7: Subscribe to Blogs

As soon as you start reading other people's blogs, you realize it's a hassle to continually go to each blog and check to see if a new post has been added. Luckily we are using Blogger and it has an easy way for you to connect to other blogs on Blogger.  There is a "Follow" link at the top and/or side of most Blogger blogs. Clicking the follow link will let you follow the blog publicly or anonymously. When you log into Blogger, you can read all of the recent posts of the blogs you follow by going to the Dashboard. (Many of you are already following colleagues' blogs without even being asked to.  Awesome!)

Here is a sample "Reading List" which is found on the Dashboard as soon as you log into Blogger.

This is all good and fine. But there are millions of blogs that are not Blogger blogs. What if you want to follow a blog that is not part of Blogger [insert gasp here]?  That's where RSS and Google Reader come into play. RSS stands for real simple syndication.  The symbol is for it is: .  Let's learn a bit about RSS with our friends from CommonCraft.com.

Good news! If you have a Blogger account, you already have access to Google Reader, one of the best RSS readers. And the blogs that you are following in Blogger will automatically appear in Google Reader. You can easily access Google Reader using the link in the dashboard. 

Discovery Exercises:
  1. If you haven't already done so, follow some of your colleagues' blogs using the "Follow" link found on their blogs. The number you follow is up to you.  Use Blogger's Dashboard to read their blog updates for a couple of days. (It's a good idea to regularly read about the "Things" your colleagues are experiencing during this program.  It can help you with your Things.) 
  2. Next, use Google Reader to keep track of the blogs you follow and see how it's different from Blogger's tool.
    *** If you are feeling overwhelmed, you can now skip to exercise 3 below.  Otherwise, continue. ***
    Once you are comfortable following colleagues' blogs, add more content to your Google Reader.
    You can add RSS feeds from blogs, news sites, etc.  It is easy to add the feeds. Click the "Add a subscription" link in the upper left of the screen and and paste the URL into the box.  Watch this quick video (1 min.) to learn more ways. 

    You can add news feeds from CNN or NPR by just typing their names in the subscription box.  You might look back at Thing 3 to find blogs to follow. Here are some other blogs you might want to follow:

    Instructify - http://blogs.learnnc.org/instructify Instructify is where teachers can stock their toolboxes with practical, time-saving classroom ideas and cutting edge methods of instruction.
    Blogboard - http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/blogboard/  A round-up of "what's new and noteworthy in educator blogs," from Education Week's Teacher Magazine.
    Successful Teaching - http://successfulteaching.blogspot.com  Veteran classroom teacher Pat Hensley (a.k.a loonyhiker) offers "strategies and tips for successful teaching." Her blog embodies the Web 2.0 spirit of sharing.
  3. Create a post in your blog about RSS and Google Reader.  Address any of the following questions.
  • What do you like about RSS and news readers like Google Reader?
  • How do you think you or others might be able to use this technology? You could respond in terms of professional and/or personal life.
  • Find any great RSS feeds we should consider adding to Google Reader?
      Why doesn't our 23 Things site have an easy to get to RSS Feed?
      This web site does not have an RSS feed because some of the Things are published multiple times for reviewing purposes before they become publicly available.


      loonyhiker said...

      Thank you so much for including my blog in your post! This was a great article and I will be sharing it on Plurk and Twitter.

      Dino Vandenheede said...

      Thank you for having such a great site!