Showing posts with label Rss Aggregation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rss Aggregation. Show all posts

Monday, July 19, 2010

So You Want to Reuse a Blog Post?

I often come across blogs that are reusing the content of other blogs without the author's permission. Unfortunately, I've even seen this done by school technology integrators, school administrators, and teachers. Generally, when I ask those people why they have copied and pasted someone else's content, the answer is something along the lines of "well the content is good and I want my teachers to be able to find it all in one place." I understand those peoples' desire to centralize content, but copying and pasting entire blog posts of someone else is not the correct way to do it. It's not correct for at least two reasons. First, it's plagiarism. Second, whether they run ads or not and whether they admit it or not, bloggers love page views. We love to see how many people are coming to our blogs. And by lifting entire posts, you're denying us those page views we crave.

Sue Waters has some great words of wisdom about this issue too. One of the things that Sue points out is that while the web is all about sharing, it's also important to respect the time and effort that a person puts into his or her blog posts. I encourage you to read all of Sue's comments here.

So then if you are trying to collate good information to share with your colleagues what is an appropriate way to do it? One way to do it is to use the title and perhaps a few sentences of the blog post then place a "read more" link to direct readers to the actual source and full content. Another appropriate way to collate and distribute many blog posts is to place an RSS feed widget in the sidebar of your blog. These widgets will automatically update with blog post titles and the beginning of the new articles when your favorite blogs update.

RSS feed widgets will accomplish two things for you. First, once you've set-up and installed the widget you won't have to go to each blog individually to find the latest updates. Second, RSS feed widgets will provide the links to the direct sources of each article so that your visitors can read and comment on the original author's words.

Where can you get one of these RSS feed widgets? If you're using Blogger, there is a built-in capacity for this. To add and display the RSS feeds of other blogs select "design" from your Blogger dashboard, choose "add gadget," then select "blog list." The blog list gadget will prompt you to add the urls of your favorite blogs. If you're using another platform for your blog or you don't like the one offered through Blogger, here are some 3rd party customizable RSS feed widgets;, and WebRSS. Of the two, I've found WebRSS easier for first time users to customize and install. If you're using for your blog here's another widget you can try. Finally, Robin Good has a long list of tools and widgets that you can use to syndicate RSS feeds.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Welcome Great Schools Partnership Attendees!

A special welcome for the attendees of the Great Schools Partnership workshop. Thanks to Steve and Connie for directing you here.
You may be interested in these "how-to" tutorials.
If you like what you see, please subscribe using the RSS or email subscription options.
Don't know what RSS is yet? Watch this video.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Turn Your Blog Into a Newsletter With RSS to PDF

Five Filters' free RSS to PDF service makes it easy to convert your blog's RSS feed into a printable PDF format. To use the service simply enter your blog's RSS feed url (if you use FeedBurner, you can use the FeedBurner feed) and Five Filters quickly converts the feed into a two column printable PDF. Click here to see the PDF created from this blog's RSS feed. Five Filters' RSS to PDF seems to convert six days worth of items from your RSS feed. Although I didn't do it for the RSS feed I converted, you can customize the title of your PDF to match your blog's title.

Applications for Education
As much as we would like to think that the parents of all of our students are can get online to view our classroom blogs, the truth is that in some districts many parents don't have reliable internet access. RSS to PDF services make it possible for you to quickly convert your blog communication to a paper document that you can mail home or send home with students.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Feed Journal - Turn RSS Feeds Into Newspapers
Feed Chronicle - Make Your Own News Page
MeeHive - Your Custom News Homepage

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My Alltop - Create Your Own Digital Magazine Rack

Alltop, the online magazine rack for blogs, released late last night a new service called My Alltop. My Alltop will allow you to build your own collection of blog headlines from all of the blogs that Alltop lists. To understand how My Alltop works you should know that Alltop lists blogs by keyword categories. For example, Free Technology for Teachers is listed in the education category. On each category's page, blog titles are listed followed by the five most recent stories from that blog. My Alltop will allow you to select blogs from a variety of categories and have those blogs' headlines displayed on one page. You can see my My Alltop page here. If you look at my page you will notice that I have combined blogs from education, rock climbing, and technology. I have embedded below a video overview of My Alltop.

