Block Six - The Talent Agent


Agents know all the intricacies of the media industry. They help navigate the process of finding suitable roles. Similar to an agent, RSS can eliminate the endless search for desired information, but rather have the latest information of chosen topic come to you!

The RSS feed aggregator is the most valuable Web 2.0 tool for teacher-librarians who wish to participate in the current dialogue about technology and148368163_2c0a7c1942_t.jpg education. RSS stands for real simple syndication or rich site summary. It is an application that allows you to ‘subscribe’ to a web site, and then notifies you when new information has been added to the site.

Block Six Overview

In this block you will read and view sources which will explain the concept of rss and how it enables information to come to you. The focus of this block is on understanding and using rss readers and managing and configuring what is commonly known as a 'start page' to create your own personal learning space.


Learners will apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information to
  • Locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.

Achievement Indicators

Learners will have
  • Located and subscribed to sites of interest, including blogs, using a RSS reader or Start Page
  • Communicated their blogs to a larger audience by adding RSS to their blog

Learning Activities

What is an RSS aggregaor (also known as an RSS reader?)

A RSS aggregator collects new information from the different sources to which you subscribe and displays it in one place. It brings the information you want directly to your computer screen without you having to go look for it. A RSS aggregator gathers information while you sleep, maintains a virtual filing cabinet of your finds, and allows you to share resources easily with your colleagues (Yucht). Once you have signed into the aggregator, you can quickly glance through the list of sites to see if a blog has been updated.

148368163_2c0a7c1942_t.jpg rss.gif When you see these icons on a web page they indicate that the page has a feed to which you can subscribe.

View the video from Common Craft which explains RSS readers much better than the printed word!

Link to video at Common Craft (Not YouTube!)

What does an RSS Aggregator look like?
View Donna's bloglines account
Google Reader (within the past six months Google Reader has grown in popularity and many individuals have moved to this reader - check it out!)

Start Pages

Your Own Personal Web Page in Moments! Fun with Widgets!
Using Personalized Start Pages for your browser's home page is a tidy and efficient solution for keeping all your favourite and frequently visited resources on the Web on one handy and customizable page. Read more at Set Up Your Personalized Start Page with Netvibes, Pageflakes or Protopage.

Start Pages
View Donna's Protopage

NEW - July 2, 2007 -- Pageflakes for teachers and students... haven't tried it yet but it looks good. Maybe this is what all students should/could be learning to use to organize their school days instead of a print organizer.

Using an RSS reader allows you to create your own personal learning environment. You choose your teachers, those individuals who you want to follow,Picture_48.png to read, and to join their conversations. Dean Shareski asks who do you want to be on your research team? I have included all of you in my bloglines account. Whenever you post something new I see it immediately and by simply clicking on your blog can read what you have written.

tryitout.jpg Create a RSS reader account OR personalizing a start page. Now that you understand the concepts behind RSS, you can decide which would best suit your purpose... a RSS reader or a personalized start page, and begin creating....

Sign up for one of the following RSS readers
Sign up for a Start Page
  1. Set up your folders and directories in the RSS Reader OR personalize your start page with widgets etc...
  2. Add the blogs that you found in your blog search in Block Two to your rss reader or your personal start page
  3. Add a news feed (from CBC, BBC, CNN..... note: you can subscribe to sports, arts, etc)

Some edubloggers, teacher-librarians and edtechs and classroom teachers, that you might want to follow include
Joyce Valenza
Judy O'Connell
Diane Chen
Gargoyles Loose in the Library
Librarian in Black
A Year of Reading
Jenn's Book Bag
American Indians In Children's Literature
Tech Learning (great online resources)
Dean Shareski
Kathy Cassidy
Clarence Fisher
Darren Kuropatwa (check on his student math blogs - links are way down on the right side of the page)
Vicki Davis
Doug Johnson

Social Bookmarking and RSS
Notice the RSS symbol (rss.gif) at the bottom of the bookmarks page. For example, on my bloglines account you will notice a link to (3). Will Richardson is one of my favourite and most respected edubloggers. I subscribe to his bookmarks, so I can see what he bookmarks in the world of educational technology and I follow it in my RSS aggregator rather than having to go to

Add the rss widget for a colleague's delicious link to your blog or Start Page
Comment on the success of your venture by sharing your start page or reader link on your blog.

Resources for Learning


Using Readers and Start Pages with Students

Extend Your Knowledge


Participants are expected to finish this block, The Talent Agent, by October 20, 2007.

Block Five: Behind the Scenes| Block Six: The Talent Agent | Block Seven: Digital Citizenship | Block Eight: The Screenwriter |