Monday, April 14, 2008

#8 (Week 4) Learn about RSS feeds and set up a blog reader account

Make Life “really simple” with RSS & a news reader

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You’ve heard of RSS? You’ve seen those small funny tags on websites? You’ve heard co-workers and acquaintances swear by it, but still have no idea what RSS is? Well don’t worry, according to a this survey you’re still in the majority, but this is changing rapidly. In the information world, RSS is not only revolutionalizing the way news, media and content creators share information, but it also is swiftly changing the way everyday users are consuming information.

RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” and is a file format for delivering regularly updated information over the web. Just think about the websites and news information sources you visit everyday. It takes time to visit those sites and scour the ad-filled and image-heavy pages for just the text you want to read, doesn’t it? Read more about RSS here or see this video at BlipTV.

Now imagine if you could visit all those information sources and web pages in just one place and all at the same time … without being bombarded with advertising… without having to search for new information on the page you’d already seen or read before… and without having to consume a lot of time visiting each site individually. Would that be valuable to you? Well, it’s available now through a newsreader and RSS. This week’s discovery exercises focus on learning about RSS news feeds and what free tools you can use to do this.

Discovery Exercise:
1. Follow these discovery exercises to set up your own, personalized RSS feed reader. Learn about the difference between RSS feed readers, Bloglines, and Google Reader.
2. Create a free "RSS aggregator" account from either Bloglines or Google Reader and subscribe to at least 5 newsfeeds to your reader. [BLOGLINES. Here are the steps for creating an account in BLOGLINES. See Using Bloglines Tutorial steps 1-3 for instructions. See also a short video on TeacherTube: RSS In Plain English ; GOOGLE READER. You may prefer to set up an RSS aggregator in Google Reader. Tutorials include: Google Reader Tour, video tutorial#1 or #2.]
3. Create a post in your blog about this exercise. Don’t know what to blog about? Think about these questions: What do you like about RSS and newsreaders? How do you think you might be able to use this technology in your school or personal life? How can libraries use RSS or take advantage of this new technology? Optional: If you're up to the challenge, you can provide the URL address to your public bloglines account (find where to find this below)

Newsfeeds to add to your reader:
San Jose Mercury News Feeds (pick at least one)

  • Reader’s Club new review feeds
  • Unshelved - Library cartoon feed
  • Maybry Middle School, Georgia - example RSS feed
  • Discovery Resources:

    How to find your public Bloglines URL:

    1. Click on the Share tab within your Bloglines account:
    2. Scroll down the right screen pane and locate the public URL.
    Why have a public account? To share blog rolls with others, of course. That's how we keep track of School Library Learning 2.0 participants