Use RSS to stay up to date is part 7 of 13 Ways Teachers Can Hack Their Learning.
When I see RSS as part 7 I’m filled with doubt. I believe I should have put this at 1 or 2, but I must have had a reason I put it where I did when I made up the list.
What is RSS?
RSS is an acronym for Rich Site Summary (more often call Really Simple Syndication) is a way for a website to publish a list of updated articles. These articles may be simply text, but in the case of podcasts, RSS will also contain links to audio and video. RSS is what podcast clients use to be notified when new podcasts are published and where to download the podcast for your listening pleasure.
Most websites publish an RSS feed, and by subscribing to the feed, you can be notified of new articles when they happen. I follow about 300 education sites in my RSS reader. Without RSS, it would be impossible for me to keep up with that many sites. Now, when I open my podcast reader, I’m greeted with only the new articles of the websites I follow. A good analogy for an RSS reader is your Facebook feed. Only with less drama.
How to use RSS
To use RSS, you will need an RSS reader. I recommend Feedly. Feedly has a decent web client for desktops and laptops, and mobile apps for your tablet and phone. To get started, visit Feedly.com and create an account. Feedly probably supports an account you already have (such as Google or Twitter), so you don’t even have to create yet another account. If your school blocks Facebook, I’d recommend against using your Facebook account to authenticate. There is a chance you won’t be able to sign in to Feedly in your school district if your school blocks Facebook.
Once you are logged in, you’ll need to find some sites to follow. I humbly recommend adding Eduk8.me. Click on the hamburger menu in the upper left.
Then click on the plus and enter eduk8.me.
Feedly is pretty good at finding the RSS feed at a website, so you don’t have to search for it.
Day to day
To keep up to date, visit Feedly from your computer, tablet, or phone and see what posts are new. I sort my feeds oldest first, but you may want to play to see what works best for you. Now you can add your favorite websites and never miss new posts. RSS reading shines for those websites that don’t update on a schedule (cough ryancollins.org cough) so you don’t miss new posts.