Friday, February 08, 2008

ELT notes: On Gadgets and Widgets (Ceraso)

In ELT notes: On Gadgets and Widgets, Claudia C. makes a host of fine points about audiences, purposes, and the choices that we make to suit both - as well as ourselves - as bloggers, community members, and educators. I am grateful to the organizers of the Blogging for Educators workshop for pointing out Claudia's post again this year (Blogging4Educators Pageflakes, Week 4, Extra Reading [February 2008]).

In conclusion, Claudia suggests that "adding widgets [to blogs] for the sake of practice is creating a noise in communication with students, audience and community." She goes on, "Widgets are meant to be simple. Learn about them, know what there is available[,] and trust yourself that you will manage to install them pretty fast when you or the purpose of your blog post needs them" (emphasis added, pab).

Claudia is careful, verging on fastidious in her choices of widgets for her teaching blog (The FCE Blog), and meticulous about the layout (no sidebars) and presentation of other gadgets (all at the end of posts) on her professional development blog (ELT Notes). I think she is modeling as much as telling us what helps learners and other readers get right to the heart of her ideas (February 15, 2007).


  1. Thank you so much for your words, Paul. They mean a lot coming from you -for I do think you model as you tell your experiences in your blog.

    Now that you make me reflect on that post again, I must admit that playing with widgets has informally taught me some html. The will to make the widget look neat on your blog makes you take a look at the code you cut&paste. My frustration threshold is high, so I've played a lot with the code -not always successfully, by the way. I definitely think that a bit of html gives you more control on your online environment. Then it is up to you whether you use it to help your message get through or just to show off some skills.

  2. Indeed, Claudia, ability to manipulate bits of html code does come in handy when trying to tailor widgets and other content (tables, for instance) to fit online environments. Achieving tidy, focused sidebars, posts, and pages isn't always an easy task, as both students and I will attest. I simply hope that learners' frustrations on first and subsequent attempts to tweak content and manipulate html code don't overwhelm their desires to communicate creatively online.


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