6. RSS feeds – tracking your blogs

Once you have discovered a few blogs of interest, it is useful to keep track of them. RSS feeds enable this automatically and can alert you to changes on a blog easily.

You can either use tools within your browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari), or an online feed-reader, such as Google Reader or Bloglines.

The video below explains RSS in more detail. It also available from the Commoncraft site which explains a lot of other Web 2.0 tools as well:

Set up your browser feed-reader

Follow the instructions below for your particular browser. This will allow you to check feeds from the computer you use to set this up:

Suggestion: add an RSS feed for this blog to alert you to changes 🙂

# Internet Explorer

In IE to add RSS feeds follow this procedure:

1.      Tab Tools, Feed discovery, RSS feed (blogname). Then click on Subscribe to this feed or

2.      Click on the RSS icon and Subscribe to this feed.

For both methods, follow the prompts to place the feed in the folder you want (select one you have, set up a new one or accept the default folder)

To view your feeds, click on View, Explorer Bar, Feeds.

Or alternatively, click on the star (Favourites) icon and select Feeds tab.                                                        

New/unread feeds will be in bold.

# Using Firefox

For an RSS tools in Firefox, you need to install Sage from the Mozilla web site http://sage.mozdev.org/

Then access Sage from one of the following:

1.      Tools, Sage or

2.      View, Sidebar, Sage

When Sage is open (and you are at a page you wish to watch), click on the magnifying glass icon (Feed discovery)

Select the feed from the table and Add Feed

(Or, add a feed by simply clicking on the RSS icon in the address bar and following the prompts.)

New/unread feeds will be in bold.

# Using Safari

In Safari, if a page has an RSS feed an icon, , will show in the address bar.

  1. Roll over this icon and it will display, Show RSS.
  2. Click on this and find in the righthand sidebar Actions.
  3. Select Add Bookmark
  4. Type in a name (or accept the one provided, then Add
  5. To view your RSS feeds, select Bookmarks, click on All RSS feeds, then List.

# Exercise:

1. Set up your browser feeder (whether IE, Firefox or Safari), including https://workingtheweb.wordpress.com as a blog to keep track of. Then have a look at some of the blogs listed in the blogroll of http://laptopnotes.wordpress.com.

2. Another blog to watch is that of Edublogs (the Edublogger) which provides updated information about others using Edublogs and other web tools.

3. There may also be blogs with which you are already connected.

4. Comment on the usefulness of RSS. Remember, this option is based on the computer you use to set it up. (although it is possible to transfer the information between computers and browsers)

# Extra information

RSS in Plain English http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0klgLsSxGsUideo – The Common Craft Show is a series of short explanatory videos by Lee and Sachi LeFever.

ABC Home page http://www.abc.net.au/ Begin here with a search for RSS feeds and multiple programs will be shown. Also try EdPod as a search term – this also provides links for podcasts discussed later.

And something to think about – Why I stopped reading blogs (for a while), http://www.commoncraft.com/why-i-stopped-reading-blogs-while Comment by Lee Lefever on blogs and RSS feeds – food for thought.

The next option…

The next step involves setting up an online feed-reader, such as Google Reader or Bloglines. This allows you to see your feeds on any computer with internet access. Post coming soon.



3 comments on “6. RSS feeds – tracking your blogs

  1. What a brilliantly simple presentation! I’ve been using RSS on my home personal page on Scholaris to get some updates on science/maths news. But as soon as I get a chance I think I’ll be setting up Google Reader as a more comprehensive way of keeping track of news items and blogs which are of interest.

    I really like the efficiency of not having to go to individual websites first, but having a central location and deciding from there what, if anything is coming in of interest.

  2. I had a chance to play with google reader the other day. Positively simple to set up, especially if you already have a gmail account. No new passwords or anything! The search facility in Google Reader was quite helpful, but even better was when I logged back in the next day I found that Reader had used the parameters of my searches to suggest some of the most popular rss feeds in related areas and the ones it suggested were all good quality resources.

    (Thanks for the feedback – I hadn’t noticed the suggestions. Great to hear how it was easy to set up and use! It makes these tools so much more appealing.)

  3. I’ve even subscribed to the 15 things blog now. It’s very handy!

    (That’s impressive – we will have to get things happening! I hope it includes comments too.)

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