The New Ways of News

When the web first came out, it seemed one of the most important features was instaneity of the news. Journalists were able to publish stories moments after they happened and readers were able to get them before the evening news. The world’s information was getting faster. Now, it’s getting more creative.

With RSS feeds, our ability to manipulate the way we view information has increased and this seems to have shaped our way of viewing the world. I no longer read the news as just a citizen, but as a teacher, a technologist, an athlete, etc.. As I customize my news, I seem to more deeply entrench myself into fewer niches. RSS technology is now creating more ways to absorb the world.

Daily Universe takes an interesting astronomy-inspired approach to this world view by creating constellations out of news stories. The concept is inspired by the idea that “our constellations were actually created by a small handful of astronomers, who, over the years, decided to project their own particular worldviews into the night sky” (from the Statement which also explains several ways to look at Daily Universe). Instead of linear headlines, stories are plotted as stars and connections are made. It’s certainly worth a look

shapes constellation

Another interesting RSS feeder that came out a few years ago is 10 X 10, a sort-of photographic mosaic of the most recent news stories. 10 X 10 was created by Jonathan Harris and works by scouring RSS feeds from top news agencies around the world and then looking for keywords (like tags) and associated images to create a visual-learner’s information paradise. What’s really cool though is the History button (below the images), which lets you look at any hour, day, month, or year in images.

As a classroom application, I challenged my students, a few who have taken it up, to join me in creating their own personal 10 X 10 by listing on their blogs (or in paper journals) the 10 words that best describe their day. The students say that’s hard, because they have to analyze and summarize information in a concise way. But doing it with personal information is also more meaningful. “It’s almost like poetry” said one student. I’m hoping such skills can be transferred to more subject-based material, such as selecting 10 words to summarize a science unit or a character from an assigned novel.

My next step will be to have them create a photojournal for each day in a month and post it to a photo-sharing site such as Flickr or Picasa to create their own mosaic. As a learning tool, dividing the students into groups and have each group take one photo that represents a concept their currently learning in each subject (math, language arts, science, etc.) and creating a 10 X 10 could really help them conceptualize standardized information. They could even create this digitally using a tool like Mosaickr.

Comments

  1. Marie Belt

    Great ideas for classrooms applications! I’m interested in exploring this for myself.

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