Author Archive

Furl

What is it? What does it do?

Furl is a social bookmarking tool. It allows you to store and access your favorite web sites from any computer. It also associates keywords from your search with each bookmark.

What are the infrastructure and technical requirements for this tool?

You only need a web browser to use furl. It is a free tool

How can you use it effectively in instruction?

Furl can be used to share websites with students for assignments.

What are the limitations and cautions related to use of this tool?

A caution for this tool is the possibility that it will not survive as an internet business and could disappear. It is hosted on another server so it is not secure. Furl is not filtered so it is not recommended for k-12 users.

What are other education applications for this tool?

Each bookmark can be tagged with keywords. The keywords are then available to be shared with those that share their bookmarks. The result is that you can share search results using the tagged keywords as well as the bookmarks. This will help people expand research they are doing.

What are the management considerations for this tool?

Sharing bookmarks may not be the way to go at the elementary level. So many sites are blocked by BCPS, creating this at home may be worthless at school, because of the sites being blocked.

My Opinion of Furl

I have set up a Furl account. While I like the idea of it I have not had an easy time figuring out how to use and access the saved bookmarks. For example, after spending literally hours trying to figure it all out, I save sites one evening and in the morning they were gone. I found my Firefox settings needed to be changed but found out after the fact. Also the fact that so much is blocked at school, I don’t see where it really would be worthwhile to bookmark sites on my home computer and not be able to get to them at school.

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June 18, 2008 at 4:02 pm 2 comments

Jotspot

What is it? What does it do?

Jotspot http://www.jot.com/

Jotspot was once a private company, but was acquired and is now operated by Google. It is free to use.

It is a wiki-based tool that provides a framework and templates to create web-based spreadsheets, calendars, documents and photo galleries. It is basically a web based group workspace.

Administrative controls allow sites to be set up so only specific users (typically with email addresses in a certain domain) can have editing or viewing access. Pages can also be open to editing or viewing by anyone.

With the selection of templates and easy to use web based materials, non-technical individuals can create and manage sites for group collaborations.

What are the infrastructure and technical requirements for this tool?

Users only need a web browser and Google Services to use this tool. No special hardware or other software is required.

How can you use it effectively in instruction?

Jotspot is most effective when used for group collaboration. It can be used to set up web pages for class members to record research results, pose questions, add and edit material, add databases, post pictures, and cooperate in collecting and updating information for their project. Because it is a wiki, the pages can be edited and updated by those who are a part of the community.

Since Jotspot allows multiple users to edit a shared document, this type of web tool would be beneficial to group and class writing assignments. Since it only requires a web browser, word processors are not required and greater collaboration in writing projects can occur.

What are the limitations and cautions related to use of this tool?

The greatest concern with this type of tool is that it is open to all members. Caution must be exercised because there may be a lack of monitoring of posts and additions to the web pages. This would not be controlled by BCPS because it is openly on the internet. A teacher using this resource would have to monitor its content.

My Opinion of Jotspot

I think this would be a really great tool to use for a school website. Every part of the school could be connected to a one stop internet site, including grade level, administration and PTA.

The way BCPS has things set up now, each teacher, and school has a separate site. It would really be a great way to connect the entire school community.

June 13, 2008 at 11:08 am 1 comment


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