Thing 4 - What is RSS?

As you begin reading more blogs, you may find it difficult to keep up with all the new posts. Or, perhaps your students start blogging -- how will you manage to visit thirty or more different blogs on a daily basis? Fortunately, there is another Web 2.0 technology that has changed the way we receive new online content. It’s called RSS. Some say RSS stands for “rich site summary” while others say it stands for “real simple syndication.” Either way, what matters is that RSS is a cool tool that you need to be using.

After setting up an RSS account, you will learn how to subscribe to blogs and other sites that publish new content on a regular basis (like news headlines). These sites offer “feeds” of their updated content. Whether you subscribe to one blog or a hundred, all you have to do is visit a single site and be instantly updated on what's new on all your favorite blogs. Watch this video to understand more about how RSS works.

If you can't see the video, click here to watch it on the Common Craft website.

To complete Thing 4 you must:
A. Log in to your Google Reader account
Subscribe to blogs using three different methods
C. Reflect on Thing 4 on your blog

There are a variety of RSS services - called aggregators or feed readers. One of them is Google Reader. It's a useful aggregator because it stores your RSS account online so that you can access it from any computer. No more having different blogs bookmarked on different computers.

A. Log In to Your Google Reader Account
Go to Google Reader at reader.google.com. Since you've already created a Google account, just sign in to Reader with your Google account information.

The first time you log in, you will see a welcome screen. Your next step is to start "feeding" your reader by subscribing to a few blogs.

B. Three Methods of Subscribing
1. Use the SUBSCRIBE button
(Subscribe to Free Technology for Teachers & David Warlick's 2c Worth)

NOTE: The updated version of Google Reader uses a red SUBSCRIBE button instead of the Add a Subscription button as shown in the video.

2. Use the RSS button on the site
(Subscribe to Karl Fisch's The Fischbowl and Bud the Teacher)

NOTE: The updated version of Google Reader uses a red SUBSCRIBE button instead of the Add a Subscription button as shown in the video.

3. Use the Subscribe toolbar button
(Subscribe to Will Richardson's Will)

Now that you've subscribed to several blogs, you'll want to become more comfortable using Google Reader to organize and read your blogs. Thing 5 will help you learn to do just that.

C. Reflect - Blog Prompts for Thing 4
How might you use RSS in your personal or professional life? Which method of subscribing do you prefer? What didn't work or doesn't make sense?


  1. I think that RSS will help me keep updated on current issues in educational leadership. As an aspiring administrator it will be important for me to keep well informed on issues related to education and educational reform. I liked using the subscribe button because it allowed me to search for topics that I am interested in and then provided me with options for subscription. I would like to be able to see more information on each feeder before I subscribe.

  2. wrote in my CB's House blog :-)

  3. I found the subscribe button easiest to use.

  4. I thought it was easy to subscribe and what a great way to get information quickly!

  5. Clicking the Subscribe button was the easiest way for me.

  6. I think the subscribe button method made the most sense to me. No thanks to the bookmark in the toolbar thing!

  7. Well, I didn't subscribe because Google reader will be retiring tomorrow, July 1, 2013, and google was suggesting that you download all your contacts to be moved to a new site.