Using RSS is really simple. Using Feedly is equally simple. The hardest part for me this week was figuring out a way that either would be beneficial in a classroom. Perhaps I had such trouble because the only classes I teach now are music and concert band. There are plenty of music RSS feeds, but none seemed to offer any kind of daily post. Some had their most recent post from several months ago, which would make for a pretty boring unit.
Then I found the daily history post from the National Archives. Fantastic! I wrote a unit plan using that “today in history” feed and another new tool I found – Dipity. In a nutshell, fifth grade students will read the daily post from the National Archives and create a multimedia timeline using Dipity. By the end of the month, or quarter, there will be a noticeable amount of entries on the timeline and students will see American history as it relates to what they are doing “today”. View the unit plan here.
Revisiting RSS (it isn’t new to me-see prior post) was helpful. I hadn’t really thought of it as being useful to me since my first experience with it was less than stellar. Now I know it can be useful in the classroom, after all, and I am glad to have had this experience. Signing up for a Feedly account is very easy with a Google+ account. Even better, Feedly has a user-friendly interface. Watch a new screencast on how to add feeds to your Feedly page. I got a new microphone, so the audio in this new screencast will be easier to hear.
I won’t have an opportunity to test my history unit plan because I don’t teach history any more. But, I may share it with our fifth grade teachers. Perhaps they will want to test its potential. Or maybe one of my BSU classmates will test it. I’d be curious to see how it all works out.
Dipity is brand new to me, and it has a lot of promise. I can see where this site (www.dipity.com) would be very useful for anyone who needs students to visualize how history all fits together over the years, and even the centuries. It can do a lot, and it is free. Watch a new screencast on adding timeline entries to Dipity.
Screencast-O-Matic is also free, though they have a “buy me” popup each time the program opens. It works very well and is very user-friendly. I will probably use this tool fairly often as I develop training materials for staff members.
Had there been more time for this assignment I would have changed several things. First, the screencasts. The videos accompanying this post turned out okay, but if I were to ever actually use them for class I would want to write a script, test the script, and follow the script while recording. I would also have added more entries to the Dipity timeline in order to show a broader view of the site’s capabilities. Finally, I would have chosen a lesson topic that I would actually have been able to use, either in training teachers or in my band room. All these changes are things that will be doable once I finish my masters degree, I’m sure. It is nice to have the knowledge to be able to do such fun lessons!