Yesterday I worked on my #Eddies13 Nominations. Of course I had to visit my reader to see which ones stick out for me before making my nominations, looking for the profound and memorable. I have so much in my reader sometimes things get lost. That happens when there are 273 feeds there. And daily I find myself adding to the group. Usually when I add something lately, I go in and remove a few. That happens. My interests change or those in my reader have for whatever reason stopped sharing.
What RSS reader to use?
Today in the SLS Cool Tools Facebook Group I belong to a question was posed about preferred readers: Do any of you have an RSS reader you like? Still mourning Google Reader here. It reminded me of earlier this month when I visited a neighboring district to spend time with them for staff development where I used a portion of our time to explore some readers. These are the ones we explored:
Taking a brief look
I had around 25 school librarian participants, so I just allowed them to group up by grade level band, with two groups being elementary. I gave them an overview of each reader via YouTube, trying desperately not to be biased (since I am a Feedly fan.) I explained that some of these were definitely more tablet-friendly while others were more web-friendly. I even shared that some of these are both web-based AND have a tablet format (like Feedly.) We watched short YouTube videos that gave a brief overview of each service, then separated into our groups to get busy using one. Here’s my playlist link for exploring the ones groups could choose.
Their task was to as a group select a feed reader, and using some links I had provided, subscribe and read in the chosen reader. They were to then report back to the group their ah-ha moments regarding the service they were trying out as well as new voices they’d discovered for inspiration. You see my staff development had been titled “From Information Literacy to Information Relevancy” and this portion of the 2.5 hours was focused on how to stay relevant and on the cutting edge of everything, and I was trying to make the point that being well-read is one way to stay on top of new literacies, helping librarians stay one step ahead of their students (if possible!)
Not enough time!
While we ran out of time and never did get to the part of sharing (poor planning on my part perhaps) I can distinctly remember reactions, discoveries, struggles, and even frustrations expressed from my groups. A few in the group of 25 were well versed in using a reader, so I asked them to try a different one for the task, even if it meant moving to a different group. Half of the group was using a laptop of some kind, while the others were using a tablet of some kind. The iPad apps were the ones that caused the most frustration, but based on my experience, one just has to give it a little time to really understand it and then channel your feeds into it. Time was one thing we did not have as a group.
20/20 looking back
I am thinking readers and finding inspiration is probably a workshop topic all by itself in hind sight. Oh well. Or next time I’ll provide the links to the videos and reader services ahead of time, and do a “flipped PD approach” asking them to first research the reader, choose one, and then use it, all so we can have the discussion my workshop attendees missed here. Maybe at their next after school get together they can revisit this discussion on their own.
For those still looking for a reader, I leave you with these tips. If you’re more comfortable on a tablet, then you’ll probably like the ones that are showcased in my playlist with a tablet. If more comfortable on a computer, then those above that are shown on a computer screen are probably best. If you’re looking for a Google reader like experience, use my choice, Feedly, though Blodlovin and Feedspot also offer a similar experience.
So what reader do you use?