Tuesday, 11 August 2015
Lasted for six days - no emails! No Facebook, no twitter, no LinkedIn, no Blipfoto, no games, no online news, no music, no TV eg iplayer, no audio books or ebooks, no blogging.
It took about 2-3 days to get used to it. On the first day, I kept checking my phone and then realising there was nothing to check so it is definitely a good idea to delete all the apps and quick ways of accessing programmes or sites. I deleted most of the above and with others just moved them off my home screen and hid them. I disabled alerts and I think this is important as it removes that 'always on' situation.
I kept text on for family / friends and had to keep whats app also as some family work in places with no signal but wifi but that worked ok and I used both text and whats app infrequently and just for arrangements.
The frustrating / inconvenient aspects were not being able to quickly search for information eg finding a restaurant or details such as opening hours about a place we were visiting. The twice that I 'cheated' were when I was parking at the park and ride and I wanted to pay for parking. It is easy to use the app on my phone and I couldn't be bothered to go and find change and then the payment machine when it is all set up with a couple of clicks on my phone. The other time was using the sat nav on my phone to get into a city centre and out again. Certain tasks would have been easier if I'd planned in advance such as the parking or navigating and looked at the map in advance. The searching was a real frustration as I'm so used to quickly looking information up and getting on with things so I can't see the advantage of not doing that.
The planning in advance applied to always having a book with me too. The first day when we were out and about when ever we stopped, I just automatically looked at my phone or when I was in Oxford waiting for the others I was bored with nothing to look at. On day 2 at a National Trust garden while waiting around or having a cup of tea or just generally being, I felt I was wasting time without something to read so from then on had a book with me at all times. This improved as the week went on and I started to chill out and relax. I managed to read four books in six days which is quite good and also as the week went on I read faster and for longer periods without getting distracted. I definitely think my attention span or focus improved which is a bit worrying that it is usually poor but probably right as I do tend to multitask or rapid change task neither of which is good.
I didn't particularly miss Facebook apart from somewhere to upload photos of places to and to keep in touch with what other people are doing. I did miss twitter but it was good to switch off and not be constantly trying to keep up with online stuff - it's mostly inconsequential anyhow and it's good not to be totally immersed in a none physical world. I would have liked to tweet about some the places we had been to especially some restaurants which were good.
The no emails has been the weirdest thing - only time will tell whether it is a good thing i.e. This morning when I get into work and see what's waiting in my inbox.
I would definitely recommend a technology break or at least a online communication break as I think that's the important thing - to be able to call your time your own and decide when to reply and engage. To manage your online presence and interactions. But I would so miss technology if it wasn't there, easily accessible and providing information and generally making life better and more interesting.
Tuesday, 4 August 2015
For the last couple of years, I have had a technology break #techdetox for a week.
This was last years
So this year it will start at 12 midnight tonight until 9.00am Tuesday 11th August.
I delete apps from my phone so no emails, Facebook or Twitter - no games, no news - no skype, no facetime - no ebooks nor audio books - no blipfoto, no whats app. Music if already downloaded maybe? No iplayer or radio. A separate camera for photos. No google, no searching.
Just incoming texts in case of emergencies from family.
I've got at least 5 books that i want to read so aiming to read one a day.
Looking forward to it...sort of ...maybe
Monday, 13 July 2015
Emma explained that:
A badge should be achievable by everyone if they want
Look at the changes from a customer perspective
It was an interesting presentation to see how change is driven through in an institution where change is sometimes complicated and involves a lot of people and processes.
There was then another batch of parallel sessions and I went to one with the title 'what a digitally capable institution looks like' although it was mainly about feedback to a ucisa survey and the digital capabilities group
Hopefully the slides will be available from the ucisa website so I would recommend looking there.
Sunday, 12 July 2015
The first day of the ucisa SS15 conference at the Oxford Belfrey started with a welcome by John Cartwright, ucisa Executive Chair. He welcomed everyone to the conference and encouraged delegates to participate and make the most of the networking opportunities. To 'pinch with pride' - share ideas and take them to implement in your own institution and service. He talked about how, as we all know, change is a constant including organisational change with departments and services converging and de-converging, having to do more with less.
Sally Bogg, Chair of the conference then gave an introduction and welcome to the conference the theme of which is change.
He explained that most IT superheroes start out wanting to change the world but changing processes is the way to success. There is no easy stairway to process maturity heaven. You need to be an explorer and have expertise and experience and execution.
