Sunday, February 06, 2005

RSS webevent with Will Richardson

I have finally found time to listen to the recording of RSS: The New Killer App for Educators" with Will Richardson at Learning Times and am going to blog notes of the session here.

Will, a self-confessed "blogvangelist" maintains Weblogg-ed, a weblog "dedicated to discussions and reflections on the use of Weblogs, wikis, RSS, and other Internet-related technologies in the K-12 classroom" , and is also a founding contributor of ed-tech insider at eSchool news.

RSS: Rich Site Summary / Real Simple Syndication

1. RSS brings content to the reader

RSS could be the solution to email spam. With RSS you have full control over the things you subscribe to, with email you don't

2. Two parts to RSS
a) The feed b) the aggregator

RSS is useful for web content that changes regularly

3. Feed = URL

xml file

4. Use of RSS/Aggregator

Most weblogs have built in RSS feeds. Many traditional media have RSS feeds

Will uses the web-based Bloglines as an aggregator.

158 feeds in one space means : less time / more content / more control /

5. How to find feeds:

look for the orange xml button / site subscription /
use Search Engine /

6. RSS = Tool for lifelong learning

Will doesn't know what will happen to blogs, and other Read/Write thechnologies in the future, but is convinced that RSS has a long future

7. RSS news searches

Yahoo News / Google News /

Every time there is new information, it is brought directly to the aggregator

Feedster /

Note: Will had pledged to himself not to go over 150 feeds - can get overwhelming

8. RSS = classroom communication tool

Will's classrooms have gone paperless due to RSS. His students use weblogs, and Will subscribes to them.

They can subscribe to each other.

There are different ways to connect

9. Read what I write AND read what I read

Information management : Furl 7 del.icious

Will doesn't blog about everything he reads. But uses Furl,

Furl - (Saves pages)
can start creating your own little corner of the Internet just for you.
can save pages into your archive (saves just links)

If you are interested in keeping track of what someone reads, can subscribe to someone's Furl archive

Could subscribe to just 'library wikis' on Will's Furl

10. Key to RSS

Information management

Subscribe once, and you don't have to

Quickstart guide to RSS on Will's site:


- What about information overload? How can you signal what is useful?

A lot of bloggers out there are writing about this. Will's blog is where he writes about what is most important to him at the time. The blog becomes the 'card catalogue' for things he wants to write about, retain. Furl he uses to flag things he things are relevant. He might not go back to more than 10% of these, but it's nice to know that he can go and find an article 2 years later, even when this page is not available on the Internet.

Will learns a lot from other people that he couldn't do if it weren't for RSS

- Correcting blogs

He doesn't really correct blogs. He tries to teach his kids to synthesise and bring info from other sources - a great skill to teach kids

- ESL blogs

used at his school for online book reviews, etc

- Furls /

Will wants to start a quick strat guide to these tools in the near future

- Time consuming

Yes, absolutely, but it's such an important tool, and a lot of fun.

Summing up

Will's presentation was very well received and full of useful and interesting ideas for content and information management. It's extremely useful to see how he manages so much information from so many different sources.

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