Google Reader to be ditched, July 1

My thoughts entirely…!

As of July 1, Google is pulling the plug on Google Reader, in my view absolutely its best tool (with the possible exception of Google Drive), says The Guardian and the BBC, and Lifehacker, and Mashable, and 100s of other sites in my Reader feeds.

Currently in a state of shock, I just don't know what I'm going to do without all the amazing material for classes, all the amazing new technology, all the great ideas that all come to me daily in one conveniently crap-free space, the last not something that can be said of garbage collection points like Twitter and Google+.

Having swept aside Bloglines, Google is now just going to trash Reader in order to force on us whatever of its products it deems is going to make it most millions…?

See also
Lifehacker has a number of suggested alternatives

A wonderful story, perhaps for Valentine's Day

Here's a wonderful story which I picked up via Google Reader from Viral Video Chart (well worth following for videos that can be used in class).

I'm not sure what I'd do with it in class, possibly use it as a starting point for a creative writing exercise, possibly for Valentine's Day. But it's too wonderful not to use it!

Any suggestions as to how it could be used?

Things I take to class #3: Something I've never tried before

Google Reader and Diigo: find stuff… and find it again!

I posted the third thing I try to take to class — something new — prior to my APABAL session so I won't repeat it here.

What I would like to stress is what a fabulous tool Google Reader is [see video], both for finding new things to take to class and for keeping up-to-date with technology.

As well as Google Reader, I also use Diigo [view video] to bookmark and organise things that I find that I might want to be able to find again (which is vital!). Although I don't get learners to actually use them, they are definitely two tools I can highly recommend and, personally, couldn't live without them.

If you're interested, you can "follow" my Diigo feed with Google Reader, and see what new things I've bookmarked.

A couple of other sites not mentioned at APABAL but which also provide new things that I take to class, and can highly recommend:

  • National Geographic's Photo a Day page, which I have automatically open in a new tab every time I open my browser (and see this activity for class)
  • The Guardian's You are the Ref page, particularly recommended if you teach teenage boys!
  • Viral videos (everyone loves viral videos!)
  • Lots more viral stuff (great to share with your learners as "thought you might enjoy this" stuff on blogs or an Edmodo group) from
When, unprompted, your learners start to post their own "thought you might enjoy this" things to your Edmodo group, you just know it's taken off!
10 things I take to class
One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven | Eight | Nine | Ten

Take something new to class!

A great video and speaking activity for class from Larry Ferlazzo's excellent blog

If you've been a teacher for a long time (I started in 1979), you've just got to take new things to class with you: there are only so many times anyone can teach the same thing in the same way before starting to be unable to transmit the same enthusiasm for it.

In the session on Energizing teaching with technology that  I'm giving at the APABAL Convention I'll be talking about some of the things I take to class with me and one is that: something new, something I've never tried before.

Many of the new ideas and activities and pieces of material I take with me come from the blogs I follow (see sidebar, right) via the wonderful Google Reader [video]. Other people swear by Twitter [video], but Google Reader gives me a massive daily dose of great new ideas… and thus of fresh energy for class.

Apart from the video above, here's a fairly random selection of ten posts that have caught my eye on Google Reader in the last couple of days:

Get yourself a daily dose of something new. Whatever else you do this year, don't just do what you did last year; your learners will appreciate it!

The most beautiful buildings in the world

This one, Are these the world's most beautiful buildings?, came from my RSS feed for the Telegraph.

That's precisely the sort of thing I'm looking for when I take 10 minutes every morning to skim through the feeds on Google Reader: material (text or images, or both, but not too much), sometimes displayed on an interactive whiteboard, that will interest my learners and, above all, get them to talk, often through a brainstorming session.

With this one, everyone can come up with buildings that might be included, but the potential for disagreement (great!) on what should be included is huge. To avoid any project work or presentations being richly illustrated with images stolen from Google Images (a pet hate), and also to generate more discussion, I would insist on some of the buildings being in "our" city (easy if you live somewhere like Barcelona!).

The Telegraph also has a gallery of the world's ugliest buildings, which you could do a similar thing with.