Thing 23: Bringing it all together

Once a day I endeavour to check my Twitter feed.  For me, it’s the most important time of my day, as it is the source of the majority of my library-related information and PD.  I click on links, read about new ideas, new technology, library life, it’s struggles and victories, and engage with blogs via links that are posted.

I try to log in to LinkedIn once a week.  This gives me a chance to catch up on the groups I follow and to find new contacts. I don’t have a large network on LinkedIn because I choose not to link with people I don’t know. Many whom I do know, are not on LinkedIn. Especially enjoyable are the posts from individuals, groups or companies I follow.

soc-media-and-donuts

Social media and donuts by Photo Giddy on Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Pinterest is a social platform that I engage with when I have time, or when specifically looking for ideas on a topic.  Of course, once you start on Pinterest you need to know that you have, at the very least, an hour to spare.  It is the greatest visual fun and a real eye-opener to the innovative nature of humans.

Instagram – well, that’s a different story…I began my account as a public one, hoping to soon be in a library job, where I could share books, events, ideas, news etc., along with personal bits along the way.  However, that has not happened, so I post things of interest to me, now and then, but more importantly, I use it to follow librarians, libraries, museums and topics of interest in the GLAM sector.  In this way I get to see campaign ideas, displays, makerspaces, new books, and more.  I love it! For this, I log on probably every other day.

But, here is a secret…I operate another Instagram account, with which I engage VERY frequently every day…and were you to stumble upon it, you would shake your head with pity, and declare that that woman is touched in the head! It is my dog’s account…yes, you heard right, my dog’s account.  If you haven’t yet discovered the ‘doggie world’ on Instagram, or indeed, even the ‘kitty world’, I suggest you take a look at the #dogsofinstagram or #catsofinstagram hashtag and go exploring.

As an aside, it has opened up a world that, I believe, can only exist virtually in the social media realm!  One where people regardless of colour, nationality, culture, religion, geographical confines, age, interests, status in life, or whatever, can connect, challenge each other, support each other, chat, share tips, mourn and laugh together and love each other, unconditionally.  All through the name of the dog, or the dog’s account. No stigmas, no expectations, no mockery, no bullying…only fun and unconditional acceptance.  It is wonderfully therapeutic, brings a smile to one’s face every time, creates happiness and disperses loneliness.

dog

Dog by Rodrigo Monteiro on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

I use Facebook to follow library-related accounts and pages of interest, and to connect with a few family members afar off.  For me, the most beneficial page to follow has been the ‘Troublesome Catalogers and Magical Metadata Fairies’ group…I have learned quite a bit in the month since I have joined this group. Because I find that Facebook can quickly become addictive to me, I have confined use of it to my iPad, and do not log in on my PC or my phone, so that it is not constantly intrusive to my daily routine. I take a moment over a cup of coffee every other day, to catch up on the newsfeed.

The ‘Reader’ function on WordPress is a great way to keep up with other bloggers, and those I follow are all wonderful library blogs. Blogging on WordPress has been somewhat of a challenge since I created my first blog in 2010.  I discussed my lack of ‘blogging drive’ before in a previous post, but Rudai23 has put paid to that. 🙂  Posting once a week over the last 23 weeks proves that it is indeed possible, even when you don’t feel like it. Of course, from now forward, it would also mean finding content or a topic to write on, but it won’t be weekly for me. 😉  However, I am more encouraged on the topic of blogging, and have lost most of my fear of ‘being out there’ in case the grammar police are on patrol, or the syntax is incorrect.

hootsuite

Hootsuite by Wes Schaeffer via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The  above 6 accounts are the main social media accounts I engage with.  After signing up with Hootsuite, I decided to link only 2 – Twitter and WordPress.  I did not agree with the App’s permission requests for Instagram or LinkedIn, for privacy reasons, and so cancelled those.  Here is a snapshot of my dashboard from this morning…

hootsuite-dashb

I found Hootsuite easy to use, although I worked through the tutorial at first.  I can see how it will help to bring social media accounts under one umbrella for ease of monitoring.  I look forward to using it to monitor the hashtag of the next Twitter chat I attend.

It must be super helpful when used within a library situation, where many social media accounts are monitored and regularly posted to, specifically because of the time constraints of a busy workday.  I love that Tweets etc. can be drafted and scheduled to be posted at different times, so engaging with different users/followers throughout the day.

content-curation-how-does-it-build-value

Content curation: how does it build value by Stefano Maggi via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

At this point I’m cracking open the (virtual) champagne bottle, and getting out the crisps and dip.  CELEBRATION time, as I come to the end of Rudaí’s 23 Things! Thank you to the team who developed this programme – it has truly been a beneficial learning experience.  A time of personal and professional growth.

champagne

Champagne by CycloneBill on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

As always, thanks for stopping by.  😀

rose_06

Featured image:  Embracing social media by RDECOM on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

 

Thing 17: Reflective Practice

For Thing 17 we are encouraged to apply the “Cobbs Cycle of Reflective Practice”.  The process is outlined in the diagram below (taken from the Rudai 23, Thing 17 article):

gibbs-diagram
Gibbs, G. (1998) Learning by Doing: A guide to teaching and learning methods. Further Education Unit, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford.

Today, my reflective thinking post will be on the course in general, thus far.

Description

I decided that I needed to tackle a course on  technology…something that would challenge me.  I remembered seeing Tweets about “23 Things” and so I explored the various options. Although Rudai23 was no longer active or monitored, the activities for each Thing and the length of the course felt right to me. I threw down the gauntlet to myself as it were, and picked up the challenge.

Feelings?

At the time I was excited to begin this course.  I felt as if I was losing touch regarding technology and the skills required.  Some forms of tech I had not, at that point, ever used. The niggling urge to try them out was always there, but never the time. This course would require action.  Besides that, I had let my blogging slide into neglect, and kept hearing people banging on about how important a blog was as a CPD record.  It annoyed me, since I did not enjoy blogging, but wanted to ensure that one day, one day, when hopefully we could escape from this ‘land of sand’, I would be an employable candidate. So, with the added requirement of writing a blog post, I realised there can be no excuses…I would have to write.

blogging

 

 

 

Evaluation

I have had to dig deep. I confronted insecurity in tackling technology that I had not used before; faced my fear of ‘being visible’ (blogging publicly) since I don’t have the gift of the gab; also of linking my social media accounts for branding purposes.  I realised that I suffered from ‘imposter syndrome’.  Something kept whispering ‘you’re not a real librarian’, ‘you’ve used distance study’, ‘you’re out of touch’.  I had to actively work at quashing those thoughts.  Feeling very vulnerable, I only experienced kindness online.  I’m thankful for the librarians who commented and encouraged. With each Thing‘s activity, I my confidence grew. Exploring the topics gave me more insight. Finally, tackling the activity and writing up the blog post afterward, was hugely satisfying. I am just over halfway through the course now, and feeling more equipped with knowledge and experience. 😀

Analysis

Before beginning I didn’t fully think the course through.  I merely jumped in.  While that is a good thing in some ways (because in too much thought I may have decided to shelve it), I have also found it tough to stay on schedule.  Working as a volunteer, running a household, trying to remain up to speed with professional development, strength training, reading and other commitments, alongside weekly blogging, is a serious challenge to one who isn’t a natural writer. Also, doing this kind of programme solo is not desirable – it would have been valuable to share with someone along the way, to discuss various elements and to compare notes.  (The administrators of Rudai23 encouraged me and invited contact if I needed to, but that would be a lot to ask of people who are probably as pressured as the rest of us and who have in fact moved on from this course.)

