(This has also been cross-posted here.)
When I first learned how to harness the power of the read/write web, it was by aggregating all of the blogs that meant something to me. Whether it was answering the daily challenges of Weblogg-ed, finding meaning in Edublog Insights, or trying to parse through the Borderland, I was enraptured by all of the great work already happening in the edublogosphere.
Now, I find myself with less and less time to read what others are because I am so consumed with trying to make my own vision of School 2.0 work. In some ways I think that this is an improvement. I am now participating in the conversation rather than just observing it. But, in many other ways, this is not an improvement. Will Richardson is always talking about how reading blogs prepares you for writing them, but finding the time to consume information that is not directly related to the projects that you are working on is harder than I would have ever imagined. The pile of blog posts just keeps adding up. And according to this, I will never catch up unless I do something drastic.
Well, I think I may have found a solution, both for myself and for all of the people who seem to be having the same trouble (I know that there are at least a few of you out there). I have been playing around with my new Palm T|X, which was purchased with funds from my school district’s Digital Educator Program. At first, I was rather disappointed with the limited web functionality of the built in browser. That is until I realized just how effective of a feed reader a palm pilot can be. Google Reader Mobile allows me to read one post at a time and then progress to the next. I don’t have to worry about seeing the 2000 blog posts that are unread. I can focus on just one. I can also pull it out whenever I have a free moment. I don’t have to pull out my laptop and fire up bloglines and search for something good to read. It becomes a book of blogs for me. It becomes the way for me to catch up again and listen in on the conversations going on in the edublogosphere.
The real reason, though, that I am so excited about finding this new feed reader is that I can imagine having a set of these in the classroom (5-10) and setting them up next to the bookshelf. Anytime a student wants to read something written by a fellow classmate, they take a palm pilot off of the shelf and read a few blog posts. This would not be the ideal venue for responding to blogs, but it would further the community of writing. These devices are also pretty inexpensive, so getting a few into the classroom would not require a huge investment.
What do you think? Are there other uses of a web-enabled palm device that I am missing for the classroom (other than for reference)? Is this another way of creating School 2.0 in small increments.