Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Best Free Reference Websites of 2011


The American Library Association produces an annual list of 25 noteworthy and open access sources of information (obviously with an American-centric bias).  These four sites stood out as being particularly useful to schools:

1.  Worldometers for statistics, geography, citizenship, sociology, general studies, PSHE and economics.

2.  Photography in 10 lessons  for 16+ photography

3.  Current value of old money  especially
Cost of living during WWII  for history and english
Cost of living in Jane Austen's England for history and english

4.  Pros and cons of controversial issues (currently 42 issues covered) for critical thinking, citizenship, PSHE

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Plugged, unplugged

Image by SocialGrow

The two current online learning courses that I'm participating in are becoming mutually beneficial.
Thing 6 of 23 Things for CPD is online networks.  Week 3 of EduMooc 2011 is Online Learning Technologies.   Some overlap here, although from very different angles, so I've been researching and giving quite a bit of thought to online networks.

I've seen the latest statistics on the Social Media Revolution.  I've learnt that MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) encourage Bethany Bovard to run amok.  I now know 7 Ways to Get More Out of LinkedIn, including using status updates and getting recommendations.  For the LinkedIn neophyte I found Viveka von Rosen's 12 Most Useful Tips I've Found to Use LinkedIn Effectively.  I've listened to leading gurus in networking and relationships at the Global Networking Council.  In a similar vein to Helen's post I know which  Winnie the Pooh character I'm most like and just to stop that inflated sense of ego, that all this networking might engender, I discovered that Some Grey Bloke believes Twitter to be an insignificance awareness engine!

Here, in no particular order, are my experiences with some of the networks:

Facebook-not really a contender for me as the school where I work advises against using it.

LinkedIn - joined sometime ago and this " thing" did make me feel guilty enough to  revisit, which I am grateful for.  Can see its value for job hunting.  Also think the groups are good for professional discussions BUT I need to put more effort in.  Must try harder!

LIS New Professionals Network -  joined sometime ago and this " thing" did make me feel guilty enough to  revisit!! Was rather embarrassed to see that I had a new friend request from January (SO sorry Lisa)  I'm dropping out of this one.

Google+ - just getting started.  If she works hard she should get some good results.

School Librarian Network Yahoo Group - this has been invaluable to me for encouragement, inspiration and practical ideas.

I think the potential of online networks is huge.  It's still a learning curve for me which means that I will try some things and move on to others.  More and more I'm appreciating the way that online negates the barriers of time and space and choosing it as my preferred way of learning.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Thing 5 - Who's counting?

It can be hard to stay motivated when you meet with barriers.  This weblog by Seth Godin  "Which of the four are getting in the way" has recently informed my reflective working practices.  The idea of work as play is one I am trying to live up to!   I don't think that you can be an effective reflective practitioner without time.  One strategy that I find useful is The Double D2 Strategy  which advocates splitting your time between development, diversification, discovery and divestment.  The most important, and the hardest to achieve, being the divestment part or the stopping of the things which don't add enough value in order to make space for new things.  I believe that perspective comes with distance, I love the Google 20% rule and Stefan Sagmeisters' one year in seven sabbaticals.
To all term time school librarians out there have a great summer holiday!

Monday, 11 July 2011

I'm with Grace - killing Twitter is my only real chance of leaving.

Image by wonderferret

In my opinion Twitter is by far the most useful of the three tools.  Been using it for about a year and find it fast, easy to use and just a little bit addictive!  So easy to follow and unfollow, so quick to find new, inspiring people.  Great for archiving things to return to and check out later.   Not that I'm an expert and I certainly have more to learn, especially about the terminology of twitchforks and twestivals.

I did try Google Reader but I just didn't open it very often and when I did somehow the information had found me some other way.  Robert Scoble back in October 2009 gave several reasons why he wasn't using Google Reader anymore.  For me it's about productivity,  twitter allows me to stay current more quickly and more easily.  And because it's all about time Pushnote is just one more tool that I won't be adopting - unless at some point it begins to solve a real need.

Oh well, time to get back to Grace's new book!