Some of the activities sounded as if they would be a walk in the park, but in reality were tough and a time challenge. For example, screencasting in Thing 9. That taught me a lesson in three Ps…preparation, perseverance and patience. 😀  I eagerly anticipated experiencing the Augmented Reality in Thing 14, when, obligingly, Pokémon Go was launched just a few weeks earlier and it was on everyone’s lips. My desire to explore new things, had me looking at different AR Apps and in so doing I discovered AR I hadn’t known about and found some ideas for library advocacy, which was to follow in Thing 15.

So, I see a pattern emerging…these tasks and skills are interwoven and can be combined to equip one for more effective service to users and stakeholders within all kinds of libraries.

Conclusion

What else could I have done? Read!…more blogs linked to the Rudai23 things course…more articles on technology…more research. I could have given each activity more thought in respect of application to libraries. I could also have actively tried to form a local group to do this course together with.

Action plan

  1. Short term: to not quit, but to finish strong.
  2. Medium term: to read more on professional writing.
  3. Long term: to begin another 23 Things course in 2017, hopefully as part of a group… 23 Research Data (RD) Things. 😀 (If anyone is interested in doing this course next year, please drop me a line below, so that we can connect.

The use of reflective practice in libraries should be encouraged by managers.  Each member of staff, each professional, given a chance to revisit their learning; their experiences; their interaction, with users and with each other; their attitude, aptitude and approach to new technologies.  How could this be instituted? How do you ensure library staff are exercising reflective thinking?  By providing forms to complete? By asking for feedback from each person? How often? Monthly, quarterly, annually?  Not everyone will be interested in maintaining a continuous professional development (CPD) blog. So how?

reflecting

Reflecting by Gisela Giardino on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

In my previous life  😉  as ELT coordinator, the Head of Department was of the opinion that regular observation of teachers was vital to maintain standards of professionalism.  Random, drop-in observations, was the method used.  Not popular, I know, but to measure someone’s actual ability/performance on the job, it is effective. In an office the manager doesn’t always notify people that s/he’s planning to walk the floor.  They often just pitch up to take a look at what’s happening.  I’m unsure of how it works in a factory, but I’m almost certain  workers are not pre-warned that managers observe from a window/platform above, they just do.  In our ESL department the teachers were aware, from the start, that we used this method of observation.

These observations ensured that teachers remained on top of their lesson planning and that weekly lesson plans were drafted, helping the department to run smoothly when someone called in ill or went on leave. They served to keep the lessons varied and interesting.  There is nothing worse than sitting in a language class for 6 hours of a very hot desert day, having a teacher drone on about grammar, writing, spelling and comprehension.  Equally so, lessons that were planned were more interactive, making the task more enjoyable for both teachers and students. Lastly, professional feedback was the outcome, since teachers had the chance to respond in writing to remarks on the observation report. feedback-commentsReflective thinking! From it came growth. Our ESL department was so effective, that it became popular locally and we were bursting at the seams.

Feedback by Ewan McIntosh on Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

 

So, in my experience, the outcome of reflective thinking, especially when it involves accountability to someone else, is professional growth. Yesterday’s #auslibchat on Twitter was about professional development, mentors and mentees. One outcome of the discussion was the need for mentors, and for all of us, in fact, to come alongside the other. So perhaps we can each find someone that we can do some mutual reflective thinking with…regularly…so we can challenge our growth and professionalism as librarians.

Here’s to Thing 18 – communicating through photographs. 😀

dog-waiting

Dog waiting by Samuel Yoo on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Cheers! Thanks for stopping by.

Thing 9: Screencast video

Sssshhhh screencasting

Shhhh by Betsy Weber  on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Oh gosh!! Rudaí23 Thing 9 was a particular challenge.  As one of those individuals who seeks tutorials on YouTube for much, I am especially appreciative of the amazing folk who take the time to teach others – even the most basic concepts of computing are needed by some.  Because this is something that I imagined I would enjoy doing, I’ve always wanted to try a screencast (audio visual recording of a process on the screen) to see how it is done.

