I’ve challenged some of my colleagues to take the 23 Things challenge to become more invested in online learning this summer. This website includes a 10-week game plan for learning some online learning and presenting methods that are useful for teachers, and that are appropriate activities for the age group we teach.  There are other 23 Things lists out there, I know, but this is the one that we’ve chosen to work with, and that I’ve decided to complete.

The previous entries in this series are here:

  1. Getting Started
  2. Discovery
  3. Setting Up a Blog
  4. Starting with Flickr
  5. Find some Flickr Toys and Tools
  6. Blog about the role of tech in your classroom

For activities 7 and 8, I’m supposed to set up a newsreader account with RSS. They recommend Google Reader. This is a problem. Google Reader is being phased out and shut down; as of this writing, it may even be offline.  I never even used it, actually.

For Activity 7, I’ve just set up a Feedly.com account, and I expect that I’ll be trying that out for a while.

Here’s what I don’t like about RSS readers… I forget that I have one website that I can go to for all my primary news materials; and then when I do remember, I don’t always get to read RuneSoup in the format that Gordon intended.  Here’s what I love about an RSS reader: I can go to one website, and see which sites that I read have updated lately, and get all the news from all the websites I visit regularly, all at once.  I love that.  It’s an elegant solution to a complicated problem.

See, when I read all my news sites, it takes forever. I mean forever. I can burn an hour visiting all the websites and reading the principle articles that have updated, or even two hours. But half of them may not have updated yet.  I have to wait for the page to load, tell me there’s no new content, and then I have to find the link to the next website in my “regular check-list”, load that one, and see if there’s new content.

(Sidenote: It occurs to me that my own website is akin to a firehose — a post a day whether I have anything interesting to say or not… Scale back? Maybe?  Something to think about.  I also know that about 250 people subscribe directly to this blog; another 1500 people or so follow the Twitter feed; but of course that doesn’t mean that I have 1800 daily readers. I think a lot of them are bot accounts, or spam e-mail accounts. Or spam Twitterers.  Who knows?)

Anyway, I’ve put about 60 websites on my Feedly.com feed, and I’m going to try checking it once a day for a couple of weeks.  I’ll report back when I know more.