A Costa Rican Experience

Stumble, RSS Feeds, and classroom use

So I’ve been digging through my PLN to find new info to blog about. I need some new material! Now that I’ve gotten into RSS feeds, I figured the next move was to dig into Nings, since I’ve been neglecting that aspect of my PLN. I’ve found some pretty interesting pieces of information and ideas. One such piece was:

The EtherPad, sounds much like GoogleDocs and Wikispace but… possibly better? It has eliminated the issue of multiple users editing a document at the same time. In wikispaces, multiple editing can lead to a loss of information that a previous person has written only seconds before you. As soon as someone edits a document on EtherPad, the changes show up immediately on every members screens. Don’t get too excited yet! There are of course downfalls, there is a maximum of 19 people per document, but as we discovered on wikispaces, they are most productive with a small group (say, 3-5 people). What I also saw floating around the Classroom 2.0 ning was that they were recently bought by Google, so this may bring the real-time aspect of EtherPad to GoogleDocs; whether Google will keep the limit or expand it to their present untouchable GoogleDocs limit is yet to be seen. EtherPad’s official blog claims that the new EtherPad-Google hybrid will be called the GoogleWave and they are presently working on combining the two smoothly… and something about open sourcing codes. Input on the meaning of that anyone? I only speak dork, not geek. (yes, there’s a VERY important difference, ie. computers.)

So I just got lost on the internet. I was in Classroom 2.0 and went to create my own Ning, though I’m not sure I understand the whole concept. When I came out the other end of a button-clicking portal, I had signed up with a another Ning called Technology Integration in Education… at least it’s fitting! If I have an endless number of Nings, that means endless material to explore for this blog, right? The problem is, what I’m trying to do is create an RSS that my students can follow of interesting and informative sites I find through my funnel stumbling. This could put use to stumbling while subtracting the highly likely chance of students getting off task– a fear of mine Caitlin justified with her comment to my previous post. Point in blank: I will not give on Stumble!

Okay, so what I’m trying to do is use Stumble to find articles and sites that are relevant and useful to my classmates. So far I’ve discovered that you can subscribe to a site, click “share” on the specific article that you want made public, then unsubscribe if you so desire. Why would you want to unsubscribe to a useful relevant site you ask? Well, let me use my first example. I found a New York Times opinion section called “Room for Debate” by typing “Education” into a stumble search bar. The specific conversation that came up was Do Teachers Need Education Degrees? In this, there are numerous NYT “sponsored” answers and view points on the topic. Then there are over 600 comments from readers point of views. So yes, this is extremely relevant to future teachers and also provides a portal to enter in a very important conversation going on about Education. But, this is one of only about 3 or 4 debates in this section that revolves around Education, others range from the Olympics to health care.

So, I subscribed, shared this debate, then unsubscribed because, no, I’m not very interested in the Olympics (so shoot me). Now, if people look up my GoogleReader account, they will be able to find the useful articles I funnel stumble. This really becomes a factor when looking at the new “rubric” for these blogs, in which my jumping around discussing articles I come across isn’t really the point. What I need am careful of here, is using this as a Delicious page. I want it to be more specific than a list of links, I want to be able to keep receiving posts from these sites and “sharing” the relevant ones for everyone to see. The problem with this approach is that not every site as a feed.

So, Stumble in the classroom eh… Well, if I have students in a computer lab funnel stumbling, say, science fiction (wink wink), they will encounter endless sites of suggested science fiction books, summaries of what science fiction as a genre is, and even sites full of science fiction short stories. What I could do is have my students break off into groups and create Wikispaces (or better yet, EtherPads) based on what they find on the topic of science fiction. They can gather basic info on the genre, links to short stories, etc. Then they will have a point of reference for the entire unit. This way they’re creating their own references instead of relying on mine- also skips the lack of feed problem. But, there is that highly likely chance that once they create the wikispace, they wont actually refer to it again. This also puts more trust in the students on-task time rather than just following my less freeing RSS.

Now that I’ve spent two hours making this post, I need to go spend the next couple hours researching information on gender roles  in television for LL ED 480 to post on our Wikipedia page before they take it down on us. Whoever said technology would make things quicker, well… they just didn’t see it coming.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. PLN Day 42: An impressive week in Blogtown « Whitneymeister's English Education Blog pingbacked on 7 years, 7 months ago


  1. * clh5160 says:

    The only thing that scares me about using Stumble in the classroom is that Stumble is, in a way stumbling. Who’s to say that a student wouldn’t stumble on a site that’s inappropriate? (I haven’t used Stumble in quite some time, so perhaps now there are more content controls than there were back then)

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
  2. I suppose if students tried to Stumble something inappropriate, some of the sites that come up may be inappropriate for school but you won’t be finding soft core porn as an option. Also, most schools have very strict blocks so student wouldn’t be able to actually get to any pages that were bad. No different than the normal search engines.

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
  3. That New York Times debate has raged for so long. I read about a hundred comments in — it’s a microcosm of the whole conversation, with most of the positions represented (and a lot of ugliness and toxicity). I think it is essential to be aware that such conversations are taking place. Thanks for posting that.
    Stumble is kind of fun for any learner, to practice putting disassociated information into context.

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 7 months ago

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