Little did I imagine how tricky!  What I thought would take 3 mins, actually took +- 9. Apart from the fact that I once again had to listen to my own voice over and over (and over, and over…. does this give a hint of how many times I discarded and restarted…? :/ ), each time I began recording either the doorbell rang, the dog barked, or the A/C rattled in the background, until I was totally exasperated. What’s the saying…

Keep calm and carry on

Anyway…after 3, or was it 4? hours, I decided I was going to do the very last take. EVER!
Apart from the frog in the throat, and the mixed up vocab, I decided to use it, and here it is Rudaí23…my effort at screencasting. LOL!

onenote app for iphone

 

 

Opening a new Notebook in MS OneNote 

by

LibSandy

 

I used Screencast-o-matic, which was really user friendly.  I downloaded the audio file onto my PC, which I then uploaded into my YouTube channel (can’t believe I have succumbed to opening a YouTube channel! 😉 ). I decided to tackle annotations, because living in an environment where most use English as a second language, I know how important it is to get the message across clearly. I was totally amused at some of the auto annotations; it gave me a much-needed giggle.  After roughly 30 mins of editing the annotations were acceptable.

Once I had calmed down and published the video, I began to realise, once again, just how valuable a tool this is. Visual and auditory learners benefit much from this form of learning, and if it were incorporated more into teaching it might serve a dual purpose and make the teacher less…ho-hum. This article says it all.

Of course, if there are teacher librarians having a week like mine, where they struggle to meet the demands of domestic bliss with professional devoir, let alone development, this is the go-to tool, isn’t it?

screencast infographic

Narrated slide show = Screencast by Wesley Fryer  on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

A ready store of these in hand, on any given topic  is just the thing (yes, it would take time to put together – say over the year you do one every so often). In a really fraught week you could pop one on for that 20 min time slot that you are allocated to try and impart some media literacy into the always-tired-not-another-library-lesson minds. Or what about those times when the class pours in and the teacher goes…”Didn’t I book this with you? I was sure I had.” (Yeah, right!)  Librarian to the rescue…(remember above meme)…librarians are never supposed to show botheration.

I guess the more you do this kind of thing, the easier it would get.  I did write the script beforehand, but it’s hard to read while working your mouse over the screen.  That means you’ve got to know your subject and be sure of where to move the cursor, what to show and what to say. Oh, and hopefully you have a speedy internet service if you’re going to hop between windows and websites. It must be soul-destroying with a slow connection, and then having to edit out all the dead sections.  Another tip: get your vocab sorted. 🙂  No stepping into the pitfall of using one term for a thing, and then another for the same thing further on. (I think I was guilty here…but hoping whoever would want to use my video will get the idea. Lol.)

The totally awesome Kathy Schrock has penned this great article – Screencasting and Screen Recording in the Classroom.  I couldn’t explore all the links, since I just didn’t have the time, but the one on “It’s like writing a play” (also from the TechSmith blog) is spot on!  I just need WAY more practice. Challenge accepted!   This method of demonstrating can be used to great effect in all libraries – screencasts linked to the website or embedded in Libguides to show users how to negotiate the catalogue, or how to access various databases, for instance. Any experienced librarians out there that can tell me how they use screencasting? I’d love you to leave a comment below.

For an example of good screencasting I found this:  how to find Creative Commons images with Google. The video is dated 2011, but the info is valuable.

Thanks for stopping by folks.  Thing 10 is coming up and I find myself looking for that monkey emoticon …

see no evil

Till next time. Cheers.

Meme created with ImgFlip Meme Generator
OneNote image via Flickr by Alan Parkinson (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Thing 6: Reflections thus far – Rudai23

Reading blogs this last month has been fun. Usually I’ll tell myself that I don’t have time, but after beginning Rudai23  I’ve made time, and in so doing I’ve proven to myself that I can, after all, spend time reading people’s blogs and not just techie sites and the news. It has been an entertaining, insightful, educational and sometimes emotional experience.

