What are Web Aggregation Tools?

Aggregation is the process of transparently gathering together distributed pieces of online content based on an interest in the topic(s), the author(s), or other shared characteristics. RSS readers are one way to aggregate data, but with the increase in personal publishing, new tools for aggregation are emerging. Using these tools, readers can easily track a distributed conversation that takes place across blogs, Twitter, and other publishing platforms, as well as pull in relevant resources from news feeds and other sources.

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Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - alan alan Jan 25, 2011

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Use of this technology may reduce "noise" around a particular area of interest by allowing focussed searching of trusted sources. If appropriate functionality is provided, web aggregation tools may allow analysis that develops insight both from the aggregation of data and from the searches made.- Gavin Gavin Feb 17, 2011 - judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Feb 26, 2011
  • I like what Clay Shirky says, in that the issue is not information overload but rather filter failure. Teaching how to filter (RSS, aggregation, smart searches) is a key digital literacy. - bwatwood bwatwood Feb 20, 2011. Agreed with filter failure, but it's probably a combination of both - horncheah horncheah Feb 26, 2011
  • This can potentially be very important as the need to filter information will be increasingly critical. - horncheah horncheah Feb 26, 2011
  • Aggregation pulls together information and data for a common theme but doesn't necessarily reduce the noise. Take for example Google analytics, some schools are starting to explore the use of such tools and be able to pull information together. But to be able to decipher, filter and interpret is truly a next generation skill. Other tools like Wolfram|Alpha is a good example of positive aggregation that has been beneficial in education. - adrian.lim adrian.lim Feb 27, 2011

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • A stronger emphasis needs to be put on aggregation as RSS vs aggregation using a tool like LibGuides or Netvibes to distribute information to students. Personal curation of information can be supported by teachers 'pushing' information out for students and teachers. Web Aggregation can be a very strong way of supporting and/or chronicling student learning http://theunquietlibrary.libguides.com/media21 http://theunquietlibrary.libguides.com/content.php?pid=164323&sid=1386412- judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Feb 26, 2011
  • I would agree with Judy...the other piece to this is the curation that goes hand in hand with aggregation. I'm not sure the two should be separated at this point. It's one thing to collect, it's another to sift and select and synthesize. - will.richardson will.richardson Feb 26, 2011

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?

  • There is potential for rapid and reliable insight into specific subjects, as well as up to the minute access to most recent postings, of particular interest where the subject is changing rapidly, or events are in some way adding to the body of knowledge - Gavin Gavin Feb 17, 2011 - judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Feb 26, 2011
  • I've always thought aggregation was a big deal and haven't really understood the slow uptake. But again, classroom teachers and educators in general have very little context for what this means and how it can be used, and to be honest, I don't see much movement in that direction. - will.richardson will.richardson Feb 26, 2011 I agree - in my work with teachers I have found slow uptake in use of tools to aggregate despite the clear value for currency. Perhaps it's something to do with the syllabus core content - until that is unleashed from 'text book' learning, aggregation will play second fiddle. - judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Feb 26, 2011

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • Futurelab's Education Eye was a Becta funded project "to explore mobilising technology leadership in education" see http://www.futurelab.org.uk/resources/education-eye. Taking a specific subject area, a group of expert curators identifies important sources, whether twitter, blogs or web sites. These are then presented to the user/searcher in through an engaging interface. New instances of Education Eye can be developed for new subject areas through an appropriate curating group, and back end tools can be used to analyse the data that arises from the resulting web aggregation - Gavin Gavin Feb 17, 2011 * add your response here* Please share information about related projects in our Horizon K-12 Project form.