Ryan raises some really interesting ideas about the uses of RSS and trackback and how they might work in the classroom. The ultimate here from a teaching standpoint would obviously be an aggregated page of student work that was somehow sortable by either student or assignment or, preferably, both. Even more, it would be great to be able to comment back to student sites via the aggregator (which I think is something that Radio can do but not Manila(?)).
Even more, however, is the use of the aggregator by students to follow each other’s work. I alluded to this before when I was thinking about putting my students into smaller working groups, a plan I’m going to implement this week. The desired effect is to get students to learn from the process of others by tuning in more closely, and to give feedback in the collaborative group style. Not that they can’t just click through to the three or four sites in their group, but I’d like them to see how easy this new concept of information gathering is. I see them subscribed to the class homepage, 3/4 feeds of their workgroup, the NY Times and BBC newsfeeds, and a couple of feeds of sites that correspond to their beats. First stop every day will be the aggregator.
As always, I wish I knew more about the technology. When Ryan and Dale Pike and others say they want more control over the creation of the feed, my eyes start to glaze over. I probably should carve out some time to get half my brain around the whole RSS 2.0 thing since it sounds like it adds a lot of flexibility to the whole concept. Anyone read Ben Hammersley’s book yet?