Our classroom has implemented MANY different widgets throughout our classroom blog and wiki. You might be wondering- what exactly is a widget? A web widget (there are desktop widgets) is a few lines of code that can be installed and executed within a web page, blog, or wiki. Its a mini-application within your webpage. Widgets can do anything from giving you an up to date local weather forecast to playing videos from YouTube. Anybody can use a widget- in fact, the kids in our classroom have been using them for awhile now! I have compiled a list of what widgets your kid gets in our classroom!
Google Maps have been an extremely beneficial widget when teaching the continents. We really loved the ability to see the satellite images of earth. We had just finished learning about satellites in space having the ability to see the Great Wall of China… so it was AMAZING to actually show the kids the satellite images. As a class, we could chose a continent and then zoom in! We even zoomed in on West Haven!
Flickr Slide Show is a widget that allows you to show slideshows easily on webpages. Our class has used this widget to showcase some of our continent writing, but the possibilities range from class books to photo galleries.
Polls and Surveys can be done easily with widgets! Simply type in your question, type in your answer choices, and you are set! There is even the ability to select “other” as an answer choice, so the user can type in their response. You can put this widget on your blog’s sidebar or in the post directly. This form of data collection is not only informative, but fun! We have used PollDaddy, but there are other data widgets available.
Clustr Maps are one of our new favorite widgets. We can see that people from all over the world are reading our blog, and it has been especially fun since we have learned about the continents. We almost have a red dot on every continent!!
Timelines can be fabulous when you want to show data in a chronological fashion. There are two different widgets that I have seen that can create a timeline. The first widget gives you the ability to create your own timeline by adding your own information. This would be perfect for creating a class timeline of someone’s life or current events. The second widget I have seen creates a timeline of syndicated data. We have used this type of timeline on our “news for kids” wiki page. This widget shows you feeds from Weekly Reader and Science News for Kids chronologically, in a calendar- like manner. Either timeline works beautifully in the classroom!
Teacher Tube widgets are great to embed streaming, educational video into your post or webpage. We have used this widget on our class wiki a couple times when I have found a great video that pertains to a specific topic- such as nutrition (this video is from the 50’s and is hilarious) and Australia.
RSS Feed Reader is a wonderful widget when you want to show syndicated information on your webpage. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Syndicated information includes podcasts, blogs, and news headlines. We have an RSS feed reader on our wiki that shows our classroom’s latest blog posts. You can subscribe to a feed by clicking on RSS on a webpage or copying and pasting the webpage’s link in your feed reader. There are also widgets specifically designed just for a blog’s RSS feed called “blidgets” that do the same thing with a little extra eye candy.