“Ten days of Twitter” – online programme

Ten Days of Twitter is part of an online CPD programme Digital Things for Learning Developers by Helen Webster, an Academic and Learning Developer and colleagues at Cambridge University. It started yesterday and aims to get those who have not yet used Twitter extensively in their work set up and confident in using it professionally. It start at the beginning with setting up an account. I think that this is a great idea and will have much that we can all learn about using Twitter effectively to communicate with our users as well building a professional network.

There is a useful presentation on How not to Tweet for Library and information services from the Library Marketing Toolkit on the Day 2 blog post.

I recommend registering and taking part if you are new to Twitter or have yet to be convinced. You can follow the programme blog and Twitter feed #LD10DoT and as the LD5D team say “Learn to use Twitter from scratch, build up your network and join in the conversation in 10 days!”

Keeping up to date without Google Reader

Jane and I ran our Keeping up to date workshop for acdemic staff a couple of weeks ago and were exploring vaious tools to fill the gap Google Reader will leave. We surveyed library and CLT staff beforehand to get a picture of tools being used. We tried out several, all of which are offering easy ways to import Google Reader feeds.

The class went well with lots of discussion. None of the attendees had set up feeds so were able to try out those that suited their piurpose and access route (PC/tablet/smartphone). Netvibes for those on PCs and Feedly for tablets were used as starting points. The session was very lively with staff evaluating the tools as they set them. Bringing their own devices enhanced the workshop as it enabled evaluation of the tools and whether fit for purpose and device of choice.
Search alerts and search feeds from resources such as Summon, Business Source Complete, IBSS, Scopus etc. are not possible to set up from all of the  services  – we found The Old Reader and Netvibes best for these.

I am finding that I am using more than one feed reader currently depending on the content that I am keeping up with – Flipboard and Feedly on my tablet but The Old Reader on PC particularly for database search alerts. I have yet to see if one takes over and becomes the norm. The latest slides and workbook are in the Moodle Digital Literacy programme.

Popular tools were:
Feedly - requires a browser plug in, easy to transfer feeds from Google Reader; app for Android or iPad/iPhone user friendly; web version also good for organising and viewing feeds. It is possible to add content  through the app version as well as on the web version.
Netvibes – this was tried by a few including myself. Enables a choice fo display formats for feeds. It is easy to add new feeds and also pre-formatted feeds or widgets e.g. newspapers, news sites. You can have anumber of tabs which work like the folders in Google Reader. There is no app but it views well on an iPad.
The Old Reader - I had read about this one but only tried it on the day of the wrokshop but I actually find this one very comfortable probably because I think that it is the most like Google Reader to manage. There is no app for tablets or mobiles.
Flipboard - I and several others are using this. I have been using it on an iPad. It is very visual and like a magazine. Feeds from Google Reader can be imported as can Twitter and any other blog or news site. Images of websitess or videos mentioned on Twitter etc. are displayed. It is easy to share and tweet any items of interest to others.
Zite – looks to have a good looking app. “It looks at your various social media profiles and presents a magazine style layout (like Flipboard) that consists of interesting articles that aren’t necessarily in your twitter/Google reader feeds. It learns quickly.”
Newsblur – I used this for a few weeks on both PC and tablet. It works for feeds of all types including databases search feeds. I prefer the interfaces of The Old Reader, Feedly and Flipboard.
Twitter – some are using Twitter as the main tool for keeping up to date, however others prefer feed readers to enable them to read in their own time rather than having to constantly monitor Twitter to spot items.
Google Alerts – some are using these extensively to see mentions of certain terms – I have one for “information literacy” which brings to attention items not necessariy picked up through other feeds.
If you write blogs using Blogger and WordPress then you can subscribe / follow other blogs using the ‘Blogs I follow’ features.
Tools not tried – Google Currents, Google + communities, YouTube subscriptions, Reddit (video about what it is), Firefox plugins Brief and Bamboo.

Thanks to everyone who sent their comments to us. There is definitely scope for sharing of practice and tips amongst us.

Finding alternatives to Google Reader

Well last week just before I was due to run the Keeping up to date workshop, I learnt that Google aims to shut down Google Reader in July. Only the day before, Jane and I had been discusssing how useful Google Reader was to us with the MY592 class.

I have not explored too many alternatives but have been looking more closely at Netvibes (I have had an account for years but not used it). When using the iPod or iPad, I have rather liked Flipboard too. There have been many tweets about possible alternatives to Google Reader – Netvibes and Feedly featured a lot – and I am sure more will circulate before July.

