I’m attending a three-day training session in Arkansas this week, and tomorrow I’m going to share a session on “Using Google Notebook, Google Reader, and Firefox.” I created the resource page for this session (appropriately enough) in Google Notebook and shared it as a publicly accessible webpage. I included multiple reasons for using Google Notebook, Google Reader, and the FireFox web-browser. Unlike a wiki, a Google Notebook page cannot be made publicly editable. You can specify email addresses of people you want to grant rights of co-authorship to, however. You can also limit who gets to view a notebook by selecting different email addresses. This could be beneficial in a classroom context, when a student just wants to share access to their notebook with a few partners and the teacher, but not the entire class or the world. (It does require that each person with authorship rights have an email account, however, which aren’t provided by many U.S. schools.) Google Notebook pages don’t keep a “history” of past edits either, from what I can see– so I’m not sure how you can tell who edited and added what to a notebook page. There’s also no “undo” feature.

Overall, however, I am VERY impressed with the Google Notebook tool and the possibilities it presents! I think it has HUGE applications for educational research, particularly because it permits such easy harvesting of links, quotations, and images with the date and originating URL/website included in the notebook clipping.

If you have comments for additions or changes to the introductory tutorial page I’ve created for Google Reader/Notebook and Firefox, I’d love to hear them. Feel free to use this page if it is helpful for your own technology training / awareness sessions with other teachers or students. Google Notebook automatically creates an index page of all your publicly shared notebooks, which is a nice feature. (Here is mine.) I created a second notebook tonight as an example of how a notebook can be used during the research process. My example is titled, “Thoughts and Images Relating to Engagement.”

One of the biggest reasons to use Google Notebook yourself and with students is ACCESSIBILITY. Anything saved to a Google Notebook can be accessed from any other Internet-connected computer. That’s the essence of web 2.0, and Google is doing a nice job bringing more FREE and powerful tools into the hands of Internet users everywhere.

This ALMOST makes me wish I had a new research paper to write soon….. 😉

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7 Responses to Using Google Notebook, Google Reader, and Firefox

  1. Pratheep says:

    I too like google notebook, but more than than i love Bookmarks in the new google toolbar. do you have any comments on it 🙂

  2. Leif harboe says:

    Are you not afraid to kind of leave your digital life in the hands of the mighty Google giant? They say “Do no evil”, I also use many of their tools – but still – I am a bit concerned. Many of Google’s tools are free. Well – there is a say that there is no free lunch. What kind of strings are attached to Google’s free gifts?
    Friendly greetings from

  3. Wesley,

    Thank you for sharing your notes. I have been experimenting with Google Notebook over the weekend and it will certainly be useful for my next paper organisation.
    I am using it with the browser add-on for Firefox, so it automatically creates a link to the site I am reading. Perhaps combined with notes on webpages done in diigo socialbookmarks it’ll be great.

    Reading the previous comment, yes, privacy is a concern. But I guess you always have to measure the risks against the benefits. These new tools allow me to share with colleagues at university as well as my students in ways I had not thought possible two years ago!

    Fear to publish is not the answer. Deciding whether the benefits outweigh the risks is a kind of web literacy, don’t you think?


    fceblog on del.icio.us

  4. Wesley Fryer says:

    I think we should regard all web 2.0 tools with a wary eye, since you are right: Free today does not mean free tomorrow. I have little doubt that with all the data harvesting Google does regularly, they are data harvesting with all the things people are doing with their tools. So I think even if you are not publicly sharing something with these tools, you shouldn’t have the idea that everything there will or can be totally private. Web 2.0 tools have great power from their ability to share things publicly. If people need to keep things private, Windows Privacy Tools are a good option. Free PGP is also an option.

    When students choose to publicly share their Google Notebooks, it is a good idea for them to use aliases or just first names, not first and last names. We need to talk more about privacy issues with web 2.0 in the context of internet safety, but also global publishing. You all raise good issues here. I agree a cost/benefit analysis based on the individual case is the way to go, rather than boycotting powerful tools like these.

  5. Scott Elias says:

    Wesley –

    Thanks for sharing your tips! I am working with a science teacher right now on getting student collaborating and learning and Google Notebook is a GREAT tool. I played with it quite some time ago but your post has me inspired to give it another go.


  6. Scott Elias says:

    On another note, I have been using Netvibes for a while but have been less than happy with it now that I have so many feeds. I dumped my OPML file into Google Reader and it looks promising!

  7. […] I’ve just been using Google Reader to read Wes Fryer’s Using Google Notebook, Google Reader, and Firefox and it made me think about how much I use Google, and how I use Google. Shortly after reading this, I was using Gmail to read and respond to an e-mail from Donna confirming our plans to work on another Ten Things to Know podcast, our next one being about Google services (and Google’s information dictatorship, but that’s another discussion). Google is everywhere in my life! A big chunk of my information is managed using Google through Gmail and Google Reader, not to mention the personalized Google home page. […]

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