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, “instead 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…