Learning about the Really Simple Syndication (RSS) has been most intriguing although slightly stressful. I realize now that after years of using the internet just exactly how much I do not know. Often, I had seen the RSS logo and never paid any attention to it. Obviously I did not understand what it was, how it could simplify internet usage, and ways I could incorporate it into the classroom.
RSS provides a readily accessible link for readers of your blog to immediately connect to content the author of the blog feels is important and useful to the reader. The RSS links are real time, meaning that as the secondary webpage is updated, so is your link. This provides the reader with up to date information, which I have found with regard to technology, is ever changing. Once the author of the blog had identified the sites they prefer, the rest is up to the reader. I fully intend to read the articles published in the sites I selected to be in my Learning Log bundle faithfully.
As I began to construct the bundle, my mind went directly to my classroom. I have often worried about keeping my students safe on the internet and not had a solution as to controlling safe websites. Needless to say, internet usage in my class has been limited. Now with the knowledge I have gained during this exercise, I now have a way to do this. Whereas we do a lot of writing in the classroom, research based writing has been very controlled and based mostly on articles I provide my students along with reading books on the subject of choice. I now realize I can create bundles of safe websites for the students to read and conduct research. This will be applicable in all subject areas and is something I intend to create immediately. We are currently beginning a unit on energy. I will locate sites which meet our needs, create a bundle, put a shortcut on the student computers, and then explain to the class how to utilize the bundle. I am anticipating some learning curve on both sides but hopefully we will be successful and I look forward creating more bundles as time goes on. I have attached a link to the bundle created in Google Reader. Please click on the folder titled Teaching Resources for RSS links I thought would be useful.