Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Answers from Experts

Will Richardson responded to my RSS reader woes and suggested I check out Bloglines. I'd visited it before when following links at his Weblogg-ed site but hadn't spent time figuring out how it works. It is a great tool for teachers who need to track student blogs. What I like most about it is...
  1. I can share my feeds, so the entire class can use my Blogline as the access point to each other's blogs, saving me from having to set up a Schoolnotes page or some other portal.
  2. It will import OPML files.
  3. It displays the student text in the colors they wrote it.
  4. It has a clip feature that allows you to clip and store parts of the blogs you are reading.
  5. Being online, the unread posts markings should be accurate even if I sometimes access it from home and other times access it from school.
I haven't played around much with the other features, but a quick look has me thinking it can also be a blog hosting site, but I might be wrong about that.

I only see two drawback to using Bloglines to track student blogs. One was that I couldn't find a way to export the feeds as an OPML file, so if Bloglines should lose my feeds, I'd need to re-enter all my subscriptions. The other is that I didn't see a way to leave comments in students' blogs from within Bloglines or to see which blogs have had comments left on them.

I sent the info to Tammy and Jabiz so that they can give it a try in anticipation of next year's blogs.