Further research using Google Reader

Today I tried a more advanced sequence of mini research tasks using Google Reader. Students have been using their own RSS subscriptions as part of wide reading for a unit on contemporary Australia, and it’s fascinating to see how the areas of interest they have developed over the past few weeks have really motivated their learning and kept them highly engaged. Here were the tasks:

1. Identify three articles that relate to an ongoing issue which has been in the media for some time, and of which you are already aware. Explain how these articles expand your understanding of the issue.

2. Identify an article that deals with an important issue (different to the one selected for question 1) but does not provide enough information about that issue. With reference to the main speaker’s views and alternative views, analyse the shortcomings of this article.

3. Identify an article that presents information about someone in a negative light (for example, someone involved in a scandal). With further research (for example, a Wikipedia page on that person) argue against at least two views presented in the article.

4. Identify an article that bears some relationship between the issues it discusses and your life at school. Write a short (pretend) note in your school’s daily notices with the preface, “ALL Students: You should read the article entitled “X” because…”

5. Turn a response to any one of the above questions into a creative piece that broadens your understanding of the issues addressed. You may wish to write from your own perspective, the perspective of someone else or through a dialogue between two or more people. You may write in any form you wish.

At the end of the lesson, I asked students to evaluate how RSS feeds (in this case using Google Reader) benefited their learning. The result was this short video that I put together:


About Michael

Cellist, singer/songwriter, school teacher, nerd, recent scooter enthusiast and failed philosopher.
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3 Responses to Further research using Google Reader

  1. Michael, this is just fabulous work!! You’ll forgive me if I showcase this to staff in Term 2 here at Joeys – just to show what is possible when you think Web 2.0, literacy, and research. There should be more of this fabulous work happening in all our schools. I am so glad that you are sharing this information. I am delighted that you have finally started blogging your professional work too! as this will means that you can now join fully into the global conversation! Love your work 🙂

  2. Michael says:

    Judy – thanks so much for being my first comment on my new blog! I’m so grateful for your support and to already feel a part of an amazing online community. I would consider it an honor to have this work shown to your staff. You can personally tell them that I’ve really learned most of what I know about edu-blogging from you.

    The main emphasis here is on practice and seeing web 2.0 in action. I feel that if I can make it as real as possible then more teachers will feel that it’s a step they can take.



  3. This is awesome – I like the assignment and the video. I found the responses from the students engaging and I think they will help teachers see the usefulness of rss in the classroom.

    I will definitely share this with my in-school instructional technology support teachers.

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