Fresno State Digital Campus

eScholar 2.0

Blogs, Wikis, Social Networks, Social Bookmarks, Podcasts, RSS Feeds, and the list goes on of the many Web 2.0 tools native to today's students. This blog will provide the eScholars at Fresno State with the opportunity to explore many of these tools and discover how they may be used in education. If you want to comment on this blog, you will need to create a Google account if you do not already have one. Questions? Contact Mary Bennett

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


RSS or Really Simple Syndication allows users to easily keep track of content on the Web that is new and relevant. Discover exactly how Aggregators and RSS Feeds work and how to find the feeds you want. Explore the many ways RSS can be used in the classroom.

This video from Common Craft that explains RSS in Plain English

RSS Feeds RSS Logo
With Web1.0 users often would “bookmark” the sites that they wanted to visit often. As the list grew, users became overwhelmed with the vast amount of sites they visited to check for new information. Enter RSS. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. RSS allows users to “subscribe” allowing them to get an update on the newest content on websites, blogs, podcasts, and even news sites. Sites that have RSS generate a code called XML which is similar to HTML. This behind the scenes code is what allows subscription so users no longer have to visit the site itself to get the new content. Sites with a RSS feed have the familiar symbol somewhere on the page, often in the address bar, which you either click on or copy the address of to subscribe. Feeds are collected using an aggregator which goes out and compares the feeds to what you've already viewed and provides a listing of the new content since your last visit. As you might imagine, you are not longer visiting numerous sites looking for information. The newest content comes to you.

Using RSS in Education

  • Keeping updated on students' blogs or podcasts
  • Sources of information for current events
  • Tracking updates on collaboration projects using wikis
  • Tracking updates on services that use tags (pictures from Flickr or sites within Delicious)
  • RSS Search Feeds
  • News
  • Weblogs
  • Websites

RSS: A Quick Start Guide for Educators
Will Richardson’s guide for educators.

RSS Ideas for Educators

Try RSS!

You may want to consider Bloglines because you can check your feeds from any Internet connect and it is easy. All you need to do is go to the Bloglines site and “Register for your Free Account”. Once you receive a confirmation email you are ready to go.

Using Bloglines Tutorial

Once you have your Bloglines account set up you can now begin looking for feeds.

This is a great You Tube video highlighting how easy it is to add feeds to Bloglines:
Add RSS Feeds to Bloglines

Explore these resources for finding RSS Feeds relevant for education:

RSS Feeds from PBS
RSS News Feeds for Educators
peer-reviewed online teaching and learning materials.

Other Web-based RSS Feed Aggregators:
Google Reader

Adding RSS Feeds to your Blackboard Class
You may place RSS Feeds directly in Blackboard allowing you to provide up to date content from relevant resources in your course. There are several ways to do this:
Follow the instructions on the "How To" sheet found in the Tips and Tricks area for Adding an RSS Feed in Blackboard or you may use the Dynamic Feed Control from Google - either way, this is simple!

Monday, March 2, 2009


Weblogs aka Blogs are powerful tools for connecting ideas and resources. They facilitate “connective writing” and allow the instructor to support diverse learning styles. Blogs may be used to archive learning or act as a resource repository.

This short video from Common Craft explains Blogs in Plain English

The following articles will lead you on an investigation of how blogs are used in education:

Blogging 101 – Weblogs go to School

Educause Examples of Blogs

Educational Value of Weblogs

Edublog Insights
Comments, reflections and occasional brainstorms by Anne Davis

Computer Centers
A blog for kindergartners, using clickable pictures

The Write Weblog
Blogging adventures of 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders

As you can see blogging is increasingly finding a home in education. This is due in large part to the fact that the easy-to-use software removes the technical barriers to writing and publishing online. Additionally, the 'journal' format encourages students to keep a record of their thinking over time. Because readers have the ability to add comments blogs facilitate critical feedback, which could be from teachers, peers or a wider audience. Because the content created by students and teachers becomes part of wider body of knowledge when published to the web, blogs are truly a constructivist tool for learning.

Pedagogical/Technological Principles

In addition to their simplicity, blogs encourage interaction in a student/participant centered environment. The digital accessibility of blogs has the potential to extend learning as students may receive immediate feedback from teachers or peers.

Will Richardson created a collaborative learning space with students in his English literature course through blogging. His students published a readers’ guide to the book The Secret Life of Bees. The author of this book, Sue Monk Kidd, agreed to participate on by answering questions and commenting on what the students had written. The result was a truly collaborative learning environment.

The Secret Life of Bees

Blogging with Blogger
Blogger is often used by educators and it is simple to get started.You will want to explore all the "gadgets" available and think about how you can use them with your students.

Blogger Quick Tutorial

Blogger Buster
Helping you make the most of your Blogger Blog!

Blogging Safety and Security
If you decide to use blogs with your students it is important to remember that blogs, like any website, may be viewed publicly. Access, privacy, and security must all be carefully considered.

Making a Blogger Blog private

Hide Blogger NavBar so student can not click to "next blog"

Bloggers Code of Ethics

Sample Code of Ethics

Add a comment and describe your Blog exploration.