Posts Tagged ‘personal portals’

Online personal portal environments have immense potential in education for a whole host of uses.

Three of the best known online portal tools are:

You can see comprehensive notes about online portals, and Netvibes in particular, from ‘Click On‘ by the BBC/Open University.

Firstly, they are an invaluable way to categorize and organize content of interest if you are a learner. You can place common items on the same page and categorize using understandable names. The content can come from any source that has an RSS feed, which delivers any changes straight to your particular portal page. This saves you lots (and we mean LOTS) of time and effort locating new content of interest to you. This has to be one of THE most useful tools for learners out there and it’s a mystery why more aren’t using them.

This has suddenly turned into a very useful research tool for your studies. Not only can you pull in relevant external reference content, you can also access all your own produced content. This means you can categorize content into separate sections for your different study areas. Then under the relevant section you can pull in all your bookmarks from your preferred social bookmarking tool, along with other content you’ve produced elsewhere; be that reflections or notes you’ve blogged, videos you’ve produced and hosted on YouTube (or elsewhere), your online lab notebook wiki, etc.

You can keep this content in your online portal personal, or (and this is a really good bit) you can share it with others. This means that portals can be used by educators to deliver relevant, topical content to a group of learners. Will Richardson has written about this in his Weblogg-ed blog. You can see how this can be used solely by the instructor educator or as a group resource with the ability for any of the group to add additional content feeds.

Extending this concept further, portals can easily be developed as the hub of content for a community to share resources.

I’ve been working for a while on the use of personal portals from a social education perspective. I played around by developing the uostech portal pages as a hub for Users of Scholarship Technology. I used this as an experimentation and research platform to ‘play’ around with how Web2.0 tools could be loosely harnessed for learning, teaching and research. I presented the uostech concept with a colleague at a Research 2.0 Workshop at the NCeSS Forth International Conference on e-Social Science, Manchester, UK, 18-20 June 2008. A slidecast of the presentation is available online.

By writing this post and working on uostech I realise that there is much more to be done with using online portal tools and I will develop more examples.

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