Wednesday, 19 October 2011

CPD 23 - Thing 19 - Reflecting on things so far

Thoughts on reflection and the dangers of speed

Having fallen behind over the summer I now feel that I am doing quite a good job of catching up. I hope to have the remaining four things (including this one) completed by the end of the week. If I achieve that I will have finished CPD 23 a week behind the official schedule. I had set that timeframe as a personal goal (having given up on finishing on time) so I'm quietly pleased that I should be able to keep to it.

However before I start patting myself on the back for this I think I need to acknowledge the risks involved in taking the latter half of the scheme at a faster rate than the organisers intended. The scheme has an admirable focus on taking the time to reflect on our professional development.

Taking the things a week at a time has the advantage that you have the time to think about each thing in depth. Even if most of the time you are busy with other matters some corner of your mind can be contemplating this week's thing.

There was a danger that I was going to fall into a box ticking attitude towards the scheme. I think I have managed to avoid that. Obviously you can judge for yourselves by browsing my previous CPD 23 blog entries. In each case I have made a conscious effort to reflect on the implications of each thing for my own professional practice and development.

I hope that I have been successful at this. I have always been a reflective person. My previous career as a teacher encouraged me to develop a reflective attitude towards my work. More recently engaging in the Chartership process has focussed my mind on the importance of reflection as a tool for improving my own practice, engaging effectively with my profession and developing myself as an information professional. I hope that attitude can be seen in my CPD 23 posts.

Congratulations to everyone who did manage to finish CPD 23 on time. I salute you.

Thoughts on my favourite things

I won't rank my favourite things because I like them for different reasons so it wouldn't be a fair contest. Also I'm on a tight schedule here I want to do three more things before the weekend. So in purely chronological order here are my personal favourites. Some of them have already become an important part of my practice. Others are things that I intend to integrate into my working life or my personal professional development.

Things 1 - Blogging

This blog existed before the scheme and I did have plans to revitalize it as part of my attempts to be ready for Chartership. That said I am very grateful to CPD 23 for giving my blogging some structure and helping me to post reasonably regularly.

Don't worry though I am going to maintain momentum once I've finished the scheme. It has helped me to get into the habit of blogging about librarianship. That habit is now firmly integrated into my life.

Blogging regularly has helped me to increase my online professional presence. It looks very likely that this will be increasingly important in the future both in terms of my own career and in terms of trends within the profession.

Thing 2 - Reading Blogs

Reading and commenting on each others' blogs helped to create a real sense of community. I enjoyed the sense that CPD 23 was a community of people who wanted to develop new skills and share their experiences. I hope we manage to keep that going post-things.

Thing 4 - Current Awareness Tools - RSS Feeds

RSS feeds are one of those tools that make you wonder how you used to manage without them. My professional reading is so much more organised now I use Google Reader.

Thing 15 - Events

Events are great. Everyone should go to more training events and conferences if they get the chance. They are fantastic opportunities to learn new things, keep up to date with our fast moving profession and meet lots of friendly and interesting people. I knew that before thing 15 but I was happy to share this enthusiasm with the world.

That wasn't enough to gain 'events' a place as one of my favourite things though. The decisive factor was the prod in the direction of speaking at events or organising our own events. That really got me thinking. I have set speaking at an event as a personal goal and I am going to investigate organising events as well. So far I've just read some blogs about it but in November I hope to attend a training evening that promises 'top tips for event organisers'.

Thing 17 - Prezi

A controversial choice I know. Prezi doesn't get a place because I love it as a tool in its own right. It has good points but it also has flaws. I can see why some people hate it. This is a favourite because I am convinced that mastering it and using it is an opportunity to convince others that librarians know their stuff.

For educational librarians particularly this is a highly noticeable way of showing our colleagues outside the Library that we are trying new things. If we use this in research skills sessions or library inductions it will spread the message that librarians know all about the latest technology for teaching and learning.

Thing 18 - Screen Capture - Jing

The screen capture tool Jing is my newest favourite. I see it as an opportunity to make my sections of our VLE more informative and more interesting visually. Putting demonstrations on the VLE could help students to master a range of tasks from searching online journals to accessing e-books.

Final Thoughts

For someone who has admitted that he wants to cover several 'things' in the next few days I seem to have written quite a lot for thing 19. I think this is because it strikes me as an important one. Reflecting on how we can integrate the things into our lives is vital if we want to make sure that this process has a real and lasting impact on our professional development.

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