Google Reader is dead. Long live Google Reader.
Amidst the panic and mayhem surrounding this, I decided to view this as an opportunity. We often resist change, actively ignoring of dismissing new options for arbitrary reasons mostly related to them being new. Even more often, the new product is missing some “vital” feature we just can’t possibly live without. Some examples:
The first iMac that (gasp!) didn’t have a floppy drive.
The first laptop that didn’t have a DVD drive.
The first laptop that didn’t have a hard drive.
And so on.
But what I’ve found from each of those things happening is that the removal of the feature becomes an advantage. My thinking becomes more flexible, and I find that I can solve the same sort of problems as before. What I saw as a disadvantage becomes an advantage.
So when Google decided to kill Reader, I was sad. It was watching a friend go. But I knew that the options to replace it would be better and more powerful. More flexible. Worthy.
And so it is. I’ve been using Feedly now for a few months, and it is better than Reader was. It syncs between multiple devices. It’s very pretty on my iPad. The Chrome plugin is pretty nice. It even works properly on the screen of my phone. And the handling of going to the full article from the stub is lovely and (above all) fast.
People seem to be endlessly interested in what apps I use on my iPad, despite my insistance that it isn’t about the apps at all. My choices move around pretty often, but as of today, here’s what I’m using most:
In the dock, you’ll find my most-used apps. These include Drafts, Feedly, iBooks, Mailbox, Wikipanion, and Chrome. Of those, Chrome, Mailbox, and iBooks are pretty simple. Drafts is an amazing app I’ve written about before. It functions as my go-to for anything I’m going to do with text. Once I write it in Drafts, I can push that text into whatever app I need to be able to manipulate it. Feedly is my replacement for Google Reader, and Wikipanion is what I use to read massive amounts of Wikipedia articles.
And that’s it, really. Pretty simple.
Revolutionary ideas are nearly useless in education. They won’t happen. Nobody is willing to dismantle the educational system entirely to rebuild it some other way. It’s too much work, with to many vested interests, with too little money available and too much money at stake. This idea of revolutionary change is like moving something heavy with one big, hard shove. Possible, but dangerous. Risky. Unlikely.
What we need to aim for are sustained small changes. Incremental moves that slowly and surely move us in the right direction. If you found my previous article about fruit in schools small and trite, put it in this context: I might actually get that change in place. I might also be able to get other small changes like that in place. The cumulative effect of these seemingly small changes can cause large and meaningful changes to a school or district. Think of this like moving that same heavy thing with small, measured, incremental shoves. Metered. Doable. Sustainable. Likely.