A RSS aggregator stands for ‘Really Simple Syndication’. RSS aggregators have the ability to allow viewers to follow particular blogs and websites. In particular, it allows people to share resources, for example some of the things that are being shared include; bookmarks to important information, class blogs, collate important events, podcast lectures, monitoring student research, professional development, collaboration and even school news to name a few.
A great feed reader that I have become quite familiar with is Google Reader. Google Reader is a Web-based aggregator, capable of reading Atom and RSS feeds online or offline. Items in Google Reader can be shared with other Web users. Previously this was done by sending a link through e-mail, directing the user to the shared article; or by creating a basic webpage that includes all shared items from a user's account (Answers.com, 2009).
Through my exploration of RSS Aggregators and Google Reader I found this technology very helpful to know. My reasoning for this is because it allows me to read all new posts and websites that I am subscribed to without having to go to each individual page, instead going to one page to view all. Another positive that I found with Google Reader in particular was that once I was subscribed to my particular posts etc I was able to sort this information into folders, making it a lot easier to find information and more efficiently.
I believe this is a great tool to be used in the classroom, and as a future educator I believe it would help aid students to increase their knowledge and skills both inside and outside of the classroom. Not only will it allow students to keep track of their peers work, but it will also allow students to give peer feedback to one another. The University of Technology, Sydney states that one of the desirable outcomes of education is an increased ability in the learner to make independent judgments of their own and others' work. A peer rating format can encourage a greater sense of involvement and responsibility, establish a clearer framework and promote excellence, direct attention to skills and learning and provide increased feedback (Weaver & Cotrell, 1986).
In conclusion this pedagogical approach fits great with Kearsley and Shneiderman’s (1999) engagement theory. It involves active cognitive processes such as creating, problem-solving, reasoning, decision-making, and evaluation. Therefore, students are intrinsically motivated to learn due to the meaningful nature of the learning environment and activities they are participating in (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999). This therefore leads to the understanding that by using such tools in the classroom, teachers will then be able to create a worthwhile authentic task for their students.
Answers.com (2009). Google Reader. Retrieved on 16th August, 2009 from http://www.answers.com/topic/google-reader
University of Technology, Sydney. (2007)Peer Assessment. Retrieved on 16th August, 2009 from http://www.iml.uts.edu.au/assessment/students/peer.html
Kearsley, G. & Schneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technologybased teaching and learning. Retrieved August 1st, 2009 from http://home.sprynet.com/-gkearsley/engage.htm
Weaver, W., Cotrell, H.W. (1986). Peer evaluation: a case study. Innovative Higher Education, California.
5Min (2008). RSS Aggregators. Retrieved on 16th August, 2009 from http://www.5min.com/Video/Leveraging-RSS-Feeds-and-The-Sage-Too-Addon-For-Firefox-57908226