Flat Connections

Transforming learning through global collaboration

Welcome to our blog, the contents of which were co-created by Abena, Caroline and Helen

Unfortunately we were not able to use synchronous collaboration, though Abena and I tried, last night. Caroline started the conversation in Google Docs and shared the link with me. Unable to edit, I copied the document, changed editing rights, located email addresses and shared the link with my colleagues. We both used the Ning and email to try and connect and communicate with our team. While Abena came on only recently, it was great to be able to collaborate with her as well. Unfortunately we were never able to connect with Paula. While the asynchronous tools were great, I think using a synchronous tool at the beginning of the project and again at the end would have been helpful.

What are “pull” technologies?
Rather than looking for information as in “push”technologies (i.e. google search),  “pull” technologies bring the information to you after it’s been requested.

Why use them?

  •  They can bring you relevant information that you did not even think of searching for or know exits.
  • They save time.  If you put the time into setting up  RSS Reader, then you will get sent to you a constant stream of relevant information on your chosen topic. 
  • They importantly allow you to control the stream of information received and can be turned on or off according to their relevance to your context at any given time.

 Based on pages 36-37 of “Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds

What are your experiences using pull technologies? 

  • Outlooks RSS reader, Netvibes, Google Alerts, email subscriptions andFlipboard on IPad.
  • We set them up as we interrogate the web for information whether through a search engine or a website’s own search tool.
  • Subscribing to useful blogs and sites allows us to keep up with the latest ideas in our field(s) and negates the need for daily searches.
  • Kindle is a great example of a pull technology that can make the most of a wifi connection where available but still maintain its use when disconnected from the Internet.
  • Any of these pull technologies that allow us to peruse their content while offline help to make the most of these minutes and hours as we travel, wait or reflect away from our connections.
  • Social bookmarking services such as Scoop.it are great for curating the best of what’s relevant in a specific field for personal and public use. This co-construction of resources by experts in the field (as all teachers are) saves significant time in locating and sifting through all that’s available.


  • I am still a newbie at using pull technology.  I dabble with Netvibes and  Flipboard but wish I had advice on best layouts and how it all works. 
  • I think Google Reader handles incoming data well and the ‘bundle’ function is great for sharing content with 3rd parties.
  • I have been using Netvibes. It is fairly user friendly and it allows you to have many different tabs to keep you site organized. I also like that it has a reader view and a widget view. (See below) It helps me to keep track of our cohort blogs and twitter.


    RSS News: iGoogle is going away by November 2013.   Penn State Online offers 5 great replacements for iGoogle.   Besides NetVibes which was highly recommended on many other sites as well, they mention ProtoPage , MyFav.es , Nextaris , and  uStart .   

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Comment by Helen McConaghy on September 13, 2012 at 12:55pm

Thanks for getting it started Caroline.  I still we should all try a synchronous connection.

Comment by Caroline Black on September 13, 2012 at 10:12am

Thanks Helen and Abena! I like the final product.

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