Follow Ontario Edu-Bloggers, Part II

Last #FollowFriday, I used Montage to put together a visual representation of Ontario Edu-Bloggers based upon their RSS feeds.  I like the effect and suggested that it might be an interesting starting page should you want to see what the folks throughout the province were blogging.  The content of the entry was based upon the results from Rodd Lucier who had originally posted the list on his blog.

For the past week, I was musing about other ways to display collections like that.  One resource that I’ve always wanted to create something of substance is LiveBinders.  So, in tribute to the Ontario educators who blog, here’s another way to bring these resources together.  Starting with Rodd’s list, I kept an eye on my Seesmic Desktop column of Ontario Educators and when I found a new Twitter message, checked the profile to see if there was a blog attached.  If there was, I added it to the LiveBinder that I’d created.  Now, I can copy and paste with the best of them but the folks at LiveBinders have created a little Bookmarklet that makes things so easy.  Just find a page and click – tell LiveBinders where to store it in the popup window and move on.  It was an incredibly quick way to pull them all together.

I maintained the original categorization that Rodd started, just taking a little liberties in order to get the titles to fit in the tabs and the result is an interesting way to categorize and display all of the blogs from a single page.  LiveBinders doesn’t spawn a new window with each link – it displays the results in a frame in the same window.  I found this very handy as I browsed around to make sure that I didn’t mess up when putting things together.

So, there you have it … a nice tribute to Ontario Bloggers for this #FollowFriday.  You can check it out live at this link.

Obviously, I created it for this blog entry.  But, I keep thinking of the best way to manage a class of bloggers and think that this might be another easy way to keep tabs on each of them with minimal navigation


Web for All

I had this topic on my queue of things to blog about and must admit that it had kind of faded from memory until I read this tweet from Ira Socol yesterday.

When you visit the links PC, Macintosh, you’re directed to the Collections page of add-ons for the Firefox web browser.  The goal of Mr. Socol’s collections is pretty evident in the descriptor "Make your browser accessible to virtually all students with this collection."

So, what’s the big deal?  A browser is a browser, right?  Well, not quite so.  In fact, if you follow Mr. Socol, you know that he is a champion for digital inclusion using technologies and techniques to help level the playing field for all students. 

Recently, I wrote a post asking if *I* could live in a browser.  As I think about it in the context of the above, a better question might have been "Could *everyone" live in a browser".  For some, the answer is no, if you’re using a bare bones browser.  But, with a little assistance, it becomes feasible.  Through the use of carefully selected Firefox add-ons, the "browser" can be reinvented to include more users.  I recall when I was using Firefox 3.# downloading and installing the MITS collection.  To my surprise, the collection of add-ons was very helpful and I found myself using many of them to enhance my own browsing experience.

In the best spirit of "Necessary for some, good for all", educators really should take a look at this collection.  In addition to the original audience, the package represents a very good collection offering in-browser utility and productivity for all students.

It may cause some chagrin for some that opt for a single browser so that it can be locked down and controlled centrally.  But, let’s not forget that the clientelle in education should have access to the best tools that are available.  There may come a time when these add-ons are available for all browsers but at this point, it’s only Firefox that does the job.  Educators need to evaluate these resources and, if they fit the bill, need to advocate to make them available for all students.

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