Friday, 2 September 2011

Thing #16 registering completion of programme

Reflection on 23 things
I found 23 things to be a very enjoyable programme which suited my learning style. Activities and tasks to complete within a time frame gave me the structure that I needed to explore web 2.0 applications, as well as the network of colleagues on the programme. However it seems that "thingers" lost impetus when "things" were no longer issued on a regular basis. If the programme were to run again I think it's important to release the "things" on a structured regular basis (every fortnight or ten days - perhaps a calendar function could be used for the cohort?).
Although all of these web 2.0 applications are freely available I needed this type of structured programme to explore, investigate and reflect. Structured activities and reflection as with all good teaching practice encourages deeper learning as well as the "little and often" burst of learning - reflecting best practice in how we ideally would like to deliver our own training to students.
The programme contained a good range of tasks - some were easier than others depending on levels of expertise and prior knowledge. There also seemed a sense of progression in that the tasks seemed to increase in complexity and difficulty towards the end of the programme - or perhaps that was me struggling. Most of the activities and applications were new to me and I was able to make quite a few of the applications part of my professional practice. Some of the applications were great in that they had more impact on my personal life.

Some professional highlights:
Delicious (even though it's been around for a while, it's still not used widely )
RSS feeds.
I suspect that these both make the most sense to me as they are both directly connected to managing information . I seem to have been stressing managing information more and more in my information skills sessions (which might be indirectly due to exploring these applications... or could just be a theme/trend that I have adopted.) However when I talk about them to students they are usually unaware of what these do. I've used Delicious to collate websites and government papers for a media industry module and also to collate some websites useful for a dissertation support session.
Letter James - great for my blog for when I can't face trailing through copyright free images - I'm also using Flicker for these and my own photos.
Some personal highlights
Flicker - I had just bought a better camera, so it was really useful for that, although I did discover that the image resolution was a bit too high for Flicker.

Library thing - I'd been using it with my blog but had worked out how to get two feeds off it. I'd always meant to keep a record of my reading, so this seems to do the job at the moment (however as it's public I don't always put everything up there - only the books I'm not embarrassed about showing.

Facebook - I knew it would be addictive - and it was (that's why I hadn't done it - unfortunately I now had "permission" to do it!). In retrospect it would have been good to make a facebook site for the library refurbishment for students to see as it evolves.

Creating a website - opportunity to re-present my MA dissertaion

    Were the programme to run again it might be useful to
    • Use those that have completed this round to act as mentors for the next group
    • Place more emphasis on reflection on the taks - not jsut description.
    • Make it manditory to comment on people's postings (otherwise you just feel as if you are talking to yourself and there's little sense of support. - I still have questions posted that I want to know the answers to (perhaps thje mentors could play a role here?). I really enjoyed it when people posted comments.
    • Continue the programme? e.g. qr codes, google + , slide share. envivo.... etc
    • Perhaps use Twitter to create the support environment - good opportunity to get familiar with it and use it in a constructive and long-term way.
    Other problems:
    Blogger was often unstable and "lost" work - perhaps suggest that it's good to write it in word and copy into blogger.
    Support - I tended to just look to one or two people's posts for support, ideas and tips
    Difficulties in downloading software (no administrator rights) particularly Audacity, whcich created futher barriers.
    Too many user names and passwords - I became very confused and tangled with the amount of Usernames and passwords that we needed - I think I now have at least three google accounts.

    In conclusion: I learned lots of new applications, I included lots of applications in my professional and public practice. I have confidence in using these web 2.0 applications and I have confidence in talking to others about them, even offering to show otehrs how to use them. In terms of my own professional development, this has been a total success that I would like to build on and develop further.

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