RSS: The Future of Education

For choosing a news reader, previously I've recommended Ryan Stewart's "Rich RSS Readers: best of breed picks" provides an excellent introduction to his choices for the best readers. On Wednesday, Mark Glaser gave his "Top 5 for RSS Week", one of which is an exhaustive and annotated list of RSS readers, "RSS Compendium - RSS Readers".

Why is RSS so important? From TechCrunch, Marshall Kirkpatrick's article "Newsgator posts roadmap for the future of RSS" provides this answer:

RSS is the foundation of almost everything Web 2.0 - isn’t it? It’s what makes blog readership scalable, podcasts subscribable, wiki changes watchable and so much more.

RSS works by bringing to us new content from web sites (whether from blogs, wikis, online newspapers, or others) immediately as they're updated so that we don't need to return to those sites (thus saving us time) to check for new content. The content can either be chosen or searched for. For instance, for the former, I have a subscription to the Education section of the New York Times, and for the latter, I have a Google Search Engine feed that looks for items related to ESL. The Search feed brings me news from sites I am unaware of, thus diversifying my sources of information on particular topics. Thus, RSS, or news, feeds enable us, and our students, to enter and participate in conversations with others near and far away (in a way that's manageable), which in turn exposes us to diverse ideas and perspectives, which in turn are requisites of good writing, critical thinking, and learning, which in turn are primary constituents of education. RSS is the future of education in ways that we have just begun to imagine. For more on RSS, read Mark Glaser's "Your Guide to RSS", which also has links to other good resources.