Recently I wrote about creating math projects using “seeds” found on the internet. Finding these seeds is, naturally, a huge challenge. There’s a big internet out there!
To efficiently track the sites I like, I use Google Reader. Google Reader, which is completely free, enables you to subscribe to your favorite sites, keeping all sites’ updates in one location. Every time I visit Reader, I immediately see the most recent updates from all of the sites I’m interested in.
If you use Gmail or any other Google products, just head over to reader.google.com and you’ll already be signed up. If not, then it is free to start an account.
What It Looks Like
Here’s a blank Google Reader screen:
And here’s my current Reader’s screen: The left column displays a list of my subscriptions and the large right column displays the most recent updates from all my sites in chronological order, newest first.
Powered By RSS
Google Reader is powered by a technology called RSS, represented by this orange icon, which you might start noticing on your favorite sites:
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Examples In The Wild
Sites of all shapes and sized offer RSS subscriptions.
Here is the RSS subscription option on Tamara Fisher’s Unwrapping The Gifted website:
And here it is on Dan Meyer’s website:
The Not Just Child’s Play blog also features RSS subscriptions, although it’s down at the bottom:
And finally, here’s the New York Times RSS subscription page:
Just look for terms like RSS, Feeds, or Subscribe. Nearly all websites – big and small – offer this feature (including Byrdseed)!
Hooking Into Google Reader
After clicking on any of those RSS links, you’ll be wooshed to a page asking you to pick a Feed Reader:
You’ll click on the Google button, and then finally be taken back to Google Reader to confirm your subscription:
The Best Part
Google Reader is convenient and free and lets you efficiently keep up with the web. Best of all, each subscription is commitment-free. If you dislike the site, you’re just two clicks away from unsubscribing. I keep over 100 sites in my feed reader and frequently add and delete.
My favorite feature is the “star” button, which allows you to save favorites for later reading. I often skim through all my updates, starring any which seem interesting, and then go back and peruse these starred items at my leisure.
Google Reader is a constant source of inspiration for my classroom. Definitely try it out.