Back in the Groove with Paper.li

Back in the Groove with Paper.liI have been a huge fan of Paper.li. I really enjoyed having my daily “newspapers” come to me in my email on the topics I was interested in. However, they changed their business model and I no longer received my expected emails. As a result, I started to miss out on my news. I then discovered something. If you are missing your Paper.li news, this may help you. Read more

My personal learning workflow is under revision

Google+
Google+

As I become more comfortable with new learning tools, my personal learning environment keeps morphing. Recently, I incorporated Google Reader and Google+ more predominately into  my learning scheme. While it may not necessarily look like it, I am also rethinking how I am using this blog as a learning tool. I thought I would share with you my current personal learning workflow. This work flow has been shaped by recent books I have read; primarily, Google+ for Business. I recently wrote a book review on it.

Some things have not changed. Each day, I receive 10 Paper.li “newspapers” where I have an opportunity to review posts (normally Twitter feeds) on a number of different topics. If something catches my eye, I will read it and save it to my Diigo account, if appropriate. I use these saved sites as a fodder for the Geeks and Speaks newsletter I send out at the end of each month. Here are the newsletters I currently subscribe to:

I also use Flipboard, an iPad application, to review my Twitter streams. However, I have not been as active reviewing my search queries in Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. My review of search queries seems to vary based on time available. Again, finds that I believe to be useful make it to my Diigo account. Additionally, based on the advice of Brogan, the author of Google+ for Business, I am posting more to Google+. Google+ is a nice balance between Facebook, Twitter, and this blog. Google+ seems more mature in the posts it provides. I can post more than Twitter, still share things I find interesting, but not have to write a full blog post.

The most significant addition to my personal learning workflow is the addition of Google Reader.  I have made a more concerted effort to subscribe to blogs and news focusing on my interests. Using some of Brogan’s advice, I have started to explore and follow new blogs. This is an interesting experiment because I need to find a balance between the quantity and quality of information. I have found some streams of information to be too overwhelming and I have had to unsubscribe.  Overall, I am pleased with what I have been finding.

Tapping into all this information can be exhausting if you do not have a plan of attack. I typically review my information streams twice a day; again, great advice from Brogan. Usually, I review my feeds when I get to work or first thing in the morning. I also review them in the evening while I am watching TV. During each of these periods, I save what I find important to Diigo, and share a subset to Google+ with my comments. I also update a monthly blog post with articles that provided me with new insight on a topic or simply caused me to pause. My first post collecting these types of articles can be found here.

I have been happy with this approach so far… unless I get out of routine, then I tend to get backed up. Once it is habitual, it will be easier going. How are you feeding your thirst for information?

Great Organizations are Constantly Learning and Improving

Time to re-inventI would like to challenge you this new year to learn something new to improve your craft and organization. Two often, we become comfortable with what has worked for us in the past, and we are hesitant to try something new. We are afraid of failing. We are afraid what others think of us when we try and fail.

Great organizations become great organizations because the learn and adapt to an ever changing environment. There are many organizations and programs that failed to adapt and as a result are now extinct. Here is a list of good stores that never adapted quickly enough. These stores failed because they were content to doing it the same way.

I am interested in education. I am interested in my personal education, informal education, corporate education, extension education, higher education, non-profit education, adult education, technology in education, etc. What is fascinating is the more I read about education and learning, and the more I am involved in education and learning, the more disconnection I am finding. Dewey, Lindeman, Knowles, and others have been admonishing educators for over 80 years that the lecture method is not the best method for instruction, yet, it is the most common method in our schools today. We need to listen to their advice and make changes.

