Miss Your Google Reader Bundles? Feedly to the Rescue! (Again)
Feedly Has Just Announced the Release of Shared Collections
I have long advocated teaching and learning across open and distributed networks. Much of this work has centered around individual blogs aggregated through RSS.
Like everyone I used Google Reader, and I shuttered at its demise. Long before the death of Reader, however, I had transitioned to feedly.
The only reason I stuck with Google Reader were bundles. Bundles were public blogrolls that you could share. The only thing I missed with feedly were bundles.
Feedly to the Rescue
Feedly (detailed in their post here) has just released an invite only beta test of the public collections. This invite will first be open to 60-90 users, then be open to Pro users (feed your local developer) , and by 2015 to all users.
I love the developers at Feedly. They are very responsive to users and I have had the privilege to beta test many of their features with my teaching cap on. After playing with the features for about a week. I am very impressed and see many applications for the classroom.
How to Use Public Collections
The collections are based off of your normal feeds. You just get the option of making some public while keeping others private. The ease of use will make the service an asset to any classroom that relies on blogs.
Set up a Profile
- First you set up a profile.
- You choose a username (this is permanent and how people will find your collections)
- Choose a display name
- Then you click on the pencil to add images
- Feedly does not host any images. You must choose images from your blog, Flickr, by using the image url.
- Add a quick biography.
Choose your Public Collections
- Click on Shared Collections
- Then you make a collection shared (public) by clicking on the lock button
- You will see all your collections but people who see your profile will only get the shared collections.
Here is the public view. You can visit mine by clicking here
If they are not members of feedly visitors will be prompted to join but can continue on to your shared collections without joining feedly.
Follow the Shared Collections
- You are given many option when you visit someone’s shared collections
- You can add individual sites
- Add the entire collection to your feedly account
- Or you can share the feed through the usual social media channels.
My Pedagogical Workflow
I have missed bundles in my teaching and I am ecstatic to replace them with my shared collections on feedly.
I wanted to detail my workflow and describe how I plan to use shared collections
Building a Class Public Collection
- I first make a collection of the rss feeds for each student in my classes.
- These are arranged by separate collections
- These collections will be public so my students can follow or add the feeds to their chosen rss aggregator.
Build a Comment Private Collection
- I then make a separate collection of each sites comment feed.
- Commenting is important so I want to track this among students.
- I do not make these collections public
Use Tags for Classroom Management
This is an idea I stole from Laura Gibbs, and it has quickly become steadfast practice.
- I make a series of tags (currently Commented, feedback, recommend…and one unused spelling mistake).
- I then tag posts as I read them.
- The tags help me ensure I provide feedback where needed, and spread my comments around to all students.
I can add tags anytime
They then appear when I read an individual post.I can then search by Tags in Feedly when I need to track progress in my gradebook.
Possible Future Pedagogical Uses
Use Tags for Mentor Texts
Recently I have noticed that many of my students need scaffolds in learning the unique affordances of blogging platforms. They may not also grasp common practices n article or literary analysis. I want to use tags to track posts that can serve as mentor texts. I imagine tags such as:
- Quote-analysis posts that draw on a specific quote
- Reflection posts that connect a text to a personal narrative
- Metaphor-Quotes that use an image as a metaphor
- Synthesis-Posts that bring together many sources
- Tutorials-Posts that teach.
Overtime I will be able to collect and share these posts with my students. More importantly I will have them tagged in Feedly so I can use the texts to make videos of text structure analysis or simply to share wonderful mentor texts.
Turn SSR into RSS
The idea of students curating content that meets their needs through an RSS feed most excites me about shared collections. The Common Core State Standards, and more importantly common sense, state that we need to increase the amount of non-fiction reading.
The use of feedly, through shared collections, will allow students to design their own reading materials. More importantly it takes the silence out of reading. These are interactive and shareable texts.
I tried to embed a shared collection on my blog using an iframe but that did not work. I don’t know if that is a lack of my knowledge or a yet to be released feature. I am sure embedding will be rolled out.
I also know I have to really spend my time curating collections. I want smaller, more meaningful collections, and not the regurgitated press releases found all over the net. I also know that I need to learn more about categories and RSS in general to make the process more seamless for students (look to #ccourses for more information).
An RSS feed will always be my primary content curation tool. I find the news I want to share. I never liked Twitter or any social media for an rss reader. My news isn’t stackable. I want it anchored and waiting, not floating by in some stream. I have tried lists and circles with authors I like but then you have to wade through comments and sometime vitriol.
RSS is a great tool, and if teachers want to utilize blogs outside of a closed system they are a must. If you are a teacher and you are looking for a method to organize 100’s of student blogs, you need shared collections. I have already been a long time supporter of feedly. My one reservation since leaving Google Reader– no sharing of feeds, has now been resolved. It now makes the short list of RSS readers I recommend for classrom use.