RSS stands for Rich Site Syndication, although most people endearingly refer to it as Really Simple Syndication. Everyone recognizes the overwhelming amount of information available on the Internet. Managing all of this information is enough to make anyone's head spin. Before RSS, web viewers had to visit individual websites to see if any new content had been added. For a teacher who regularly likes to visit a few particular blogs or websites, this can become time consuming.

Enter RSS. Now web viewers can subscribe to the feeds of their favorite websites. Basically this means content from these blogs and websites is delivered to the reader in one convenient location. Instead of visiting a bunch of different websites regularly, a viewer can now visit their RSS reader and instantly receive the updates of all of their syndicated websites. A teacher can visit one website to get the updates of all of their favorite sites.

Of the many RSS readers available, the following three web-based readers are the most popular. Once you register with one of these sites, all of your feeds are stored online for access on any Internet-enabled computer.

Popular RSS readers:

Bloglines []
Google Reader []
Feedbucket []


Educational benefits / classroom applications:

  • Keep abreast of current events in news, education, politics and professional organizations.
  • Powerful research tool.
  • Receive updates to your favorite blogs.
  • Subscribe to and network with educational bloggers in your field of study.
  • Share your feeds with other educators. View their feeds.
  • Make announcements to students after class.
  • Track student blogs and wikis.
  • Subscribe to Podcasts.
  • Students can track each other's blogs.
  • Students can share their feeds with each other, creating a collaborative research environment.
  • Students can become more globally aware by subscribing to news and current affairs sites.
  • Helps break down the walls of the classroom to provide connections to the outside world.
  • Subscribe to other people's social bookmarking accounts, and discover new websites everyday.

Concerns and solutions:

  • Some blogs contain indecent or inappropriate content. Teachers should discuss with their students the school's Acceptable Use Policy, as well as issues of cyberethics and self management. Teachers can also locate some useful blogs themselves to share with their students.
  • Not all information on the internet is reliable or even true. Teaching students skills in critical literacy will help them distinguish the trash from the treasures.

Real-world examples from teachers:

Further Reading: