RSS 1st draft

This course should take about an hour.

Requirements & Prerequisites

  • Internet connected Computer
  • Basic Use of PC
  • Basic Use of Browser
  • Knowledge of basic internet navigation

RSS has been described as The glue of blogging but it can be seen as much more than that. RSS is a way of reading new content from many sources on the web quickly and efficiently.

1.  Definition

15 minutes

Have a quick scan of these definitions Google search define:rss

Then watch this video

Which will give you a better idea.

Have a think about how this could be used in teaching and learning.

2.  Educational Uses

15 minutes

RSS has been around since about 1999 but is still underused by many teachers. There are many guides to using RSS available on the internet, here are 3 created for and by educators.

Have a quick skim of these documents (if you are working with other people split up the task and then come back with what you think is the most interesting points.

2.1  Educational Examples

  • ScotEdublogs is a web site that aggregates hundreds of Scottish weblogs, for pupils, teachers and others interested in education. ScotEduBlogs uses RSS feed to get the content of these blogs.
  • ScotEdublogs also provide filtered feeds, these can be used to present groups with suitable material, for example here is a wiki page which display the latest pupil produced posts listed in ScotEduBlogs: Sandaig Wiki ScotEduBlogs
  • Teachers supporting multiple bloggers in the classroom may find it easier to read the pupils blogs via an RSS reader to save time navigating to blogs that have not been updated.
  • Using blogs for professional development, reading with a feed reader is again a lot more efficient.
  • If you listen to podcasts you may already be using RSS. Podcatcher software, that automatically downloads new podcast episodes to your computer (like itunes) use rss feeds to auto discover those new episodes.

2.2  Multiple types of content.

There are an ever increasing number and type of websites that provide RSS feeds. Nearly all blogs provide feeds, sites that share photos and videos, such as and provide rss feed for all sorts of information, for example on flickr you can get a feed of the latest photos added, the latest photos from a particular person, photos tagged with a particular tag, and lots more combinations.

3.  RSS Readers

There are many different types of RSS reader, some are separate applications that you use on your computer some are websites you set up in your browser.

3.1  Online Readers

3.2  Offline Readers

Feed Demon windows or NetNewsWire mac

Both from

4.  Practical

25 minutes

4.1  Netvibes

We are going to set up a netvibes page and add a few RSS feeds. Alternatively you could follow the instructional videos for bloglines or Google Reader below.

Create a netvibes account

Go to by default netvibes shows you a page with various types of information displayed.

You can change this without registering. you can do that to test out Netvibes.

Adding Feeds

First we will make a new ‘tab’ click on the new tab button, this will create a new tab and allow you to edit thew tab name, call it RSS.

Click on the add content button and then on the add feed button that appears.

into the link filed type:

this is the rss field for Ollie Bray’s blog. Ollie is a regular Scottish Educational blogger.

click Add netvibes will check the feed and then display it:

Try adding a few more feeds, go to ScotEdublogs and go to the blogs page. This list all of the blogs and allows you to filter them. Spend a minute or two looking for some blogs, when you find an interesting one right click on the button and copy the link. Go to your netvibes page and add that feed.

you can move the sections of your netvibes page around by dragging the titlebar of the boxes.

You can go on adding as many feeds as you like to your netvibes page. You may want to think about organising them into different tabs if you are going to follow a lot of feeds. The International Edubloggers Directory is an example of a netvibes page which display lots of blogs organised in tabs.

You don’t just need to use blog feeds to fill your netvibes page. There are a selection of widgets that display weather, photos, news etc. Which stray out side this opportunity. We can add rss feeds from other places, for example a popular book mark site. Here we will add my (John Johnston)’s links that are tagged with RSS.

Go to my [|links tagged with rss]], scroll to the bottom and copy the link from the rss button. Got to your netvibes page and add that feed in the same way as you added the blog ones above.

Your page will now be updated every time I bookmark a webpage and tag it with rss.

in the same way we can display the latest photos from flickr tagged rss using this url

Obviously photos tagged rss would not be to useful for classroom use but you can imagine how you could create a netvibes page that would aggregate information for pupils working on a particular topic. holding blog posts (maybe their own), links, photos ect.

here is an example of using another service pageflakes to build a page pulling in content: Pageflakes - Darfur

You can speand a lot of time exploring and building an rss reader in netvibes or one of the other services listed. We can only scratch the surface of netvibe in the time we have, but yu should now have an idea if this service will be useful to you. If it is remember to register the page before you leave.

4.2  Bloglines

Teachers 2.0 Bloglines Tutorial (2007) from Internet Archive: Details: Teachers 2.0 Bloglines Tutorial

4.3  Google Reader

4.4  Pageflakes

East Lothian pageflakes is an excellent example of using Pageflakes.

5.  Discussion

5 minutes Reflect on how you could use rss in your cpd or classroom, if you think this is a useful technology for you think about the next steps below.

6.  Next Steps

There are endless possibilities

  • Read more at the pages linked above.
  • Explore some of the other rss aggregators by using the videos above.
  • Follow the links to desktop aggregators and try them out.
  • When browsing the internet look out for the various rss buttons ( )
  • Build a netvibes or page flake page that is useful to use, professionally, personally or for your pupils.