Is RSS Something to Fear?

As I’ve ranted before in this space, our overly large school district is addressing the need to provide teacher and students with 21st century communications tools by adding blogging and wiki tools to our closed garden known as Blackboard.

While these modules are somewhat less powerful than I would like (ok, a lot less), it’s a start. Hopefully we can convince teachers to give them a try, both for their own communications and their students’ use.

And then demand something better.

Unfortunately, there is one key piece missing in these tools that will probably limit the number of people who will get past that start. Neither the blogs nor the wikis have an RSS feed.

According to the company that produces the plugins, that feature is available. We’ve never been able to actually try it but that’s not the reason why the feed is missing.

The big hold up on using this essential tool are the fears of the people leading our system, which ties into the larger anxiety over the concept of students publishing their work to an audience beyond the walls of their classroom.

Our administrators (and many teachers) are almost deathly afraid that something a student creates will leak out into the real world.

Which is very funny since their bosses (aka, the school board) have created a “strategic goal” for the system which says that our students should be able to “effectively use technology to access, communicate, and apply knowledge and to foster creativity”.

How on earth do you make that happen (well, maybe excluding the creativity part) in anything approaching a Web 2.0 world without technology like RSS?

Anyway, that’s just the start of the argument we’re trying to make to the big bosses. We’ll see how it goes.

rss, teaching, web 2.0

4 Comments Is RSS Something to Fear?

  1. J.D. Williams

    I keep getting the same kind of responses from our IT department. They like that I have a class blog, and tell me that it has a lot of good information on it and like that I’m sharing student work…. then, they want me to move it to the district moodle portal because it’s not in that “walled garden.” I think I’ll wait until our AUP forces me to move it or allows me to keep it outside that garden. I feel that having an audience beyond the classroom walls tends to make the students work a bit better. They don’t know who might come across their work.

  2. Jenny

    Keep pushing this! It’s driving me nuts not to have RSS feeds. My students have really begun taking ownership of their blogs and are posting on their own and commenting on each other’s. It’s wonderful, but hugely time consuming for me to monitor.
    Thanks for continuing to support those of us in the classrooms!

  3. organized chaos

    This is killing me. One of my favorite blogs to read is room 9, a classroom of first graders in New Zealand. If they can have a blog that I can read across the world, why can’t we? Their teacher even allows them to put their pictures up (*gasp, gasp*)
    Now that I no longer have a classroom blackboard site (I am not longer a classroom teacher) I am unable to have my special ed students blog at all.
    Blogging on blackboard is hardly exciting because most of our families do not have fast internet access. Blackboard takes too long to load in dial up so they never check it. Regular blogs load like regular webpages and are quick to check.
    What would happen to me if I had children do a blog via blogspot? Would the county come after me?

  4. Russel Montgomery


    At least your kids have blogs.

    I’m still locked in the stone age. My admin is freaking out over teacher blogging. Student blogging is barely on the horizon…. and RSS what? They haven’t even heard of it, let alone begin to freak out over the implications.

    And yes! we have a similar vision statement. CRAZY!

    By the way. I’ve grabbed your feed url. Do you use twitter? mine is

    Russel Montgomery

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