What is RSS?

This past year I’ve noticed that a bunch of educators in our system have started blogging. One of the easiest ways to keep up with all these new blogs (in one place) is to use RSS. Here’s a simple explanation created by commoncraft:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/AwtmOPdrEL8" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

I use Google Reader, but there are other feed readers out there like Pageflakes or Netvibes. If you want one already set up for you, check out this one on Pageflakes–it’s all set up for Salem City Schools, complete with RSS feeds for the blogs I know about (let me know if I’ve missed yours), local weather, and local news. You can bookmark it and use it like it is or create your own account so you can add your own things.

SCS Feeds Page on PageFlakes

Download Video: Posted by tcoffey at TeacherTube.com.

Update (1/7/08)

I’ve noticed that Pageflakes sometimes runs really slow at school. If you are having trouble, you can use Netvibes instead. I’ve set up the same feeds there too. Netvibes does take awhile to load initially, but if you login and save the page, the next time you visit, it will load a lot quicker. Click here to try: Add to Netvibes After you click on this button, make sure to choose “yes” to preview the page and “yes” to add it to your page, even if you do not have a Netvibes account yet.

A New Type of Newsletter

If you are reading this blog, then you’ve found my new “newsletter” for the technology happenings at your school. Welcome!  Yes, and that’s what this is….a blog.  I am going to be blogging to keep you informed!   Why?  Because I can tell you what I need to tell you without having to wait until I put out a newsletter each month.  A blog also has advantages for other reasons.  You will be able to look back at past “news” if you need to.  You’ll be able to look for information I have written about certain topics using “tags” or categories.  I will be modeling for you a use of technology that I think would be very useful for your classroom.  And, the coolest part….blogging is actually two way communication!  See that “comment” link right below this article?  If you click on it, you can leave a comment about the article you are reading.  It’s even possible to have a nice discussion via the blog comments. 

So, let’s lay some ground rules: 
1) You do not have to comment, but please do if you have something to say. 
2) This is NOT another form of a “help” page.  If you choose to comment, please keep the discussion about the topic of the article to which you are responding.  Also, please do not leave comments about wanting to schedule a time with me—this is best done through email. 
3)  You do not have to leave your email address, but it would help me to at least know what school you are from….and your name if you feel comfortable.  First names are fine. 
4)  Remember that this page is part of the Internet.  Anyone can read it.  Do not use kids’ names. 
5)  Be honest.  If you don’t like one of my ideas, feel free to say so and tell me why.  If you have questions, ask.  If you have suggestions, please share.  If you used an idea and it went really well, tell me.  If it was a flop, tell me that too.  Remember that others can read your comments as well, so what you say may help someone else. 

So, that’s it!  Go for it!  I will remind you once a month to check this blog in lieu of sending out my monthly newsletter.  You can visit anytime…I will post new articles regularly…you don’t have to wait for my email!    

PS—Blogs also use something called RSS feed (you see it mentioned in the box to the right).  Using this feed might make it easier to keep up with this blog, and to keep tabs on a bunch of other really neat stuff on the web.  Keep a look out for webpages that have an RSS feed.  You might see a little orange xml or rss icon to let you know.  For now, just try and notice, and I’ll explain more about it later.