Thursday, April 01, 2010

Everything you need to teach and learn online P3: Feeds

Here's part three of the series Everything you need to teach and learn online.

Hopefully, you're convinced to maintain a sense of independence, you've set up your website on Blogger, now its time to go out and find information and people to follow.

Do this using RSS feeds. Most website's these days have RSS feeds. You can tell that if you see the icon on the right on the site, or in the address bar of your browser when you're on a site.

An RSS feeds lets you subscribe to a website using a feed reader, and receive a copy of any new information added to that site after you've subscribed.

You can subscribe to RSS feeds for search results of Youtube, Delicious and Twitter. Start with those, they are a quick way to get a good over view of a subject, and to drill down into better feeds from there. When you find something great in those search feeds, subscribe to that something. Then you can start ignoring the general search feed as you build up richer more valuable subscriptions on a subject. Before you know it you will have built an incredibly valuable flow of information customised to your needs. You can give up reading the Sunday tree of propaganda and use that time editing your own channel of information.

You can even export your collection of feeds into an OPML file. Such a file can be a valuable thing to give to learners just starting out. If you're lucky, you might meet someone who has spent years building a feed reader on a particular topic, and they might be willing to give you an OPML file to import into your reader. Its very easy and a great way to short cut to the goods.

If anything I've said here seems a bit hard to you, its not! search Youtube for how to screen recordings. It should literally take you 30 minutes to understand and get going. Here's a great video to get you started: RSS in plain english.

In part 4 of Everything you need, we'll look at networking. Networking becomes important once you've developed a rich feed reader alive with great new content. We'll have a look at how and why you should network with that content and the people behind it so as to enrich your teaching and learning opportunities. Stay tuned.

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