Friday, 2 December 2011

Goodbye and hello

Thank you for reading over the last 6 months. I'm now saying goodbye to this blog and starting afresh over at The Toast in the Machine. Please join me!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Thing 23: reflection (c)

Time to reflect on the programme as a whole and on what I want to do next, then.

I've never done a professional development programme entirely online before and this format (or rather I in relation to the format) had both strengths and weaknesses:

Strengths: could do it in my own time and at my own pace; highly interactive and hands-on; informal; participatory; plugged into my existing social networks.

Weaknesses: could (fail to) do it in my own time and at my own pace; isolated physically from other participants if not electronically; easy to 'cheat' and/or misunderstand instructions.

So while it was great to be introduced to new tools and techniques (and people), it was also easy to avoid engaging more deeply with Things that I didn't like the look of (eg. Thing 11, Thing 21). As I said in my very first post I am a lazy article sometimes, prone to short-cuts and half-measures. A flexible learning programme without deadlines or a trainer/leader breathing down my neck is brilliant for creativity, but does risk playing to that side of my personality...

What next?
I'm thrilled that I have found practical applications for many of the Things covered and will be continuing to use them (Evernote, Jing, wikis, Prezi). I also want to keep up some sort of regular reflective practice - I'm getting busier and busier at work so this is both more difficult and more important than ever. Blogging has been a good way to do this during cpd23, but I think I'll probably start afresh rather than continue here.

I'm not quite ready to do a Personal Development Plan yet, but I will report back if and when I come up with something. And when I have a new blog, possibly!

Photo by Jennerally on Flickr

Monday, 31 October 2011

Thing 23: reflection (b)

My cpd23 journey as a Wordle:

Wordle: CPD23 wordle

Apart from being slightly distressed by what the frequency of the word 'really' says about my prose style, I think it looks about right, and is a good aide-memoire to what was covered. Onwards to full-blown reflection shortly...

Thing 23: reflection (a)

It's taking me a while to get round to a proper evaluation of the CPD23 programme, partly because I've been really busy and partly because I want to do it justice.

In the meantime, I thought I would share my 'six word story' summing up my feelings about the programme. Which would be something like 'thinking, doing, lots of warm fuzzies'.

In slightly more words (25 to be precise) it was a nice combination of conceptual/psychological exploration and experimentation with practical tools, and there was a great feeling of support and sociability throughout.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Some updates

Before I complete the programme with a final(?) reflective post for Thing 23, here's a couple of updates on earlier Things:

1. Prezi (Thing 17)
Last week we gave our annual library induction presentation (to two groups of about 80 students each) and used our new Prezi for the first time. To be honest it was a bit of a struggle making it fit with our Cephalonian method of having questions thrown at us from the audience, but luckily we had an accomplished mouse-tamer on the team to navigate around the different circles of the presentation... I managed to watch some of it from the back when my part of the presentation was finished and although we did occasionally fall into the Prezi traps of a) having bits of one section visible when we were talking about another, and b) zooming around too much, overall it looked far nicer than our old Powerpoint and I think all the fiddle was worth it.

2. Wikis (Thing 13)
I've been itching to create a wiki and finally I went ahead and did it even though I wasn't sure whether anyone else was going to participate. It's a Wikispaces wiki for guidelines, tips, resources etc on maintaining the library's social media presence. At the moment this translates to 'that stuff Archel does on Twitter which nobody else gives two hoots about' but I'm hopeful that other people will eventually contribute and that if we do branch out into other social networks it will become genuinely useful. As a true child of Web 2.0 I like the nice clean format, the WISIWYG editing and the way it's let me liberate some of my notes/knowledge/links from a) my hard drive and b) my brain.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Thing 22: volunteering to get experience

My kneejerk reaction to this Thing is to post something along the lines of 'I can't afford to work for free, I have a family to support etc'. But when I thought about it a bit more I realised that I have been doing just that for many years, just not in a library context. Since I graduated in 1999 I have worked as an arts administrator for a local literature festival, set up a creative writing website, written features and reviews for poetry journals and arts blogs, proofread journal issues and sifted through slush piles, and of course written and performed poetry. All for free. I don't think of it as volunteering to get experience, though, so much as using my spare time to work on things that I love. And much as I love being a librarian, I've never loved it enough to take an unpaid position. Or maybe I've just been lucky enough not to need to.

My feeling is that it's better to take a low-paid position in a workplace or area that you're interested in and then put yourself forward for higher things than to work completely unpaid, but I've certainly encountered the 'lack of experience' Catch-22 in applying for professional positions and can see how volunteering could help break out of this. I think for myself I've just been unambitious/patient enough to hold out, but then I've been fortunate enough to have jobs that I really enjoyed even if they weren't advancing my career at any great pace.

Photo by CommunityFriend on Flickr

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Thing 21: promoting yourself in job applications/interviews

I thought Maria's post was excellent and useful, but I'm still bowing out of this Thing to some extent. I really really like my current job so I'm more interested in developing the role and myself within it than I am in looking for outside opportunities. I do believe that it's worthwhile to consider my interests and strengths, and to reflect on my skills and experience, even at times when I'm not in the job market. But I was almost made redundant two years ago and I'm still a bit traumatised from the experience, which means I can't bear to work on my CV or anything associated with job-hunting, interviews etc, to be honest. On the one hand, readiness is all. On the other hand, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Photo by marcmo on Flickr