Tek Trek

traveling the learning technologies landscape

Fire up the ole JetPack

Posted by tektrekker on 9 May, 2007

Tool JetEye
Type web-based service
Requirements any web browswer
Cost Free

First Thoughts
I read about JetEye at Tucows. It is one of those services that provides you with an opportunity to create collections (called JetPacks) of all those great web resources you run across throughout the day – everything from snippets of text, images, video, rss feeds, and even the Meebo chat tool and online PowerPoint presentations. Well, that seems kinda interesting. I mean, I do find lots of great things all the time while I’m meandering around the web and most of it gets lost in the clutter of my brain :) and doesn’t do me or anyone else any good. So, perhaps this tool is worth a deeper look to determine what it can do.

First Experience
My first attempt at creating a jetpack went fairly well – there’s only three steps: create an account, open the JetEye browser sidebar (a floating sidebar), and click “new” to start a jetpack.

JetEye Sidebar After that, it’s simply a matter of dragging and dropping content into the drop zone. Once you drop in some content, you can name it, as shown in this screen shot. To see an example of a jetpack in action, check out my TekGuide JetPack (JetPack is the name JetEye gives to collections of web resources).

I only ran into a couple of minor challenges while trying to create my jetpack – things that would not have been challenging if I’d actually read the instructions!

  • First, adding a link is as simple as dragging the icon next to the url in the address bar right onto the drop zone. For some reason, this didn’t occur to me – I made the assumption that copy/pasting text from a page would automatically create the link as well (that seems like a much smarter way to go, doesn’t it?). So, what this means is that if you’d like to have the link and the snippet of text from the site, you have to create two separate entries. Not a deal breaker, but definitely something that could be made easier.
  • Second – adding video is not as simple as dragging a video onto the drop zone. Instead, you need to drag the embed video url onto the drop zone. Easy enough once you know what you have to do…but I must confess to taking several minutes to figuring this out. Again, the instructions on this were quite clear – had I but read them. LOL.

Teaching and Learning Ideas
Idea 1 Frequently, we ask students to do research on various topics. Students doing the research could create robust, media-rich collections of resources on the topic that would be appealing not only to them, but also to other students. Additionally, if the research is supposed to culminate in a final paper or project of some sort, an accompanying jetpack could certainly help faculty determine whether the student did his or her own work.

Idea 2 The jetpack could be used to create course packs of materials for use in class. Since they are web-based and can be shared, faculty could create one and share it with all students in lieu of (or in addition to) a text book. This could be done in advance of the class and shared as needed. And, the teacher could use the comment are to ask guiding questions about the materials presented. Also, since comments can be enabled, students could ask questions or make statements about the content being shared.

These are just two off-the-cuff, not entirely creative ideas. I’m sure you could come up with more. :)

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