Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

April 8, 2011

What Is RSS and Why Should I Use It?

I must confess up front that I love using RSS Feeds to access theology resources and any other kind of interest I have. It has virtually replaced the need to bookmark a website. Now that websites are dynamic with blogs, newsfeeds, podcasts, videos, twitter feeds, etc., I get instant notification when a website is updated.

Many of you are reading this in an RSS feed reader. Some of you are getting it by e-mail. Others are reading it on our actual website. Today I want to introduce teachers to using RSS Feedreaders to get access to quality resources and ideas for their theology instruction. If students aren't familiar with RSS, these tips would work just as well for them.

What is RSS? what is rss and why should i use it?

RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication." It refers to "feeds" that aggregate frequently updated websites such as blogs, news headlines, and podcasts. The RSS feed icon is seen everywhere on the web to notify web visitors that they can follow the site's updates using and RSS feed reader. You can find a good explanation for RSS at CommonCraft.com: RSS in Plain English.

How do you follow websites?

Ten years ago, I had a mountain of bookmarks in my web browser that I would sift through to find the sites I visited often for resources and ideas. A few years later I discovered Google and just Googled the names of sites I liked to visit. Today, I rely on RSS and e-mail to update me when a website has something new. It saves time and energy and helps me organize what is most important to me on the web.

Four RSS Benefits Teachers

  1. Real-time updates from news websites.
  2. Get teaching ideas from blogs like Ave Maria Press Engaging Faith.
  3. Follow your favorite interests and hobbies to catch a break during your planning period or lunch.
  4. Get content sent to you rather than going out to find it.

Subscribe to Engaging Faith in Google Reader

There are many feed readers out there including Google Reader, My Yahoo, Netvibes, NewsGator, Outlook, etc. My personal preference is Google Reader. First, you need to set up a Google account, if you don't already have one. Then, you can customize your Google Reader to get updates to this and other blogs, news websites, and more.

How to Create a Google Account Video

TeacherTube has a nice short video on how to create a google account. Check that out here:
Or view it on YouTube.

How to Add a Blog to Google Reader

Can't see it? Check it out here: How to Add a Blog or News RSS Feed to Google Reader.

Subscribing to a blog is easy. In fact, you can subscribe to this one, by getting its feed here.

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