Thursday, March 27, 2008

The end of the road........

So, I have completed Discover 2.0-at least the first time around. I've learned a tremendous amount about how to use many technologies that I had read about but never tried. Some I will never try again-like Meebo, which I still cannot make work and which seems like a total waste of time (to me anyway). But many I will use and re-use and I will also now go back and re-explore some of the ones that I tried and couldn't make sense of earlier-like mashups, for example. I also have an appreciation of the uses of blogging which I did not have when I started the program. In the midst of this experience, I attended the Online Northwest Conference, which affirmed the value of the Discover 2.0 program and also gave me new perspectives on several of the new tools I have begun to use.

FAVORITE #1: Use of social networks-I signed up for Eons first, since I wasn't really sure about My Space or Face Book and I know my daughter can set me up on those if I want to do them. Plus I looked at MS and FB and they both looked overwhelming. I stayed on Eons for about a week--it was pretty blah and not engaging for me. But then, as part of joining another librarian's blog for the Jane Austen Knit Along- I was introduced to Ravelry-an online knitting and crochet community. It's still in Beta testing so not yet open to the public-you need an invitation to join. But this is my online community, and I have been able to apply and extend most of the skills learned in Discover 2.0 by being part of this community. In addition, being part of the community has shown me how other people use these tools and given me someone to contact when I have questions about doing something. I think I would have found the learning process much more boring and tedious without Ravelry. Other people may have the same feelings about MS or FB, but if so they were probably already using them. Plus, I have an international community that shares my passions for knitting, crochet, crafts, reading and anything else you can think of. I already have friends and pen pals in several countries and states and we exchange ideas and packages. It's fun.

FAVORITE #2: RSS Feeds- I had attended training on these but never actually used the technique myself. Now I have my favorite feeds on Bloglines, and I've also tagged lots of blogs on in case I want to go back later and add them. I have some staff blogs on my RSS feed as well as other knitter's blogs. Plus the word of the day and the Jane Austen fan site from Bath, England.

FAVORITE #3: LIBRARYTHING: I had been thinking about trying to track my reading (confirming that I do indeed read more than 100 books a year), but wasn't sure how to do it. I know some people keep notebooks, and others have elaborate spreadsheets. I first tried to just list them down the side of my blog-but it was time consuming and not very functional. Then I tried Good Reads, and did not like it at all- it's very cumbersome to add books. And then I tried LibraryThing-I love it--especially since I can scan in the ISBNs to add books. It's fun and easy-and I'll learn the functionality as I go.

OTHER FAVORITES: I like wikis and, but I was already using both of those before I started Discover 2.0. Now, though, I can compare the functionality of wikis and blogs. I am also exploring the use of Google docs (just started that one).

LESSON #1: As we already know from adult learning principles, adults learn best when their interest is engaged. So, while I didn't see much value to Flickr at the beginning, and I certainly didn't understand mashups--once I realized that I needed to use Flickr to publish pictures of my work on Ravelry, I learned how to use it. AND, there was always someone available to answer questions when I couldn't figure out how to do it. I have still not explored all the capabilities of Flickr, but I have many examples of how others use it and they are there to help me when I want to learn more.

LESSON #2: Having practical examples that apply to my interests and life helps me understand how the tools can work for me. Once I figure out how something can help me, I am willing to take the time to learn how to do it. Just another take on lesson #1, really.

LESSON #3: I like to just plunge into something-without reading all the background and lessons. Then , when I am using it and see a value to me-I might go back and re-read the instructions. Usually, I am more likely to ask someone else who seems to be using the tool in a way I want to emulate.

IMPACT ON MY LIFELONG LEARNING: Tremendous and positive. The program gives enough info to get started, but still requires a lot of effort (and time spent messing around) on the learner's part. I expect to go back over the lessons several times as I get more proficient, to pick up other skills that I missed the first time. I have also been able to work with other staff who did not believe that they could do this program, and several of them will finish it. So I got to be mentor/trainer, which is a role I enjoy. (And how else could I get loyal followers on Twitter??) Having the technical assistance from friends on the Ravelry site was invaluable.

UNEXPECTED OUTCOME #1: The first is that I am blogging and that I have actually found some blogs that I enjoy reading on a regular basis: my friends' Joy's blog from India (she works with a lot of Tibetan refugees so it's not always an easy read) and Melanie's blog from New York. While I still find a lot of blogs to be an utter waste of time (for me), I can understand how they fill a need for other people.

UNEXPECTED OUTCOME #2: Finding in Ravelry an online community that is productive and engaging for me, and that I am willing (and eager) to spend time on.

CHANGING THE STRUCTURE OF DISCOVER 2.0: The main issue that has come up, especially in working through the Discover 2.0 lessons with other staff, is that the proposed time allotment is not long enough for the majority of staff. In order to understand and apply the tools, people need to be able to play around with them. I also believe that people need to be willing and able to do some of that playing on their own time. I would also like to see some structured follow-up--some libraries were able to post comments on all staff blogs once or twice, whihc I think would be really encouraging. I'd also like to see 1-2 sessions where people can ask questions and get more technical help if they need it. The other thing I hope is that the lessons remain available--not only for new staff but also for staff like me who want to go back and review them.

1 comment:

Sara said...

Hello, I just dropped over from the Newbie Cafe to check out your blog...have a nice Sunday...