Applications for Education
My Alltop could be a good tool for students to keep track of developing stories for current events classes. My Alltop also provides teachers and other busy professionals with an easy way to scan many RSS feeds at once.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

MeeHive - Your Custom News Homepage

MeeHive is a customizable homepage for viewing the news that interests you most. What sets MeeHive apart from similar customizable homepage services is that you can connect to other users and share stories. You can also share your favorite MeeHive stories on Twitter from your MeeHive homepage. MeeHive pulls stories not only from the big and popular media outlets but also from places like Twitter and YouTube.

Here's how MeeHive works. After creating your account select news from a wide range of categories and subcategories. You may select as many categories and subcategories as you like. For instance, I selected sports news, business news, and US News. After selecting sports news I selected the subcategories of NBA basketball and MLB baseball and I finally entered the names of my favorite teams (Celtics and Red Sox in case anyone has tickets to give away). MeeHive will then search the web to find all of the most recent stories for each of your selected topics. You can also add RSS feeds from your favorite blogs and websites to be displayed on your MeeHive page.

Embedded below is a video introduction to MeeHive.

Meehive Intro from Meehive on Vimeo.

Applications for Education
MeeHive could be a good homepage for students in current events courses to keep up with the latest news. If your course requires students to maintain a blog,
MeeHive could be used to view and grade all of your students' work in one place. MeeHive does allow you to keep your page private or share it with the world.

Friday, January 9, 2009

What is RSS?

This week I have noticed that this blog has received a lot more direct visits, almost twice the amount from the week before holiday break, so I thought this might be a good time to share an explanation of RSS and what reading blogs in an RSS reader can do for you.

Here are some questions commonly asked about RSS:

1.What do the initials RSS mean? RSS is typically defined as "Rich Site Summary" or "Really Simple Syndication." However you define it, RSS does the same thing, so don't worry about what the letters mean.

2. What does RSS do? RSS brings website/ blog content to you in one centralized location, often without the advertising or sidebar content found on most blogs and websites. In order to read content found in an RSS feed, you need to have an RSS reader.

3. What is an RSS reader and where do I get one? An RSS reader, sometimes referred to as an RSS aggregator, is a centralized location on the web where all of the information from the RSS feeds you're subscribed to is sent. One easy-to-use RSS reader is Google Reader. Yahoo and Bloglines are also popular RSS readers. I have embedded a short video introduction to Google Reader below the question four.

4. How can I tell if a website offers an RSS feed? Almost every website or blog that updates regularly, prominently displays an icon or a "subscribe" link. The one for this blog is posted in the upper right corner of the page. If an icon or subscribe link is not offered, you still may be able to subscribe to a feed, in Firefox if you see a small RSS icon appear in the url bar, click it to subscribe. Below is an image of the most common type of RSS icon.

The video from Common Craft embedded below explains how RSS works.

This video, also from Common Craft, provides a short introduction to Google Reader.

Applications for Education
As a teacher, using an RSS reader can help you stay informed and up to date on new information related to your content area and practice. People often ask me how I find so much information about new technology resources, the answer is simple, I scan roughly 600 updates in my RSS reader every day. Obviously you don't have to subscribe to as many websites as I do to stay informed, but my RSS addiction does demonstrate how much time a person can save and how much information a person can find by using an RSS reader. If I didn't use an RSS reader there is no way that I could find so much information in a couple of hours each day. (As a side note, I'm going camping for six days without Internet access when I get back, I'll have thousands of items to scan through).

If you maintain a blog or website for your classroom, having your students use RSS readers is a good way to keep them informed of new information you've posted. For teachers that address current events in their curriculum, having students use RSS readers is a good way for them to track developments in news stories.

If you found this information or anything else on this blog useful, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed by using this link.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Feed Chronicle - Make Your Own News Page

This is service is no longer working. March 2013. 

Feed Chronicle is a new RSS aggregation service designed to be used as an online newspaper. Feed Chronicle allows you to select from a large list of popular feeds to include in your online newspaper. All of the most recent updates from your chosen feeds appear on one page. Feed Chronicle is similar to the services Tabbloid and Feed Journal that I've previously reviewed.

Applications for EducationFeed Chronicle could make a good start page for students in world studies course or in any social studies or business course that makes frequent use of current news stories.