Tag Archives: EdTech

Building Your PLN – Part 2

Last time, I started fleshing out ways to find sources for building your PLN (Personal Learning Network), and I would like to build a little more on that topic today.

One thing I would like to add on the topic of RSS feeds from my previous post, is that Google Reader has a wonderful feature where it recommends posts and feed sources based on those to which you have subscribed.  For example, if you are on a blog, click the “Subscribe” button, and choose to add the feed to Google Reader, Reader will give you suggestions based on that feed immediately.  If you do not choose any at that point, you can later go back and click the down arrow to the right of a feed or folder in your subscriptions list, and see suggestions on the pop-out menu “More Like This”.  There are also sections under the “Explore” heading, where Reader will recommend feeds and articles based on your subscriptions and articles you star.

If you belong to professional associations, checking their blogs and websites often (or adding their RSS feeds to your feed reader) is a great way to keep on top of important topics in your industry.  On top of the general association blogs, often the various sections and divisions will also have individual blogs and websites.

One of my favorite sources for finding new blogs and online articles is an iPad magazine app called Zite.  When you first use Zite, you enter keywords and topics that you are interested in, and this produces sections of the magazine.  You then have the option to thumb-up or down articles as you read and the app learns from your interaction with it.  The magazine will adapt to your preferences, and show you more articles on topic you like, and less on those you are not interested in.  Zite is also integrated with services like Facebook, Twitter, Read It Later, LinkedIn and email, to make sharing of articles all the more convenient.

There are quite a few similar apps about, generally they aggregate content from your social media accounts or other pre-defined sources, PaidContent.org did a nice comparison of some of these apps.

One final resource I would like to share today is a website called Paper.li.  Paper.li is an aggregator, where you can enter feeds from sources such as Twitter, RSS, and Facebook, and it will send you daily digest “newspaper”.  If you do not want to create papers from your own feeds and wish do discover new ones, you can search and subscribe to people or papers, or just look at staff picks and popular topics on the home page.  Paper.li also has a web app for mobile use, so it is convenient to use on many devices.

Building Your PLN (Personal Learning Network) – Part 1

After graduating a little over a year ago, it took me about eight months to find a full-time, professional library job.  During those many months, I spent almost all of my time focusing on finding a job.   I directed most of my attention towards finding a library-related position, but I got to the point where any job would do.

I have since found a position with a corporate library, and have been here for just over seven months.  About four months ago, I realized two things: 1. having a job in my field-of-choice is not enough to keep up with current trends in my profession; and 2. that I need to become more active in my field.

The biggest problem was I didn’t know how to do either of these things without taking continuing education classes (which I couldn’t afford) or attending local meetings of interest with my professional associations (of which there were none).  Some may have given up at that point and resigned themselves to just learning whatever they can at work and hoping that was enough, but I wanted to be more proactive.

So what did I do?  I did what any librarian/information manager would do… research!  I started by thinking of topics related to my field that interested me (e.g. information literacy, social learning, digital libraries, etc.), and then plugged them into Google to see what I could find.  What a wealth of information there was!  A plethora of blogs, news stories, screencasts, podcasts… I found information relevant to my topics of interest in just about every form of media.

I aggregated all of the feeds from the wonderful blogs and news sites I found into Google Reader (any RSS Reader will do) and check it a few times a day.  One wonderful resource I found was a page on the Hack Library School blog, a section called LIS Blogs to Follow.  The writers compiled bundles of feeds according to genre of librarianship – general, public, academic, and “quirky,” as well as a bundle of blogs by the 2011 Library Journal Movers and Shakers.

Feel free to check out the feeds I read on my LIS Feed Aggregation Page.  I am also interested in the concept of social learning, and am more than happy to share my Social Learning Feed Aggregation Page as well.

In my next posts I will share mobile apps/websites I find useful in discovering new sources, and how I’ve used social media in my PLN.