RSS Feeds

RSS is a Web 2.0 technology that allows people to “follow” your blog and allows you to follow your favorite blogs and have the information delivered right to your RSS feed each time the blog adds a new post. It is like having newspaper home delivery service.
RSS, which stands for Real Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary (depending on who you talk to) is a type of computer code. Luckily for you, no computer programming knowledge is needed to use this service. Multiple services offer you the chance to subscribe to different blogs and websites and every time they update the blog or website, the information is delivered to your RSS feed. It is like having a custom newspaper with just the articles you are interested in it delivered right to you. Having an RSS feed and subscribing to your favorite blogs and sites eliminates the need to always visit your favorite sites to see if they have posted something new.
There are many companies that offer RSS feed services. For this course we will use Google Reader, a free browser based reader.
Watch this video about RSS Feeds:

Read this tutorial and watch the video for Google Reader:

Assignment #3A
You are ready to get started. Go to Google Reader, click on the SIGN IN button in the upper right hand corner. Sign in using your Google user name and password.
You are ready to start adding subscriptions. To get you started, subscribe to the following 2 blogs:

Assignment 3B
Feed your reader:
In addition to the two blogs mentioned above it is now time to add some more blogs to your Google Reader. You want to find blogs that interest you and that you want to read. I have two different kinds of blogs in my Google reader, blogs that I read for work (book review blogs, media specialist blogs, educational technology blogs) and blogs that I read for fun (“mommy blogs”, food blogs and feeds from magazines such as People.) Find at least two or three blogs for work (teacher blogs, technology blogs etc..) and one or two fun blogs to add to your Google Reader.
Where do I find professional blogs?? A great place to look is at professional blogs you already read. Many blogs will have a blog links section on their blog (usually in the sidebar). Click on a few of those blogs to see if you find anything that interests you. Another place to look is professional magazine websites, many of them have RSS Feeds and also blog suggestions. You can also check out these lists of the best educational blogs:

  • 2009 Edublog Award Winners and Nominees -
    A fantastic resource for finding valuable education blogs. Check out the winners and nominees, especially in the first seven categories -- click a category under "2009 Nominees," then scroll to the bottom of each page to see the list. You can also explore the winners and nominees for last year by clicking the "2008" link on the right column.
  • Support Blogging! Links to School Bloggers -
    An un-vetted but rich list of possibilities. Many recognizable names, some hopefully serendipitous finds.
  • OEDb: Top 100 Edublogs -

Once you have added more blogs to your reader start checking your reader at least every other day. Get used to going through your reader and skiming and scanning your reader.
IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT YOUR GOOGLE READER: The content in your reader can be overwhelming because it will continue to "pile up" endlessly. BUT -- it's not actually there -- it hurts NOTHING for you to skim and skip items and mark them as "read" just by scrolling past them. You aren't actually deleting anything. In fact, learning to quickly scan and process a lot of news items is an essential part of RSS literacy and information management -- the important ideas will always come back around, and you will also learn to pare down your subscriptions as you go. If you feel compelled to thoroughly read every item, you will remain completely overwhelmed and quickly "quit" your reader. Keep trying -- it gets easier!

  • Write a blog post about something interesting your have found in your Google Reader – make sure you include links to the blog posts you are mentioning.

Please continue to check your reader at least every other day throughout the course. It's the only way to actually build a reading habit. If you find that some of your blog subscriptions are not interesting or are not updated very often, feel free to delete that feed.