My aggregator of choice

Pat Kennedy left a comment yesterday on the RSS in Plain English post.

Which aggregator is conducive to a classroom environment Bloglines or Google Reader? Organizing feeds by disciplines is important to me. Are they advertisement free?

There are a lot of great aggregators out there finding one that is right for you and your students is like shopping for a computer. You need to check out the options and see which one ‘fits’

Bloglines: A great ad free RSS reader. Easy to use and set up and I believe the easiest place to get people started when first learning about aggregators and RSS. It was the first to really take off and is still a great basic aggregator of content. You can organize feeds into folders.

Google Reader: Coming on strong as they do the Google thing and continue to add options and features. It loads quickly and has some features that Bloglines doesn’t have. The best thing about Google Reader is you can import it to your iGoogle page to become more like Pageflakes or Netvibes. If you’re school has students create a Google account (which I’m thinking schools should do!) than this is a great option. You can organize feeds in folders.

Pageflakes: Coming on strong as one of my favorites. It differs from Bloglines and Google Reader in that it has “Widgets” which are other items you can add to your page other than just plain RSS feeds. Pageflakes has a great little Podcast player that you can add and use to listen to podcats, you can add the weather, news, a search and other widgets and really customize your start page to be the information center you want it to be. If Netvibes continues to be slow in China when I return after this summer, this will be where i move to. Quick loading and clean easy design. You organize feeds by tabbed pages.

Netvibes: My personal favorite and a quick look at what people are using to subscribe to the blogs that I run show that more people are using Netvibes now than Bloglines. Netvibes was the first to use widgets to really make a customized start page on the web that allowed you to import your own RSS feeds. They continue to add widgets that allow you to add functionality to your page. They have also done the Web 2.0 thing and opened up their API to the community allowing users to create widgets for the site. As the community made widgets become stable they are added as options. You can search for all kinds of great widgets to really make the page the way you want. Pat also wants to organize her feeds by disciplines. Netvibes has a tab feature (so does Pageflakes) that allows you to add tabs to your page so each tab can be a different discipline. You can also share a tab with others. I set up students with Netvibes pages and then share a tab that has all the RSS feeds I want them to have. I use Netvibes with students because they are a customizable generation and Netvibes lets you customize everything. With teachers I use Bloglines, Google Reader or Netvibes based on the level of the teacher and their technology skills.

This is only 4 of many great aggregators out there. What’s your favorite? What’s the features that make you stay with your reader?

[tags]rss, aggregator, bloglines, googlereader, pageflakes, netvibes[/tags]

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