Phil Bradley has put together quite a list and the Lifehacker blog has highlighted their own top five and this  was circulating widely last week. As with any tool, it does depend what you want to use it for and what device you are using. Several that are designed for smartphones and tablets rather than PCs.

I would be interested in hearing any that you have used or are exploring. I do think that we need to feature more alternatives and their pros and cons in our workshops.

LSE NetworkED: Value and practice of social networks and social media in education

Two weeks ago I attended the latest LSE NetworkEd seminar given by Ellen Helsper of the LSE Media and Communications department. The recording is now available and I do recommend the stimulating and thought provoking seminar.

Ellen drew on research from the EU Kids Online project as well as talking of her own experiences of usng social media in teaching. Research examined “how different generations learn using new media, what we can learn from young people’s use of and capabilities in using social media and what we know about the adults that are educating these young people and the importance of social networks (in the traditional sense) in creating a comfortable online learning environment.”

The final questions asked:

  • “Can education using social media be equal for all students?”
  • “In light of the fact that there are considerable issues in relation to invasion of privacy and resistance to spheres (social/personal/study) mingling, how can or how should social media be used as a teaching tool in this context?”

Resources referred to:

London reading group

A few London librarians have started a reading group (Jane’s idea) The London Libraries Learning Research Reading Group meets for an informal evening to discuss a reading on information/digital literacy, learning, teaching or research.

Readings so far:

Truth be told: how college students evaluate and use information in the digital age. Alison J. Head and Michael B. Eisenberg, Project Information Literacy Report, University of Washington Information School. November 2010

The role of academic libraries in promoting student engagement in learning. George D. Kuh and Robert M. Gonyea. College and Research Libraries Volume 64 Issue 4, 256 – 282, July 2003

Both are interesting and the 2003 article is still very relevant even though 10 years old – not sure if that is a good thing if it means that nothing has changed!

The reading group has been fun, interesting and thought provoking – it is a chance to exchange view and practice all over a glass of wine. Surprisingly a good way to unwind, but also focus on one thing and it does help to focus on what we all love about working in education.
We hope to meet again next month. Do join us if you can.

Writing for researchers

Jane drew my attention to a great set of resources on the Patter blog which we could use and refer to in our PhD support – MY592, in our Researchers’ Companion and on delicious.
See particularly the following:

We hold the book cited, Helping doctoral students write : pedagogies for supervision by Barbara Kamler and Pat Thomson.

Independent learning

The LSE Teaching blog provided by staff of the Teaching and Learning Centre has highlighted some interesting projects relating to development of students as independent learners. One is LSE’s own LSE GROUPS initiative for undergraduates. The Teaching International Students Project has been examing the issues for international students entering university. An LSE Teaching blog post, Independent learning: supporting students’ transition from school to higher education examines some of the challenges and needs of students.

The International Student Lifecycle Resources Bank is really useful guidance as to how institutions can help international students in their studies.  There are many ways that we can be contributing to the development of students as independent learners.

Finally the Taught Postgradaute Student Experience project in Scotland is exploring “what it means to be a Masters student”.

DH23Things for early career researchers

Some of you may have already seen this but Dr Helen Webster of Cambridge University has been running course aimed at early career researchers to develop their digital skills. It is based around the 23 Things model developed by the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County, USA and used by several libraries since for staff development.

The latest post on the blog DH23Things is on the hot topic of “The Researcher Online – making and sharing content online.”

DH23Things developed by Dr Helen Webster, Cambridge University

I recommend the blog and accompanying websites as these are all areas that we need to understand in our work with PhD, researchers and staff.

Making games for libraries event

Making Games for Libraries event!
London 13th May… booking is online via Eventbrite and open now!

The organiser, Andrew Walsh of the University of Huddersfield writes, “It will be a day of making games for libraries and for information literacy instruction. After running this event in Leeds, 100% of attendees (who filled in the feedback form!) rated it good or excellent, more feedback from the Leeds event plus lots of shared materials are available on the blog.
We will play one or two games to start the day, followed by a short talk on games and play to help give context for the day. The bulk of the day will then consist of group work – creating and prototyping games for use within your libraries.

If you wish to, one of the booking options also includes a class set (5 copies) of professionally printed copies of an information literacy game, SEEK! (http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/15377/), enough to play with a full class of 30 to 40 people.”

Sharing our info lit bookmarks for professional development

I have been experimenting with storing information literacy, research and learning support bookmarks using both Diigo and Delicious. I chose Diigo in order to try it out but have to say I am preferring Delicious as a user. Diigo does have highlighting and notes tools. Have a look and if you want to join in adding to the bookmarks then let me know.