CPD 23 Thing 18: Jing / Screen capture / podcasts (making them and following them)

Screen Capture

I’ve used Camtasia and Adobe Captivate in the past for creating screen captures for instructional videos for the library.  I’ve been on a course with JISC on using these tools, which was really informative, but I’ve never had enough time to dedicate to really getting to grips with the software and using it to it’s full advantage.

I’ve never used Jing before but it looks interesting.  Only having 5 minutes to record might be a bit of an issue, but from experience I’ve found that students appreciate videos to be short and to the point.

Podcasting

I am not keen on the sound of my own voice so I won’t be creating any podcasts for the library out of choice!  As a student, I’ve appreciated it when lectures are recorded and made available as podcasts.  Both the University of Oxford and the University of Sheffield had this facility, although at Sheffield it’s only available to current students through the VLE.  My colleagues at work have used Audacity in the past and recommend it, so I’m sure I will be expected to get to grips with it soon.

CPD 23 Thing 17: The Medium is the Message – Prezi and Slideshare

Prezi

I’ve used Prezi before for a library induction, and looking back I would say I got carried away with the ability to whizz around and zoom in and out.  I felt like I had motion sickness by the time I’d finished creating it!  I also found that the pictures I had been given to use were not of a high quality and this really impacted on the quality of the finished prezi.

It is on my list of things to do, to have another go and create an overview of the LRC and the services we offer to go on Moodle.  It will give me the opportunity to try out the tips for using Zamzar for file conversion.  It seems like Picnik, which was recommended for editing and adapting images, is no longer in existence and has been amalgamated into Google+ (another Thing to investigate I suppose!).

Slideshare

I’ve found Slideshare really useful for catching up with presentations that have taken place at events that I haven’t been able to attend.  It can be a bit strange to look at the presentation without the context of the person delivering the presentation, but it’s often better than nothing.

Slideshare often doesn’t work on the computers at work, which is frustrating, and I can’t work out what the problem is.  (The recommended example to look doesn’t work despite trying different browsers and computers.)

I’ve never used it as a space for storing my own work, so this is something to consider further.

CPD 23 Thing 16: Advocacy, speaking up for the profession and getting published

For this Thing, I spent some time looking at the CILIP Advocacy webpages for my area of work; CILIP: Further education library and information resources.  The documents on there are links to resources to demonstrate the value and impact of libraries in the further education sector, mainly drawing on research from the United Kingdom and America.  There’s lots of potentially useful information here, but it’s not presented in the most inspiring or exciting way.  Maybe I should attempt to use one of the tools I’ve been learning about to try and make the information more visually appealing.

Getting published is not something that is very high on my list of priorities.  If I had something exciting to share I would consider writing an article for publication, but for the moment, keeping going with the blog is enough for me.

CPD 23 Thing 15: Attending, presenting at and organising seminars, conferences and other events

I love attending events.  It’s fun to meet new people and to have some time away from the day to day issues.  I usually find myself coming away from events feeling energised and inspired.

My current employer is very supportive of staff development and attending training events but I have found that geography, cost and convenience can play a part in dictating what events I have been able to attend.  We are so busy in September with inductions, for example, that there would be no way that I would be able to take time out of work to attend a conference.

I have never presented at or organised a conference and both these things seem quite daunting.  I attended a Library Camp in Leeds this year and I think this would be a good starting point for gaining experience in presenting your ideas to your contemporaries.

CPD 23 Thing 14: Zotero / Mendeley / CiteULike

I completed my masters dissertation in 2010 and I did all my referencing without using a program to help me.  I know lots of my fellow students wouldn’t have even contemplated it, but for me it wasn’t a big deal as long as I was organised and methodical.  Checking my references was one of those tasks I could do that didn’t take up too many brain cells, but still allowed me to feel I was working hard on my dissertation. 

I currently work in an FE college, so the students I work with need to know about referencing, but they will only be using a handful of sources for each assignment.  Programs like Zotero and Endnote seem to come into their own when dealing with large volumes of references, but this isn’t an issue for our students. 

I do work with Access to HE students and foundation degree students, and have had queries from students in past years who have used the referencing tools in Microsoft Word or online reference builders to help with their referencing.  (The website my students recommended to me was Neil’s Toolbox.)  I’ve spent lots of time with them talking them through the pitfalls and advantages of these options.  I think  the approach you take to referencing is very much a personal decision, but for me these types of tools didn’t seem to save me enough time and effort as I was still needing to make amendments to them to fit the referencing style I was being asked to use.

Mendeley

I picked Mendeley as the referencing tool to play around with this week.  It was easy to set up and I found it intuitive to use.  The instruction video for ‘Importing Documents’ was helpful.  I also like the ‘Import to Mendeley’ feature for your toolbar which you can use to reference web pages easily. 

I had issues with integrating with Microsoft Word – the video instructions were misleading, but I got there in the end by retracing my steps and following the on-screen instructions, which were considerably different.  A bit frustrating, but I only have myself to blame for not reading the instructions properly the first time!

