RSS Use in the Classroom

The Death of RSS?
Module 8 for TEC-950 focused on RSS. I began this module over a month ago and discovered Feedly and quickly set up an account and added some different blogs and websites to it. I installed the app on my phone so I could monitor the feed and have found in the past month that I really don't use it and don't anticipate that changing either for personal, professional or educational use.

Here's why. Most of the sites I added are those that I am already familiar with on Twitter, Google+, or have discovered on Flipboard. These three services I use regularly. An RSS Feed only duplicates things that I am already aware of. I used the search function in Feedly to find new content but found the process cumbersome. I think this is why increasingly RSS readers are dying and unsupported. They were from a time when content wasn't available dynamically from sources such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ but rather only from the original source. As a result, a need arose for a means to curate information from a variety of sources. However as information is increasingly delivered via Social Media, this process becomes redundant. For someone not using Social Media in this manner, I could see the value of subscribing to RSS feeds.

I do like Flipboard and have been a regular user of it for many years because it allows for customization of content but isn't narrowed by known sources such as was my experience with Feedly. It allows for discovery from new sources based on user behavior, along with following different user-created magazines. Not surprisingly, the visual layout is also very appealing to me. Within the classroom, Flipboard could be used by students to curate magazines, from multiple sources on a particular topic. Although I have found Flipboard magazines difficult to embed in Google Sites in the past, it was easy to add a gadget to this site. Flipboard is constantly updating their services. Yesterday, they launched private magazines for groups which offers a lot of collaboration, curation, and publishing possibilities for the classroom, especially where privacy might be a concern. Magazines could be created that focus on a certain assignment with all students work available in a one easily accessible location that is visually appealing.

Within the classroom, RSS could still be useful as a means of managing content for students. I can see current event feeds to be extremely useful in different contexts. From the teacher perspective, setting up an RSS feed of student blogs would be a boom for productivity but this woud only function on publicly accessible blogs.