Hi everyone,

Hope I'm not sounding dumb here, but how do you add a RSS feed (or is it a reader? or subscription?) to a blog?

I'd like to add a section to my blog that shows new posts on the student blogs so when the kids visit our class blog they can get a snapshot of what other students have written. I use blogger. Anyone know how to do that?

I have played around a little, but it seems like I'd have to add each individual subscription to the RSS feed URL "page element" and that would take forever (and when I did that it showed the title of the other blog, but none of the posts...). Am I missing something? Is there a way to share your RSS subscriptions?

Tags: rss

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Hi Amy,

I think the Grazr widget would do the trick for you. You can set it up to graze multiple blogs, with titles on the left and content on the right. Let me know if you need some help getting it going!
Thanks. I'll check that out. I've been playing around with bloglines, but I can't seem to get it to do what I'm looking for.
It works pretty well - but it doesn't support audio. Scroll down on my Pagecast to see it working....
If your wanting an audio widget (a podcast RSS feed) bigcontact has a great widget... we have been using it for a few years and its fantastic:

This doesn't answer your question but I did a lengthy search for feeds appropriate for elementary students, here's a blog about it. Good luck figuring out how to add RSS with Blogger, my student blog is made with Drupal. Didn't seem to be a problem to add the feed.
Hi Amy! This is actually a great question! As you have discovered, adding a single RSS feed is easy - something like Feed2JS.org is just one of many services that will take an RSS feed and render it as a javascript that you can incorporate in a webpage, inside a Blogger widget, or basically anywhere that you can paste HTML which allows javascript.

It sounds like you first want to COMBINE a bunch of RSS feeds, and then display the resulting RSS feed - is that right? There are also different services that will let you combine a bunch of different RSS feeds into a single feed, for example: RSSMix.

Another way to tackle this problem is not so much to think about combining the feeds, but think about displaying one of your students' blogs at random. I have taken the random approach because each week in my three classes, the students are assigned blogs at random to read - that saves me the trouble of coming up with specific assignments every week, and thanks to the power of random it works out that over time every student gets about an equal number of comments. You can see my randomizer in action here if you are curious:
Random Blog Assignments

The tool I used to create this random blog assignment which changes every time the page is refreshed is the RotateContent.com tool. You basically just put whatever you want to randomize in the cells of an HTML table, and the Rotate Content tool gives you a javascript which you can insert that will randomize the contents of the table for you. I use it in lots of different ways in my online courses because I love the power of random!

I've got other kinds of random content that is not specifically limited to my class which anybody can add to their blog or website, stuff related mostly to storytelling, since I teach mythology and folklore courses: SchoolhouseWidgets.com.

I'm curious to see what other people will post here - I know there are a lot of RSS re-mix services popping up, and I"m not sure what the best ones are. Maybe people here will have some good recommendations about the specific remix service which is best.
Wow, thanks! How do you use the rotatecontent.com tool to add in the RSS feeds? Do you make a folder with all of the feeds? Can you elaborate on that process?
hi Amy, there are three different approaches you can take:

1) if you want to just do a RANDOM LINK TO A BLOG, instead of displaying the latest post (this is my preference, since some of my students' posts are long), you use the RotateContent.com tool to create a table, put in the link to each student's blog, and then convert the table to a javascript which you insert into your blog (I'm not sure what blogging tool you are using, but in Blogger.com you can put a javascript in a widget that goes in the template margin, and most blogging software allows you to add javascripts to the template even if they are not always allowed in an individual post)

2) if you want to display a RANDOM MOST-RECENT POST you need to do a two-step process (this is more trouble than it is worth, I think, but it can be done): use RotateContent.com to create the table where you will paste in a javascript for each of your student's blogs. then, use Feed2JS.org to create a javascript for each blog (you can specify that it will display only ONE post, along with many other options you can choose to configure this). then take each javascript and paste it into the RotateContent.com table. when you are done, convert that table to a single javascript using the RotateContent.com converter. paste the resulting single javascript into your blog template.

3) if you want to display the MOST-RECENT POST from all your students' blogs (nothing random), you can use one of the options suggested here, the Grazr widget (that sounds cool; I have not used it), or you can use the RSSMix service to combine all your feeds into a single feed and use Feed2JS.org to convert that feed into a javascript.

I hope that helps! I'm lazy and so I take the easy way out of just linking to my students' blogs rather than gathering feeds for redisplay. I do SUBSCRIBE to my students' blogs using the feed, which is such a great way to keep an eye on their work without dominating the discussion - if you use Bloglines, for example, to subscribe to your students' blogs it is super-easy to make an automatic blogroll javascript which you can also display in your blog. Bloglines lets you collect your feeds into folders, and it will give you a simple javascript that will display links to all the feeds in a specific folder which you can then put into your blog template as a blogroll. I don't know what feed reader you use, but I am guessing that other feed readers offer this same service as Bloglines does, automatically generating some kind of javascript blogroll based on your feeds (if not - think about switching to Bloglines; I think it has wonderful features).

the power of javascript: it is amazing.
I was intrigued by the whole RSSMix thing and I tried it - it did not work for my feeds, but I found another remix service which automatically generates a webpage for you of the most recent posts in the blogs you have combined. that's pretty slick! so you might consider that, too.

here's the page is created for my smallest class, which has just 13 students in it -
World Literature Blogs: Most Recent Posts

the service was FeedBlendr.com - and it is SUPER easy to use. it will generate a combined RSS feed, a webpage (as in this sample), plus a javascript - although the javascript does not have all the possible configuration options which you can get with Feed2JS.org.
Hi Amy and all,

If you are feeling ambitious, Yahoo! Pipes can do this and much much more. I was impressed with how easy it was to do simple tasks like collecting and filtering feeds, though maybe not as easy as a service that was created just for that purpose as with some of the examples above.

hi Dan, do you have a webpage up where you are redisplaying some Yahoo!Pipes results on an actual webpage? I would love to see that! I looked at Yahoo!Pipes and it looked both powerful and intimidating, but I think I would really benefit from learning how to use something like that. if you can explain how you have used it or have links to a tutorial or something you would recommend, I would really appreciate it. it is something on my life of "things to learn" and I am hoping for a little human guidance, since I definitely did not get into the groove of the thing the first time I looked at it.

hi Amy, it's me again - I really have to thank you for prodding me to play around with this some more!

anyway, I went ahead and did a Random Recent Post script - and it wasn't that hard at all! ha! so anyway, here's how it turned out for me; I've added it to a webpage instead of to a blog, but the idea is the same -

I created a javascript using Feed2JS.org to display the most recent post from each of my students' blogs, and then I pasted those javasripts into a RotateContent.com random table to generate a single javascript which displays one of those javascripts to do it -

it took about 20 minutes, and I think it is worth it! my students will get a kick out of seeing a recent random blog post every time they look at this webpage, and they look at this webpage several times a week in the class. yeah!!!

World Literature Links - including a recent random blog post!

I'm going to add something like this to my two other class pages later this afternoon.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR QUESTION. you really prodded me to experiment!



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