Monday, November 5, 2012

Sharing Really Simple Syndication with My School Community

I have learned an incredible amount about Web 2.0 tools in the past couple of months. I think the world of Really Simple Syndication and aggregators is the one I was the most ignorant about. I had seen the little orange icon on all sorts of news sites but never took the time to learn more about it. I realize now, that no one can really thrive in the information age without using an aggregation site and subscribing to feeds. I found the chapter called "RSS: The Killer App for Educators" in Will Richardson's book Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Webtools for Classrooms an excellent crash course.
I did a little more web browsing on the topic and came across this informative graphic that explains the basic concept of RSS.


After learning through my current coursework how to use Google Reader to read the blogs of my peers from one location, I began looking at how I could bring it into my work as a teacher-librarian and administrator. Subscribing to feeds from some of the best technology and teacher-librarian blogs and news sites to support my own professional development was a goods start. The discipline and routine of going to my Google Reader page every day is still a work in progress.

My next step was to learn how to bring the power of RSS into my school community. I thought the best place to start was to share information  with students and parents by embedding feeds and combinations of feeds into my school wiki.

I started by creating a parent news page on my wiki and then embedding a bundle of related feeds into the page. I combined five feeds together by making a Google bundle (see below). I embedded the information in two ways. The first was taking the link of my bundle and pasting into Wikispaces RSS feed widget and set it to show 20 articles at once (possibly risking information overload for any one reading the wiki page).The second way was by copying the Java embed code from the bundle and pasting it into generic widget on my wiki which embeds display box of the five feeds on a webpage that can be clicked on so users can subscribe to it using their own RSS aggregator.

Flushed by that success, I then decided to make another page on my wiki for current events projects. I created a RSS feed by turning a search of Google News into an RSS feed and embedding that into a wikipage (see below).

 Google Bundles

Within Google Reader you can make a bundle out of all the feeds you organized into a folder. When the bundle is created you can share it on your public Google Plus page or you can paste the Java Script into a blog, wiki or website so others can subcribe to them. I have an example the subscription bundle I made below. I put the same posting on the wiki I set up for school as an embedded feed and as a subscription box. I have created a screencast that shows the steps.

Creating a News Feed Using Google News

You can view the Jing screencast I created that explains how to make an RSS feed from Google News and paste it into a Wikispace page.


  1. You absolutely have captured the essential nature of RSS to enable us to tame the information overload of social media. Your advanced and indepth discussion of how this tool can be used as well as your personal reflection on its meaning for you, were so useful. Excellent reflective post again!

  2. Thanks for the great information about RSS. I love it.