Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Online Learning - RSS Aggregators

Online learning and ICT's are certainly opening my eyes to a whole new world that was passing me by. I recently set up what is called an RSS aggregator.
In setting up my own RSS, I found that being a Digital Immigrant meant that these things certainly did not come naturally, however they are simple enough to navigate around, and I am sure with time and practice, any novice could easily become an expert.
RSS - Really Simple Syndication, could help in the classroom in two ways:-
1) It is a simple and effective way for teacher's to monitor student's work 'at a glance' and it is also a great way for student's to keep up with each other in the learning environment. This would certainly help to have peers making a contribution to each others work. I believe that at any age or level of education, most people would feel a certain amount of added pressure to do well if their peers were able to view their work, so this could certainly result in a higher standard of work from students.
2) RSS could be used in a way that could possibly help combat cyber bullying. If teachers and parents all aim to get educated on how to use these Really Simple Syndicators, then they can get more involved in what their students/children are up to on the Web, and ensure that they are using it legitimately and lawfully.

RSS aggregators also give students easy access to further readings. Students can subscribe to educational blogs that their teachers have set out as part of the course curriculum. It is agreed in the report, Effective use of information and communication technology (ICT) to enhance learning for disadvantaged school students, that ICT's "provide access to data bases, websites and discussions that were previously unavailable." ( Blackmore et al, 2003) They are also a way that we can speak our students' language, "Teachers today have to learn to communicate in the language and style of their students" (Prensky, 2001) RSS aggraegators give students these exact opportunities. They can also fulfil the Relate-create-donate component of Kearsley & Shneiderman's Engagement Theory as they:-
"1. occur in a group context
2. are project based
3. have an outside (authentic) focus." (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999)
RSS aggregators are an excellent example of how ICT's can benefit and are an integral part of today's classrooms.


Blackmore, J., Hardcastle, L., Esme, B., & Janet, O. (2003). Effective use of information and communication technology to enchance learning for disadvantages students. Commonwealth of Australia. Retreived August 14th, 2009, from http://www.dest.gov.au/sectors/school_education/publications_resources/profiles/effective_use_technology_enhance_learning.htm

Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999) Engagement Theory: A framework for technology based teaching and learning. Retrieved July 4, 2009, from http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm

Prensky, M. (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Retrieved July 04, 2009, from http://marcprensly.com/writing/Prensky/Digital Natives/DigitalImmigrants/Part1.pdf

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