in Education

Pageflakes Student Edition

Pageflakes Student Edition

Thanks to Aaron Smith’s reply to a post over at the NextGen Teachers forum I’ve been made aware of a educational version of Pageflakes. As a ‘personal start page’, Pageflakes as grown from an interesting curiosity for the less digitally-literate to a powerful and flexible solution.

Default page on Pageflakes (click to enlarge)

By default, there’s a grade tracker ‘flake’ along with ones for your class schedule, a to-do list and a calendar. You can add flakes (widgets) such as blogs, message boards and emails notifications easily, along with RSS feeds and ‘Pagecasts’ (shared pages from other users). This could be a great way of putting all the information a student needs for a course in front of them as soon as they log in!

To get started, you don’t even have to login. You can play around with the different widgets available, and then if and when you sign up they remain fixed. There are various colours available to theme your page, and you can add additional pages quickly and easily.

The pages you create can be kept private or they can be shared with others (‘Pagecasting’) and made public. There’s also a ‘Reader’ available for subscribing to RSS feeds en-masse. Overall, it seems like a great way to get students interacting with others online in a non-trivial way!

(Of course, Google have their new iGoogle personalised home pages, but for once I think that theirs is an inferior offering – too focused on entertainment and with a less quality ‘feel’)

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  1. Thanks for sharing this. I checked out pageflakes.com and really like it. The modules for students and teachers are pretty good (my favorite is the grade tracker that calculates your GPA automatically)
    Sam

  2. Well, I’m not so sure about this, and I can’t imagine that they had help from teachers in designing this. For instance, I can click on Add Flake and I can select Nerve-Sex, and in the flake that displays, I can get sex advice from a librarian about how to pick up librarians.

    When I go to PageCasts, I can select Wine Feeds and can find out everything about drinking wine.

    This is not good, and its not ready for prime time.

  3. I totally understand David’s concerns and they are valid for any portal-type thing. I have to admit, I like Pageflakes a lot. We are intending to use it as our School 2.0 cornerstone next year. This is how we are addressing the issues that David brought up. We are going to hand pick flakes that align with our district’s mission, minimizing the risk of off task or inappropriate behavior. When you go to “Add Flake” all of the flakes available to the student/teacher will be there. You will not have the option of going into the Gallery. That gives us the option of about 30 flakes, which I think is enough. I am still up in the air about the feeds. I don’t want to turn off the ability to add feeds, which can be done, but I know that this can be misused too. Right now, I am going to keep the feed option open and let the district filter do it’s job. I would love to hear anyone’s thoughts on that, though.

    For us, each teacher in the district will have a Pageflake page. Even more exciting, each student from the middle years up will too (I hope.) The student/teacher page will be tied to the network login, creating a one username experience, how cool is that? We are in the beginning phase of this, but I am looking forward to documenting the process on my blog.

  4. David, you’re absolutely right and thanks for pointing out the nefarious ‘flakes’.

    However, we all take a risk when we let students anywhere near a computer. There’s no way I can keep an eye on every student all of the time when in a computer lab! I know this is a bit of a tangent to this particular post, but I think we need to be trusting students a bit more instead of filtering them left, right and centre anyway… :-)