Thursday, August 6, 2009

RSS and Blogs

How often have I seen this button and wondered what on earth it was or meant. I never really paid any attention to it because it didn't mean anything to me, it didn't engage me in any way and I had no real curiosity about it.
Being a non tech-savvy person, I also thought that it was beyond my limited skills and knowledge.

But upon creating my Google Reader account and my own blog, I feel that I have underestimated my own skills. Amanda took the time to find out the etymology behind aggregator and I like that I have now "herded" all my new e-friends to one place. I have also sorted all my feeds into different categories (my e-learning peers, educational sites, blogs of friends). It all comes to me, I don't have to wonder what they are all doing, and go searching.

Parry commented on how students feel when being shown this tool. This mirrored my own reaction of wonder, awe, newly created interest and my feelings of being "less overwhelmed".
The RSS aggregator is a time saving device, linking me to my studies and interests.

I have recently used a class toy as a take home project to share literacy and numeracy experiences. Thanks to Kim for showing how I could have used this experience to create a class blog.

Yet the classroom is not the only way that blogs and RSS aggregators can be used. The whole school can be connected to parents and the wider community. Boston Public School shows how they use blogs, podcasts and RSS feeds to inform about different programs and events within the school.

In using collaborative tools such as blogs and RSS feeds, the classroom can become more than just a cohort of students. A community of practice can be formed where students share "a passion for something they do and learn how to do it as they interact regularly" - exactly the same as what we are doing in this course. We are sharing our collective learnings.

A community of practice needs to contain three characteristics which link with Kearsley & Schneiderman's Engagement theory.
  1. The learning domain is one where the community "relates" and shares an interest
  2. As a community they participate in learning experiences where they are able to learn from each other as they "create" discussions and share information.
  3. Through conversations, discussions and sharing of information, they are donate-ing different knowledges and experiences to become a "shared repertoire for their practice". We are sharing by pooling our resources and solving problems together.
I know that I have definitely been learning from others as I read their blogs, see what they have achieved, create it for myself and share my understandings back to the community.

Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999) Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Downloaded 5 July 2009 from

Parry D (2006) The Technology of Reading and Writing in the Digital Space: Why RSS is crucial for a Blogging Classroom. Downloaded August 2009 from http://blogs for

Wenger, E. (nd) Communities of practice. A brief introduction Downloaded August 2009 from


  1. Hey Miss Jane.
    First up...have you had a few too many 'reds' or is that just a groovy photo at the top of your blog????
    Since E-Learning I have found the RSS feeds and Google reader really handy. Email was getting ugly with notices coming in all the time about new posts, but wow, google reader has really made it easier to manage what posts I have read etc and they are all in the one becoming a big fan of RSS and Google Reader.

    I have enjoyed receiving blogs from those writing about education and learning and the links to other informative sites that they suggest. I can see how learning comes from being networked and connected to others. It is so easy to keep up-to-date.

    Anyway...thanks Miss Jane.

  2. Hi Jane,
    I can totally relate to your feelings regarding all these icons and ICT tools, and never knowing what they are - and simply maintaining the little know how I have with e-mail and a couple of other basic tools. However, since engaging in this course, I have been pleasantly surprised at how user friendly many of these tools are. We simply need to take the time to play with them, and not be afraid of making mistakes. And by the looks of your blog, it seems you have surpassed your non-tech-savvy-ness!