Richardson notes that the amount of information that we are presented with on a daily basis can be overwhelming. With so many blogs, news outlets, and other websites out there, it can be time consuming to stay up to date with the latest information on topics that interest you. Using an RSS feed can help you keep track of what’s new, as well as keep all those interests organized without you getting lost in the depths of the internet.
RSS can also be useful in the classroom. I thought one interesting point that Richardson raised was the use of an RSS feed to keep track of student blogs. Rather than searching out 20 or 30 different blogs, the RSS feeds let you know which ones have new posts. I also think creating collaborative feeds that you share with students helps them to find sites or blogs that they may not have found on their own.
Another interesting idea is social bookmarking. I think having a site where you can collect bookmarks and share them with others has a lot of potential. Using a site like Delicious, you can keep track of sites, see sites that other people have shared (that you might otherwise have missed), and share your sites. I think it is also a great way for students to share their information with the rest of the class.
While I do think that both RSS and social bookmarking could be useful in the classroom, I do think they could have drawback. With both of them, there is the issue of quality vs quantity. While it is important to have a solid understanding of a topic, and to see it from multiple perspectives, finding that information shouldn’t work to the detriment of student understanding. I also think that with both RSS and social bookmarking, you run the risk of becoming overwhelmed by the feeds and new content. From personal experience, I quickly found myself overwhelmed by some of my feeds, especially if I missed a day of checking them. It could be difficult for students to stay caught up on their feeds and not feel bogged down by all the information rushing at them.