I’ve just returned from an EdCamp session in Los Angeles. While the things I learned were amazing, one of the things I was reminded of was even more powerful: Too many teachers are thirsty for information and seem to be told to drink from the fire hydrant.
I’m guilty of unleashing the fire hydrant as much as anybody, and need to remind myself that a lot of my mission with EdTech.tv is to make sure that teachers are comfortable with the basics. With that in mind, today I want to cover Feedly.
Feedly is a simple RSS aggregator. Instead of remembering what RSS means, let’s just remember that Feedly brings all the blogs you want to follow into one central location.
Why Do I Need Feedly?
Most teachers who are not proactive about developing their PLNs (Professional Learning Networks) have a tendency to remember a few useful websites and then some vague passing knowledge of a few more. Usually they forget how to find them and then try to google some keywords in hopes that the site will show up again. This is a non-productive waste of your time.
Feedly pulls all of the posts from the sites that you visit and lets you scan through the topics and then jump into the full posts of the ones you’re interested in. It’s kind of like going to the supermarket to buy your groceries instead of going to the butcher’s, the farm, the candy store, and then the toilet paper store.
Why Can’t I Just Use Bookmarks?
Bookmarks are fine (though I’d suggest you use Pocket instead), but they’re considered the old way of doing what aggregators like Feedly do so much better. To go back to the supermarket analogy, bookmarks are the strip mall – everything is closer together, but you still have to go to each store individually.
Also, bookmarks don’t show you what’s new and who’s put up something useful. You still have to click into every site and (depending on how well designed their site is) figure out if there’s anything new since the last time you went. With Feedly, a quick daily scan will let you know what’s new and what’s not.
OK, Sounds Pretty Useful. How Do I Set it Up?
I thought you’d never ask:
Remember: Feel free to pause the video and walk yourself through the process at the same time!
I’m All Set Up – Who Should I Follow?
Here’s the trick. I’m happy to make some suggestions, but it’s important to remember that PLNs are very personal. It’s almost like asking “Who should my friends be?”
While I might have a few ideas, ultimately you’re going to have to find the resources that resonate with you best. You also need to fill up on new sources and purge those that are no longer helpful to you.
That being said, there are a number of excellent resources that never let me down and are pretty well known around the blogosphere. Try them out as stepping stones into building your own PLN of blogs:
Vicki Davis – The Cool Cat Teacher
Steve Anderson – Web 2.0 Classroom
Matt Miller – Ditch That Textbook
Alice Keeler – Teacher Tech
Also the ones mentioned in the video:
Richard Byrne – Free Tech 4 Teachers
As well as my own humble submission here at EdTech.tv
All of these are – by the way – great resources if you’re looking to start building your Twitter PLN as well.