Design & UX
By Lisa Herrod

Text Book ‘Mash App’

By Lisa Herrod

I’m experimenting with Tumblr and Jaiku at the moment, and I have an idea that by combining them, I’m going to create a really useful ‘Mash App’ for my User Focus class at SIT next term.


Tumblr is a free blogging tool that I’ve been using lately, and I don’t think I’ve ever fallen so quickly for a web app like I have with this one. Tumblr in fact likens the tool to scrap booking, which may soften its appeal to some users, but have a look; I see multiple uses for it that are tougher than that!


One thing I especially love about Tumblr is that comments are disabled; they aren’t even an option. It’s quite a mind freeing experience and more intimate too. Posts are listed chronologically, in a linear fashion, and there are five different types of articles a user can publish:

  1. Text
  2. Photo
  3. Quote
  4. Link, and
  5. Video


Jaiku is also a free web app that aggregates various types of content, as decided by the account owner. As the owner I can pull a whole range of data into my stream, which Jaiku will aggregate for me chronologically. This includes blogs, photos, bookmarks, music, places, events, video and Atom or RSS feeds. I can also publish short, 140 character posts to the thread.

Commenting is enabled in Jaiku. Of course, anyone that wants to leave a comment also needs to have a Jaiku account, but the registration process is very quick and easy.

So… What’s this cool idea I have?

My idea is to get each of the students to register for a Tumblr account, which I will pull in as feeds to the class Jaiku account.

There appears to be so many benefits to working this way:

  1. Each student will have complete ownership of the content in their Tumblr account, which they can continue to add to long after the class is finished.
  2. Students will benefit from each others research by being able to easily view it in one place, the class Jaiku account.
  3. Students will be able to socialise and form an online micro-community by commenting on each others Tumblr posts within Jaiku.
  4. Jaiku will aggregate all student work, publishing it in a central repository, making it easy to monitor and assess.
  5. Jaiku will act as a central point from which I can access each of the student tumble logs.
  6. As the Jaiku account holder, I’ll be able to add additional information to the class account for discussion and comment, and all updates in Jaiku are also posted to my registered email account – easy!

So I’m really excited about it all, but what I love is the possibility of creating an inspiring, learning environment by combining these two apps. So while I’m not really creating a mashup, you could probably think of it as a ‘Mash App’.

Using the apps in this way will allow the class to create a fantastic resource collaboratively in Jaiku, while at the same time easily maintaining a sense of individuality and ownership of information in Tumblr. The set up feels very easy, efficient and simple to use; things that make all the difference when you’re teaching.

But the best part of all is that class starts next week… I’ll let you know how we go!

  • jyei

    Sounds cool. Looking forward to your update on how it goes!

  • Lisa Herrod

    Thanks jyei, I can’t wait to see how it all goes too.

    I’ve even started thinking about how great a tool it might become as additional classes add content to it in following terms. Let’s see ;)

  • Good luck Lisa let us know how it panned out for you.

  • Lisa Herrod

    Thanks Octal ;)

    well it all starts tomorrow! I was even dreaming about it last night! LOL

    I’ll let you know how it all goes :)

    I’m also starting to think about other settings where this might be used.

    Perhaps user groups or community groups? For example if you had a specialised user group for Ford Falcon Car Club members, I wonder if something like this would be useful…

  • chezza

    Cool, it sounds really interesting. Definitely keep us updated as to how it goes.

  • Themaninblue

    That’s a great idea, Lise. I’m not an expert, but I get the feeling that Web-related education is yet to embrace everything that the Web has to offer.

    Stuff like this should expose students to the possibilities of what they can do.

  • I’m also quite fond of the tumblr format and have recently started using it. Oh, and Lisa, I found your tumblr account on the second try! Yay! ;)

  • Lisa Herrod

    Will do Chezza… You might even find this method useful for collecting snippets for ideas for your blog?

    Thanks Cam :) I guess that’s the irony isn’t it. We have access to all this great stuff online and yet perhaps it isn’t being used to its full potential. I’ve already mentioned it to another web teacher, who thinks it’s an interesting idea.
    Next steps is to put it in place. I’ve used class blogs before, but I think this is a much better idea (even if I do say so myself!)

    Andrew. Bad. (got yours in two as well).

  • Neil

    Jaiku has launched its Alpha of channels…example here:

    Once they make the UI available (soon), you can set up a channel and friends can simply join. Stay tuned via the Jaiku blog and press room.

    My id is:


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