Even if you have specialized webpage authoring software like Dreamweaver or Frontpage on your computer, know how to use it, and have FTP or other “uploading” access configured to a webserver– Getting content online with these “web 1.0” tools can be a needless hassle for many purposes compared to web 2.0 tools like wikis. I have been using a wiki since I started my new job in Oklahoma as the AT&T state education advocate in June, sharing all the workshop curriculum and seminar resources I’m creating with other teachers around Oklahoma and the planet. That website is http://teachdigital.pbwiki.com.

This evening I discovered a new website useful for creating web-based hotlists of Internet resources called Portaportal. Bob Sprankle has created a Portaportal site for web 2.0 workshop recently, which not only demonstrates the utility of this site but also shares some good links to educators using the read/write web.

Portals are getting increasingly common these days, especially for free webmail users. Yahoo’s personalized portal “My Yahoo” (my.yahoo.com) and Google’s Home Portal are both examples. Once you have registered with each site, you can create customized “channel content” with a layout you specify. There are canned layout elements as well as elements which can be completely customized. The idea of a “portal” is to create a customized user-interface with links and content you frequently want to see and utilize.

Portaportal looks interesting because it provides an attractive way to create organized categories of links to web resources. I still like using wikis like pbwiki and wikispaces, but Portaportal looks ideal for applications which are exclusively hotlists and don’t contain additional text or image content.

I suppose there are some people who might say, “Good grief, how many of these web 2.0 tools are we supposed to learn and know about?” The answer, of course, is that there is not a defined answer– but the more you are able to navigate and use web-based tools, the more relevant your digital skill-set will be today and in the future. I know several “dyed in the wool” Eudora users who are bound and determined to never switch their email interface. There is not anything wrong with that– but I do think that dynamic change will continue to define the future of computing and information exchange in general. Being able to utilize new and different tools is not just something fun to do as a teacher and a learner– it is actually an essential activity for developing the flexible digital literacy skills required by the information environment as well as the workforce of today and tomorrow.

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3 Responses to Portaportal and flexibly learning new tools

  1. […] Web Fryer has a post about a bookmarking tool called PortaPortal. Some folks in my school district have also looked at this tool and I am having a hard time understanding why they find it so interesting. Here you have a tool that does not support RSS, does not even have a bookmarklet for teachers to use to add sites. The process for adding sites is cumbersome, and you can’t add any descriptive information about the sites that you are pointing people to. Finally, the site looks like it is stuck in some 1997 web site time warp. I mean, come on, look at those goofy buttons. […]

  2. Wes, I think that the use of StartPages that use RSS and website shortcuts would give educators a more dynamic and multimedia tool. See my recent post on rating StartPage tools as a quick start – there are so many more features and they offer a great way to start gluing all of the web 2.0 tools together. I tend to agree with Tim’s assessment – but it is exactly his familiarity with Web 2.0 tools that allows him to quickly do so.

  3. Jim Farmer says:

    I am excited about the extremely useful Web 2.0 tools that educators have access to. The one tool that has been my savior is netvibes. This site, more than any other Web 2.0 tool, has so many features and is so customizable that I can’t live without it now. I can easily add and check any RSS feed I want (this one included), check email (school accout, gmail account, and any other account), have a flickr show running for as many accounts as I can stand, access my box.net, writely, and irows files with a single click, and sooo much more. I truly believe that the potential of having an easy to use netbased jack-of-all trades service is finally being realized and it’s called netvibes. I swear I don’t work for them. I’m a tech coordinator and teacher in a small town in GA. Open up your web experiences to whole new levels, checkout: http://www.netvibes.com

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