Friday, April 27, 2012

Early steps

I had 25 students create blogs, and submit their URLs via a google survey I set up. From that spreadsheet of addresses, I created a folder in my google reader and subscribed to an RSS feed for each of their blogs (renaming them so I could keep track of the authors).

Subscribing to the RSS was a little time-consuming. I first installed a widget from Reader that puts a shortcut on my taskbar that imports the feed to Reader, then I opened each blog, one at a time, and using that widget, subscribed to it. Then, in Reader, I had to change the name of the blog and drag it into the assigned folder.

It took about an hour to do 25 blogs....doable for this trial, but not at all for next year's rollout of 200 blogs. Additionally, I don't forsee 85 teachers all learning to manage Reader so they can control the subscription to the blogs (homeroom, a class, etc) that they choose to follow. I still need to think about that.

I also need to find an aggregator program that will host the URLs in a nice format, and find some management program (or write the code) for a subscription program that can read from the google survey and keep the aggregator updated.

This is going to be a challenge, but I suspect when the dust settles, what I will have learned will far outweigh whatever product I come up with, and that product will be somewhat streamlined and manageable.

I hope.

Hey, I found a great solution. I am creating a field in our school LMS where the kids can input the URL to their own blog. Then any stakeholder (classroom teacher, homeroom teacher, club leaders, etc) can see all their kids' blog addresses in one location. One person can download them and put them in a folder, then bundle them and send them around. Even though this is much of the same process as before (subscribing, renaming, putting into a folder), it is MUCH faster than going to an external site and subscribing: teachers can just copy the URL from the LMS site and paste it into the 'subscribe' window in google.reader. It only takes about 10 seconds per blog, so someone can subscribe to a class set of 20 blogs in only a few minutes.

Watch for a future post explaining this in detail, with pictures and a video.

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