Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Google Reader

Teachers are busy....way too busy...but as a teacher I feel that we need to take the time for reflection and intellectual stimulation. If I were still in the classroom, I would find it difficult to find the time to get on the internet and read what people are thinking about and writing about related to education and its many complex issues. Now that Google Reader has come along I can now have the time to do that in a matter of minutes. Blogging has changed the way I think about teaching and learning and the power of the internet. Google Reader, much like Bloglines is an aggregator. It brings the blogs I like to read to my personalized Google homepage. I subscribe to six or seven blogs whose authors talk about educational technology issues. I read them quickly .Sometimes I post a comment, but rarely. I share certain ones with my colleagues who have not discovered blogging yet. A couple of my favorites are: David Warlick's and Techlearning I have begun to get feedback from teachers I work with who have started reading the ones I post. It's encouraging. I am at this time becoming a human aggregator, but I think with time, the teachers I work with will begin to see a need for bringing certain blogs and blogging topics of their own interests to themselves without my help. By sharing these resources we help to enlighten and everybody wins. Students win as their teachers become more comfortable with using the blogosphere, and may even see a use for it in their classrooms. Posted By: Becky Ranks


Ed Latham said...

Becky, I agree that blogging is incredibly valuable and the discussions can mentally be very stimulating and exciting. I need some help with something in blogging and maybe some of you out there with more experience can help me out.

I am used to a forum. In forums you can sort content into organizations much like folders. To follow a thread you can enter that sub forum and see the latest posting on top. The neat thing about forums is that when someone responds to the thread and adds to it, the forum structure automatically "bumps" that thread to the top of the current forum. So in that sense you are always seeing the most recently added content near the top. Most forums allow you to subscribe to that particular forum or sub forum so that anytime someone responds to your post you get the response or a note in your email as well to let you know someone added on to something you said. That is a great resource when you have many forums you are involved with. Does such a device exist for bloggers? I take this blog as an example. I am still conversing with people on topics that were started up last month but I have to basically browse through all the post every day to see what new content has been added. I know that has to be the ignorant way, so I hope someone out there can fix me up.

I do see the "subscribe in reader" link on the right, but I have had an ignorant fear of rss and readers. I know the basics of how rss works in theory, but as I have never walked through the setup, nor have I had the nerve to play with it, I remain in the dark about rss and readers like the Google reader that both you and Ron have talked about. Can anyone give me the quick and dirty on that? I use skype very often and if any of you that can offer help and hold my hand through the "hooking up" process, I would love to hear form you. If you don't have me on skype, just search for Ohgeer and leave me a short note as to how I might know you. I look forward to any help people can offer in teaching me how to sort all the cool conversations I am involved with in this Blogging world.

Ron Smith said...

Ed -

I would be glad to offer any assistance, but truthfully using Google Reader is very simple - just sign up for a Google Account, and set up the aggregator. Also, some blogs allow for threaded discussions; just yesterday for instance David Warlick upgraded his blog to do so.

I agree with Becky here - RSS and an aggregator may be the most powerful and relevant Web 2.0 tool for educators.

Becky Ranks said...

Thanks for the comments guys. Ed, if you have a Google account, you can just sign up for the Reader. I used to use Bloglines, but having a personalized Google page has made my life so much easier. Everything I need is on that page and I set it to my homepage. I am going to post an account of an awesome experience I had in a classroom today thanks to Google. Watch for it.