How RSS and Podcasting works for me.

Links to NECC blogs
http://web.uoregon.edu/ISTE/NECC2006/glance/blogging_podcasting.php

Reading blogs and keeping up to date on current trends are much easier if you set up a bloglines.com page. Bloglines will allow you to add a “submit” feature to your browser toolbar so that you can bookmark web sites from your browser and then share them with your peers or even better access the bookmarks from anywhere just by logging in to your bloglines account. Best of all it is free.

Where does one get all the information that keeps you on the edge of what’s happening out in the world of education? I read just about all I can find from David Warlick. His Two Cents Worth blog has a nugget or two of good information. Will Richardson’s weblogg-ed.com has plenty to get you thinking about. Will presents his case of the future of what he calls the read/write web. Others will call it web 2.0. You can listen to a podcast of the SIG Breakfast at NECC 2006–with David Warlick, Tony Vincent, Thor Prichard and John Hendron. It will give you a good picture of where this technology is going. While trying to take in all the links and information that seem to come out of NECC 2006 this year I found a number of pages from Will that I would like to share. Will’s shares his presentations links, presentation notes, read/write web, pod and vodcasting, powerpoint, podcasts, videocasts, etc. He also shares this link from Wikipedia listing social networking sites (think MySpace and Friendster). I was listening to Will speak about different forms of this new web 2.0 and he mentioned one of the aspects was “reading what other read” and offered his del.icio.us account so we could get an idea of how you can share information.
When Charles Moseley and I first started looking deeper into podcasting he pointed me to Bob Sprankle‘s class podcast from Wells, Maine. Bob’s students produce the Room 208 Podcast and have done a great job at integrating technology into the classroom through podcasting and blogs. Charles meanwhile has produced his own podcast of student projects at Switzerland Point Middle School. Right now Switzerland Point is changing servers and their RSS is not up. Check back and I will update the post when they are active.
O.K. if you are still reading this far down the page then you are at least a little interested in what this is all about. Blogs and podcasting can sometimes be mixed in the same pot. I have combined the two when posting the school district superintendent’s podcast. True podcasting will not rely on a blog but just about any blog can play an audio file which as also been podcasted. At any rate if you have a web page and want to start posting blogs and podcast or just using the content then you should check out Feed2JS. Use this link to build your own html for the feed. This handy little online application will create a Java Script that will allow you to post informtation on your webpage that would normally need a blog.

Now let’s talk about blogs. I still don’t consider myself a blogger but I think I may have to reconsider. You are reading my blog and I wrote the blog so I guess that makes me a blogger. I was in a Will Richardson session when he mentioned bloglines.com. I tried to make sense of other rss readers but the interface was not as simple to me. I wanted a simple way to manage the blogs that I was reading and since I have three computers that I will work from at just about anytime it made sense to have my resources on the web. I have been doing this for about two years with my personal / professional bookmarks with a Backflip.com account. The big questions standing in my way were where do I get the blogs that I am supposed to be reading? How do I work through all the garbage to find the treasures and how much time will it take from my already busy day. Well the Bloglines account has taken care of these questions for me. Bloglines is a free service that allows a script to be placed in your browser toolbar. I have one of these buttons on each browser (IE, Firefox and Safari) so I can add an RSS feed (blog) to my bloglines account. (I have been doing this same thing with Backflip for my bookmarks but that is another post…we won’t go there now.) Maybe there is another easier way to gather a large collection of good blogs but if there is a harder way I tend to find it. The first thing that I did was use the basic bloglines offering of blogs. This is a fairly extensive list that covers many areas of interest. I chose education, photography, news, etc. just to get my feet wet. Things really began to take off when I found the NECC list of atendee blogs. This was a list of bloggers who were planning to blog the workshops and experiences at NECC. Now things are beginning to take off. From this list I made myself more aware of the information contained in blogs. I started looking for other blogs that linked to the blogs that I was interested in and then linked to them. Those links then turned into more links and at last count I was up to 41 feeds and that was after weeding some of those starter blogs offered by Bloglines. Now things are moving allong at warp speed. I have my browser button to save blogs and a button to bookmark webpages. But what about the time involved you ask? One of the things that I really like about reading blogs is the time it doesn’t take away from my daily routine. I can check out the new posts and scan through the text to see if I like the topic. If not then on to the next one. This is a distinct advantage over podcast as some podcasters tend to ramble on to fill the 30 minute time slot that someone somewhere decided was the norm.

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