Feed Me

RSS takes three tries before you start to understand it. The first time, it goes completely over your head. The second time, you start to get some kind of idea what they’re talking about. The third time, you start to really understand what’s going on.

RSSIt’s a lot like photosynthesis, or trigonometry, or irregular verbs in romance languages, or all of those other things I don’t understand. It just takes time to”get it.”

Maybe this will help. Go to this page. This is part of our portal page system — the pages that automatically load when someone starts a browser in our district. This particular one is the “news” section of our high school portal.

What do you see? In the upper-left corner, there’s the current weather. That’s pulled from the weather channel via RSS. Next to that, you have national news. Those items are collected from the top stories on CNN, Associated Press, Reuters, USA Today, National Public Radio, and MSNBC. They’re pulled via RSS, collected, and displayed as links.

Next to that is school news. That’s done the same way, except we pull the RSS feeds from our district, high school, middle school, and elementary school web sites. We do the same thing with world news and local news.

I think I last edited this page last June, and it’s always up-to-date. That’s RSS.

The people over at Common Craft have a short video that helps explain this, too:


Click To Play

If you want an easy way to start playing with this stuff, check out Protopage.

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Author: John Schinker

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4 thoughts on “Feed Me”

  1. This latest post describes me. It took me at least three times of hearing about RSS until I was finally able to start using it. (And I consider myself fairly tech savvy!) Thanks for confirmation that there are others out there with a similar learning style. Also, what does this tell us about teaching people that are not comfortable with technology?

  2. I suggest setting up something like Protopage for your RSS feeds. The example mentioned above is fine, but when you exit out of the current news feed you are using, you lose all of your internet windows and have to go back to starting up your internet again. Of course, you could just hit the back button too, but with Protopage when you exit out of your current window, it defaults right back to Protopage and the newsfeed you were reading. In my opinion, Protopage is just a glorified and personal Portal page (except the Portal pages do not appear when you exit out of the screen you are looking at) like the ones we have set up here within our school district. If you like using our school portal page, you will really like using an internet start page like Protopage.

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