My Wish List

I’m home for a day and want to do some catching up. First of all, my apologies for the past two posts. I taught two short sessions on blogging at conferences this week. Usually I have time to write a regular blog entry during the early morning, and post it during the presentation to demonstrate how articles are added. I had not had time to do that this week, and so, ran brief surveys to generate some content for the blog.

I guess what I need is a different blog for the purpose of demonstrating how it works, and to survey attendees of my presentations to get an evolving picture of where teachers (at least those who attend these sessions) are with regards to technology, Web 2.0, and retooling their classrooms. I’ve been looking for a reason to set up an EduBlogs account. Here it is.
Now on to my wish list. Here are three things that I want — beyond world peace. I want:

  1. A searchable and newsfeed-able blog directory for students: I am still reluctant to suggest that teachers set their students up with an aggregator to start building their own feed libraries. There’s just too much that can show up in technorati searches that parents and board members would object to (and shut the whole thing down). How might we (and who) build a Technorati for students, a directory of scholarly and kid-oriented blogs? …or is there something like that out there already.
  2. A newsfeed aggregator for students: I suspect that we would need one for elementary grades and one for secondary (middle & high school). It should be configurable around topics or units of study, where students would be able to organize their feeds, extract content that is appropriate for the assignment at hand, and publish that content in practical ways.
  3. As an aside, I want a better aggregator for adults as well. We have merely scratched the surface on what we can and should be doing with RSS distributed content. Creating feed lists is just barely useful in tapping into the growing, evolving, and increasingly valuable conversation that is emerging in the blogosphere. I want a tool that allows me to organize and present the content that I attract into a personal digital library, something that becomes an essential part of my daily problem-solving toolbox.

  4. I want a solution to a nagging problem: I believe that this emerging Web 2.0, where people connect through their ideas — through their content — is an important development, that will be essential in a time of rapid change when we will be answering new questions, solving new problems, and accomplishing new goals.
  5. However, it concerns me that our tendency will be to attract connections only with people and ideas that agree with our personal world views, and that we, as a society, will become increasingly polarized, as various enclaves of opinion reinforce and heighten their passions. How do we instill in people a desire for consensus.

    I am certain that what ever the answer is, it will have to be part of our evolving definition of literacy, the skills required to access, use, and communicate information, and the ethical context of our evolving information environment.

Happy holidays to all, and peace to all people.

More than 2¢ worth!

5 thoughts on “My Wish List”

  1. David,

    I totally agree on the aggregators. I’ve been using bloglines as have some of my students. It is difficult to use and none but the more astute students can pick it up.

    As for Technorati, I agree about the innappropriate material on the searches. I haven’t taught my students how to search on technorati or really encouraged them to search on bloglines. I guess they could figure it out, but they haven’t.

    I’ve asked them to go to sites they currently go to (that our firewall will allow through) and look for the “RSS chiclet” or “XML chiclet.” Our basketball players have really enjoyed keeping up on their stats and the stats of other teams through their RSS readers.

    It seems technorati could do a “moderate safe search” patterned after that of Google where we could have them search without all of the “junk” coming up.

    I’d wonder if you might consider a fourth: A content filter for photographs. Although flikr and google image search are great — I dislike students using them because invariably photos make it through that are totally unacceptable. The firewall may block the final photo — but it is still on the screen and in the cache.

    I’m not sure how a photo content filter would work — but it seems some sort of IA (artificial intelligence) program could be written to do that. Perhaps one is out there.

    Have a Merry Christmas! You’re the best!

  2. Just tried the Firefox extension Sage. Hoped it would be easier to use as an aggregator. My short attention span is kicking in. I can not make the OPML feature work with Bloglines. Too techie for me!

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