Sunday, 16 October 2011

Thing 19: Integrating the Things so far

"It's time for a little bit of a breather and some reflection on what you've gained from the programme so far and how you might continue to use what you've learnt," says Jo cheerily in the post for this Thing. Well, it was time for a breather when this was originally posted on 12th September; it's now four weeks later and I am desperately staggering through the final few Things, so not much chance for breath-catching for me.

Fortunately I don't think I'll have to spend much time reflecting on this, since the things I've picked up from cpd23 that I'm going to be using on daily basis, I already am using on a daily basis - they've proved so handy, as well as being easy to learn and implement, that they've slotted into my work routine with no effort or consideration on my part at all.

For me, the stars of the programme in this respect have been:

I use Twitter on an almost daily basis and from it I have picked up so much information and links to news, articles, blog posts and discussions that I wonder how I ever managed without it.

This is open on my taskbar all day at work and often at home - I use it to store notes and snippets of information, to-do lists, useful URLs and so on, things that previously would have been scrawled on scraps of paper (and subsequently lost). As a result I feel much more organised, and tidier, through using Evernote. This one's a keeper.

I only got round to the Jing Thing a couple of weeks ago and already I've used it extensively, to produce illustrative screenshots in a training document and to send screenshots to users of our electronic resources to guide them through various procedures. What's more, two of my line managers have been impressed enough to ask how I produced such nicely-annotated screen captures, so now I look like a complete technological whizz thanks to cpd23!

There are some tools that I haven't used much but that I probably will use in the future after I've played around with them a bit more and/or when the need arises:

Dropbox (and Google Docs and Wikis)
I loved Dropbox when I first tried it out but I confess I haven't used it since. I will try to keep it in mind the next time I need to transfer documents from one device to another. Similarly, I have yet had to produce any collaborative work that would require using Google Docs, but it is useful to know about it for future.

I was a bit down on Prezi, finding rather too flamboyant and in-your-face when first introduced to it. I do still intend to try it out at some point though. Although I am very rarely called upon to give presentations, either at events or as part of a teaching session, Thing 17 did make me consider using tools like Prezi and PowerPoint just as a way of presenting and recording information for general reference, rather than it being tied to a specific spoken presentation, so I will work on this soon.

And there are some tools and Things that could go either way:

Social networking, particularly LinkedIn
Way back in Thing 6 (12 weeks ago now) I said that signing up and creating a profile for LinkedIn was on my to-do list and would be completed "over the next few weeks". Hmm, yes, well... I may still get around to doing this, but it's not a very high priority any more, partly because, although I've never read or heard anybody saying "Wow, LinkedIn is brilliant and has helped me to get loads of jobs", I have heard several people on Twitter and elsewhere moaning about how useless it is at everything apart from sending its members pointless spammy emails numerous times a week. Sounds great.

I had never blogged before starting cpd23 and my original intention was to use the programme as a pair of stabilisers for my blogging bicycle; once cpd23 finished I would be ready to wobble off into the distance under my own steam. I have to say, though, that I've found blogging to be less satisfying than I imagined. I'm not sure if I will continue this blog (or at least I won't be posting very regularly) once cpd23 is over. Let's be honest, I have barely managed to keep up to date with my cpd23 blogging; without the prompt of a new Thing every Monday and at least the semblance of a deadline for completing the posts, I am even less likely to produce a regular flow of material. I am also very bad at commenting on others' posts and still have to make a conscious effort to do so. 

I think everything we've been introduced to throughout the programme has been worthwhile, even if it just prompts you to consider a new tool or method of working before deciding "It's not for me at this particular point." There's lots of stuff that, even if I'm not using it immediately, I will squirrel away for future reference.

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