Now that the students have blogs, I think they will soon see the benefits of using rss readers. Instead of hunting through blogs that may or may not have new content, a rss reader could deliver any new content to the reader. Unfortunately, all the web based rss readers such as pageflakes and bloglines that I have encountered require a minimum age of 13 because of CIPA regulations.
Alternatively, local computer based readers would not be individualized. The only remaining option I can see is installing a server based rss reader that supports multiple accounts.
I’ve looked into a few possibilities for the open source community. Rnews looks like a good candidate because it has multiple users accounts allowing students to customize the feeds. It must be installed manually in that one must upload the files via ftp, create a database, and run an installer through a browser. The installation went smoothly, but I got a 500 error because of the .htaccess had a php override turning magic quotes off (not Kosher on my server). I tossed it out and all works fine. If I find there is an issue in the future, I’ll run a php.ini override.
The Interface is simple. It does not require an email address or any other personal information. Those wishing to register must type in a pass phrase to create an account. One issue is that it reports a permissions error even after I corrected it. Knowing that the permissions were correct, I hacked the error message oout of the file and it now looks fine.
There is plenty of research and testing to undergo before I settle on a solution. There is also the issue of how it will work with our school’s Internet filtering. Hopefully our filter will block the feeds coming in through the reader.