RSS feeds

This week in ET501 I am feeling rather overwhelmed, Zotero referencing is one thing but now I need to wrap my head around RSS feeds. Would you believe that is just one of the many things with the “Internet and technology” that I was just hoping I’d never have to deal with.  I am a total Luddite in this area.  And you just know it is going to bite you in the bum when it is something that has haunted you for years and you’ve just kind of shoved it under the proverbial world wide web rug.

RSS feeds popped up in my email client, they even had a number next to them… what was that? I haven’t even subscribed to anything, why do I have things to read? More things to read at that. Surely getting through my email Inbox is enough, now we have to check Twitter, Facebook, SMS, check-in via FourSquare… and RSS? This is ridiculous.  But alas we manage and in some ways they integrate themselves in to our lives… but to what benefit?

Well RSS is Really Simple Syndication, and from what I can gather it is basically like your very own personal twitter mailman before twitter was ever around.  It is supposed to save you time, in theory, by taking all those news reports, blog feeds, professional development updates etc and bring them in to one location – your RSS reader.  That is if you’re browsing somewhere and you think “This is awesome info, but I’ll never remember how to get back here or I’ll forget to check” then subscribe via RSS.  Next time there is a change to the info on the site or an update to a blog on site you’ll get it in your reader feed. Pretty groovy.

But how could we use it in the classroom?  Here are some simple suggestions:
(1) Give students a series of topics to choose from and ask them to find 5 to 10 RSS feeds regarding the topic.  They’d be learning search and research skills and then about RSS readers.  The final output artifact could be a visual reader output like “feedly“.

(2)Have students look at current events and compare RSS feeds from different news papers in order to determine if bias exists by publisher/network.  This could be quite an interesting result!

(3) In Mathematics I’m sure there must be a way or site that tracks RSS subscriptions or the statistics behind subscribers for RSS feeds.  An analysis of this as a time series could be quite interesting especially when compared to other subscriber bases like Facebook or Twitter.

(4) From a professional standpoint teachers can save time by having a variety of sources deliver up-to-date and relevant information directly to your desktop.

Lastly try checking out some more interesting EdTech feeds here on my shared links page http:


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