The Savvy Teacher’s Digital Toolbox: iGoogle Homepage

By Alix E. Peshette

Cross-posted from EdTech Gold Rush

Many teachers search the web for online resources, images, dictionaries, translation help, news of the day, interactive activities and blogs of interest. Those sites are often bookmarked and usually forgotten in the hodge-podge of the web browser Favorites list.

A lot of teachers spend the day with the web browser homepage showing on the computer monitor. Some teachers are fortunate enough to have that computer hooked up to an LCD projector for whole class activities. Wouldn’t it be great to have those bookmarked resources readily available to use with students?

How about transforming that browser homepage into a digital file cabinet of resources right at your fingertips? Do it with iGoogle homepage!

Use iGoogle as a digital desktop
  • Gather great educational Gadgets for your presentations
  • Customize content by grade level, subject area, season
  • Quickly access websites by using Google Bookmarks
  • Add any blog that has an RSS feed into iGoogle
  • Provide easy access to text, photographs, audio, video
  • Access your iGoogle homepage in any computer by signing in with your Gmail account and password

Let’s get started!
  • Go online to, set up a Gmail account and sign into Google. com
  • Go back to the Google search page and click on the iGoogle link in the upper right corner of the screen

Add a Tab
  • Click Add a Tab and create a tab for each subject you teach
  • Uncheck the I feel lucky feature so that you can choose what you want

  • When all the tabs are created, click on Home, then click on Add stuff

Google Gadgets
  • Think of Google Gadgets as teasers for the full website content
  • Once Google Gadgets opens, use the search feature to find content
  • Find something you want and just click Add it now

  • Add a To Do list and use it to post assignments and due dates
  • Grab Google Bookmarks and use it to bookmark great websites
  • Find some great images to bring calm and peace to the start of the school day

Language Arts
  • How about “Word of the Day”, “Phrase of the Week” or a dictionary?
  • Look for famous or inspirational quotes to use as writing prompts
  • Subscribe to National Public Radio’s “This I Believe” series for thought-provoking essays by regular people
  • Find a great online English Grammar site with an RSS feed, then subscribe
  • Try out Librivox’s New Releases of Audio Books

  • Check out Discovery Network New Top Stories
  • Try Science @ NASA for interesting explorations and ideas
  • Ditto for NASA TV – Live Video
  • Nature is always interesting
  • Scientific American has all the latest science news and topics
  • Discuss the Einstein Quote of the Day
  • View weather Maps
  • Enjoy the NASA Image of the Day

  • Challenge your students with the NumberCruncher Game
  • Grab the Math Dictionary for those hard-to-explain math terms
  • Try Math in a Minute to sharpen core math skills in two minute workouts

Social Studies
  • Dig through Discovery News for the latest archeology find
  • This Day in History – yes, there was history before our students were born!
  • Visit Geography Zone’s Geography Challenge and have the class put the world together a country at a time
  • Have Encyclopedia Britannica at your fingertips for research
  • Check out the World Heritage of the Day Site and discuss the site

  • Use Famous Optical Illusions as an eye-opener first thing in class
  • Check out the Artist a day: Featured Artist but preview it first for appropriate content
  • Visit Art Slide Show of the Day -again preview first
  • Look at the US Geological Survey Earth as Art site for new views of the earth
  • Take a digital fieldtrip to the Latest Exhibitions from MOMA in video- again- preview first

ELL and Foreign Language
  • Learn the Spanish Word a Day
  • Listen to the Audio Word of the Day
  • Check out the Dictionary Search with the Word of the Day in flashcards
  • Do a virtual tour of Paris with the Eiffel Tower Web Cam

Using iGoogle Homepage
Think about installing iGoogle Homepage on your home computer and school computer. A quick glance through all the tabs each day can help you decide what content to use with your students that day.

Personal Staff Development
Another great use for iGoogle is as a personal staff development center. Subscribe to educational or technology-related blogs and read them when you have a few minutes of quiet.

iGoogle for Students
Naturally, one wants to figure out a way to have students use iGoogle to collect and read educational content. I found these great ideas with a little searching on the web.

Check out Michele’s CIT blog for how her students are using iGoogle for reading strategies and silent reading.

Read about a school-wide movement where students set up iGoogle Homepages which the teachers subscribe to using RSS.

Visit this educator’s SlideShare presentation to see how he uses iGoogle with his students as they produce podcasts!

Do you use iGoogle in the classroom? If so, please share your ideas!.

Views: 815

Tags: ELL, Google, Homepage, Math, Science, arts, language, page, social, start, More…studies, teacher, tools

Comment by Jeanie on July 20, 2008 at 4:28am
WOW!!! What great ideas! I am going to do this with my igoogle page.
Comment by MaryFran Lynch on June 20, 2009 at 1:06pm
Alix, thanks so much for the comprehensive list of iGoogle gadgets. I'll be including a link to your page in my Google Tools presentation. Looks like I need to do some work on the iGoogle page I use for my class too :-) Thanks again for all the wonderful resources.
Comment by MaryFran Lynch on June 20, 2009 at 1:24pm
Wow, Alix, thanks for the great list of iGoogle gadgets. I'll be sharing your blog at a workshop I'm doing on Google Tools. From the looks of it though, there is some work I need to do on my classroom iGoogle page, too.
Comment by Lesley on August 19, 2009 at 9:01pm
Just found this by "googling" igoogle homepages for educators! Thanks for the great tips...I am doing a presentation to a group of teachers on igoogle homepages and this is exactly what I was looking for.


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