8:  Customized Start Pages

Now that you have explored RSS feeds in Thing 7, it's time to apply some of this knowledge to a new situation.  Customized start pages use RSS feeds to bring Web content such as blogs and news stories to your browser.  But in addition to this, you can add widgets (or small tools for your page) to create a truly useful, personalized page just for you. 

Two of the best start pages out there are Pageflakes and Netvibes.  You can choose one or the other for this Thing.   Both of these services are free.  You can try both start pages before you sign up.  Note that you don't actually need to set either of these web sites as your home page; but, making them favorites or creating shortcuts to them is a good idea.

Tutorial Videos
Watch these videos if you need help setting up the start page of your choice.



Discovery Activities:
1. Create a customized start page using Pageflakes or Netvibes.
2. Add at least 5 feeds or gadgets to your page.
3. Create a post in your blog about this Thing.  Examine any of the following questions in your post.
  • What do you think of customized start pages?  How might they be useful in your life?  
  • Could students benefit from such a tool?   
  • What kind of feeds or gadgets did you add to your start page? 
  • How does Pageflakes or Netvibes compare to Google Reader?  
  • Optional: add an image of your start page to your post or create a public page to share on your blog post. (Advanced)

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