So, here we are on week 3 and the fourth thing, although it has sneakily managed to be three things. Luckily I was already slightly acquainted with two of them so have managed to keep up. Just! Perhaps it would be best to deal with these “things” one at a time.
I am a very recent convert to Twitter and like any new convert I am bordering on becoming positively evangelical in my enthusiasm for it. At first the whole Twitter business left me cold. However, I was persuaded to give it a try by an article in the Guardian about the uses of Twitter in education. http://www.guardian.co.uk/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2012/mar/31/power-of-twitter
At first the world of Twitter was frankly terrifying and like any sensible librarian I lurked for a bit. It doesn’t take long to get the feel of things and gradually I started to follow interesting librarians/authors/teachers/book-bloggers etc. Less than two months later and I’m becoming dangerously addicted to it. I have found it to be the best source of up to date information on so much that I’m interested in. It can be entertaining, thought provoking and an excellent personal learning network tool.
Twitter etiquette was a bit worrying at first; it felt a bit like being at a social gathering where you don’t know anyone and don’t want to make some dreadful gaffe. A school librarian, @Cotham_Library, posted a guide to Twitter from @Edudemic that I found invaluable: http://edudemic.com/2012/04/my-5-biggest-twitter-tips/
Already I can see that I am going to have to organise my Twitter feed in some way as it would be easy to feel deluged by the vast amount of information I receive. Realistically it is not possible to read each tweet and I think that I will need to review those that I follow regularly which sounds a bit ruthless but will be necessary to avoid me drowning in a flood of tweets. I have started using Hootsuite and hope that this will help me to organise things more effectively. One other aspect is that in order to get the maximum benefit out of Twitter I think it is important to be able to keep up with it on a mobile device of some sort. One of the main advantages of Twitter is its immediacy and having to wait until you can access a computer would reduce this.
There are still aspects of Twitter I don’t even pretend to understand. Yesterday on my list of suggested people to follow were Cheryl Cole and Al Gore…how it came up with that particular combination is one of life’s great mysteries!
I had played about with RSS feeds before but had never used them properly nor known that it stood for Really Simple Syndication. It was easy to set myself up with a Google Reader account and off I went adding the list of the blogs suggested by the CPD23 blog. These are all really useful blogs but I have found that there is now some duplication in my sources of information as I already follow some of these through Twitter e.g. The Wikiman and some of the CPD23 participants.
The potential use for work is extensive but I am going to have to work out a system to make the best use of this potential. At the moment I could easily feel as though I have too many information sources to check on a daily basis and begin to feel a bit overloaded by it all. I regularly check a number of school library and children’s book sites and subscribing to their RSS feeds would keep them all together in one place. However I am already checking Twitter and SLN (the school librarian network on Yahoo) daily so lack of time is an issue. This is something that I have earmarked to look at properly as soon as possible.
Storify is new to me and I first heard of it last month on Twitter when it was used by @MsTick68 to collate an on-line discussion on children’s books: http://storify.com/AliB68/fedbkgrp-chat-war-stories As a new user of Twitter I had missed some of the conversation so this was really useful. The one put together by Annie for CPD23 is also very impressive. I can see that it would be of use for training sessions, conferences and similar but at the moment I am not clear how I could use it to good effect at work. As there are so many different Web tools available and I am trying to select the ones that will be of the most use to me and the staff and pupils at our school I am tempted to leave Storify for now.
Phew! Thing 4 completed and blogged about by the end of week 3 so still on schedule, something that I wasn’t confident of achieving at the start of this programme. Looking forward now to a bit of reflecting in the sunshine!