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Keeping track of all the communities I belong to on the Innovative Teachers Network is becoming a bit of organisational nightmare, as I just keep forgetting what I have joined. Luckily, I have managed to find some useful tools that can help me keep track of my information.

Before you can use any RSS reader you need to set up your communities in the Innovative Teachers Network. This is really easy to do. In your selected community, decide on what you want receive alerts on, i.e. Announcements, Events, Discussions, Links or Shared Documents. (Unfortunately there no way to select all, you have to set the alert for each area separately.) Click on the Action link, and a drop-down menu will appear. Select View RSS Feed and then select Subscribe to the Feed. This adds the feed to your subscribed feeds list in your RSS reader. image 

If you don’t have or use an RSS reader then set up the ‘Alert Me’ function. This will send you an email when something is added to the community. If you own a community on the Innovative Teachers Network, it is good idea to remind your community members to set up their own RSS feeds or email alerts. This will ensure that all your community members get up to date information.

This automation is a great way of sending out information to people , but it does not factor in some people’s ability (namely mine!) to just forget to check their feeds. So I have managed to solve this problem with the Vista News feed gadget that is part of the default gadgets included with Vista. If you have not already done so, add the News Feed gadget to your Vista desktop sidebar. Next click the Setting icon (a small spanner), and the gadget will recognise all the RSS feeds you have subscribed to. You are able to choose whether to view all the feeds or select a particular feed. In this case, select the Innovative Teachers Network and Presto! -- instant, visible reminders right on your desktop. This has really solved a problem for me as now, I get reminders where I can always see them. Now if I could only find a piece of technology that will remind me of my wedding anniversary, life would be sweet.

If you have any tips or tricks that make things easier or simpler for teachers and students, then feel free to share them on this blog or on the Innovative Teachers Network.