Had over two dozen links in my aggregator this morning that were generated by my custom search feed for “weblogs and journalism” that I created at Feedster. 75% of them led to unique sites, and of those at least half were interesting and useful discussions about the topic. To me, that’s a pretty good percentage, and I’m finding it’s a great way to track discussions outside my normal blogroll. In fact, it’s added a few folks to my Bloglines aggregator which now tracks about 200 sites (including many from here at school.) I’m going to experiment with a couple of other terms to see how specific I can get.
I’ve also been using the Google News to RSS feed with a pretty fair amount of success, and it’s with this one that I really plan on getting my students up and running. And I’m still playing with the Google Alert RSS feeds which I haven’t had as much success with, though it probably has the potential to be the best resource since it’s not limited to just news or Web logs.
At any rate, there’s a valuable application of RSS for professional development in all of this. I just keep getting amazed at the idea of having the newest ideas and research come right to you instead of having to go and look for it. Very, very cool. Next step is to try to get a couple of teachers to tap into it and see what happens. (And speaking of searches, how about what Amazon is doing? Can you believe that there are 37 books that come up when I search for journalism and weblogs? That’s pretty amazing too.)