16: Widgets

Widgets were first mentioned in Thing 8 as part of the discussion on customized start pages. It turns out you can add widgets to a variety of online sites. They are mini-applications that may be embedded in websites, blogs, wikis, Nings, etc. They are often dynamic and interactive.  This short video discusses using widgets to liven up your blog.

Discovery Exercise
This is an easy one. Add a widget to your blog site. Blogger makes this very simple. Go to the Layout tab in Blogger. Then, click "Add a Gadget." (Blogger calls widgets, gadgets.) Blogger has a variety of gadgets from which to choose. You might need to try a few widgets before you get one that you like.  By the way, less is more when it comes to widgets.  It's easy to make your blog look "junky" if you have too many of them.  (If you added a widget previously, add a new one.  You can also use the layout screen to rearrange the order of your widgets.  This is also a good time to review the design of your blog site.)

For your blog post, discuss what widget you added and why. Did you run into any difficulties? Have you noticed widgets on other websites?  Are they a distraction or do they add value?

OPTIONAL:  If you are interested (or if you didn't find anything in Blogger), you can search other sites for widgets to add to your blog.  Blogger has you add widgets to every page of your site.  However, if you find a widget on a third party site, you can embed the widget in a single post. Embedding does require you to "edit html" of your blog post but it's not hard.  This video demos the technique.  Here are some resources to help you find widgets of interest:


Optional Extension

Some bloggers create avatars of themselves to place on their blogs. An avatar is simply an online representation of you.  If you are interested in this, please visit this site. 

 I can never seem to get the facial hair
right with these avatar generators.  

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