Sunday, December 12, 2010

Protopage (replacing Pageflakes)

At the conclusion of this term, students creating their electronic portfolios were greeted with an unpleasant surprise when their Pageflakes portals were unavailable. The site suffered a number of significant outages between mid-October and the end of November and even this evening, is not available to users. I have been researching any number or web sites that could provide the same LibGuide-like results for students to use; the assignment is a great ice-breaker, students use a 2.0 technology and put the first building block in place with ease. I may have found a perfect companion to Netvibes, replacing Pageflakes, with Protopage.

A 2.0 start page, similar in nature to Netvibes, iGoogle, and Pageflakes (without the previously mentioned spotty usage reports) it provides users with opportunity to personalize their web experience.
"Protopage leverages Web 2.0 methodologies to create a very smooth drag-and-drop interface that acts more like your desktop than a browser home page, and not only does it have just about everything you will want in a start page, but it does almost everything well." -- The Scoop on Protopage, Daniel Nations, Web Trends
I registered for a free account and quickly created a usable page. Not as flashy as Netvibes, it does provide easy options for text with wysiwyg editors and 'sticky notes,' video with html options in the text editor and widget boxes for video, and several different options to create bookmark lists and news feeds.

This afternoon I wrote and revised a short series of storyboards for video tutorials. I used Screencast-o-matic, along with a little help from YouTube's Video Editor, to produce two video tutorials (in HD). The videos, Protopage Introduction and Adding Widgets to Your Portal, will be featured this spring replacing the Pageflake videos.

Next I plan to move forward with incorporating Google Docs Forms in the classroom. I used Google Forms to develop surveys for student input on LibGuides created for two courses (take a sneak peek at one embedded in a LibGuide) and would like to add forms as an addendum of sorts to the Google Spreadsheet assignment.

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