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Office desk (Public domain image from Picjumbo)

I summoned up the courage to comment on some blogs, even if it was just to thank them for sharing. It’s amazing how eloquent some folk are, and how willingly they share professional advice.  I have also begun to follow a few more librarians’ blogs, managed to gain 3 followers to mine and have responded to one very kind comment on one of my posts, for which I was very grateful.

 

Keeping a diary for years, where I only wrote for my personal reflection and for therapeutic reasons was, to me, a safe option.  pen_&_paper_1

Now, blogging for public view I find to be quite daunting.  My efforts left me feeling as if I’d written a few university assignments, actually. :p  I know I’m not a natural writer, so it takes many drafts before I’m satisfied enough (well sort of) to publish a post.

computer_face

Fortunately, completing the Copyright course through ALIA, just as I began with 23 Things, proved to be fortuitous, in that using images from online sources was less scary as I was able to search for permissible ones, understand the licences more thoroughly, and cite them correctly.

Working with WordPress has been a mission of sorts.  I realise that I should do a few tutorials, even though I’ve used it for a couple of years already, but time is so limited. So I plod on and hold thumbs that the post looks decent when I’m done.  I’ve pulled my hair out trying to tweak the appearance of the blog.  Perhaps it’s me, or (at the risk of sounding as if I’m blaming my tools) it could be my old laptop, but I find WordPress doesn’t always ‘play along’ and do what I think it should.  Grrrr!

Because I have  been very interested in online tools over the last few years, and have been using a few of them for just as long, a lot of the first few Things’ content was not new to me.  But even so, there were aspects that I learned for the first time, like muting a twitter hashtag or account, or  how to use a Twitter chat app.  I explored Google more fully, and opened a G+ account and began to use Google calendar.  I discovered that one can make a professional URL on LinkedIn, and I appreciated the tips for a professional LinkedIn profile.  Facebook was a challenge since I have a personal dislike for the service, but I propose to use it to my advantage this time round. And now, after exploring the site and all the settings, at least I know that if I were asked by a member of the public for help in setting up an account, I would be confident to do so. happy_2

The module on personal branding, Thing 3, was fun to engage with, but I have felt uncomfortable with placing emphasis on myself.  The write-ups for each Thing are about my experiences, and so invariably the content has too many ‘I’s.  However, I am eager to build a professional brand as I believe it contributes positively to one’s chances for employment…so here’s to brands. 😀

beautiful-peacock-portrait-picjumbo-com
Peacock  (Public domain image from Picjumbo)

These are my reflections until this point.  I look forward to continuing and learning more about online tools. If you’re doing the Rudai 23 Things course, please be sure to connect with me on Twitter, using #2016Rudai23. Alternatively, leave a message here.

Cheers!

Clipart from Clipartheaven.com, with thanks. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

23 Things: Thing 1 and Thing 2

Last year I read about ’23 things’ for PD, but was too busy to find out more. When I saw it mentioned by someone just recently, it reminded me to explore the topic. At the same time, I was contemplating blogging again, and so, much to my surprise I found that the programme I was looking at, Rudaí 23, began with registering a blog and writing your first post. The original ’23 things’ began in 2006, and is no longer monitored, although it is still being used and adapted globally, according to the original creator, Helene Blowers.

I decided to begin the Rudaí 23 online course with the start of this blog. I’m looking forward to seeing how much of the course will be new to me, and how I fare on completing the tasks. As required, I will be blogging my experiences through each ‘thing’, so here’s hoping visitors to my blog will be patient with me while I complete the programme. 🙂

So, to Thing 1, which requires the registration of a blog. This is it, done ‘n dusted! I chose WordPress, because I already had an account there and was accustomed to it. However, after not blogging for several months, I initially battled with the ‘dashboard’. Or was it just too late at night?!