Achieving process maturity is like moving from the Wild West to a High Performance Team and you will find different tribes along the way. You need to define the process, use metrics, have good KPIs and aim for continual improvement. Embrace change as a daily event so therefore use an adaptable model optimising in high performance.
It was an interesting and appealing approach and involves being rigorous about improving processes. It definitely made me think about the work that I need to do and that I should have confidence to aim for a structured and detailed process of improvement.
Thursday, 9 April 2015
It is an interesting feature as it gives an insight into the daily working lives of the people involved in Learning Technologies and how diverse the roles can be. There has been a recent discussion on the ALT email list about Learning Technologist jobs and how they have changed and developed over the last 5-10 years - the 'Week in the Life of...' articles reflect this. Two of the most recent posts have been by Fiona Harvey and by Sheila MacNeill who are both ALT Trustees and it is very interesting to read about their 'day jobs' and the work that they are involved in.
I wrote 'A Week In The Life Of..' in October 2010 http://bit.ly/1NVSf49 and am now in the process of writing a 2015 version. Much has changed in the 4.5 years - different job, different institution, FE to HE, more management, more strategic? In 2010 I was working as Head of Learning Resources at Middlesbrough College, now I'm Customer Services Manager, Information Services at Heriot Watt University. It's interesting to compare and reflect on the changes that have happened. I'm glad that I still work in an area that concentrates very much on the student experience and how important that is for learning technologies and for education.
Saturday, 22 November 2014
It is the first time I have attended the SCONUL conference and it proved to be an interesting and informative day.
The conference was entitled 'The Visible Library: Demonstrating our Value' and the aim, according to the conference programme, was to address the need 'to define and articulate the value of the library to both internal and external stakeholders'. The outputs from the discussions on the day will form a basis for a SCONUL advocacy toolkit.
The introduction and welcome was given by Liz Jolly, Chair of SCONUL and Director, Library & Information Services at Teesside University.
The keynote was given by Graham Henderson, Vice Chancellor of Teesside University
He explained that the library needs to be a hub of the university and a place for all students to get work done. It should be a triage point for all.
2. Copyright - equivalence for partner locations
3. Access to research
4. Balancing the cost of resources to support teaching and research without burden on teaching funding
5. Embracing social media as an asset not threat
6. Access to sufficient finance and resources to provide staff, space and resources (fewer books on shelves does not mean less resource but more)
There is a need to get more people to understand the changing role of academic librarians - therefore express in employability , research impact, retention. Update the perceptions about libraries - they are about innovation in L&T and not just content. He used the phrase 'responsive repositioning'.
It is important to nurture the fact that the library is more than just 'another support department' -it has a critical role in academic processes. I think this is an important point to note and a key message that needs to be communicated in a positive way.
The next session was crowd sourcing narratives - this was discussions in groups about the perceptions of Finance Directors, VCs, Academics of Librarians / Libraries.
I was in the Finance Directors group.
The positive perceptions included:
Each of the tables in the group came up with much the same answers which is reassuring in one way but in another it means that there are common problems that haven't been solved (if it is possible to do so?).
It was agreed that the perception is that libraries are good for engaging on open access. Also an agreement that there is a need to put forward a business case in the right way, to align it to institutional strategies (not too parochial and don't be too precious about library). Finance Directors want resilience and financial robustness and a good business case.
This was a recurring theme throughout the day - the need to put forward the case for libraries in a language that can be understood by those you are communicating with, use their language and present the case in the terms that others understand and can align with their priorities.
The other points I picked up from this feedback and reflections session (and these are from my notes so not comprehensive)
Libraries have a good understanding of student behaviour
She explained that they had had feedback from staff that they wanted better communication so they planned and facilitated a strategic conversation between the library and the University leadership. They prepared by producing a poster presentation to show what their team offered to university and it had to be data rich. They aimed to show their value, their corporate value as a service and to show how they deliver innovation in practice. They produced infographic style posters with performance data including research support, graduate employability, academic support, learning resources, personal development and recruitment and conversion.
The next presentation was given byAndy Priestner, Information and Library Services Manager, Judge Business School, Cambridge.
He talked about using 'Ethnography for Impact: new ways of exploring user experience in libraries'.
2. Show me round. Students guide us around the space. This showed that some users are failing to access key services. Workspaces - more desks and desk spaces. 2 tribes - upstairs and downstairs with different needs. Kiosk terminals - not popular
3. Cognitive mapping
The quick wins they have introduced