Keeping Current Using RSS Feeds
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) allows you to be notified of new content without having to actively check for it.
Most news-related sites, weblogs and other online publications – even K12IRC.org – post their content for free to an RSS Feed.
If you are an "Information Junkie", then RSS is perfect for you.
Instead of visiting many of the same websites every day, you can instead take advantage of RSS – short for Really Simple Syndication – to gather headlines from those sites and either feed them directly to your computer or an app or organize them on a web page for you view online.
Education Week distributes many RSS feeds covering stories from their publications and blogs. They have a wide variety of specialty sub-topics, from After School Programs and Assessment to Technology and Urban Education. They even have state specific feeds.
Most publications today have similar feeds. Check out the publications and web sites you enjoy, and search for RSS.
Live in an area with changing weather? The National Weather Service has RSS alert feeds broken out by state and area. Scroll down past some technical information to find the feeds for your state.
Reuters provides a wide variety of specialty feeds, including topics like Arts, Environment, Science & Oddly Enough.
The New York Times offers RSS feeds, both general and topic specific. Freely monitor their feeds to get the latest headlines, summaries and links back to full articles - updated throughout the day.
How do you start using RSS?
1. Get a news reader.
This is a program, app or web site that will monitor your selected RSS feeds and display the results in an easy to read format.
2. Load the RSS feeds into your reader tool.
RSS feeds are usually identified by the logo or an or icon.
You can copy and paste the [RSS] link – an Internet URL – into your reader ... check the directions for your specific news reader. The good news is that you only have to copy this RSS link once.
3. Start reading your news feeds.
Log into or start your news reader, and check out the latest news, updates and happenings. Many readers will to organize your feeds into folders and alert you when new information arrives.
You can follow RSS feeds for free using your existing web browser. This article explains how.
There are a number of smart phone apps and web services that will assemble your various RSS feeds and present them sorted, organized and available wherever you are. If you have a wide variety of interests (and feeds), one of the apps might be a good fit. Some charge a small monthly or one-time fee.
Thunderbird is a freely available e-mail program that can also handle RSS feeds. If you already use Thunderbird, this page explains how to subscribe to RSS feeds, step-by-step.
Here are some additional free RSS reader options if you have a Windows PC.
Keeping everyone up-to-date can be simple. There is a good chance your current school or blog web software (e.g., WordPress) offers an RSS feed option.