As teachers, we are by default in many cases, operatives for publishers and textbook makers. We truly are! The textbook forms the learning process. It makes it into something different than if we had used our own materials or those of the students.
However, all is not lost. There is a way around the “5 filters” so well outlined by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky. The power of the internet is flattening things and we will see in the future – teachers and students choosing their own “jailer” and using the content that is of their own mind/makeup/world. My own hope is that more teachers become their own publishers – this hour is at hand.
One step towards this is the use of RSS. Over the last few years, I’ve been and continue to be, a big proponent of this application. I won’t bore you with my own humdrum description of what it is. Here it is in Plain English.
What I DO want to say, is that you now have the ability as a teacher/student, to print out the content of any page. Yes, and even cut and paste it into an attractive form to use in the class or online. How?
1. 5 Filters RSS to PDF Newspaper is an open source application that allows teachers / students to print attractive printouts of online content. Here’s an example I made in minutes, of all our Oct. blogs here on EFL Classroom 2.0 I just printed the titles but you could also print the full descriptions HERE. Just find the rss of any page or website ( click the orange RSS icon
and copy the address). Enter it into 5 Filters and poof! You have a newspaper. You can do the same with content you find online for your classes. Add your own title in the drop down (click show options).
I have also spent hours tweeking this code and now you can print quicker and with more details HERE. Same code but longer output, more headlines and quicker functionality. Try one of your own blog feeds!
2. But what about making a newspaper of many different feeds/pages? Don’t worry, easy as pie. Visit this amazing tool – INSTAPAPER. After you register, it will store all the pages you come across on the web and want to read. When visiting a page you like, just click their bookmarking icon “READ LATER” to save. Even save in multiple folders. Next, get the rss of these pages and print! Here’s a screencast to walk you through this. But even without printing, INSTAPAPER is a great way to save pages for later reading.
More on RSS forthcoming! There is a lot more to relate – especially about how it liberates the end users to “get what they want, when they want”. Here are two examples I’ll be describing in later blog posts. RSS ELT JOBS and RSS ELT BEST BLOGS.