While catching up on e-mail, I came across a notice about three desktop widgets from eSchoolNews: Top News, Funding News, and Technology News. Each were customizable by color and size (if your institution's filter doesn't block the operation like mine did!)
I looked up the definition of "widget" in Wikipedia and found more than I wanted, so narrowed it down to "desktop widgets" and read that "widgets are interactive virtual tools that provide single-purpose services such as showing the user the latest news, the current weather, the time, a calendar, a dictionary, a map program, a calculator, desktop notes (looks like post-it notes), photo viewers, or even a language translator, among other things." A month or so ago at work, my IT Department pushed a handy YellowPages.com widget to all employees' desktops.
North Plains Public Library Director Aaron Schmidt's March 2008 Multimedia and Internet @ Schools article on "Widgets and Widgetry" covers this topic well and provides tons of examples. He concludes by saying that the widgets discussed in his article can be big timesavers while adding fun and dynamic information. The article recommends Widgipedia and Widgetbox for more widgets.