Friday, February 29, 2008

Widgets, Gadgets, and other fun stuff

Look at the right side of this blog. Scroll down. Scroll up. Now click the picture above in order to make it bigger. Look at the picture. You can see some of the same things that you saw on the right side of this blog. These things are called widgets, or gadgets. There are three kinds of widgets: web widgets, desktop widgets and mobile widgets. You can read about web widgets on wikipedia in English and Japanese. You can read about desktop widgets in English and Korean. Mobile widgets are widgets that you can use on your mobile phone. Mobile phone is 携帯電話 in Japanese.

Look at the picture above again. The widget in the middle is the newest widget on this blog. This widget comes from a great blog called Image English. Image English is like a picture dictionary.

Look at the picture again. The widget next to the Image English widget is from a website called
Urban dictionary. It's a dictionary of slang. It's really useful for understanding pop, rap and hip hop songs, but be careful! Many of these words are NOT words that you should use in class, or in a conversation with your homestay family!

Look at the picture again. The widget above the Image English widget is from the English 4 Today podcast. This podcast is for advanced learners.

Look at the picture again. The widget in the top right corner is from Vocabulary Grapher Thesaurus. This is my favourite widget. Click the picture below to make it bigger.

This widget is great for learning more about words that you already know. For example, in the picture above, the keyword is "student". From the graph you can see that pupil is a synonym (同義語) of student. The Vocabulary Grapher Thesaurus is a very useful for TOEFL test preparation too.

Look at the first picture again. The widget in the bottom left corner is an mp3 player from a website called Finetune. You can use this widget to listen to music while you read this blog. If you click the arrow next to the star in the top left corner of the widget and then click "user profile" from the drop down menu, you can listen to some playlists that I have made.

Look at the right side of this blog again. Scroll down. There are two more widgets. These widgets come from two great teachers' blogs.

You can get the Image English widget and the Finetune Player widget from Springwidgets. You can get he Vocabulary Grapher Thesaurus widget and the English 4 Today podcast widget from Google Gadgets. You can get widgets from other places too including Yahoo widgets, Widgetbox, and Schoolhouse Widgets.

Finally, I want to tell you about a great widget called Sing that iTune. Sing that iTune finds and saves lyrics for the songs that you listen to in iTunes. It also finds and saves CD cover art. You can get it from Yahoo widgets or if your computer is a Macintosh you can get it from your Dashboard.

Please tell me about your favourite widgets.

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