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.
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’)