Wednesday, November 16, 2011

RSS Feeds: Step Six

I first heard about RSS feeds when in 2010 I read Richardson (2009) Blogs,Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. It has taken me most of the intervening time to get my head around Blogs (I've got four and I'm introducing blogging to eight classes using Weebly campus accounts), Wikis (all of our grade 6 classes regularly use wikis for Space projects and some are using wikis for literature circles) and Podcasts (grade 8 water issues this month!). 
RSS, what's that? I read and reread Richardson(2009), but for some reason, this "new killer app for educators" (p. 71) evaded my understanding. Even learning RSS means Real Simple Syndication didn't help. It has been like a blind spot, a dead zone, a black hole in my cyber universe. 
I am not sure when it began to make sense. It might have been reading Trexler(2010) who listed "Feed Creation (RSS or Atom) - method of allowing readers to subscribe to the blog"(p.107) or it could have been as I played with Blogger and added and removed feed and subscription gadgets from my layout or maybe it was that time when using Google Reader I subscribed to feeds so I could follow and keep track of updates to new blogs I wanted to read regularly.
I think I get it now.
RSS feeds allow us to collect and organize web resources that may be updated regularly. The feed can be added to a site or blog or aggregator so new items appear in one place. I have added feeds for a few of my favourite blogs to Steps to Web 2.0.
 Sites and blogs may offer an RSS feed button to readers who wish to follow the blog or podcast. Muldoon (2008) provides links to a huge variety of RSS feed buttons to download.

I inadvertently found that some browsers have the capability of saving and filing subscriptions in a similar fashion to bookmarks.
"RSS is a powerful, flexible tool that has changed my information gathering habits."(Richardson, 2009, p.83) Right again!

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