Tuesday, January 11, 2005

About blogging and RSS

In the Elise course, I have learned about (we)blogging, Wiki and RSS as possibly interesting technologies for e-learning.

Since that course module, I have installed Mozilla's Firefox as my default browser, partly because it is non-Microsoft and it allows 'tabbed' browsing, but mainly because it integrates RSS-functionailty in the form of 'Live bookmarks'. This means that the 10 most recent RSS-feeds are available from a pull-down menu.

I have also replaced Netscape Messenger by Mozilla's Thunderbird, for similar reasons. The RSS-feeds in Thunderbird are treated like e-mails, which allows one to store them locally, search them, and use them as a personal knowledge base.

The advantage of RSS - dubbed by some as the 'Next killer app for education' - has the advantage that each individual Internet-user can subscribe to content that he is interested in, without having to go look for it. For example, I keep track of what is happening at my old university, what is happening in my region of the country, etc. Even commercial information aggregation services, such as My Yahoo! now allow one to add RSS feeds to your personal pages, thus allowing you to keep track of your information, even when you're using a public computer.

(We)blogging is a technology (or a service) that allows you to write your personal online diary. You can use a weblog to share personal thoughts, poetry, pictures (so-called photo-blogs) or even audio (so-called podcasting). Even serious media, such as the quality newspaper 'De Standaard' have a weblog. There is quite some interest for the educational use of weblogging, for example for student portfolios.

(We)blogging and RSS are often combined, thus allowing one to keep track of people's personal thoughts or interesting discoveries. A landmark in this area is Stephen Downes's site.

Well, that's it for now.

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