Readability: Controlling the view of the Web 2.0
In education, more and more professors, teachers, and educators are using web 2.0 resources in their courses and trainings. Web 2.0 tools allow many educators or enthusiasts to voice their views, opinions, and research. Educators are now and have been using blogs, wikis and other types of websites to gather, produce, and share information. There are a many avenues of providing a blog. There are both paid and free services available to bloggers. Paid services for blogs usually have a cleaner design than free services. This is because free services are subsidized by advertisements. This great for the aspiring writer because anyone can write about their passions. For the reader this may not be ideal. Advertisements can be a distraction from the primary article. As an educator, you would not want your students to be distracted from the primary content. For blogs there is a company that has developed an easy to use solution for this distraction. The people at arc90.com have developed a tool (Readability) for easily customizing the look of a blog to make it easier for the student to read. As an example here is a screenshot from a popular guitar website (www.ultimate-guitar.com)
You can easily see the many distractors that is presented to the learner. These are all links that can take the learner away from the content. The advantage the Readability adds is the ability to take away the distractions. It also makes it easy to print busy pages with only the relevant content. Below is an image of the same webpage after Readability has been used on it.
The top left hand corner of the page has three buttons. The top button is the refresh or return button. This button returns you to the original view of the webpage. The second button is the print button. The bottom button is the email button. This button emails a link of the webpage to colleagues, friends, or students. They then can use Readability to simplify the view. The email button does not send your simplified view, but rather a link to the page you are viewing.
Readability provides a few different looks that an individual can choose the first time they install Readability to their preferred browser. The user can choose from 5 styles, with the options to change the font and margin size for each style. The picture below shows the choices available.
It is easy to see how this can be a valuable tool for the educator who would like to use blogs in their curriculum. The teachers can limit distractions for the learner, easily print handouts, or email just the necessary content to students or colleagues. Hopefully this is a beneficial tool for you in your classroom or personal reading.