Using iCyte saving web pages, sharing source lists and collaborating online

“no more broken links!”

In this article we will be looking at how to save webpages in a collection called ‘Cytes’ using iCyte (http://www.icyte.com/) The website service is free for all, and comes with convenient browser plugins for all major browsers and platforms (IE, Firefox, Safari and Chrome). Conveniently, the system is designed to help you organize and store your favorite websites -- not bookmarked shortcuts to webpages -- but the actual web pages. iCyte stores copies of the pages you reference in their cloud so you can access them from anywhere. The login process is simple and straight forward, and getting into your account is a snap (no email confirmation required).

After the quick signup, you are taken to a ‘My View Page’ where your various collections are listed. On this page, you can see the various collections you are building called ‘Projects’, frequently used ‘Tags’ for your saved sites, any users you have invited to view or collaborate on your lists, and of course your ‘Cytes’ -- saved sites. The Cytes are listed in chronological order with the most recently added at the top of the list.

Creating a ‘Project’ gives you the ability to categorize or group the Cytes you save. For example, if you are collecting references for a paper you are writing, you might title a Project ‘Research for EDU-518′. Placing all the Cytes for the course in the same Project keeps them organized, and allows you to filter the list of all saved Cytes.

*Each Cyte Project comes with its own VERY COOL embed source code and RSS feed, so you can place these Cyted projects on your website, wiki project, Edmodo, or even Facebook group page. With RSS and embed codes for each project, disseminating the saved collection is quick and easy. The whole Project could be shared using RSS or embed, or one Cyte could be shared with any number of social networking platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Google, Digg and others).

With any Cyte you save, you are able to add tags similar to what you might see on a blog post. Tags can be reused from save to save, and once you have a collection, your Cytes can be filtered by Tag as a way of grouping or filtering beyond just a simple ‘Project’. Tags in iCyte behave much like tags on a CMS or blog. Viewers, contributors and managers can filter lists of Cytes by tag just by clicking on the tag reference in the list.

One of the best features about the system is the collaboration angle. Particularly useful for teachers in classes where research is important for projects. Students can start an account, create and name a Project, then invite classmates via email to collaborate on the collection. In a group project setting, students could create a list of Cytes they wish to use, then share the collection with their teacher for feedback and approval. Another example could use the classroom debate situation. Say one group of students is arguing affirmative on a case, and by rule need to share their research with the negative. Creating an iCyte Project is a great solution. One group builds the research they will use, then shares the Project with the other group.

Adding users to a project is as easy as entering their email address. Go to the Project you wish to add users to, click manage, enter the email address, and save. The user will get an invitation to join the Project, sign up, sign in, and/or download the browser plugins. Then off you go adding your own research to the group project. It really is just that easy to create, edit and manage a group reasearch project. The browser plugins make it particularly easy to accomplish saving, highlighting and notating sites.

As a user, with the browser plugins installed, adding or saving a Cyte is as easy as browsing to the site, and clicking the button in your browser to add. Depending on your browser, things might look a little different than the screen shot here, but the concept is the same: choose which project this Cyte belongs to, add tags, add a short note or description, and save. *Interesting addition to creating the Cyte is the use of highlighted text! If you are browsing the website you wish to save, and click and drag to highlight text on the page, THEN click to add the Cyte, iCyte will change your higlighted text to a green color, add that to the thumbnail of the website, and also add your highlighted text as the note! That is too cool.

So to review:

  • Save webpages as ‘Cytes’

    Save any webpage you like on iCyte’s server, with highlights on the important text, plus notes and tags for quick reference.

  • Better than browser bookmarks

    Search and retrieve your Cytes from any computer, even if the original webpages have been deleted or changed.

  • Share your Cytes

    E-mail your Cytes, send them to Twitter or Facebook, even embed them in blogs.
    (Or keep them private -- viewable by your invitation only.)

    iCyte is a great tool for research for one, or for a group. It is easy to set up, it is free, and requires little in the way of training or assistance. Everything on the site is simply labeled and presented. The open design concept makes the space friendly and usable.

    The one slight drawback to the system is that as far as I can see, there is no way to add a website from within the system. That is, you must use an installed browser plugin to capture and save the website as a Cyte within your account. This might be a deal-breaker for some classroom applications as it would then require installation of the browser plugins. For home use, for single computer use it is probably not a big deal. If your IT department is cooperative about allowing these kinds of add-ons to your browser, then it is probably not a big deal. I personally would find it helpful if I was on a school or library computer to be able to save something I found in any browser, or even off my iPad - even without the plugin.

    Given the software download and install, I would still highly recommend using this system for creating and managing, then sharing and collaborating. Take a look, and set up your free account at http://www.icyte.com.

    Watch more here:

    and here (from iCyte):

    Read more here:

    http://www.icyte.com/faq.html

  • About the Author

    Jon is the Educational Technologist at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland. Jon's specialty is working with teachers to solve classroom problems with technology. He has been teaching technology, art and design for 13 years. Subscribe to the posts on this site or follow us on Twitter @trendingedtech.