For once I wish I could be first in announcing something, but the power of social networking has beaten me. I first saw this tweeted by Dave Garland from saltash,net community school. Two days later, David Rogers , one of our Innovative award winners had blogged about it. So rather than me try to explain , David has kindly agreed to guest post on our blog and outlines the potential of this resource in the classroom. So what are these Guys so excited about. It’s a new web application from Microsoft Fuse Labs called Montage.

Montage is a shareable, personal, visual album of the web. You are able to design your personal Montage around a topic by adding content that pulls information from a variety of sources including, RSS feeds, Twitter, Bing News, YouTube, video and Bing Images

Here are David Rogers’ thoughts on this new application.

Montage allows users to sign up via their Microsoft Live, facebook or Twitter accounts, so sign up is easy. Then it’s  a case of entering a search term in the dialogue box.

This is an example of what arrives.  The search results look and feel like a magazine, but each section is editable in terms of it’s montage 3content and display.  I was a little disappointed to see that Montage is very USA biased, and I hope that an option to limit searches within UK search results is available soon.  I also noticed that quite a lot of the content is quite commercial.

Having said this, I can see a number of potential uses for this, especially as users are able to edit, save and publish their Montages. The link could be put into a blog and shared with a class, although the app would greatly benefit from an embed code option (although I may have missed this, I did look around).

Here is an example of a custom Montage I produced in around 10 minutes:

montage 4

Within the page there is:

  • A twitter feed for #uksnow
  • A youtube video interviewing travellers in the UK
  • A selection of photographs
  • A ‘pinned’ article on Gatwick (although this linked to a US newspaper)
  • 2 rolling news items – these are populated with latest pages for the search inputted (for example ‘positive effects snow’)

Visit the Montage here. montage 5

There are currently eight panel choices, including a text function which would allow a teacher to set a task at the top of a page. It would also be good to be able to include specific URLs.

Montage 6

I can see a number of classroom applications for this:

  • Illustrating the limitations of web searching and bias – why have I selected the information in each panel?
  • A montage could be created and shared with a class to limit search time.  this would be good for classes that are new to the enquiry process, or if there isn’t enough time to allow a fully independent and open enquiry.

All in all, looks like a potentially useful tool, but will need some classroom trials first….

I totally agree with David’s points, this is an application that is really worth having a look at. We would love know what you think and how you could use it in the classroom. Feel free to leave your comments.

Thanks again David for post, you can find his blog at http://daviderogers.blogspot.com/. If any of you would like a guest spot on our blog , email me at itnukteam@hotmail.co.uk