I blogged a couple of weeks back about my new vision for our VLE. This has been implemented across 400+ primary schools here in Hampshire and I have been working away on the shared area recently trying to populate it with content and useful resources. One thing that has worked really well is the use of Delicious.

Now as you may know, Delicious is a great way of storing websites for use anywhere, it certainly beats the old way of just storing them on your browser on your home PC. I started a county-wide account a few months back, and this has gone down very well with people I’ve shown it to. The next step is to share it with a wider audience. That’s where the RSS feed comes in.

I started by using the RSS reader in Studywiz to ‘collect’ all websites that were tagged with a certain word and put this RSS feed into that area in the shared group. For example, http://delicious.com/hampshirebookmarks/football has all of our websites that are tagged with ‘football’. This page has an RSS feed and our VLE can take this and display a list of the sites. Nice 🙂

One problem is that I don’t have many websites on the county Delicious account yet, I need more. I know that Parkfield have LOADS of websites, so I start doing the same for those. Very nice indeed 🙂

I was content to leave it at that until I saw a tweet from @primarypete_ where he mentioned networks.

He said: (I’m) changing way I use Delicious. Out with google reader of new links. In with big network of educator users to search: http://bit.ly/b0aTbe

This got me thinking. Could I build a network of teachers too? Obviously I’d borrow some that Pete had, so I did. Within a few minutes I had a few responses to my tweet asking for help and then via Delicious I found more. I now have a network of 10 within about 2 minutes. That’s 10 schools/people that are sharing websites with me. So now back to the VLE, I’m now collecting the RSS feeds of my network’s websites instead of individual schools. This should make it much easier for teachers to find useful websites!

Couple of downsides though. When you are searching through your network’s tags, it doesn’t show them as a drop-down menu. So I need to check food_chains, food-chains and foodchains to make sure I have them all.

Also, I’ve found that lots of people neglect the comment/description box. So I have a list of websites but you have to visit some to understand what they are.

So what started as a way of sharing websites, has now grown into a massive library of websites found by teachers and shared with others. Fantastic!

Our network can be found here: http://delicious.com/network/hampshirebookmarks

So, does your VLE have an RSS reader? Could you share your links with staff that way?