One Way – Google

In a stack of papers called Connections.

  • Aug
  • 16
  • 2008

I’ve been planning these next two entries for a while now and Dan pretty much summed up my ideas inside of three minutes. If you present the world as if it revolves around your content area, you appear one dimensional and completely boring to students; no one cares as much about your content area as you do. You need to be interested in more things. Here’s one way to do this.


An account with Google opens up Docs, Reader, and Notebook, all of which come in handy. So create an account.

Visit Google’s main page, click “Sign In,” take care of business there, then click on “My Account.” You’re looking for Reader; you might have to click on the “More” link underneath “Try something new” (Reader will be under “Communicate, show & share”).

Subscribe to RSS feeds of your favorite blogs, making sure that you don’t only subscribe to teaching blogs. A large point here is diversity, so throw some design blogs in there, too. Pick up the feed for the runner’s group in your area. Tap into some photography blogs. Music’s always nice to know about. Scrapbooking your thing? Find some blogs about that. Begin the process of Reader reflecting your varied interests. You’ll find more as you go.

Oh! And add Boing Boing and because they will open up strange new worlds for you on an almost-weekly basis.

While I prefer Bloglines for managing student blogs during the school year, Reader rocks for personal use. Stars and Notes make my day nine times out of ten.

Stars And Notes

When you find a good entry in Reader, either “Add star” or “Share with note” (that’s actually misleading because you don’t have to share something in order to make a note about it). The “Starred items” and “Notes” folders allow you to come back to those ideas at any time.

To make this even better, Reader lets you add a note about any Web page, not just those pages in your account. While on your main Reader page, click to the “Notes” folder, then drag the “Note in Reader” bookmarklet to your browser’s toolbar. Anytime you want to add a note about a page you’re on, just click on “Note in Reader” (should be right underneath where you type in Web addresses) and a screen will appear that allows you to type as much or as little about the page as you’d like.

With Stars, you have a quick way to keep track of entries you’ve read and want to come back to. With Notes, you have an easy way to leave yourself a comment about any page you visit. No more crumpled Post-its and chicken scratches that leave more confusion than clarity.

Tomorrow, I’ll bring up my old friend Delicious in a kind of hack for staying up on pop culture.


1. Jackie Ballarini says:

[8/17/2008 - 7:59 am]

Oh my – I didn’t know about the notes for any web page. Thank you!!

2. Todd says:

[8/17/2008 - 4:04 pm]

Jackie, I’m glad to be of assistance. It’s nice to know that readers take some piece of info away.

3. Meanwhile I keep dancing says:

[8/17/2008 - 4:35 pm]

Thanks for this! Right now a friend of mine is working on a Web 2.0 training tool for our staff (check out the beta at ). Can I send her your way?

I’ve been using Reader for a long time, but, like Jackie, didn’t realize I could note any webpage. Exciting!

4. Todd says:

[8/17/2008 - 4:54 pm]

Check out the beta at… where?

Send her on over, Meanwhile. Feel free to contact me to talk about more details through email. It’s great that this helps you out.