Waraku Education

Ideas, experiments and observations as they occur [and I have time] relating to teaching and learning in a secondary school - special focus on ICT.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Blogs are good - syndication creating hurdles

Today was a double lesson (1.5hrs). Three students were here today that were not here for our last lesson where we each set-up our blog accounts in a fairly lockstep way. Today we went through the process again but more of an over-view for the benefit of the three new-ones and as a revision for the rest. I re-emphasized the personal safety and libellous statements issues.

These three students set up there accounts and all students sent me the url of their feed. I published this and made it available via a shared folder using a spreadsheet file format (student name, feed address, feed works). To get the url of each others blog, students needed to remove the atom.xml filename from the end of this feed address url.

Students were asked to ensure that they could

  • Look at each others
  • Update via web
  • Update via email - few
  • Get email when people comment
  • Get email with new post

While they were doing this I wanted to check that 'FeedReader' would accept all of the feeds and that the students had set these options correctly at blogger.com. The site feeds did not all work initially. We quickly got to 4/9 not working. I checked the settings at blogger.com and they seemed to be OK.

Finally another one worked. The only thing that we may have done again was republish the blog (we had done this a number of times previously). I checked at lunchtime after the class and another one again worked. I recall the student stating that he had 'got something working' and had read that to mean the ability for others to make comments on his blogs. AT this point we are down to 2/9 feeds not working

At the moment we have done the following

  • All students can use the web to look at each others blog and make comments
  • All students can update their blog via a web interface
  • A few have tested that they can create a new blog entry via email
  • We ran out of time to determine the rate of success with getting an email when people comment on their blogs and getting an email with new postings.

Soooo - setting up a blog account and getting started was easy. Getting things to a point where we could think about automating the syndication and so aggregation created some complexities that are not resolved for all students at this time.


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