- 1 Intro to RSS and Google Reader
- 2 Setting Up a Google Reader Account and Adding Subscriptions
- 3 Managing Subscriptions Using Folders
- 4 Reading Posts Inside Google Reader
- 5 Reading Posts from Google Reader Using an App
- 6 Creating a Blogroll Using Google Reader
- 7 How to Send Google Reader Items to Your Blog
Google Reader is a Google-powered RSS feed reader that basically allows you to subscribe to many of your favorite news sites, blogs, and more. You can then look at all these items in one place, as well as share them or send them to your blog.
This guide by Sue Waters of The Edublogger offers steps to get you started and using Google Reader to your advantage as an educator.
Below, you will find a summary to the introduction, setting up your account, adding subscriptions, managing your subscriptions with folders, reading posts in Google Reader, creating a blogroll for your blog, and sending items from your Google Reader to your blog!
Intro to RSS and Google Reader
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, which is simply a web feed format that many dynamic sites to keep readers constantly updated. RSS feeds must then be read through an aggregator such as Google Reader.
In using Google Reader as your RSS reader, you must first subscribe to whatever sites you want to include. Then, any new content from those sites should be automatically sent to your Google Reader.
Setting Up a Google Reader Account and Adding Subscriptions
You will need to establish a Google account to use Google Reader. If you do not already have one, sign up here.
Now, go to Google Reader and sign in if you have not already done so.
You can now add subscriptions to your Google Reader.
If you click on the red “Subscribe” button on the left, you will be able to either search for the site you want to subscribe to or paste the feed URL for the site.You can often find this by looking for the universal RSS symbol .
There are feeds for whole sites, as well as page edits, discussions, file changes, comments, and more.
Managing Subscriptions Using Folders
Once you have added subscriptions, you can use folders on your Google Reader to organize your subscriptions just as you would organize documents on your computer into folders.
Click on the small arrow beside the subscription you want to sort into a folder. A list of options will then appear, one which says “New folder…” Click on that option and you will be able to create a new folder for that subscription.
If you want to add another subscription to that same folder, click on the small arrow beside that subscription and find the name of the Folder on the list of options. Click it and it will organize that subscription into that folder as well.
Alternatively, you can use the “Drag and Drop” method to move subscriptions into different folders after they have already been created.
Reading Posts Inside Google Reader
Now that you have added subscriptions to your Google Reader, going to the Google Reader homepage should now display an overview similar to the one below showing what’s new in your subscriptions and more.
Organizing your subscriptions into folders earlier can now make reading items much easier. Click on the folder you want to view and you can choose how you want the folder to be sorted.
* Note that Google Reader automatically marks items as read as you scroll down. This feature can be turned off on the Settings page.
Reading Posts from Google Reader Using an App
Due to its convenience, you might want to read your Google Reader items using an app for your Apple or Android electronics. Google Reader has a free official app on the Android Market. The Reeder app is available on the iTunes app store for $2.99, which you can use on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.
Creating a Blogroll Using Google Reader
A blogroll is a list of links displayed on a blog. These are usually links to blogs that the blog owner likes and wants to recommend people to visit. As an educator, you may use a blogroll on your blog to link to all the student blogs for your class. This can easily be done using Google Reader.
If you have already made a Folder on your Google Reader for all the blogs you want to create a blogroll for, simply click on the small arrow beside the folder and click “Create a bundle.”
Once you click that, be sure that all the items you want to include in your Blogroll appear in the box. Remove any that you do not want to include. Click “Save” and your bundle will be created.
Now, click on “Create a bundle clip”
A window like the one below should appear. Make sure that the title is to your liking and choose a color scheme if you wish. Note that there is a preview of how the bundle will appear is shown on the right side of the box.
Finally, copy and paste the entirety of the HTML into a Text Widget for wherever you want it to appear (such as your sidebar or footer).
Here is an example of how it can appear in the sidebar (the grey color scheme was used):
Make any future edits to your blogroll through the bundle options in Google Reader.
How to Send Google Reader Items to Your Blog
Google Reader makes it easy for you to quickly send items in your feed to your blog. If you want to send items to your Web.unc.edu site, follow the steps below:
Click on the icon depicted above and click on “Reading Settings.” Click on the “Send To” tab and scroll to the bottom where you see “Create a custom link.”
There, type the name of your blog into the box for “Name.” Then, copy the following link into the URL box:
Then, replace [insert-site-title] with the entire URL for your site (ex: yourpage.web.unc.edu). Leave the rest of the URL as is.
Now, once you see an item you want to send to your blog… click on the “Send To” button below the item and you should see your blog name listed.
Click on it and a post for your site should open with a new post. The item will already be linked and the title of the item in the post title. Make any changes or commentary and finally — post!