I’ve been thinking more and more about how to mine the possibilites of RSS for teachers. There are a lot of obvious applications: tracking student work in Web logs, being able to scour Websites for school info, communicating with parents, etc. But I think there are a lot of ways to embed it into good practice as well.
One of the areas I want to delve into more is the creation of news feeds for Feedster or Goolge Alerts. I’ve been setting up feeds for weblogs and journalism, weblogs and education, educational technology, and others and watching to see what kinds of things come through. The interesting thing go me is that the Feedster feeds which search just Web logs have been more useful than the Google feeds. It’s not surprising when you think about it since that’s what Web loggers do anyway is search the Internet for good stuff to link to and comment on. Actually, Feedster is probably a better resource since most of the results coming through it are annotated to begin with. I need to play with the search terms to see how specific I can get and still get results, but I think the potential here for professional development is pretty huge. Think if all teachers had feeds set up for key concepts in their curriculi. The research would come to them. Now there’s a selling point.
Take that one step further, obviously, with feeds from learning object repositories like Maricopa. Or from other, let’s say, calculus teachers with Web logs who are posting assignments and syllabi and all sorts of other stuff. (I just realized that I’ve got to find out if Bloglines has an rss feed of search terms as well. Even though I’ve done a pretty good job of scanning through all the posts that come through my reader, which is about 150+ a day at this point, it would be another way of making sure I wasn’t missing anything especially relevant.) What’s needed here, of course, is an easy way for teachers to get setup with all of this. Would be nice if you could search and subscribe to the feed all in one place…which is really what I’m thinking could happen at Bloglines.