Today, our tech team assignment was to play around with the widget function on our blog, we we’re told to do our best to break the system and test its limits.

a) What Widgets and Plugins did you choose?

I chose the accessibility,  Google News feed, google map, calendar and a picture add in

b) What are there strengths?

The accessibility widget: This function helps with people who have a hard time seeing certain font sizes and whatnot, it helps to make the blog more “accessible”

Google news/RSS but better widget: this one i found very interesting, now there’s up to date news on my blog all the time, I just hope the articles aren’t too edgy… might have to look into that.

The picture add in: I found this cool just to spice up my blog a bit, there’s this picture of Hawaii I found and I really like it (its even my background)

d) What are there weaknesses?

Google maps: This would be an absolutely fantastic add in. If I could only get it to work

Accessibility: I wish there would be a way to add more helpful options into it

Google news/RSS but better widget: All went well in regards to the RSS but better widget, except for that of the news article links is being permanently called “deprecated”, I had to google what that meant(it means highly disproved of) however, further inspection of these links revealed that it was just google news, but I unfortunately couldn’t figure out a solution to change it from saying “this rss link is deprecated” to the article name.

e) Can these programs be used in a classroom setting to enhance student learning? Would you use it and/or recommend it?

The only programs that I could see having a practical use in class would be the News feed, maybe to discuss current events, the calendar to show important dates such as tests and maybe the picture add in for some example project of sorts.

I use all three of these widgets and I think while they may not have an extremely useful purpose when it comes to classroom learning, it sure as heck helps to spice up your blog and make it more pleasant and interesting to look at. I think that if students spent a bit more time customizing their blogs, we might all start using them way more and actually having pride in what our blogs, I just don’t think the first day of school is a good time to force the blog customization onto the new students (and after all it can be a bit of a pain sometimes). But, maybe a COL blog customization assignment isn’t a horrible idea, I know that after I’ve spent the time customizing my blog I like it a lot more, but, maybe forcing kids to be creative and work on their blog will just turn them away from it in the long run? I dont know, anyways in closing, I’d give 9/10 for the news feed, 10/10 for the image add in, 8/10 for the accessibility, and 8.2/10 for the calendar, as well as a bonus 7/10 for the maps as I couldn’t get it to work, but it is an awesome software.

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