RSS feeds for ELT

Bloglines: promises, and delivers!

Real Simple Syndication [definition; Wikipedia entry], or RSS as it is better known, might at first sight sound like another bit of geeky technology that you can live very happily without, thank you.

Basically, it will involve you setting up an account (eg at Bloglines) and specifying which website(-s) and/or blog(-s) you want to track for new content. The next day (say), you will have to log back on to your new account to read any new content that has been found and brought to you at your account [+ info].

Which websites and blogs publish an RSS feed?
Not all websites publish what is called a "feed", which is what Bloglines et al use to gather the content for you.

If you can see an orange icon that looks like it is transmitting radio waves (right), then the site has an RSS feed which you can very simply add to your Bloglines account, and start receiving content from that site too.

Is it worth it…?
A very long time ago, when even email was in its infancy, I came to a seminar at my present employers, at which someone explained that the teachers (now my colleagues) had not wanted to use email until they discovered how useful it could be to them personally — for things other than teaching.

I'd suggest that RSS is like that: discover that it's useful to you personally, to bring you things on your hobbies and interests, and you'll quickly be convinced…

5 RSS feeds of general interest
Below, five sites on topics that interest me: try them, or look out for others that will interest you

5 RSS feeds of interest to English teachers

Try RSS. You'll wonder how you ever lived without it…

Second Life: where to find out more

Second Life: waiting for something to actually happen… Meanwhile, places you could find out more:

In order to keep up with the speed of developments in SL, a news aggregator supplying you with RSS feeds is useful: don't search, have things come to you, as I always say. Those of the resources below with an RSS feed are marked [RSS].

In alphabetical order:

More Second Life eductation links via

Er… Actually, I'd rather have a book
There is also an official SL guide, available from Amazon.

RSS: Don't search — have things come to you

Above: my Bloglines site this morning, with the sites I am currently tracking on the left

RSS (or "Real Simple Syndication") is one of the ways in which we can have information come to us, rather than have to go to places like Google to search for it.

Basically, you use what is called a "news aggregator" to go off to the sites you are interested in (blogs and an increasingly large number of websites) and then alert you, on a single page (see image above) if it finds new content on the sites it has trawled.

There are a number of possible choices, with Bloglines being the one I use personally, and can recommend.

You can pick and choose which sites you want, can subscribe and unsubscribe easily, and have a variety of options such as seeing just the headlines, summaries (my setting on the BBC Learning English site you can see on the right of the image above) or the whole articles.

Learn more
There is an excellent introduction, RSS: A Quick Start Guide for Educators, from the (also excellent) Weblogg-ed site.

See also >> RSS feeds for ELT