Why every teacher should understand RSS Feeds

RSS GirlImagine walking to the library every week and searching through hundreds of magazines and books to find a few good articles worth reading. Then suddenly one day the friendly librarian says, “To save you the walk, I will find relevant articles for you and I will email them to you each week.” Would anybody knock back this offer?

Think of RSS feeds as that friendly librarian. Why spend hours searching the internet for good information, when you can have excellent information delivered free to you?

So what is an RSS feed?

RSS stands for Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication. An RSS feed is basically a list of headlines and summaries of recently published information. Instead of you having to search for good websites each day, you can subscribe to RSS feeds from websites that interest you. This means that whenever new information is published on a site you have subscribed to, you will be sent the headline and a short summary.

Why not just bookmark a good website?

While bookmarking pages can also be beneficial, many people forget to go back and look at their bookmarked pages. It also becomes time consuming trying to look at many different websites one at a time.
An RSS reader allows you to see updated headlines from different sites all on the one screen. This means you always browse the latest summarises and you can click on any headline links that interest you most. Subscribing to feeds makes it possible to review a large amount of online content in a very short time.

So how do I get started?

The first thing you need to do is to decide which software to use as your RSS Feed Reader. If you like using Google as your main search engine then iGoogle may be a good choice. iGoogle allows you to personalise your home page with RSS feeds plus add other plug-ins like a to do list, a calendar or maps showing the local weather. To watch a tutorial of how to set up iGoogle click here.

Here is a list of some of the more popular RSS Feed Readers:
Google Reader
My Yahoo!

rss iconThe next thing you need to do is find good RSS Feeds. Whenever you are browsing a website which has good content, look for the orange RSS symbol somewhere on the page. If you click on this symbol then it should take you to the websites RSS feed and provide options on how you can subscribe to the feed.

Alternatively you can also look at the top of your web browser where the URL web address can be seen. Often a rss symbol allowing you to subscribe to an RSS Feed can also be located there.

If you are using google then it may present the two options below.

Google RSS

And that’s all there is to it. Once you have your RSS Feed Reader set up you can go to the one webpage and be updated with all the latest information from websites you have personally chosen.

Watch a tutorial showing how to set up iGoogle as your RSS Reader.

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  1. An excellent explanation text – one I will use with my pupils to illustrate the art, whilst sneaking in some ICT Thank you.

  2. Hi. Thanks for the information I never really thought about RSS before. I will give it a try.

  3. Wow, very good article, i saw many time this orange sign in site but dont know the use, after reading this i think it is very helpful for me, very good information you have given, keep it up.