Pat and Seb (welcome back!) both point to more development comments by Dave Winer, this time referring to an RSS Aggregator feature in Manila. (And, btw, it looks like Pam has him working on Audblog integration, at least with Radio.) Aside from the tempered excitement I’m feeling about his renewed interest in the tool, this latest “improvement” has some really interesting potential.
I’ve been trying to find a way to introduce RSS to my students…it’s just such a fit for journalism in terms of bringing the news to the student instead of the other way around. (Don’t get me wrong; we can never overteach research skills.) But all of the decent RSS aggregators out there require some type of software installation on the machine. That’s an issue since we correctly don’t want to overload classroom computers with a lot of stuff that only small segments of the student population will use.
But Dave is integrating aggregator right into the software:
This is an experiment. I’ve wanted to try this out for quite some time — it’s a mini-aggregator in a Manila site. A managing editor selects feeds for a news page for his or her community. This means that people can learn about and enjoy a news aggregator without having to install and run one on their own.
How cool would that be? As an ME, I could set them up with a few basic feeds…NY Times, Monitor, etc. Then, they could add to it as they develop their beats and interests. They could add feeds from classmates’ Web logs. Heck, they could even get feeds generated from me, or the school.
And this is where it really starts to gel for me. In that interview that I mentioned yesterday, the thing that really pushed my thinking on this was when he said “Ultimately it’s going to be a basic skill like e-mail or using a word processor. It’s going to be like writing…” Um, yeah…even more. What if we could set it up so that a student has a Web log that is her log in page when she enters the network. Each morning, the aggregators collect headlines or stories from sites she’s interested in. She also get feeds from her teachers, and news and or announcements from the school. She uses the Web log as an online electronic portfolio, and by generating separate feeds for separate “departments,” her teachers, mentors, counselors, etc. can aggregate only the relevant information they need. All of her homework could be turned in through the Web log. All of the feedback and response could be stored there as well. And parents could watch the whole thing develop.
It’s a whole new paradigm of sharing and transmitting information. Might not be that great of a leap for most, and it’s there’s still a lot of work to be done, but this whole thing continues to open my eyes.