Blogs are content-management systems built on databases—so sorting and organizing information is one of the chief advantages of they have over traditional page-by-page-built websites. After some exploration a few years ago, I jumped in and developed several sites with Blogger, WordPress, and Tumblr.
Using robust multi-contributor platforms like WordPress or Drupal, I can envision students in a class posting all written material to a single blog as co-contributors and categorizing or keywording their entries as they go. Over the course of a year, an instructor could collect all the times students categorized their entries as “social studies”, “drawing” or “fiction” and compare and contrast entries, identify trends, or weak spots in understanding.
RSS (“Really Simple Syndication” or “Rich Site Summary”) readers manage incoming content. An unfortunate side effect is that we choose the news we want to see. We don’t expose ourselves to alternate viewpoints, or those that may not be popular or commercially-viable. See my comments in the Feedly discussion for my newsreader: Zite.
Cone, Sweet Cone
The Cone of Experience proposed by Edgar Dale describes increasingly abstract levels of experience. I appreciate that he makes a point to say they overlap and are not judged higher or lower.
RSS is a way to receive verbal and, to a lesser extent, visual symbols. Processing the stream of stories and (sometimes) images requires abstract thinking.
Blogs are ideally suited to creating text with still pictures and supporting recordings, sound or visual. An author may post verbal or visual symbols, or embed sound or video recordings. The act of posting may be a direct purposeful experience, using tactile and visual stimuli. I would guess that repetition blunts the positive effect of direct action after a few posts.
If I want to change anything about how people cheerlead for tech, it’s that some think an online experience substitutes for a hands-on direct purposeful experience, study trip or exhibit (using some named cones). The world is not flat-screen. It’s messy, multi-dimensional and does not have an Undo button. Learning that everything can't be manipulated is also a lesson.