Tech Talk Networking Begins December 17

As part of the NonProfit Capacity Building Program, Tech Talk networking will begin on December 17 at 10:30 am.  If you’d like to be a part of it and haven’t yet responded, reply to this post, or Tweet us @ShiaNPCB or @awolber

Personal learning: it’s a process by Andy Wolber

How do you manage what you see, save, search, and share?

You have a personal learning system. Read an article? Copy it. Hear something new at a workshop? Write it down. Need to know something? Google it. Want someone else to know? Share it online.


Your personal learning system includes all the tools you use to read, save, search, and share information.

Many people rely on an old technology to read and save information: paper. You might not think of paper as a technology, but it is. In China during the 2nd century BCE, people wrapped delicate objects with paper to prevent breakage — just as we do today. But by the 3rd century CE, writing on paper was common. It took around 500 years for people to adopt the behavior of writing things down.

Today, we use software to search and share in ways that paper can’t. Need to know something? These days, our first response might be to search or ask for help on a social network. Chances are good that useful resources already exist. Search tools and social networks help connect us to information — and more importantly — other people.

Plenty of tools handle these same tasks — reading, saving, searching, and sharing — for private information, as well. For example, a keyword search of your files might help you locate a document. Or an article might be shared privately with your colleagues, not posted publicly. In most cases, you choose whether to keep your information private or share it.

Mostly Digital Example

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Example of personal learning tools. Yours will be different. (That’s good.)

Here’s my personal learning system. I likely use a few more digital tools than some people, but this set works well for me. I follow more than 450 sites with Feedbin: when a new post appears at one of the sites I follow, it shows up in Feedbin. I follow about 1,000 people on Twitter, 150 people on Google+, and subscribe to 9 podcasts (audio shows), and 6 magazines. And I read the New York Times newspaper delivered to my driveway daily.

When I see something online that I want to read later, I save it with Instapaper. I bookmark websites I want to find again at Pinboard. I saves notes in either Evernote or Google Docs.

I search frequently to find items I’ve saved in Instapaper, Pinboard, Evernote or Google Apps. I also use Google’s advanced search options often. And I use the Chrome browser on all of my devices, so I can always search my browser history.

When I find something useful or interesting, I most often share it to Twitter or Google+. Every now and then I even email someone a link directly when I want to make certain they’ll see it.

TO DO  (before December 17, 2014)

Your system will look very different. You’re not me. Your history, job, and tool preferences will likely be different. That’s good. It will make our discussion of tools much more interesting!

Before we meet, I’d like you to identify the tools you use…

  • To see new information (read, watch, or hear),
  • To save information for later review or reference,
  • To search, and
  • To share with other people (publicly or privately).

It may help to think through a typical day. What do you read, watch or listen to? How do you learn what’s happening at work? How do you share that with your staff — or board members, volunteers, or friends? You might be surprised at the range of information sources and tools.

Put together your list, then bring it to the meeting ready to discuss with the group when we meet on December 17 at 10:30 am at the YMCA (515 W Main St, Owosso, MI 48867).

Be ready to discuss how the tools you use help you learn what you need to know or connect you to people that can help you.

Feel free to keep your list in digital form. No need to print anything. If you like, take a few minutes to illustrate your personal learning workflow. Share your workflow publicly wherever you’re active online, if you’re comfortable doing so.


Nonprofits, want to join a local tech conversation?

Through our Nonprofit Capacity Building Program, we seek to support nonprofit organizations active in Shiawassee County.  We offer workshops (beginning in 2015) to help nonprofit executive directors and board members in their important tasks (learn more here).

W-s24UNp_400x400Getting help with technology was a frequently mentioned need in surveys we conducted of both board members and executive directors of local nonprofits.  Over the summer, we started a conversation with our technology guru Andy Wolber (@awolber) about ways the Nonprofit Capacity Building Program might help people better understand and leverage technology for social benefit.

Andy suggested we bring together nonprofit staff and volunteers to learn and share about tech issues.  He recommended a series of six conversations about the following tech-related topics:

  • personal knowledge tools (tools to search, save, and share info)
  • contemporary collaboration tools (for private teams, and for public engagement)
  • choosing systems (discuss processes that work to choose hardware or software)
  • securing systems (again, discuss processes that work)
  • online engagement (what mix of tools works for your org: web, social media, email?)
  • infrastructure (laptops, tablets, internet connections, hardware, networks)

Andy will post ideas and resources prior to each session, then facilitate the conversation. Participants will the be expected to do just that: actively participate during and after each session. There may be a bit of “homework” he’ll ask you to complete. But it’ll be fun … or at least informative (he promises).

So far, we know that people from The Arc Shiawassee County (@ArcShiawassee), The Shiawassee YMCA (@ShiawasseeYMCA), Durand Union Station, and CAP Council plan to participate. We will meet at participating sites. The site host may share a bit about how people at their organization use tech.

If you want to learn and “talk tech” with your colleagues and Andy, please join the conversation!

Let us know you’re interested by either:

  • Commenting on this post (below) by selecting “Leave Reply”, or
  • Mentioning Andy (@awolber) or the Nonprofit Capacity Building Program (@ShiaNPCB) on Twitter.

Something like “I’d like to join the #nptech dialogue this fall with @ShiaNPCB” would work. Please post or Tweet by October 27. We will poll the group to select an initial meeting date and time.

We look forward to the conversations!

Bruce & Jackie Cook Scholarship Nominees

Thirty-two of Shiawassee County’s most academically accomplished high school seniors recently made a trip to Ann Arbor. All have been nominated for scholarships to the University of Michigan by the Cook Family Foundation. One of the students will be selected to receive a four-year, full-tuition scholarship from Bruce and Jacqueline Cook.

Each of the nominees will receive at least a $2,500 scholarship to the University of Michigan from the Cook Family Foundation. In addition to these nominees, the Cook Family Foundation provides a scholarship to every local student attending the University of Michigan. Read more about our scholarships (click here)CFF_UM_WEB

If they apply and are admitted to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, the following students will be considered for the Bruce and Jacqueline Cook scholarship: from Byron, Samuel Geiser (not pictured), Brianna Wells; from Chesaning, Jordyn Barta, Rachel Kelley, Jacob Sadilek, and Colton Vrable; from Corunna, Kyle Daley, Michael Newman, Larissa Robinson-Cooper, and Cassidy Schnepp; from Durand, Tristan Blackledge, Jonathon Fall, Nathan Johnson, and Lucas Schaefer; from Laingsburg, Kurt McEwan, Nicholas Miller, Sydney Schneider, Antonia Vrana, and Clayton Zimmerman; from Morrice, Lucas Crawford and Taylor Zachar; from New Lothrop, Olivia Bishop and Roen Wheeler; from Ovid-Elsie, Elizabeth Bisson and Gordon Johnson; from Owosso, Ryan Comrie, Thomas Horak, Joseph Jafri, Eric Locker, and Lucas Messmer; and from Perry, Amelia Feuka, Hannah Feuka, Miranda Lewis, and Hayley West.

Past recipients of the Bruce and Jackie Cook Scholarship have included Nolan Wendling from New Lothrop in 2014, Emily Feuka from Perry in 2013, Sam Whaley also from Perry in 2012, Adam Stewart from Laingsburg in 2011, Valerie Foster from Byron in 2010, Adam Dingens from Corunna in 2009, Randy Piper from Owosso in 2008, Dan Frechtling from Perry in 2007 and Kendra Frye of Owosso in 2006.

You can follow the Foundation’s scholarship efforts on Twitter @GoBlueGoBruce