Get Real Simple Learning with RSS

September 05, 2011 (0 Comments)

Posted by: ASLC

I’m lazy, well not really but RSS feeds allow me to be just a little lazy.

RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication and now that I am using one I whole heartedly agree with Richardson(2006) –it is the one technology that teachers should be “using today, right now, this minute” (p.71). And tomorrow, we should be teaching our students to use it. As opposed to continuously checking for updated from my favourite websites, news sources, and blogs RRS brings the material to me. It saves me time and has helped me organize my reading.

RSS for me has become a personalized professional learning tool. I have subscribed to the feeds that will best help me as a teacher and learner. I use Google Reader because that was the one that Richardson recommended. It was so easy to set up and I use iGoogle as my homepage which allows me to see the new feeds in brief form as soon as I log on. I can then decide if I need to read the full article or blog and if so do so, if not, I just mark it as read and move on. It also remembers the ones I have read and haven’t read and I can easily tag and save the ones that interest me. I find as time goes by I am subscribing to more and more blogs/newsfeeds. Although I must confess that one day when I logged on and there were 55 new feeds in my Reader I was very tempted to just click the mark all as read button. 


Get started with a google reader today by watching this short instructional video:


Looking for some great blogs to follow visit our suggestions here and don't forget to add ASLC's blog to your reader!

Some of the benefits of using RSS include:

• Simplifying Instructor’s Research. For busy Instructors who want to easily keep up in their field of study, RSS allows for access to all new research via news articles, blogs, and websites through one simple interface.

• Staying up to date with student activities. If students have class blogs (such as one for group projects, discussion groups or lab groups) then RSS can keep you up to date with any new activities on their blogs. You can check to see if the content is appropriate, comment on their posts, or see the participation levels in discussions.

• Allowing students to easily keep up with course. If you have a course blog or website you can allow students to use RSS to keep track of changes. This can allow for you to give them information almost instantly about what is happening in your course and in your field. If other classes use RSS then students can compile all their class RSS feeds in one easy to access location.

• Class/Social Bookmarking. RSS can be used to create a list of useful websites that the professor or the students have visited that relate to the class or a particular project. This can be done in class through a community class blog publishing web links, or made easy and streamlined through the use of online applications built for social bookmarking which allow for rating and annotating

• Targeted Searching. RSS feeds can be used as a way to bring news on a certain topic for a paper or project directly to your reader/aggregator. All the information on a certain topic can be found by a search engine such as Google and then converted to a RSS feed and put into your reader/aggregator. Searching feeds can also allow for a wealth of useful research finds.

So why wouldn’t we use such a powerful tool to help students and ourselves manage new information? 



Richardson, W. (2006). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Corwin Press.


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2015 ORC Information Evenings, Calgary Alberta

Join the ORC  and the Alberta School Library Council (ASLC) South Regional for two evenings of ORC resource training. These evenings will provide information about new resources, and new resource features that are ideal for students in K-6 and 7-12. In addition, ways in which ORC resources can support information literacy skills while teaching curriculum will be discussed.

Why not bring a friend this year? It is always a great idea to attend a professional development event with a colleague. This allows for continued discussion, idea generation and support with implementation following the PD experience. It may also mean that there are two experts available to support your school staff.  

Can't join us for the entire evening? No problem! Feel free to join in when you are able or leave early if needed. The sessions for both evenings will be organized so that they chunk resources by the curricular area they support. For a timeline of each evening please see the event RSVP webpage on the ORC Support Site.
School Location:
Chinook Learning Services - Viscount Bennett Centre
2519 Richmond Road SW
Calgary, Alberta T3E 4M2
Time: 4:30 - 7:00 pm
Sessions Offered:
January 14, 2015 
Resources that Support Learning in K-6

January 15, 2015
Resources to Support the Grade 7-12 Curriculum

RSVP Webpage (

ORC Grant-In-Aid Approved for 2014/2015

The Online Reference Centre (ORC) grant-in-aid for 2014/2015 has been approved! This means that the ORC will remain available to all Alberta K-12 students, parents, staff and pre-service teachers.

The ORC is currently in the process of firming up its 2014/2015 collection. Although the ORC is working with the same budget this year, US exchange rates have changed, and this has an impact, since many of the ORC contracts are paid to US publishers in US funds. The ORC Coordinator is working with the current publishers to see what can be done about maintaining the current collection despite changing financial circumstances.

Find the ORC at or visit the ORC Support Site at