Saturday, September 15, 2007

RSS Aggregators & the Classroom

I just looked at the Shifted Librarian's post "New York Times Figures Out Aggregators" and it made me start thinking about a recent RSS aggregator lesson Ambookgeek created for the journalism class. I was lucky enough to be included in teaching this lesson but the credit all goes to Ambookgeek.

It was interesting that S.L. points out that people will not know that it is "RSS" but how they described "My Times" is the part of the definition of what RSS aggregators are. Check out this RSS in Plain English youTube video for a cool explanation.The NYT states:

What is My Times?
My Times is a free service that lets you create a personalized page with what you like best in The New York Times and your favorite sites and blogs from all over the Web. This personalized service makes it easy to read all that you like, from one central place.

I decided to to check out the New York Times' "My Times" feature and wondered if it would be more appropriate for a classroom setting. Looking at it, I do not see how it is any different from My Yahoo or iGoogle except that you can get NYT journalists suggestions.

I am wondering about possibly using something like MyTimes or iGoogle, because of the filters that have been installed on the school computers. Our journalism teachers were interested in using Bloglines, but the word "blog" seems to be one of the words that is filtered. Ambookgeek suggested introducing aggregators because the students need to read a number of different types of news stories and thought it would be a great way to (1) show them aggregators and (2) set them up with a one stop shop for news stories that they could "star" or "keep as new." Would the NYT's aggregator be a way to bypass the filtering software? It is obvious, that these personalized pages are becoming more and more mainstream but how can we utilize it for the classroom?

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