Friday, October 9, 2009

Stick #23 - Final Thoughts

I have thoroughly enjoyed participating in the 23 Things on a Stick. The hands-on approach is the best way for me to learn new skills. It isn't an issue of being scared to tackle new things, but when I execute the new skills, I am more likely to remember them and I can better understand how they work. I know an additional program with more Things has been implemented and I will plan to go back to it after school settles down.

When I began this assignment, I really didn't want to blog, but I have found it to be helpful. Writing crystalizes my thinking and I have had an opportunity to consider how these Things may apply to my non-library work environment in healthcare.

What I have gained from this experience are new skills and new ideas for how to work smarter and more effectively personally and with my work group. I know where there are the tools to teach others how to do these Things. I have become more comfortable embedding different objects into different software. I am surprised how many sites are free, but I will never be able to keep up with all the passwords. I also believe email is quite outdated after experiencing some of these Web tools.

I have multiple favorites. I loved creating an avatar and the online games are a very interesting concept I hope to be able to do something with. I wanted to learn about Podcasts, RSS feeds and Wikis, and all of them are relevant to my work. I was delighted to learn about Slideshare, and the online productivity tools that were new to me.

If I had to describe my experience in one word, it would be "mind-expanding". I'm really glad we had this assignment!

Stick #22 - What Did I Learn Today?

This section helped to answer the major question that has been formulating in my mind as I have worked through the 23 Things--changes in technologies and the development of new tool is occurring all the time; how in the world am I going to stay current with changes? Reviewing the sites given in Thing #22, I found four that I believe will remain on the top of my list: Web2; Go2Web; Web2List; and Webinars from MINITEX. Several of these appear to be concise and give a brief description about the tool that would help me decide to pursue or not. I really like being able to find online Webinars. They often give me ideas that expand my thinking. I think I should also go searching for some more KM-specific sites.

In addition to adding RSS feeds, I have learned that if I schedule time on my calendar for "Research and Reading", and normally, if I do it on a Friday when the office is much quieter, I can discipline myself to take time to do some reading and keeping. If I am keeping up with personal interests, I can take some evening time on a weekly basis, although that will probably need to be scheduled after my MSKM is completed. I know there is a program beyond the 23 Things on a Stick that I can go back to as well, and probably will.

What I have learned is that there are ways to keep up and the key is identifying the sources, setting up for the notifications to come to me instead of the other way around, and setting aside some time to continue to learn.

Stick#21- Beyond MySpace

Visit 23 Things on a Stick

I am much more interested by the social networks in this section than I was with the general Facebook and MySpace. They are organized by interest area and geared more toward my interests as well. I might use something like Gather if I had a specific interest in finding people who share a particular interest. I can see that the WebJunction might be very helpful to librarians. It has a number of resources that look good, and they offer education, webinars, etc. I joined Ning to see special interest groups, comment on other members, load photos and add widgets to my blog. How much would I use a tool like this? I think I would really need to get connected and see that it had more to offer than what connecting I get to do with my friends. Or, I have an interest and don't feel I really have anyone to talk with about it. Otherwise, I have a personal preference to communicate face-to-face over networking online.

Stick #20 - Library and Social Networks

Facebook is another learning opportunity I have needed to do, but had not learned until now. I have 2 cousins who have sent me emails through Facebook to join. When I registered, I had more cousins--a total of 7 friends--waiting for me. What a welcome! I also joined the Library 2.0 Interest group. I am interested in continuing to learn about 2.0 opportunities.

In MySpace, I visited the Denver Public Library and Hennepin County Library. I was not so impressed with what I saw on MySpace. I guess someone would go to the library through MySpace because....? Maybe because they are already a user of MySpace? I think the main point for me is knowing what it is about and seeing what others experience when they go on line to MySpace.

Stick#19 - Podcasts

I listened to two pocasts. The first I found through the directory, was entitled, "Mozart's Death", an interview in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The second was the "Quick and Easy Korean Cooking"; I found this podcast through the Educational Podcast Directory. I found both of these directories to be easy to use and find interesting information. The director showed a server error, as did the Yahoo Podcast directory.

This sections has helped me become somewhat knowledgeable about podcasts. I have wanted to listen to some specific podcasts in the past, but I just haven't taken the time to sit down and learn the mechanics of doing it. Laziness? perhaps, or just the realization that it takes a concerted effort to squeeze one more thing into a busy schedule. In the very near future, I will set up the podcasts I want to hear so I can benefit from them.

Stick#18 - YouTube

I chose this You Tube video on Inattention Blindness because it is a concept we have been talking about at work. Inattentional blindness in health care is a concern because it is an underlying reason as to why medical errors can occur. Making staff aware what it is and why it occurs helps them understand the importance of some procedural changes. It also helps them be "on guard" and double-check themselves in order to prevent medical errors.

Using YouTube is easy and inserting my choice of videos was easy as well. The biggest barrier I have found is the barrier set up by my organization to block YouTube from being seen. While I understand why, there is some useful educational information being missed. On a side note, I looked at YouTube EDU as well. The videos on this portion of YouTube are more academic; hours and hours of educational presentations are available.

Stick#17 - ELM Productivity Tools

I have covered all of the site that is available to me, which is minimal since I am not a Minnesotan and cannot sign in. Unless I am missing something, I do not see that I can actually set up the Search Alert.

Stick#16 - Assignment & Research Project Calculators

I think the Assignment and Research Project Calculators are great tools to share with students. Organizing a long-term project takes some skill and the ability to break it down into bite-size pieces. I have seen students struggle when they do not have this skill. These two calculators make it possible for students to manage their time over the course of the assignment or project and guide them as to the purpose and activities of each step. Knowing about these resources allows librarians to share valuable information with library patrons.

