Google has been my homepage for a decade, ever since I found out that co-founder Sergey Brin was a fellow University of Maryland graduate. Though I may have heard of iGoogle, it never interested me and I never explored the possibilities. Within minutes of signing into iGoogle I had my Google Reader, Twitter, Google Docs, Gmail, and WordPress accounts prominently displayed in one place. A few moments later I had gadgets for the time, weather, a calendar, a dictionary, a thesaurus, and a to-do list. iGoogle is a great way consolidate your various web accounts and to bring information to you. Another great thing about it is that it is free.
As an educator this could be a great help to keep things organized. Having everything easily accessible in one place could be a great time saver. I would not have to worry about neglecting to check my Twitter account or missing the newest additions to my Google Reader account. Having an up to date to-do list and personalized calendar will remind me every time I open my web browser of what I need to do and what activities I have coming up. I have often started day planners, paper and digital, and joined promising online services, but as soon as they leave my visual field I neglect them. Having everything available, organized, and in one place that I access regularly may help to keep me engaged with these things. On my iGoogle page I can also find inspiration in a quote of the day, a smile from “funny cat photos”, and stay current on late breaking news.
It would also be interesting to have students create their own iGoogle pages. Of course, they would have to create a Gmail account as well. Students of all ages access the internet and use search engines, so it would be nice for them to have their own customized space on the web. This could be a place where students keep a calendar of upcoming events, access information, and express their creativity. It would be a simple way to increase student’s familiarity with the internet and digital tools. I think iGoogle is a great tool that can be very helpful. Unfortunately, when I was signing up I saw that iGoogle was shutting down on November 1, 2013. That means I do not know how useful this will be to me as an educator.