RSS Ideas in Education
What is an RSS and Atom feed?
RSS is an acronym that stands for Rich Site Summary, though it’s often alternatively defined as Really Simple Syndication. The simplest definition of RSS is an eXtensible Markup Language(XML) format that uses the Resource Description Framework (RDF) for representing information about resources on the World Wide Web. Similarly, Atom is another format based on XML technology.
There are a few types of feeds commonly found on web sites RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0 and Atom. There is quite a bit of debate about which type of xml format is better, but for the purpose of simplicity I will often be referring to feeds as RSS.
RSS and Atom feeds are the structures that organize content which is being updated on a regular basis in order for others to retrieve it. This content could be articles, blog posts, photos, PDF documents, PowerPoint Presentations, audio files, video files, or other applications. If the content is the flesh of an orange then a feed would be its skin. The skin keeps the flesh in place so that it is easier to transport.
In 2003, RSS was more commonly associated with weblogs, known as blogs. Blogs and RSS feeds almost seemed to be an isolated cause and effect. Where there was a blog, you would find an RSS feed.
As this visualization shows, RSS feeds can more recently be seen being used for many different purposes. Bloggers created a different type of media, by adding audio and video files as the primary content to their posts. Listeners can subscribe to their favourite audio blog, also called a podcast, and download the audio files to be played on personal computers or mobile devices. This created a media which resembles a radio show, where the shows are almost always archived for future listening. While video blogs, also known as vlogs, created a type of archived video shows. All types of web applications are using feeds to share data within social networks, through enhancing accessibility to productivity tools, research tools, watch lists, and sharing peer created content. The numbers of applications that are using feeds are growing daily.
New tools have come into existence because of RSS feeds and the trend seems to be continuing to grow. These tools allow you to remix and reformat the content of a feed in a countless different ways.
Feedburner, (2005); "How feeds will change the way content is distributed, valued and consumed" http://www.feedburner.com/fb/static/Feed-For-Thought-1-November-2005.pdf