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Archive for the ‘RSS’ Category

Could it be any easier? Take a tour & try it out. If you spend any amount of time online this will change your life.

(And who is that good-looking Google engineer?)

UPDATE:  Once you’re comfortable using Google Reader, Sue Waters has a great (more advanced) tips on her blog.

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Sorry.  I’m slow.  Friends have been pointing me to this video for a few days and I finally got a chance to see it.  Thank goodness I did.  This is a great follow-up to Lee LeFever’s first video about RSS.

Are you new to wikis?  Then this is the video you need to watch.

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The Web Comes to You

web 2.0 logosI have a friend who loves to ask people to choose between one thing or another. He’ll say something like, you can have email or IM but not both. Which would you choose? I love it because it forces you to distill what’s most important to you. These days, the one thing that seems to be bubbling to the top of my list is Netvibes. If you haven’t used it before, Netvibes is an aggregator. It helps you subscribe and keep up to date without having to go and check all those places you lurk online each day. When you subscribe to a feed, anything new on that site comes to you (just like the old-fashioned news feed that fed the latest national and international news from the news services to local newspapers). What’s really handy is that you can create collections of web places you like and share those collections with others. A few of us have started swapping our favourite collections. Netvibes calls these “ecosystems”.

Want to start? Here’s a simple Netvibes page I made with links to blogs about learning and technology. Click it and you have your first Netvibes page. Here’s a screencast to help you get a sense of how Netvibes works. Make sure that you sign in if you want to keep your Netvibes page. (Here’s a short tutorial showing you how.) Once you’ve claimed your page, you can add to it or delete the feeds you don’t like. You can customize your page by changing the colours or adding tabs of your own. And, please, when you’ve created something you like, share it.

Let’s take it one step further. There are some great ways to use feeds with students. For example, if students collect their own feeds (their blog, their photos on Flickr, their bookmarks, their videos), they’ve created portfolios gathered from all the pieces of their digital identities. These portfolios are easy to share and they’re always up to date. As a teacher, you can subscribe to all those portfolios as they’re being developed and even after the course has ended — if you want to keep in touch with your students and they continue to update.

As an educator, using feeds lets you create a customized “living textbook”. For example, maintain a blog during the course to guide the learning and give structure. Add that feed to Netvibes. Add the feeds from your students’ blogs so that everyone’s learning is easily shared and visible. Take a feed from a del.icio.us tag for the course (everyone tags their bookmarks with the course code, for instance, and then you have a class collection of resources). Add feeds from sources that help students current on what’s happening in the news that might be related to the course. Link to other blogs related to what you’re learning. Maybe even add a feed from a Google calendar to keep everyone straight on due dates. Pulling all these pieces together create a kind of hub for the course. It’s constantly up-to-date and it doesn’t go away once the course is finished. It evolves.

Finally, using feeds can help keep you aware of what your colleagues are doing. It gives you a way to share resources — ideas, rubrics, checklists or guidelines. It helps give you a way to broadcast your own work and ask for help if you need it. Some people post their syllabi on their blog and then ask for feedback in the blog comments.

The great thing about feeds is that they’re flexible. You’re only limited by your imagination.

If you’re interested in learning more about feeds, Quentin D’Souza has created a great guide called RSS Ideas for Educators (pdf).

(Photo, Logo 2.0, part I, by Ludwig Gatzke)

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Get up to speed fast

Wayne MacPhail posted one of the best intros to Web 2.0 I’ve seen — very clear, no big scary words. I’m particularly impressed with how Wayne explains RSS — something that’s hard to grasp until you’ve used it. If you want to get up to speed quickly, it’s 30 minutes well-spent.

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