Thing 2 is the writing of the first post – also done. I actually began blogging in 2010, recording my experiences (periodically) while I was studying. I never advertised that blog; it became more of a journal for private use. I felt insecure with putting myself ‘out there’ and making myself vulnerable. I am very self-critical…not a good trait when it leads to a demand within to strive for perfection – an impossibility that we often choose to place upon ourselves. The last entry from that blog site is dated January 2015. So much has happened since then; perhaps it warrants a catch up post on this blog at some point.

I still feel uncomfortable with being visible… I find writing each post really stressful, knowing that people may be reading what I have written. I wonder if the grammar is correct, if the word choice could improve, and whether I have dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s. In her article about a list of blogging rules for The Muse website, Lily Herman states that it is best to be yourself…to show your own identity.

Well, I’ve chosen to squash my fear in order to write, drumming up the courage to submit an article for the International Librarian’s Network and to begin this blog.  I’ve heard it said, over and over, that to be visible, and blogging, is good for a career. And since a career is what I want in the next few decades, I will do what I can to build on it. You see, there is no such thing as ‘retirement’ for me, and I prefer it that way. 🙂

Librarian meme

The desirable length of a blog entry is another story…an interesting link from Rudaí23, pointed to this infographic…

social-media-length-infographic
Social Media Length Infographic. From http://blog.bufferapp.com, via Sumall

It is suggested that blog entries are more often read when they are 1,600 words in length. Not sure I’ll make that with each entry, but I guess it depends on the personal passion-level of the topic. On the other hand, Lily Herman also reckons that posts of 500 to 700 words are better (Woohoo!) than longer ones, unless the latter are very well written.

Here’s my challenge, to anyone out there who may be starting the Rudaí23 programme – let’s connect and follow each other, and let’s Tweet about it on #2016Rudai23. Here’s to blogging! *raises glass* Cheers!

On to Thing 3. Till next time.

Time to face my fear and … blog!

Having been inspired by some wonderful bloggers (Kay Oddone, Ceridwyn Bloxham, Cherie Basile and Katie Davis), I have begun again, this ‘Blog June’, to pick up the pen, face my fear (of being out there) and write. Thank you my virtual friends. 🙂

girl-writing-in-a-diary-picjumbo-com
Girl writing in a diary, by Viktor Hanacek, from Picjumbo

I’d also like to give a shout-out to some blogs I have regularly visited over the last few years for their value to the librarian profession … Theunquietlibrarian, Stephen’s Lighthouse, The International Librarians Network .

This is a new blog in a new season (for me); a time to reflect on, and record, my thoughts, discoveries and experiences as I traverse the information-highway-cum-datasphere. I won’t blog daily, perhaps not even weekly, but will aspire to a few posts monthly. Admittedly, the portability of blogging sites today facilitates a catch-up at any time, but that’s just it…time, that all important commodity. In my opinion, minutes are getting shorter, and time is speeding up. Really, where have those long, leisurely Jane Austen afternoons gone?

Jane Austen med
Flickr image: Regency three 2008, by Owen Benson under creative commons (BY-NC) licence 2.0

Because I have not yet ‘landed’ (i.e. I’ve not yet set my feet upon terra firma for the final time)…

Flying over Doha (598x800) - Copy
Flickr image: Flying over Doha by DesertSandz on creative commons (BY-NC-ND) lic 2.0 

…some entries will no doubt cover daily experiences (or frustrations) as an expat here in the Middle East, dotted with the unique experience of trying to secure an Australian entry visa (migrant). I’m hoping to also write about my experiences if and when I land up in Brisbane (or elsewhere), and about the intricacies of trying to find work in the latter years.

I will be honoured if you would pay a virtual visit to my posts. When you do, feel free to leave a calling card by way of comments.

calling card
Flickr image: Peony calling card by Sarah Parrot,on CC (BY-NC-ND) licence 2.0