Monday, August 17, 2009

What is RSS??

What a great idea! RSS or Really Simple Syndication is a web based tool that aims to save you – the user – time. To keep it simple a RSS is a way of making the information you seek come to you rather than you having to look for it yourself. RSS aggregators are most commonly used to track blogs, news, podcasts more and it is so simple to set up (Commonwealth of Australia, 2009). The first thing that I was required to do was to subscribe to an RSS reader or aggregator. This is a simple and also ‘free’ program that requires you to fill in a few details. This takes no more than a few minutes and could be quite simply done by almost anyone. From there it is as simple as subscribing to the information you want. This can be done by clicking on the RSS feed symbol (commonly an orange button) which is found on many websites or some sites have their own button. From here whenever an update or new bit of information comes from one of these sites your RSS reader will have it. The RSS reader I have used is Google Reader, my experiences with this reader so far have been nothing but positive and I would recommend it highly to anyone.

Educators could make the most of a RSS aggregator in tasks that require the learners to post blogs, create a wiki, flickr or a range of other sites. Rather than the teacher being required to go and check on the progress of every student in the class, the information is able to be brought to them. Learners too, could use an RSS reader successfully, perhaps by subscribing to a site relevant to a particular piece of information they are after or even to track and comment on their classmates’ work. This would allow students to keep in touch with one another and therefore relates specifically to Kearsley & Shneidermans (1999) engagement theory which encourages collaboration between peers in authentic and meaningful tasks. Whether this technology could be used for all age levels would require further investigation, however in my mind there is definitely potential for this technology to have a lasting impact in education.

Commonwealth of Australia (2009). RSS: really simple syndication. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 13, 2009, from

Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology- based teaching and learning. Citing computer references. Retrieved July 10, 2009, from

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