My husband, a newly appointed Director of Development and Communications, is wondering about the RSS feed. To our 30-something selves, RSS appears to be yet another tech tool that is just kind of overwhelming and a bit daunting. I shared with him that a part of my COETAIL experience means creating an RSS feed (is that even the correct terminology?) and reactivating my latent Twitter account. His ears perked up.

Something that initially attracted me to joining the Coetail program was the idea that, working with a team of my fellow teachers, I could possibly hone my skills as a techie and become that illusive “digital native”. Don’t get me wrong. I consider myself to be, practically speaking, literate in the art of digital technology. I have a Facebook account; I use Moodle like a pro; I can successfully navigate myself around my MacBook Air and sometimes I even update my iPhone 5 with the latest IOS software. Okay, so perhaps I am not at the top of my digital literacy game, but that is where Coetail comes in. I’m already working on my first educational blog – that’s huge leaps and bounds for someone who, just the other day, asked her grade 12 students what Snapchat is.

Back to RSS. I’m still not exactly sure about it. I understand that the RSS functions as “a network of information from multiple sources” where, “insteRSSad of you finding it,  you now control the information that finds you” (Utecht 11). Sounds awesome, perfect and so easy! And I love the idea that, through the RSS feed, I’m creating my “personal learning network” (Utecht 31) that will, at all times, be working for me behind the scenes and ostensibly, for my students as well.

I can’t help the creeping feeling, however, that the RSS reader might become yet another doomed piece of my internet lexicon, remaining unopened in my wide and varied “Bookmarks bar”. I appreciate that in his book, Reach, Jeff Utecht acknowledges this very notion, citing that “Educators have enough to do managing their own classrooms on a daily basis without having to be an active member to one or more online professional communities” (Utecht 26). He notes that many teachers become enchanted by new digital possibilities, but “use it for a day or two and then never return” (Utecht 26), thereby negating the proffered ease of the technology. 

I am heartened though that, as a member of the AIS-R Coetail community and more broadly, as a member of the larger Coetail community, I will inevitably immerse myself in the unknown. I will endeavor to, as Utrecht mentioned, “network in those 5 or 10 minute blocks of time” in my working day to make my PLN work for me.

Now, back to setting up that RSS reader…


4 Replies to “RSS’ing”

  1. Hi Miriam! I too appreciated Utecht’s acknowledgement of the busy nature of teachers’ days. I often have big goals for integrating tech or documenting student work using a media production method, but before I know it, the opportune time has past and I am just grateful to have executed lessons effectively. My last blog post was titled ‘Steep Learning Curve’. Like you, I was imagining Coetail to help me get more into the tech game, but at this stage, I am just scrambling to keep up with all the posts on my Feedly, to be more present on Twitter, and to understand all the new tech lingo in our readings.

    On the flip side, I am struck by a certain pang of excitement with all that we are sharing. I feel closer to my Coetail colleagues because their blogs are a window into their thinking that I didn’t have access to before. I feel invigorated to infuse new online connections into my classroom and have high hopes for my own growth. I am impressed by the learning communities that are out there and how prevalent this world is for so many educators. I feel as though I’m being drawn in since I am often looking forward to reading posts and finding information that is helpful to me. I’m diving in…guess Coetail’s working!

  2. Hi Miriam,

    Doomed, Doomed! That is absolutely my fear! Love the RSS feed and then it sinks to the bottom of my tech ocean, which is vast and notoriously rough! I guess it’s like anything that we need to learn, or improve upon or just simply get done. Do it for 10 minutes and if you hate it stop. Generally speaking, you don’t stop, you continue until the task at hand is completed.

    I feel like Coetail has already been seeping it’s way into my life. I am becoming more engaged with some tech tools or at least more conscious of them. And it is so comforting that when reading the blogs of my friends and colleagues that I’m not the only one feeling a little daunted by the task of carving out time to engage in my Professional Learning Plan. Now to reactivating my Twitter account…. #ThanksForAGreatBlogPost

  3. Hi Miriam
    Thanks for sharing such an honest insight into in your thinking.

    You’ve got the basic idea of RSS (& yes it is RSS feeds) but the true brilliance of RSS feeds is that the information you want is coming to you rather than you going to it. This is the biggest value of RSS Feeds for me. Let me use CoETaIL as an example:

    You have to read a number of your fellow cohorts’ blogs, right? What the RSS feed does is bring that information to you when there’s new stuff there. Because there’s 26 of those blogs – you wouldn’t want to be sitting there clicking on those 26 urls to see if there is anything new there to read. Your RSS Feed (coming through which ever tool you use, digg, feedly, old reader etc) will let you see where new blog posts have been published – without you having to look for them! Imagine how frustrating it would be to click on 21 out of 26 blog urls to find that only 5 people had a new blog post for you to read.

    I hope that makes RSS Feeds and their ability to make a vast amount of information a little more organised, make a little more sense in it’s value.

  4. Hi Miriam,

    To piggyback on what Crissy said, the other great thing is the ‘mark all as read’ button! Just because things show up in your feed does not mean you need to read them. There are some blogs in my feed that I read every post and others that I read if I am particularly interested and others depending on how much time I have (or am wasting). An RSS feed is another tool to use in order to be connected. Part of what I appreciate about COETAIL is that you get to try a variety of tools and in the end you decide which ones work for you and keep those.

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