Sunday, 29 November 2015

Making it all work together

After reading the final blog post on making it all work together I have looked back at the various social media platforms I have used as part of this course and reflected on how easy I found them to use, which ones I've embraced and use regularly, and which ones I need to explore further as they would be valuable tools to use at work. I'm a massive Twitter user but unfortunately I did not fall in love with Facebook, Linkedin, Google+ and Instagram.

I have created a Hootsuite account and had a little play with it, but if I am using it just for Twitter then I can't see any advantage of using it in preference to Tweetdeck which I already use to manage my home and work Twitter accounts. With Tweetdeck I can schedule tweets, keep an eye on my mentions and follow various hashtags.

Although I can't see a use for some of these social media management tools right now, it is definitely worth knowing about them as in the future I may decide to expand the platforms I use for work.

I've also had a look at Google Alerts. As a trial I've set up an alert for articles about YA books from the UK. Scanning the top results shows many articles I've already read recently and a few articles I haven't seen before. Slightly worryingly, one the results that was fairly high up was a very old article about the launch of the YA book prize (Dec14). I had hoped the content would be a bit more recent than that.

To keep up to date with some of the blogs I follow I use the Bloglovin' app on my tablet. It is incredibly easy to use and I like it very much.

That brings me to the end of Rudai23!

The whole course has been really beneficial to me. It has introduced me to many new social media tools, it has made me reflect and think about CPD on a regular basis, I have learnt new skills, and it has helped me make a positive entry back into the library world after my career break. Many thanks to the team behind the course for providing support and motivation.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

The legal side of things

Reading the blog post about copyright has made me remember how complicated the whole business is! I recall the basics of copyright from my Library School days and the term 'fair use' is familiar to me. However, a lot has changed in the digital world whilst I was on my career break and it is clear that this is a subject that I really need to brush up on now that I am back working in libraries.

I haven't yet used any pictures in my blog until now so copyright issues regarding images haven't really applied. If I'm completely honest, this is the reason I've avoided including any images - I'm aware my copyright knowledge is not adequate, and rather than get it wrong, I've avoided doing it full stop. But here are the images for this post as requested:

Heimdal Glacier by NASA Licensed by CC BY 2.0

Public domain image from publicdomainpictures.net


Regarding the content I have created for the course, I obviously hold copyright for it but the issue is how to enforce it if someone was to reproduce it without my permission.

I'm really struggling to complete this task because I feel that without doing hours of research to make sure I've good a grasp copyright issues I don't have the knowledge to really complete the task effectively. Thank you Rudai23 for bringing something important to my attention that I really need to work on. I can see many future hours of CPD.....

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Creating Info-Graphics

I've had a go at creating an Info-graphic using easel.ly as an alternative way of presenting end of year library usage statistics. For the purpose of this exercise I've completely made up my data, and limited what statistics are included, but it is something I am considering doing for real at the end of the academic year.

The benefit of this type of presentation of data is that it is quick and easy to look at and digest. At school, senior management are so short of time that another long wordy text document with lots of tables and analysis is not appealing to read. I think they would pay more attention to an Info-graphic.

I admit to struggling a little with this task. I am not very artistic so I found it tricky to make it look good. I was grateful to have a template to use -it was much easier than starting from scratch. To do it properly and make it look good would be incredibly time consuming (for me): it would be much quicker to actually type something and present it in the traditional way. However, due to what I have said above about the intended audience I think it is worth persisting with. Again, it is one of those things that probably gets easier the more practice you have.

Info-graphics are already used at school. There are several education related ones displayed in the staffroom. I have also seen numerous ones on-line about the value of reading for pleasure and the popularity of particular books that I could certainly use in my library at school.


Sunday, 22 November 2015

Presentations

I do not have a great deal of experience giving presentations. In fact this lack of experience makes the whole thing seem rather daunting! However, I am aware that it is a skill needed in the workplace and as with all of things on this course, I am determined to give it my best shot and learn from the process!

In this situation it is not the technology that is the problem but the actual standing up in front of a roomful of people and speaking. Speaking coherently and making sense that is! I often find that the words in my head don't come out of my mouth as planned which causes me to sound hesitant and unsure. I suppose that is this purpose of presentation tools, to act as a visual prompt and give structure to your presentation. Also, I've been told the only way to improve is to do it and keep on doing it. You will gain confidence the more you practice.

I have used PowerPoint before so I wanted to try something different this time. I thought it was a good idea to try Google Slides as it is something that can be used collaboratively and it should be easily integrated into Blogger.

At school we are trying to put together a shadowing group for the Berkshire Book Award so I've decided to request to speak to the students in assembly to try and get some interest.

