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.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Getting aggregation working

It was very simple to get one of the non-working student feeds working (the other student was absent).  We went to the feed settings of her blog at blogger.com.  We did not need to make any changes to her settings.  We pressed save settings on this screen and then republished her blog.  The change was effective immediately.  My observations are that WHENEVER a blogger goes to the feed settings page THEY MUST save settings and then republish.

God knows how I would set all of this up without a face to face situation.  It would be so much more difficult and would certinaly have to stretch this out over a longer time frame.  With f2f we can just stop the class and ask questions like

  • Who has not been able to prove that they can create a new post via email?
  • Who has not been able to prove that when a new posting is made that they get notification via email
  • Who has not been able to prove that when a new comment is made on a posting that they get notification via their email?

We got 100% results on these questions today and then moved onto installing FeedReader.  This was easy for all students.

Configuration involved the following

Use menu options - Tools, Properties, Connection - and tick to use the proxy and add the proxy settings.  When you press OK on this screen it asks for a proxy password and presents this in clear text.  (Students will need to physically hide this) This could be an issue in class.  My technical support has informed me that the login credentials are stored in the user profiles and are not available to other users (password is encrypted).  This makes this program very usable on a school network.

Students then added new feeds to feedreader using my circulated list.  This worked well.

A couple of students put the wrong password into feedreaderduring the configuration process.  and so would not connect producing a 407 error.  We had difficulty changing this password but have found a way.  

  1. Close Feedreader including exiting from it in the  bottom RH of the task bar notification area (ie near the time)
  2. In C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\Application Data\FeedReader there is a file feedreader.ini which will open in notepad.  
  3. Find the line that looks like this - ProxyPassword=1796471d209511471f
  4. Delete the encrypted password leaving only ProxyPassword=
  5. Now re-open Feedreader, go to the Tools, Properties, Connection screen and press OK.  You will be prompted again for a password.

Students were noticing that they added comments to posts but they did not seem to be displayed on the blog.  The reason is that we have a proxy and they needed to press ctrl-F5 so that a fresh copy was downloaded from the blog site.

On a quick feedback where I asked them to correlate fun and learning for themselves, the vast majority of students said that they were having solid moderate fun and solid moderate learning. The tone of the class is constructive and productive.

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