obtained on the internet. Some web browsers now have a newsreader feature built in and the feature is promised for newer operating systems coming in the near future such as Microsoft’s upcoming Windows update. Popular sites such as My MSN, My Yahoo! and My AOL each have built-in RSS readers. All that is required by the individual once they have decided on their feed aggregator of choice is a few minutes of setup and then subscribing to the feeds that interest them.
Setting up a news aggregator is relatively easy. My preference is Bloglines at www.bloglines.com. I like it because it is free and it is web-based, meaning I can access it from any computer connected to the web.
There are many guides on the internet to take you through the set-up procedure but the one I prefer is “RSS: a Quick Start Guide for Educators”4 at Will Richardson’s Weblogg-Ed blog (www.weblogged.com). This will take you through setting up a Bloglines account and has plentiful tips for using it in education. A more extensive explanation of RSS Feeds can be found at the Contentious5 blog written by Amy Gahran, a self-described content strategist, in her 12 part series entitled “What are Web Feeds (RSS) and Why Should You Care?”
So why would this be of this interest to you? Well, if you are using the internet as a source of information, and visit sites on a regular basis, sifting through the material you like to read can eat up a lot of the time in your day. With RSS feeds set up in your aggregator, you’d only have to go to one location to read all of the news content on all of those sites. As Will Richardson, teacher and self proclaimed blog evangelist and RSS advocate explains in his Quick Start Guide, “when you’re ready, you open the aggregator to read the individual stories, file them for later use, click through to the site itself, or delete them if they’re not relevant. In other words, you check one site instead of 30… not a bad trade-off for a typically busy teacher”6. For busy educators, any tool that can save them some of their valuable time is a welcome resource.
Internet sites that have RSS feeds can be determined by the presence of any of these icons:
Sometimes they are displayed boldly near the top of the web page or they may be hidden near the bottom of the page in an unobtrusive link. The fact is that RSS feeds are becoming commonplace and can be found more frequently. As more and more RSS feeds are created by a growing number of sites, RSS feed
4 Richardson, W., RSS: A Quick Start Guide for Educators, Ver. 1.5, Updated 3/29/05 Retrieved from www.weblogg-ed.com.
5 Gahran, Amy, Contentious Blog, What are Web Feeds (RSS) and Why Should You Care?, Retrieved from http://blog.contentious.com/archives/2004/05/04/what-are-webfeeds-rss-and- why-should-you-care, 5/4/2004.
: A Quick Start Guide for Educators Ver. 1.5, Retrieved
from www.weblogg-ed.com, Updated 3/29/05,