the single-purpose rule

The MentorsOnline browser extension works. I can now display content in a small panel…right there, in the browser.

ssBrowserExtension-Canvas-600
Browser extension running within Wikipedia page.

That widget can display

  • instructions for the student
  • information about the current web page
  • key vocabulary terms with definitions
  • content imported from remote LMS
  • a chat room interface
  • links to other websites

That widget can present almost any type of content to students. It is like having a browser-in-browser display. (Similar to picture-in picture in a television.)

Various ideas bubbled up while developing this prototype, including some features that might be useful*. The challenge is to avoid feature creep, to create a tool that adheres to Google’s single purpose policy.

* For example, this tool could detect assigned vocabulary terms in any webpage and highlight those terms, providing a definition in a tool-tip pop-up. (See simulation here.)

Now that I know what this tool can do, the central question becomes…

“What do we want it to do?”

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