The processes of assignment and research project apply to many situations. Being a graduate student, I have multiple assignments and a major project due for my classes this semester. The assignment tool could help me map out my time and I could use it to stay on track. The research project calculator can be a great asset to me in writing my thesis. Not only can it help me manage my time, it has some great prompts and tools for focusing my thoughts, defining the research questions, etc. I will bookmark this information and pull it out when I have time to re-focus more attention on my thesis project.

Stick#15 - Online Game and Libraries

Talk about broadening one's outlook! This section on online games and their application really stimulates my thinking. Not being a librarian, I am also considering how they might apply to my workplace. I visited Second Life. My son is into social video games, and I have learned a lot from him about why he is attracted to play them. I think Second Life provides an alternative learning environment, and yes, I think it does have a place in libraries. You have to consider who your customers are and how they view the world. The online game approach considers the interests and approach to learning of the younger generation. I love the Info Island and also seeing how Ohio State used this venue to reach potential students.

I work in health care. One reference I read described the availability of medical resources online and education about using them effectively. Our workforce age will continue to change. I think this is a possible avenue for providing health care educational opportunities. I think it could also work for patient education. On the whole, I don't think our older population would be as open to it as the younger crowd just because of their familiarity and use of computer resources. But, patient education could be developed focusing first on the pediatric and young adult population. It would also be interesting to see some measures of effectiveness comparing education via traditional methods and online games.

Stick#14 - LibraryThing

LibraryThing is a site that I see can be used by small libraries to make it easy to catalog books. I could use it for my personal collection and share with colleagues and friends. I like the idea that you can rate and review the books and see what others have to say. It is also neat that you can see others' lists. I love to read, and I appreciate recommendations from others about new books or authors.

I've added some of the books I've read most recently to my library collection. I created a link from LibraryThing to show you my interests. Of course, you have to take into consideration that because I am in school, some of my interests are influenced by required course readings.

Stick#13 - Online Productivity Tools

This section provides very helpful, practical information about tools that you will definitely want to check out. I was familiar with the ability to customize a home page, but have I taken time to do it? Of course not. I set up an iGoogle home page. I liked the clean look of the the page compared to other competitors. I customized it with information I look for frequently plus some fun items. I think I will need to add more information over time, for example RSS feeds. In addition, I can see the need to customize a home page for personal use at home and a slightly different version for work. I like seeing information at a glance.

I set up a calendar on Google. My biggest concern about using this tool is due to the difficulty of using more than one calendar and at work, Outlook is the calendar everyone else uses. I would need to have an Outlook calendar for work and a Google calendar for home. It's too confusing for me.

I LOVE the list capabilities of Remember the Milk! And, what a fun name, too. I think this tool would be VERY helpful to me. Some of the features I think are good is the inclusion of maps if your list includes running errands, etc., being able to print your lists, allowing reminders on email and having a mobile version. I make lists for lots of things, and I think if I could train myself to put them all in one place, it would make my life more productive.

I looked into Backpack as well. This is an interesting and very broad site. I can see it being especially useful to people who travel for their jobs. The ability to add various types of information together with your to-do list makes it very useful and makes Microsoft Outlook appear VERY out-of-date (at least my version). The calendar and task list in Outlook is very segmented, and the user cannot customize much as compared to a tool like Backpack.

Stick#12-Social Media Sites

I visited the four suggested media sites suggested in this section. It was interesting to compare them and realize how different they are. A question that came to my mind was about the characteristics of the users of each site, but I was unable to locate any information about this. I can see various possibilities for how these sites can be used. First, to observe public opinion and be aware of people's interests. Second, if I were interested in a particular topic and how people responded to it, I could look for that information or even include an RSS feed to keep up with information posted. Third, I could put information on one of these sites and see what response occurs from other users of the site. It might give me feedback of the level of interest in the topic. I think one of the greatest draws of these sites is that they do not have editors deciding what news/information is important. Readers have the "power" to influence what is read through their posting, participation and voting.

Is participating in social media sites productivity enhancing or productivity detracting? To me, the answer is, it depends on how you use them. I can see where they could take up a lot of time; however, I think if you have a particular goal or interest, they could enhance productivity and provide input to you that you would not otherwise have. I like the ability to read an article and share it. An article you read in a hardcopy newspaper that you want to share takes more copying and sending time than emailing or posting.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Stick#11 - Tagging and

I have created my account in and tried it out. I could see using this site to save my own research and share with others. I will try it out some more with a real situation and look for sites that are already tagged by others. I think the biggest challenge to me would be the consistency of tags. I already know I can't be consistent by the fact that I have found duplicate manila file folders in my office more than once. Then, other people would tag differently. I like the fact that you can see a list of popular tags and see your own list. I think that will help.

Stick#10 - Wikis

Here is the link to a Wiki I created in It is open to everyone. The focus of the wiki is reflected in the name of the link. The wiki is just a place to brainstorm all the different ways wikis could be used for personal, family, friends and workplace use.

Creating a wiki helps you understand just how easy it is and what some of the options are. I can see how developing a wiki in my workplace and opening it to the staff in my work group could be VERY useful. We work together frequently and our tasks over lap a lot. Being able to link documents and pictures would be a help too. I am going to develop a wiki for my class project. I think the biggest barrier will be getting everyone to participate.

Stick#9 - Collaboration Online

The idea of sharing on line is good, but the process has been somewhat confusing. Creation of documents in Zoho is easy, and making the document public worked fine. The question is about linking the document to my blog. I believe I finally have it. I'm sure this is all due to the newness of the software, and if I do it a few times, I'll be an expert.

Can this type of collaboration be helpful to me personally or in my workplace? Perhaps, but it would really depend on the topic. So many things are person or confidential and not really for the world to see.