Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Ideas for a Google Reader Assignment?

This semester for the two “Technology 4 Teachers” sections I’m teaching at the University of Central Oklahoma, I’m having students learn about Google Reader as well as other feed/news aggregators. Their assignment for this week’s class (which we had to hold virtually in Elluminate because of snow days) was to:

  • Subscribe to at least ten different web feeds of interest (in Google Reader)
  • Create at least two customized Google Alerts and subscribe to those updates using Google Reader

I’m not sure what I want students to do and turn in as a “Google Reader” project, however, so I’m wondering if you have any ideas? Have you assigned a “Google Reader project” to students in the past? If so, what did you have students turn in? It’s possible for students to create a shared bundle of the feeds to which they’ve subscribed, and post that link to our class blog. That would provide proof / evidence that they have successfully subscribed to different feeds. Alec Couros modeled this today in a tweet sharing the blogs of his pre-service education students. I created a bundle like that for my pre-service education students’ blogs last Spring. Do you have other ideas for what a student project / assignment with Google Reader could be?

Google Reader Mobile - Webkit Editionphoto © 2009 Andrew Currie | more info (via: Wylio)






6 responses to “Ideas for a Google Reader Assignment?”

  1. Ryan Collins Avatar

    Could you have them export their feeds as an OPML file and send that file to you? Although I like the sharing the bundle idea too, that way they could subscribe to each other’s bundles.

  2. Wesley Fryer Avatar

    That’s a good idea… That would introduce them to OPML files… may be a little overly-geeky at this point, but it’s something I hadn’t considered. It would be nice if there was a site where students could readily upload all their OPML files and then download them readily…

    An Edmodo site could be used for assignment turn-in, but I don’t think it would make everyone’s files available. I wonder if a DropBox account could be used, and use a folder as a literal dropbox- public upload capability, with everyone able to read the file structure / access it via a browser? MobileMe has a drop box to use like this, but I don’t know that it can be made publicly browseable for others to download. I am thinking if students name their files with their last name (or following a certain syntax) then classmates could download their specific files.

    Or… Maybe each student could pick a feed theme, and then share their OPML file that way… I’m thinking the option to make a Google Reader folder a shared bundle is probably the easiest way… Then students could simply reply to a blog post with a link to their bundle, and that could be the way everyone’s shared bundles get aggregated as well as made web-accessible for others.

    If you have any more ideas along these lines please chime in… I don’t have to finalize this assignment till Feb 15th, before our Feb 16th class. 🙂

  3. João Pereira Avatar

    why not ask what do they learn from its use, and did they get any information that’s new to them, and will they use it on a regular basis. Cheers

  4. Cgrabe Avatar

    It seems the real value of Google Reader (rss) is access to information on an ongoing basis. Perhaps posting in a blog new things learned from a particular feed and how it may impact them as a future teacher. I talked with a Global Issues teacher whose high school students subscribed to news feeds from different parts of the world and they were then responsible for being reporters to the rest of the class through their blog posts.

  5. AK Avatar

    Very old-school, probably, but I just have my graduate students give updates on Blackboard each month… they follow the feeds through the semester and provide a summary of what they’ve learned and how they’ll use it…It’s our intro to developing your personal learning spaces and prof dev.

  6. Skrajicek Avatar

    I would use this in conjunction with Diigo and have them create an annotated bibliography in lieu of a traditional research paper.

    Students have to choose a topic and use their Diigo accounts to bookmark resources that they fine / use, as well as highlight sections and create notes with summaries, analysis, or synthesis of information they have found.

    You as the teacher can subscribe to their Diigo feeds to monitor their research and guide research if students get off topic or offer just in time remediation for students who choose to use unreliable or disreputable sources.

    If students have to collaborate and research different aspects of a single topic, they would use their reader to share Diigo bookmarks and notes, as well as pertinent sites and sources with one another.

    I am toying with having students do a collaborative exploration of a topic that is structured like our professional conferences with a keynote speaker, workshops, and concurrent sessions. All of us will study a topic and students present what they learn to one another using a wiki to house the information. Presentations could be simple or complex, depending on resources and time. We could create podcasts or vodcasts, the sky is the limit!

    If these are pre-service teachers, then you accomplishing a couple of things:

    1– teaching tech tools
    2–teaching them how to teach research in a digital age when ctrl+c ctrl+v is a common issue
    3–modeling technology use and integration
    4–starting a discussion about intellectual property, literacy, research, tagging…