Thursday, April 15, 2010

RSS Wikis and More

For me the most useful part of class was learning what an RSS feed is and how it works.  I had subscribed to many, but never really understood where they went, how they were saved or how I could ever get back to them.  I wonder where all of my RSS feeds are?  I have often clicked that option on a blog or website and really didn't get where it goes.  If they asked me to save with Google I usually chose the homepage option and so I do have a box of feeds on the iGoogle homepage.  Now that I have a Google reader account too it will be much easier to keep track of the feeds.  I am not sure I will truly have time to read and follow all of them, but I am glad to finally truly comprehend what they are and how they work.  I have another blog that I do just for fun at Wordpress.  On this blog I have enabled RSS as an option for anyone who looks at the blog (readership is pretty small I think), but I really didn't get what this was enabling readers to do.  Glad to finally understand!

Wikis are something I've dabbled in a lot this year.  I used to work as a webdesigner for awhile so anytime I get to "design" again it is a good thing.  They are somewhat restrictive, but I've slowly begun to find examples on the web that are really good.  The wetpaint site has given me another resource to look for examples, especially those that are specific to education.  I also am looking for ways to improve how I use them and what I have students put up on their pages.  This year it was my first year so I used the wiki mostly as a place to do research and to learn how to use different things in our class.  I saw it as a website for the class.  I have a wiki for Animation, Digital Photography and AP Art.  I've tried to make them visually appealing by creating photographic banners that I use at the top of each page.  Eventually I could see doing an entire template that would be uploaded in the background.  I am still learning the code that would allow you to do more advanced things like this.  There are a lot of help sites out on the Internet where people give html code and tips how to go beyond the basics of the wiki.  I am thinking that I may try to get students to do digital portfolio slide shows via the wiki.  Having an online exam with the portfolio might be an option.  I'd also love to partner with another class out there in the world and have them look at the portfolios and get involved in critiquing our work.  The collaborative nature of a wiki appeals greatly to me.

Social Bookmarking sites such as Delicious and Diigo are something I've also been using already.  The only thing I don't like about them is that if you use both the extras that are built into them and are installed to your computer can sometimes interfer with each other.  I have also not yet been able to migrate all of my bookmarks in an organized fashion over to the Delicious Bookmarks.  I probably have too, many bookmarks anyways, but I do go back and use many of them for research and to show students how to do varied art techniques.  Delicious and Diigo haven't always worked with the school network either.  At the beginning of the school year I had searches set up that students couldn't access.  I am hopeful that with the one-to-one wireless initiative students will have access to both sites.  I have used the shared aspect of these sites for Animation class.  I have also benefitted from colleagues sharing things with me.  There is also a groups feature in Diigo that allows you to follow groups of interest and get email updates of posts to the groups.  This has helped me discover more Web 2.0 tools and ways to use them.

One final thing to mention was the You Tube/Google Search Stories that was shown at the end of class.  Sounds like a fun way to track your research.  I have been doing geneaology research lately and this appeals to me as a way to track where I've been visually.  I haven't experimented yet, but plan to.  Stay tuned for my post to the bellafiore you tube channel!


  1. I felt the same way about RSS feeds. I knew that they existed but didn't understand how they worked. Now I understand and I also think that it will be hard keeping up with all the blogs that I read. I guess I like to check them every so often (when I have time) and catch up for what I am missing.

    It is so interesting to hear all of the ways that you are currently using this technology. I strive to be doing that soon.

  2. I am blown away by how much you are already using all these web2.0 tools within your classes. I appreciated your input during class regarding how these relate to each other.

    Also, I love the idea of finding another class from another city, state, or even country to collaborate with. What a great way to share cultural experiences through art!

  3. Jeanne, you are wealth of knowledge and an inspiration to me. I hope you will be able to offer some of your expertise at the high school as we implement the 1:1 laptop initiative over the next few years.