Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Existing Applications

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Apr 07, 2007

D'Arcy Norman writes,

The solution to every problem doesn't have to involve "Hey! Let's design and build some cool new software!" - more often than not, especially in the last year or two, it should be more of "Hey! Let's use these existing apps in new ways!"
Of course, all 'existing tools' were once tools that didn't exist, and were built. Quite recently in fact.

But if the point is (and I think it is) that we don't need special *edu* tools, then of course you're right. An ordinary application will do the job just as well - better, because it won't segregate all the educational stuff.

It makes me think, though, that i should rename Edu_RSS.

My thinking is that people should could use a powerful application to do all this stuff. All along I have been designing Edu_RSS as a *personal* tool. I'll set up a hosting service at some point in the future to show people what I mean by that (just waiting for NRC approval to open source it).

Because, if you can filter feeds, or subscribe to someone else's filtered feed, that greatly increases the number of feeds you can be exposed to.

RSS readers have always been, right from the very beginning, based on subscribing to individual 'channels' - but doing it this way leads straight to a star system, a world of A-listers and also-rans. It is then no improvement over print journalism or broadcasting.

People should be able to accumulate what amounts to a personalized database of references and resources, that they can access and export in various ways. This base should consist not only of blog posts but all manner of resources, such as people, organizations, events and publications.

And it should connect and enable access to the full range of external services, such as Blogger,, Flickr, etc. So people can, from their personal location, easily move themselves and their materials from one collaborative space to another.

That application doesn't exist yet - it needs to be built. But it should not be simply an 'educational' application. It should be a personal online presence application.

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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