All teachers are REQUIRED to set up an RSS reader in order to monitor their student work. It is strongly suggested that students also set up their PLN to monitor their specific work. The following video tutorials have been set up to help instruct about how to do this.

Why do we need RSS Readers?

1. Monitoring

In a complex project such as this there are hundreds of blog entries, status updates, wiki edits and discussions. Using RSS (Really Simple Syndication), you can subscribe to these updates which are compiled automatically and delivered to one web page so that you may check what is happening in the project at a glance.

2. Customized Learning

Students will want to just focus on what is happening on their wiki page and with their partners, so they should create a portal that helps them monitor but also helps them research their topic by bringing in links from the Diigo group (if there is one), Google News searches, and other sources of information. This is a powerful tool that will help students and is considered by many (including project organizers) to be an essential 21st century skill and digital literacy. Teachers should guide students in creating their custom RSS portal for this project using the information here. This is called constructing a PLN.


Types of RSS Readers

There are two basic types of RSS readers:
  • Portal Based Feed Reader - This shows the titles of the blog entries and topics in one place for easy, fast scanning. Typically when you click an item or a heading, this style can change into a web-based style feed reader. Examples are: igoogle, netvibes, pageflakes.
  • Web-based Feed Reader - This collects items and puts the most recent first. Examples are: Google Reader, Bloglines

There are desktop feedreaders but because these projects are web-based, we are looking at the two web based options. For this project, we recommend the PORTAL BASED readers. If a teacher must publish the portal, then netvibes or pageflakes are recommended because of their publishing capabilities.

How RSS Readers Are Used in this Project

Project CMP (Class Monitoring Portal)

This is a portal set up and PUBLISHED by the project organizers that monitors the overall work of the entire project. Teachers are also encouraged to use and monitor this daily for 10 minutes to interact with the entire project and see what is happening.
Where do I find it? Once it is created, it will be sent through the google group and also be linked from the left side of the project wiki page.

Teacher CMP (Class Monitoring Portal)

This allows you to monitor what is happening on the wikis and Nings relating to this project. We will set up a general PLN, but you should set up one for your classes.
Where do I find it? You must create it and also it requires your students to tag their work with your assigned tag on the project. If students do not tag their work, then you will have to pick that up through the project CMP. Additionally, if you have specific students who concern you, it is highly recommended that you subscribe to their individual updates on the Ning.

Student PLN (Personal Learning Network)

This lets you create a portal to learn about a particular topic and is one of the most important researching tools that you could use. Each time you have a major topic (like a term paper or project), you should set up a tab in your RSS reader. You will use this to monitor wiki updates on your assigned page(s), wiki discussions on your assigned page(s), your teacher's blog on the Ning, the project wiki instructions page, and research sources such as Diigo and Google News. It is also recommended that you create a box with links to the primary websites for the project so you don't forget the URL. You may choose to set this as your start page while this project is happening.