One of the biggest hurdles we’ve got in the edublogging community is bridging the RSS chasm.
- If you’re an edublogger, chance are you’ve got at least a basic idea of what it’s all about. You’ll probably use an RSS reader, or aggregator, such as Bloglines, to keep track of the blogs you read. You maybe even use an RSS feed or two to provide some content for your blog, such as news headlines.
- For most people in schools, though, RSS is just another bit of jargon. The potential benefits of RSS tools in education can’t be obtained. And because – if you’ll pardon the Rumsfeld-ism – they don’t know they don’t know it, let alone what the benefits might be, there’s no demand for training…
What has to happen for people to “get it”? In my experience, demonstrating a feed aggregator is a key step. I usually use Bloglines for this, as it has a good user interface. But if you want to try to explain RSS in your blog, as Tess does here, you’re at a disadvantage – you can’t so easily show a live feed in the context of your writing.
But what if you could put a little RSS feed reader right inside your blog post? The firstRSS WordPress plugin lets you do just that. It’s now enabled on Exc-el: if you’ve an Exc-el blog you’ll find it under the WordPress Plug-Ins menu. The entry explains the syntax.
Maybe, by enabling a kind of RSS “show and tell”, firstRSS could help us demystify the whole thing?
Here’s an example, using its “rsslist” command to list – live – the titles from the Pencaitland Primary blog feed:
And here’s the same feed, only this time using the Plug-In’s “rsspara” format to see more information from the feed entries: