RSS has been an indispensable tool for me. Being able to subscribe to web content and have that content come to me instead of me having to continuously find it has provided me with extra time to keep up with more content that I could have ever kept up with in the past. If you are unfamiliar with RSS and subscribing to RSS feeds, take a look at this RSS guide. It will explain what RSS is and how it works.
But RSS on an iPod? You bet. If you happen to have an iPod Touch with WiFi capabilities, you can essentially subscribe to RSS feeds using an online RSS feed reader as you would using a computer. However, how about for the rest of us that have an older model iPod or an iPod without WiFi? The world of RSS is open to us as well my friends. If you or your students are Mac users, you can install iFeedPod onto your Mac. It’s free software and can be found here. For Windows users, you can download PodFetch for free or for $15, you can purchase iGadget. Any one of these desktop applications will allow you to take your RSS subscriptions and download all the new and updated content to your iPod to read later. Once you subscribe to an RSS feed using one of these pieces of software, all you have to do is periodically sync the software with your iPod so that the new content can be uploaded to the device. Everything else is done for you!
The educational applications of using RSS in a mobile way are huge. Students can use a device they already own to subscribe to newspaper feeds, or feeds from educational content providers and keep up with curriculum relevant information from wherever they are. Uploading content to their devices is as simple as syncing their devices as they would using iTunes. At its most simplist, RSS allows students to spend more time with content and less time searching for it. Since the information is online, much of that content is relevant and up-to-date as well.
While traditional search tools and techniques are still important, leveraging new tools and techniques to find relevant content is just as important. RSS is one of those new tools and being able to utilize its functionality on an iPod takes that functionality and makes it mobile.
Here are some general guides in using RSS in education:
- RSS: A Quick Start Guide for Educators by Will Richardson
- Video: RSS in Plain English by CommonCraft
- RSS Ideas for Educators by Quentin D’Souza