Book Review

RSS for Educators

Blogs, Newsfeeds, Podcasts, and Wikis in the Classroom

by John G. Hendron, International Society for Technology in Education, Washington D.C., 308 pp. with index, $29.95 softcover

Many educators thirst for the ability to use the latest technology to instruct students in a 21st-century learning environment. Due to increasing demands of time, effort and resources to stay on the cutting edge of technology in education, this task, at times, is left to the technology department.

In his book, RSS for Educators: Blogs, Newsfeeds, Podcasts, and Wikis in the Classroom, John Hendron references his 10 years as a teacher and technology specialist in Goochland, Va.

Hendron describes Really Simple Syndication, or RSS, as a concept that makes it possible to easily access frequently updated content on the Internet. RSS enables the user to “subscribe” and have updated content automatically delivered to the user’s computer.

The book first walks readers through the growth of technology, then details the many Web 2.0 tools, such as blogs, podcasts and wikis. Hendron takes each tool and explains its potential school applications. At times, the applications may seem daunting. For instance, Hendron suggests every teacher in the school district maintain a blog. He believes teachers will embrace the technology as long as technical assistance is provided.

Using screen shots of the software in action, Hendron discusses the pluses and minuses of various software, such as Audacity, GarageBand, blogging platforms and news aggregators. Reading about these various Read/Write Web 2.0 possibilities provides readers with an overview of the application of these platforms in the classroom.

Reviewed by William A. Clark, superintendent, Manheim, Pa.