So what's RSS?!

Are you confused by podcasting, podfeeds, iPods, and everything pod? A new weekly feature begins today, Guest Blogger of the Week. Brian Bartel kicks-off this series of informative posts by sharing his insights on RSS Feeders.

GUEST BLOGGER of the WEEK: Meet Brian Bartel – Appleton West High School Science Teacher


Want to keep up with current news in your subject area?  Try Google Reader (or other RSS readers) to get constant, up-to-date RSS feeds from various news sources and blogs.

First, you will need to setup a Google account.  Go to:  You will need to follow the instructions to setup an account (see middle right screen shot below):

Once you have Google Reader setup, then you can select source information by searching for new content.  AlternativGoggleimagebb_1ely, you can use other RSS Readers (listed at the end of this post).

Noteworthy Science Sources

ScienceDaily — the Internet’s premier science news portal — brings you the latest discoveries in science, health & medicine, the environment, space, etc.

·        New Scientist – International News, Ideas, Innovation — Weekly science and technology news magazine, considered by some to be the world’s
best, with diverse subject matter.

·        NASA – Science@NASA — Current space news brought to you by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

·        Science News – New York Times — Find breaking news, science news & multimedia on biology, space, the environment, health, NASA, weather, drugs, heart disease, cancer, AIDS, mental health, and more!

  • Welcome to the Science Museum London museum and of science. Exhibitions cover all areas of science and technology. Includes online exhibits and a learning area.

·        Scientific American Magazine: The latest science news and science … — Monthly magazine of science. Website includes articles from past issues.

·        BBC NEWS | Science/Nature — Offers news and feature stories plus audio and video programs and clips about the natural sciences.

·        WSST Lab Table – The Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers has an RSS feed (of which I help moderate) called “The Lab Table” at

This is an example of what I might see on a daily basis…



You You will look through the “lens” for the headline, and a short description will show up in the main viewer.  To read more, simply click “Show Original Item” to take you to the original feed.  You can star noteworthy articles, and come back to them later.  As some sites are blocked by my district, I will star interesting news feeds and then access them later at home (often blogs are blocked – the WI DEN blog is blocked by my district!)   


This service is extremely useful to science educators trying to stay abreast of current scientific discoveries and news. This is extremely useful for teachers that want to stay informed for their own teaching, but you can also encourage your students to setup RSS readers to discuss current events.

But what about for other subject areas?  RSS readers have obvious applications for history and political science teachers. Try searching for your local paper to see if it has an RSS feed for their top stories. If you are a foreign language teacher, you can get foreign news daily.  But RSS readers can also connect you to blogs that might relate to your teaching.  Entering the search string “teaching math” reveals a “forum for mathematics teaching for students from upper secondary/high school level through university” (

And most importantly, don’t forget to setup the national DEN blog and the DEN-WI blog in your RSS Reader! 

Other RSS Readers:


Jan’s note:  Try searching for educational blogs using the clustering search engine, Clusty!  This search engine does a great job of searching Blogs!

If you are a Wisconsin DEN member and would like to be a Guest Blogger contact Jan!


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  1. Keith Schroeder said:

    Thanks for the great how-to article. I signed up for the Wisconsin DEN Blog RSS and love the emails I get when it’s updated. Now I know how to get others! Very informative article!

  2. RJ Stangherlin said:

    Your blog re: RSS is just what I was looking for. I’ve wanted to explore RSS but just wasn’t sure how. Now I am going to jump in, and will link some of your information to my website. Thank you so very much. A neat idea, Jan, to feature a guest blogger of the week.

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