This was my first encounter with RSS feeds. I’ve seen the little orange icon in the corner of blogs and news sites I follow hundreds of times, but I never understood its purpose. After working through this week’s assignment and learning what an RSS feed is, I began to see its use; the gears in my head began turning, and I started thinking of the ways RSS feeds could be used by educators.
Professionally, I definitely see the appeal of using RSS feeds to follow different resources (much like the bundle created for this assignment). Instead of keeping track of several different websites, educators can save time by compiling the RSS feeds of their favorite education blogs or news sites. I’m amazed at how much easier it is to browse through the latest articles of my favorite news sources now that they are all accessible on Google Reader, and I plan on continuing to build a list of resources for teaching using RSS feeds.
RSS feeds can also be used in the classroom. Today, several teachers require students to keep blogs; a teacher could use RSS feeds to follow every students’ blog without visiting dozens of different websites. Students could also subscribe to their peers’ RSS feeds to provide feedback on assignments and facilitate discussions. As someone who believes it’s important for my students to know what’s happening in the world, I would use RSS feeds to create a bundle dedicated to current events. There are several safe news sources for children (Scholastic News, TIME for Kids, etc.) that could be included in this bundle. Students could then subscribe to the feed and be better prepared for class activities involving current events. If students don’t have individual access to the RSS feeds, it would be simple to set up a reading center during independent learning, and students could use the class iPad or even computers to follow the feed.
As I said at the beginning of this post, using RSS feeds is very new to me, but I have already found myself changing the way I find news and resources. All of education blogs and news sites that I follow are now conveniently on the same reader, and I’ve even found a mobile app (feedly) that allows me easy access to my RSS feeds on my phone. I can’t wait to learn new ways to use RSS feeds professionally.