I have a few concerns with Mendeley that make me question how much I would use it and if I would recommend it to students.  The main issue is that the ‘style’ of Harvard referencing doesn’t match what I would need for our college students, for example the year of publication is not put in brackets.  My other complaint is that while Mendeley seems to work very effectively with PDFs and websites, it’s not great for books, which I find disappointing.  You can use the option ‘Add Entry Manually’ and there is a format for books, but it asks for more information than is required for referencing a book in the Harvard style, so I think FE students might find it confusing.  It also uses different terminology, for example ‘city’ instead of ‘place of publication’.  It has lots of fields to fill in for keywords, tags, URLs, DOIs.  I would prefer for the template to be simple and straightforward.

I’m glad I’ve had a try with an online referencing tool and it’s been interesting to read about how they are used in other library sectors.  If I was back in HE or NHS library settings I’m sure I would be much more enthusiastic about these tools.

CPD 23 Thing 13: Google Docs, Wikis and Dropbox

I found online collaboration really useful when I was studying for my MA.  I was studying part-time and travelling long distances to university and there was a lot of group work involved in the course, which was a bit of a nightmare for me.  Luckily my fellow students were understanding and one of the solutions to overcome the issue of distance was online collaborative tools.  I believe we used a tool called Pirate Pad.  I don’t know much about it, but it worked well for us and allowed us to communicate and simultaneously work on a presentation.

I would use similar tools in the future, and would be happy to give Google Docs a try, but at the moment it’s not something I need. 

I’ve used wikis at a previous place of work and found them really useful for sharing knowledge. It was great to have one place to go to when you need clarification or information. In an organisation where you need to share information I think having a wiki is a great idea, especially when working in a large team.

I haven’t set up a Dropbox account.  At the moment, I would only be using it to store my own documents, and I’m living in hope that I can master Evernote.  I do know an FE tutor who uses Dropbox as a tool to help students share their assignments and receive feedback on their work, so it could have potential for use in my sector.

CPD 23 Thing 12: Putting the social into social media

I’m still getting to grips with using social media for work-related purposes.  I’m very aware, for example, that I still need a picture and a profile on Twitter.  After an inital flurry of positive feeling towards Twitter, I’m finding I don’t use it that often and checking my feed is starting to seem like a bit of a chore.  I’ve resolved to try and tidy up my account, so I am only seeing tweets that I am actually interested in, but the feeling of information overload is pressing upon me heavily (hindered no doubt by my desire not to miss out on anything !).

While I like the idea of using social media to communicate with people around the world, in reality I would say that I only seem use social media to get in touch with people I have actually met.  I do enjoy reading a variety of blog posts and finding out what people are doing, and have done for some time.  Before starting this process I would never have thought to comment on any blogs that I read.  Now I have my own blog I can see that it’s a nice way of communicating with people who share your interests, and I’ve made more of an effort to post comments where I feel I have something to add.

CPD 23 Thing 11: Mentoring

I don’t currently have a library mentor and I’m not sure who I would approach to mentor me if I decided to seek out a mentor as suggested. 

I work with people who I admire and who have talents and qualities I aspire to develop in myself, but they are not librarians.  Most of the librarians I know are at a similar point to me in their careers in terms of experience and expertise. While this might mean that I don’t have an obvious opportunity to develop a relationship with a mentor, I do feel I have a range of people I can turn to, who are skilled in different areas, when I need help or ideas.

CPD 23 Thing 10: Graduate traineeships, Masters Degrees, Chartership, Accreditation

I’ve already completed a graduate traineeship and a Masters degree, both of which were interesting experiences with their ups and downs.  In many ways, I came to view both experiences as a means to an end.

I’m at a point where I’m starting to think about what to tackle next.  I’ve being considering Chartership for a while, but it’s not really necessary for the role I’m in currently and I’m unsure about my relationship with CILIP at the moment, so Chartership is likely to stay on the back burner for a while yet.  I think the next step is likely to be a teaching qualification, as this is something that my organisation is keen for me to have.  I’m in touch with the Staff Development team, looking at the different options (PGCE or CTLLS at the moment), the costs and timings.  It does feel like a slight detour from what I’ve been working on so far in terms of professional development, but I’m approaching it with an open mind.

CPD 23 Thing 9: Evernote

I was very pleased with myself for catching up with CPD23 and then along came Evernote, and I’ve been delayed again!

I really want to like Evernote and I want to make it work for me.  The idea that I can theoretically access information from work and home as well as on my mobile phone sounds fantastic.  Unfortunately, I just haven’t been able to get Evernote to work properly.

I was surprised to find I was able to download Evernote onto my PC at work (which I thought would be an issue because I don’t have admin rights!).  So, far so good.  When I came to download it at home I’ve had nothing but problems and I can only get it to run in Firefox, not through Internet Explorer.  Okay, I thought, I can work around that.  So I happily tried out adding some notes at home.  I come into work and I can’t see the notes I made at home.  If I use the web version to make a note I can see it when I log-in on my desktop, but if I use my desktop version, it doesn’t appear on the web version when I log-in!

On my work PC I can use the Evernote button to save emails, for example, but this will not work with websites and the web clipper tool won’t work.

I’ve downloaded the app for my mobile phone and that seems to be working syncing successfully for viewing items, but that’s about it!

I haven’t even got near to the feature that sparked my interest, which was the ability to save comments on web pages!

So, in order to move on with CPD23 (and with my life!) I’m giving up with Evernote for the time being.  I’m really disappointed, as it seems from reading other people’s blog entries for this ‘Thing’ Evernote has the potential to be a really useful tool.