9.07.2011

Google Sites Gadgets for Education - Limiting What's Available, Adding What's Useful

As more teachers create their websites and more students set up portfolios using Google Apps, it becomes increasingly likely that both parties will stumble upon "more gadgets" and the bounty of gadgets that come with a potentially unfiltered part of the application. I wrote in an earlier post how to setup DGDM, a gadget management feature that easily limited what was either shown (whitelist) or not shown (blacklist) when site creators went searching for gadgets. Later, I created a video tutorial that demonstrated the process from start to finish. Recently, a fellow GCT (Google Certified Teacher) created a site that included his own tutorials as well as a category listing for specific gadgets useful for educators.  Check it out here: Gadgets4schools and read more after the jump for a few of our teachers' favorites gadgets.
Embed

Although Code Wrapper is listed as an essential on the site mentioned above, we've been using the Embed gadget (found quickly under Featured) to insert HTML snippets. Once teachers become familiar with this type of gadget, the possibilities for website expansion multiplies exponentially. A quick lesson in how to spot the HTML embed code from various Web 2.0 tools such as VoiceThread, Discovery Education, or Voki, and teachers and students are well on their way to Embed heaven.

Countdown

Just a simple but effective gadget that counts down the the weeks, days, minutes, and seconds to an event of your choosing. This one is fun to include on sites, and I have seen teachers count down anything from days to the final exam to days until graduation...for juniors.  Ouch!

Iframe Wrapper

Another "essential' gadget listed on the site, and I agree. Th Iframe wrapper helps teachers and students keep users on their site while allowing them to peruse another site within a frame. Not the most elegant solution from a design point of view, but it gets the job done for various scenarios, and one can be quite creative with the use of this gadget.




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