It will be a very brief presentation but I want to tell them a little bit about the award, introduce this year's shortlisted titles*, tell them what other activities related to the award they can be involved in and to encourage those who may be interested to join the shadowing group.

Here is the presentation on Google Slides




Wish me luck!

* The shortlist is not announced until 30th November so I've had to refer to the books as Book A, B etc for now.


Friday, 20 November 2015

Mobile Things

I have an Android phone and tablet that I use at home and on the move and I'm fairly proficient at using a wide range of apps. I've used both devices for parts of this course. At work I am slowly getting used to the iPad I've been issued with so it seemed an ideal opportunity to use it for this task. I downloaded Gum and it appeared to be simple to use. I didn't have Fault in Our Stars or Game of Thrones to test it on but scanned many of the most popular books in our library but none of them had any reviews attached. I guess it is a very new app and people haven't really starting using it yet.When I tried to stick a review of my own nothing happened. Therefore it was really difficult to properly evaluate the app.

If you want an app to scan books with and leave reviews then I would recommend Good Reads. I've been using this for a number of years and would encourage my students to use it to keep track of their reading. It has a massive user base and gives you access to a wealth of information.You can use it as a wish list for books you want to read, you can look at user reviews to help decide if you want to read a book, you can use it to join book discussions, you can connect with friends and readers with similar tastes and you can use it as a database to keep track of what you have read. It is pretty much a social network for book lovers and can be linked to other social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Communicating through photographs

I had heard of both Flickr and Instagram before looking at this task but I selected to try Instragram for a couple of reasons. Firstly I was put off by having to register my phone details with Flickr in order to access it and secondly I believe Instagram is more appealing to a younger market and working in a school library I need to be using social media platforms that my users are more likely to engage with.

After downloading the app to my phone and looking for some library and book related people to follow it quickly became apparent that this is a young platform. I know it is fast growing but it seems like the user base is not that large yet. Either that or it just hasn't been adopted by many in the library/book world.  For example the British Library has only posted 95 times and has a mere 8448 followers whereas they have 1.1 million followers on Twitter.

Which brings me on to my next point.... I'm struggling to see between the use of Twitter and Pinterest what exactly Instagram offers that will add value. Pinterest is brilliant for the visual side of things and easier to use than Instagram. Twitter is invaluable for making professional contacts and conversation. With the ability to post photos on Twitter and the fact that there are infinitely more users to engage with I think these are my preferred platforms.

I also find a combination of words AND pictures to be more appealing. You can quickly assess whether it is something you are interested in. With the Instagram app you have just an image to click on. You pretty much don't know what you're going to get. For example a picture of a book jacket could be a book review, a competition to win the book, someone just saying they have bought the book, someone confirming the release date of the book, an announcement that the book has won an award. That is an awful lot of speculative clicking on lots of images to actually find out anything.

So despite starting this task quite optimistically, I have found that I am unlikely to be one of the school libraries setting the trend for using Instagram.

Perhaps I should have tried Flickr after all.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Reflection

For this reflection I am going to re-write my blog post on podcasts. The reason is that when I wrote the original post I was on a bit of a high from doing the recording and ended up writing a bit of a comedy post. Whilst it captured perfectly the mood of the evening spent doing the task, it probably wasn't great from a reflective point of view! So, take two....

For this task I created a podcast of a review for a book I recently read and enjoyed. It was tempting just to listen and comment on some other podcasts rather than create my own but I was determined to get the most out of doing this course by getting some direct experience of the technology involved.

I debated whether to record using my phone but my husband was keen to show me how to use his recording equipment to create a more professional sound. I felt more confident approaching the task knowing I had an expert to assist me.

I only needed a couple of takes and it was a relatively short review so the recording was completed quickly.

To my ear, the original didn't sound too bad but my husband demonstrated how Audacity could be used to enhance it. Whilst I agree that the end result did sound marginally better I felt that my husband rather took over this part of the proceedings and I can honestly say that if I was to repeat the task by myself I'm not sure I would remember how to use the software. This experience has made me realise that whilst it was good to have an expert by my side in order to boost confidence, it would have been better for him to slow down and take a back seat and let me really benefit from experimenting with the software myself.

If I was to repeat the task I think I would try to do the recording on my phone and use the Soundcloud app as suggested in the Rudai23 blogpost. It would be interesting to see the difference in sound quality compared to my initial attempt. Also, the reality is that if I was doing a podcast for something work related, I would be doing it at work without my husband there to assist! Therefore it's essential that I am able to do it completely independently rather than over-rely on his expertise.