook updates/feeds, blends all of your IM buddies regardless of source, and provides access to your different email accounts, in one neat cockpit.
If you subscribe to several RSS/news feeds, want to read the top sports stories, see the weather, or if you use Mapquest, Wikipedia or visit YouTube frequently, consider personalizing your own Web portal by using the second tool.
Thanks to my colleague and revered tech guru (not his real job), Todd Digby (only coincidental name connection), I configured the following tools just yesterday to streamline many of my Web surfing activities.
- Digsby: is a proprietary multiprotocol instant messaging application (from Wikipedia). So what does that mean? In about five minutes, you can set up a downloadable piece of software to connect all your instant messaging tools (AIM, Yahoo, MSN, etc) along with your email accounts, and social networks (Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter only). My complaint is that I’d like to see other social networks such as Plaxo and LinkedIn offered as well. Here’s what the cockpit looks like:
When you scroll over the “F” icon -at the left – for Facebook, it brings up your feed, from which you can access your profile, messages, friends, photos. And it all sits down in your icon tray.
- iGoogle: It’s a personalized Google page, where you can add web feeds and Google gadgets. Much like NetVibes, PageFlakes, MyYahoo. use it as a portal to most of your most valued sites and feeds, saving gobs of time. For us educators, I think it has critical importance for the future of eLearning systems, in that it teaches us how to set up a carousel-like page, with multiple offerings to the myriad tools students can use to construct knowledge. That is how experimenting faculty (such as M. Wesch) are beginning to set up their classes — where the LMS becomes just one tool, not necessarily the centerpiece, functioning more quietly as an operating system (to collect dropbox items, as an electronic gradebook and to issue quizzes).
PREDICTION – NEXT ITERATION OF LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS WILL BE MODELED AFTER iGOOGLE, NETVIBES
These feed-driven portals go far beyond the present LMS capabilities, so if faculty want to use them, they’re on their own presently, to set them up and help their students use them. I predict that iGoogle, NetVibes, and the like will become the templates for the next design iteration of LMSs everywhere. That may not be a bad thing, as LMS companies start redesigning for extensibility. I surely hope the next LMS (if there is to be a single entry point), goes beyond adding only internal/proprietary tools but instead is redesigned to more closely resemble a customized learning space where each faculty member can add external widgets deemed the best for engaging learners and improving outcomes.
This is just a prediction – but all instincts say I’m on target. Anyway, here’s what my iGoogle page looks like (click on pic to get a larger view):