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
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.