Using Rojo For RSS Feeds and Educational Use

I switched over from bloglines to rojo about 3 months ago to handle all of my blog feeds.  I did this mainly because it has a simple and easy to view user-interface and because of its tagging capilities.  Since I first came over the rojo team has continued to develop and push forward in the features they offer (at no charge).  They added a feedshare program – a way to share other’s feeds and in the process get a little exposure for your own blog. They have also just in the last couple days added some great new features which have been written about on by much bigger blogs over at techcrunch, and read/write I will not “reblog??? here.  Here I am mainly interested in saying a few things about its uses for the classroom.

Note:There are many other services that are also great, but since I use rojo and really like it that’s the one I’ve decided to focus my attention on.

The reason I am writing is mainly to point those of you who are not using a feed-readers to keep track of blogs to one that is easy to use and has great features. Instead of waking up every morning and trying to remember which blogs you like to visit (or clicking on all your bookmarks) only to find out that of the 15 you visit only one of them has updated, rojo lets you go to one page, and see which blogs have been updated and which ones haven’t.  It is also a great advantage that its web-based, so you can access it anywhere whether you have your primary comptuer with your or not.

As a teacher’s assistant I have to grade a lot of student’s blogs; rojo makes this very easy by letting me go to one place and one category to get all the posts for a specific class. For instance, I have a category for this past quarter’s class named “Emerging Churches??? MC535, everytime a sutdent updates his or her blog in that category rojo tells me. It also keeps all the old posts so if I need to go back and check on something I can. Now with rojo I can tag those posts, if I think they are good enough for the whole rojo community, as well as “digg it??? flagging it as a really good article for others to see. This is one way in which we can help students work become available for a wider audience, which is a very important part of the educational philosophy we’ve been encouraging.

Of course this is not the only thing that can be done with an RSS reader. I have been hunting down people who are specialists in many fields other than my own and adding them to specific groups so I can be in touch with a wide range of issues and opinions. Because of this new digg feature and it’s tags, rojo allows you to find articles by top writers helping one find people who are good at what they write about. Doing this is not only great for research across many fields, but its also great in terms of finding people who have different views than your own, possibly even competing views. I’ve found this useful in sharpening my own thoughts, research and writing habits.

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