Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Life Made Easier and More Interesting Through RSS Feeds

I've spent many an hour neglecting my wife and kids surfing the web for information based on my passions. There's never enough time in the day to catch up on all the happenings in Major League Baseball, or the many tremendous weblogs in the education world, or even the most recent news articles from my favorite newspapers.

Learning about RSS feeds changed all that for me. It was like the day I discovered DVR, or maybe the day I realized my gorgeous wife is right 99% of the time. Life with an RSS feed reader suddenly became easier; more manageable; less stressful.

Through Google Reader (one of the many free RSS feed readers,) I now have all of my daily readings organized on one single page. I can mark items that I want to read later, or just simply skim through the brief summaries on each item. I can keep up on important issues in education, follow my fantasy baseball players and read all about local and national news. All of this in a matter of 10-20 minutes.

For those of us that are educators, parents or both, time is never a luxury. Every moment is precious. Life with an RSS feed reader can allow us to stay current, continue our lifelong quest for learning, and still have time to hang with the family. As Alan November makes clear in many of his talks and writings, technology can help us eliminate the excuse of time and space.

If you are interested in setting up a feed reader, I would suggest Google Reader or Pageflakes, both free feed readers. Simply follow the set-up instructions and pick a few things to subscribe to. Once you feel more comfortable, start adding more subscriptions. There is an excellent tutorial to this and many other web tools in both Web Literacy for Educators by Alan November and Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms by Will Richardson. I would strongly recommend both of these books to any educator.

For a happier day, check out the song Flake by Jack Johnson.

For an even happier day, become a Red Sox fan.