1. Blogging & Registering | 23 Mobile Things

23 Mobile Things by the Minnesota Multitype Multicounty Library Systems

23 Mobile Things by the Minnesota Multitype Multicounty Library Systems

1. Blogging & Registering.

I am deeply appreciative to the Minnesota Multitype Multicounty Library Systems for facilitating this shared learning experience for librarians across the State. The shift in technology from desktop to mobile computing is permeating a larger portion of our communities and this is a very timely opportunity to get a better grasp of specific applications and a general knowledge of this important trend.

While I have some experience with applications I use on a personal basis, I want to learn more about mobile tools that can be used professionally.

As a side note, the blog I chose to use is on WordPress, which is on the same platform as the 23 Moblie Things website. It was a pleasant surprise to learn that the “Press This” button on the bottom of each post allows me to quickly post each of the Things on my own blog.

What better way to learn than with a bunch of librarians and kindred spirits!

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Stanford Computer Science Class for Free Professional Development

NPR featured the consortium of top Universities that are partnering to provide some of their courses for free to anyone who wants to take them. The start-up is called Coursera and it features a wide range of courses from the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences from Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan, Princeton University.

This struck me as a great opportunity for some professional development. I’ve wanted to devote some time to learning more about computer programming and to beef up my knowledge of the foundational principles of my IT colleagues as well. The Computer Science 101 course from Stanford beginning April 23 looked like a good bet.

I signed on to Coursera and completed the first week’s lectures and assignments and was impressed. The lecture video and corresponding documents were well laid out and included quizzes and exercises within to engage and test what students’ retained. I learned some basic coding and also developed a better understanding of the nuts and bolts of digital images; giving me a glimpse of how the underlying code of software like Adobe Photoshop would work.

Computer Science 101 Stanford University

I would recommend this course, Computer Science 101 by Nick Parlante to any librarian who is interested in developing their understanding of computers and how they work. If you want to be a digital librarian or become a better one, I encourage you to join me on this journey in the class itself or at the blog where I am documenting what I’ve learned – librariancs101.wordpress.com.

Learning 2.0 Outside of Libraries?

Michael Stephens posted part of a proposal to measure the effect of Learning 2.0 in Libraries and I wish him the best of luck.  Since the program began with Helene Blowers in 2006 it has been adopted by close to 1000 organizations worldwide proving that it is clearly a success in the library world. Why should we stop there?

Libraries are not the only groups that are struggling to understand the effect of Web 2.0.  The structure of Learning 2.0 provides the space for people to learn at their own pace and join a community of learners.  Why not open this opportunity to a larger community?  Librarians could lead the way in educating their communities about these tools.  For academic libraries, workshops centered around Learning 2.0 could be a valuable service for faculty or students.  Public libraries could extend this to the general public or specific communities like small businesses.

Has any library used Learning 2.0 as an outreach tool?  I would love to know.

Thing 27: Twitter

Twitter

Twitter

This is my most recent Tweet:

Bah! Still working on twitter entry on 23 things. I’m hopeful that I will get it done tonight.

Even though I’ve had a Twitter account for a while I haven’t done much with it, which was exceedingly clear when I read all the things that can be done with it.  Using the Twitter Search service and the @[enter person’s ID here] was a great tip.  I even found a tweet directed at me from a friend that I had missed a month ago.

There are so many services that build on Twitter’s platform to provide rich functionality.  I didn’t use Twitter much until I began to use the social bookmarking site called Diigo.  It is like Delicious but has added features including a box that you can click which will send the item you’ve bookmarked to your Twitter account too.  Very cool.

I use Twitter as another holding space for cool links I find.  Libraries can use it this way too.  It is also really useful as an outreach device for new services, events and featured items. Llibraries could also collect other relevant Twitter accounts for their users.  I found that the Minneapolis/St Paul Business Journal has a Twitter account to send out news updates which could be very useful to Business professors and students.

Thing 26: Joining Ning

Ning logo

Ning logo

I didn’t do the first round so this is my first time using Ning. I have seen it used by others before but never joined one until now.

It is a great tool if a large community is using it for communication and collaboration. If the group is too small then it loses its usefulness but for larger groups, like this cohort of 23 Thingers, the 23 Things Ning, is a great resource.

I could envision using this for our College as a faculty-library community to support liaison activities. People can communicate and share resources from anywhere. I like the flexibility to share photos, videos, and form discussion groups based on any member’s interest.

Thing 25: Blogger's Toolkit

This step was worth it for the link to 20 Usability Tips for Your Blog alone.  I would have left the Archives widget in because it came with the theme I chose as a default but this post helped me to think that topics are much more important than date in a blog like this.  It saved me from wasting valuable space.

Feedburner was another one of the 20 tips I acted on because I have seen the bloggers that I read use it and I wondered what  benefits it provided.  I learned that it is really helpful to track your subscriptions and also helps you to more easily distribute your content. I don’t expect this blog to have a large readership but I do want to experiment with this tool.

One of the reasons that I chose WordPress as a blog platform was because it already has SnapShots embedded.  It saves your users time because they can preview a link before they commit to loading the full page.

The photo and audio features are also useful.  I have used many of the photo items before but I hadn’t used PicApp. Since I am in Minnesota, I found a hockey image to get into the spirit.

The audio tools would be nice but my webcam went on the fritz and I have no way of recording my voice.  Alas.

Thing 24: Refreshing Blog

It is a pleasure to begin this new learning journey.  Earlier entries reveal my minimal efforts to follow a previous 23 things program and I am glad to enter this one with a new resolve.

My last theme was one I really liked so it was hard to switch.  After wrestling with my inertia, I decided to take this as an opportunity for a fresh start. The new theme has a crisper look and allowed me to add a custom banner.  I wanted to keep the two column look becuase it is both simple and appealing.

I had never taken the time to create an avatar and it was fun to play with Image Chef.  Ultimately, I decided to upload a head shot and smile out to my readers.

Kent's head

Kent's head

I look forward to learning with you all.