Monday, September 26, 2011

Classroom Management Portals

Today I spent some time with teachers introducing them to iGoogle so they could use iGoogle as a classroom management portal, (CMP.)  A classroom management portal is a management tool that enables a teacher to easily monitor an online classroom community and presence via a personalized homepage. The benefit of using feed pages are that the content comes to you instead of you having to visit each and every website to see what members of your classroom community are doing.

Since we are a Google Apps school and all teachers have Google accounts, iGoogle seemed the most obvious choice for setting up the CMP.  iGoogle allows content in two forms, feeds and gadgets.  Gadgets are specified online content that can be tailored to meet the needs of the user.  For instance, I can easily add a weather gadget and enter in the cities of my choice just as easily as I can add a Facebook gadget that allows me to access my Facebook news feed.
You can also add any site that publishes a feed to your iGoogle homepage.  The feed looks like any other iGoogle gadget and lets you get automatic updates from the site without leaving your iGoogle page.   This feature makes checking student blogs quick and manageable.  

Tabs on iGoogle can be added, customized and organized based on the teacher's needs.  Some teachers may name tabs according to class schedule while others may organize tabs according to subject areas. Feeds and gadgets can be moved from one tab to another by dragging the feed into new tabs.  Tabs can even be shared among teachers and students to enable blog sharing.  Last semester I shared my iGoogle tabs with students so they had easy access to student blogs.  

The screenshot to the right is a screenshot a teacher took of her recently created iGoogle page to be used as a CMP.  Organized by class period and alphabetically, this teacher will be able to easily monitor what students are writing on their blogs.  A teacher can read blogs by clicking on the plus sign to the left of the title and never have to leave the homepage.  To read the blog post on the student blog a teacher needs only to click on the post title to gain access to the blog and leave thoughtful comments.

Visit your feed pages often!
In addition to using feed pages to monitor online classroom content feed pages can also be set up to monitor a personal learning network filled with educator blogs and websites.


  1. Thank you for another essential article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a complete way of writing? I have a presentation incoming week, and I am on the lookout for such information.

  2. Professional Learning in the Digital Age is a must read for educators who want to fine-tune the process of building and maintaining professional learning networks.

    professional learning