lists (eg RSS Compendium7) and search sites (eg Feedster – www.feedster.com8) are being created that list links to RSS feeds from most areas of the internet. RSS feeds can also be found through a simple Google or Yahoo! search.
The following list is not exhaustive but just a few of the ways that RSS feeds can be used by educators. As more and more sites develop and support RSS feeds for their content the list is sure to expand.
I have found the ability to subscribe to various news sources, blogs and websites to be one of the most timely and cost-effective forms of professional development I have ever experienced. Through my Bloglines account subscriptions to various RSS feeds from blogs – which include technology- centred topics as well as subject content topics, technology newsletters, news sources and a variety of personal interest subscriptions, I have been able to keep-up-to-date on a wide variety of subjects from leading experts in the field. I feel like I am closer to the leading edge of what is going on in my field.
I used to spend a large amount of time surfing the internet for topic specific content. Now I’m tracking more information in a shorter period of time. One of the nicest things about RSS feeds is that for those content sites I have subscribed to the information about content updates on the site comes to me. I no longer have to surf through a long list of sites in my favorites list. I choose the sources of the information that I receive and can choose to read it now or later.
Any teacher of a content area such as social studies or world events can find up to the minute information via an RSS feed. For example if the teacher were focusing on a particular current world event, it is possible to subscribe to and read news on that topic from several different sources. The aggregator checks for feeds at regular intervals from 15 minutes to hourly. The updated information is timely, immediate and because you can get information from a number of reputable sources you know the information is accurate.
Teachers and their students could subscribe to feeds from different parts of the news world about a current event in the news to compare and contrast the information and/or to check to see if there were any biases. For example, an RSS feed from the BBC news may have a totally different emphasis on the London bombings than the feed from the New York Times or Reuters. What would a news report of the elections in Iraq contain if it came from a Middle Eastern newspaper? Giving this kind of information to students allows them to
7 RSS Compendium, http://allrss.com/rssfeeds.html. This is a collection of links to major collections of feeds, sorted into categories. Ex. Companies/Business, Education, Finance, etc., November 2005.
8 Feedster, www.feedster.com. Search tool for finding RSS feeds from a variety of sources on the Web, November 2005.