There are three areas I would like you to look at when you look for something new to try: subject matter improvement, instruction methods improvement, technology implementation improvement. As an educator, these are the three areas I consider most important. Presently, I am looking at it from the vantage point of extension.  Here are some ideas you might want to consider:

  • Stay abreast of changes in your field of study by subscribing to or creating a Paper.li newsletter. More.
  • Reflect on what you learn using a blog or podcast.
  • Improve support to your courses with performance support and job aids. More.
  • Make your course more engaging by flipping your instruction. More.
  • Use QR Codes to enrich your physical documents. More.
  • Use tools like Evernote, Diigo, Zotero, and Dropbox to become more organized in your research. More.
  • Read a book on improving your instruction.
  • Read a book on implementing new technology.
  • Teach a class in a way that you never have before.
  • Let others know what you are reading and why. More.
  • Keep an eye out for what others are doing well and benchmark the ideas. More.
  • Add fun and engagement to your class through gamification. More.
  • Improve your operations by creating a checklist. More.
  • Make time for learning, attend a Webinar, read a book, explore a program, just do it.

One of the most frustrating things I face is when people dismiss something on hearsay instead of investigating it for themselves. I challenge you to honestly explore new methods, techniques, and technologies for yourself before dismissing them, you may be pleasantly surprised.

Make a commitment to yourself this new year to go out and learn something new. Try something new in your classes, your students will appreciate it, especially if you are not lecturing.

3 ways to use RSS feeds to keep your knowledge fresh

Reading the News on an IpadEarlier today, I was reading an article by Eric Stoller called Using RSS to Feed My Brain. He pointed out that he subscribes to 400 different RSS feeds to help stay current on issues.

RSS feeds are great because they deliver content to you, instead of you checking on each of your favorite sites. If a site regularly puts out new articles, there is a great chance they have an RSS feed. You simply need to look for an RSS icon  and subscribe to it with a RSS reader.

While I do not have 400 different feeds, I do have a number that I like to follow. Like Eric, I use RSS feeds to follow a number of different interests from game theory to informal learning. I even have feeds to keep track of interesting posts on my martial art. I also subscribe to a number of journal articles on various topics. Using the University of Wyoming’s Library databases, I am able to set up search queries and have new journal articles automatically appear in my RSS feeds.

Regardless of the topics you are following, you need an easy way to follow the discussions. Here are the three ways I track my RSS feeds:

Google Reader

Like Eric, I also use Google Reader to keep track of my RSS feeds. While it does not necessarily matter which reader you use, using a reader makes following RSS feeds much easier. I used to use Netvibes to track my feeds, but have recently moved my feeds to Google Reader. It is matter of what is comfortable for you. Right now, Google Reader is my RSS reader of choice.

Paper.li

I have also been pulling my RSS feeds into Paper.li, which creates a “newspaper” from the feeds. This newspaper is then emailed to me daily. I really like the look and feel of the resulting product. However, if your RSS feeds are not really prolific, you could be disappointed in the final product. Paper.li will also allow you to build a newspaper from up to ten different feeds to include Twitter, Facebook, RSS, and Google+.

Flipboard

I really love to use Flipboard to review the daily Tweets. I have now started to use Flipboard to follow my RSS feeds that I have collected through Google Reader. The results are amazing. Flipboard is an application for the iPad and iPhone. Each story is expanded to provide more detail. There is a capability to forward an article by email or Tweet.

Well, these are my three methods for stay abreast of the news through RSS feeds. Do you have a strategy that works for you? I would love to hear about it. Leave a comment below.

Why I am a fan of getting my news with Paper.li

In Mashable, Jolie O-Dell wrote that “For the First Time, More People Get News Online Than From Newspapers.” I happen to be one of those people. In fact, I do not typically read a newspaper at all. I get virtually all my news online, and perhaps the evening news on television. However, more and more, I have been subscribing to virtual newspapers created in Paper.li.

Paper.li organizes links shared on Twitter and Facebook. There are times when I do not have time to sift through all of my Twitter feeds, Paper.li provides me with a snapshot of feeds in a newspaper type of format. The 140 character Tweets are expanded based on the content in the Tweet. With this newspaper format, I can quickly review the news.

If you subscribe, a “newspaper” will be e-mailed to you daily. You can subscribe to newsletters created by others or you can create your own paper. You can create up to 10 papers based on a Twitter or Facebook account, a Twitter hashtag, or a Twitter list.

Here are the virtual papers I am currently following:

If you know of any good papers that you think I might be interested in, please leave a comment below.