The Purge – Mastering my Personal Knowledge 2

As I continue through Harold Jarche’s (@hjarche) Personal Knowledge Mastery learning programme, I am being driven to think more about the Seek>Sense>Share model; where I am Seeking and what tools I use for my Sensemaking.

Each year Jane Hart (@C4LPT) compiles a top 200 Tools for Learning and our challenge was to search through for a (free) app/tool we haven’t used before and give it a go. Easy!

Actually, no. As I scrolled down the list and started to hit triple digits I realised that this was going to prove more difficult than I expected. It was a strange feeling to find I had used (or at the very least tested) the majority of the tools.

My initial reaction was “Wow Dave! You’re really on the ball and willing to try out new tech/software.” My reflective thought however, was “Ok Dave! Maybe you need to think more about whether you are just chasing the ‘New Shiny’. And perhaps you would better served by waiting until others have experimented, before considering if the tool will bring anything useful to your repertoire(?)”

This revelation coincided with my tablet issuing the immortal “…I’m too full for anymore updates…”, or something along those lines. And on looking at the screen it was clear that the number of apps was becoming a major problem.

Harold encouraged me to revisit the list, review those I have tried, rate them for usefulness and consider thinning the herd. So here we are.

I don’t have the patience to review every tool and always try to avoid arbitrary numbers, so have decided that because I have a 2 hour gap between meetings tomorrow this is how long I will give myself to work down Jane’s list and review as many as possible. (Yeah, I know that’s still kind of arbitrary, but needs must).

Results: (29 items)

ToolDescriptionMy experienceUsefulness Rating */10
YouTubevideo platformI use YouTube every day! Whether that is for general entertainment (We all need kittens) or for learning.10
Google Searchweb search engineIf I cannot find a video, I will search on here to find information on what I need to learn.9
PowerPointpresentation appHmm, I don’t learn very well from presentations however, because I have to deliver in that medium the act of building them helps to embed my learning around a subject.5
Twittersocial networkAs I look through my feed several times a day, this is where I am most likely to come across new learning. Also, I am now just as likely to search on here as Google, to track down information.10
LinkedInsocial networkOther than to connect and search for jobs, I very rarely use LinkedIn.1
Google Docs & Drivefile sharing and collaborationWhen not in work I use a Chromebook, so use these a lot; for writing and therefore, embedding new learning.5
Wordwordprocessing appMost documents are in this format, so yes, by default I learn from Word.6
Wikipediaonline encyclopaediaDo not make as much use of this as I should. Tend to only view if Google points me that way and am not adept at filtering information whilst in there.4
WordPressblogging/website platformWhen I see something highlighted on Twitter or Google, or am pointed via an RSS I will read people’s blogs. But I do not actively search for items on there.7
Zoomvideo conferencing platformVery rarely use Zoom (our organisation uses MSTeams) and have only attended a few Webinars using it (they weren’t great, but that was the fault of the provider not the tool).2
Microsoft Teamsteam collaboration platformUse this a lot! For meetings, collaborative working, messaging, delivering/attending webinars and generally for producing/consuming documents/files.8
Slackteam collaboration platformUsed it twice: a) to take part in a D&D campaign; b) take part in a Working Out Loud circle. Haven’t had much opportunity to use since.2
LinkedIn Learning [Lynda]online coursesOther than as a tester when our organisation was exploring whether to buy a license, have not used it. The items I did test, whilst interesting, were not great.1
WhatsAppmessaging appUse for family and friends messaging/video chats, but for very little else.6
Feedlynews aggregatorHave this all set-up with several sources selected for content……have only accessed it on several occasions. However, that is about to change!2
Excelspreadsheet appAs with Word, most data tables are presented in this format so obviously use to create/consume.5
Dropboxfile sharing platformAt one time I did use this a lot however, have moved mainly to Google Drive, SharePoint and OneDrive1
Facebooksocial networkI am ashamed to say (given the algorithms echo-chamber nature) I do access a lot of news content via FB. It is a vital forum for less tech-savvy members of mine and my partners family/friend groups. The only saving grace may be that I do tend to gather from all areas (e.g. political left and right) and then trace sources/biases.7
Skypemessaging platformIt has been many months since I last used Skype and even then I only used it for InstantMessenger in work and the very occasional videocall.1
Articulatecourse authoring toolsFor a long time this was the tool I had to use for building my e-Learning provision. It, along with other authoring tools helped me approach learning differently.4
Kahootclassroom engagement toolHave only used this from the participant viewpoint when supporting a student programme in the University. Not my favourite audience participation tool, and the sessions I attended didn’t use it to great effect.2
OneNotedigital notebookUse this regularly for notetaking in work and collaborative content building.5
Camtasiascreencasting toolHave used this to build video and audio content and always found it useful. It has helped me recognise my vocal and visual ticks and have a greater appreciation for talking speed and leaving thinking space between sentences.7
TED Talksonline talksNever bothered installing the App as I tend to access via YouTube or Google search. Very useful provision for sparking new or challenging long held ideas – however, I do find I spend a lot of time investigating validity due to the ‘car salesperson’ style of message delivery.6
Evernotedigital notebookAt one time I did use this a lot however, I now seem to make better use of Chrome bookmarking, OneNote, Google Keep and Trello1
Google Formssurvey toolHave used in the past, but never to any great extent as have access to bespoke survey tool and now use MSForms for simple needs.1
Snagitscreen capture toolUsed for a short period to try it out, but have access to several other tools already installed on managed equipment.1
Trelloproject management appUse Trello a lot for many different purposes: General ToDo lists; Projects; Useful links; and, planning of long holiday (living itinerary for others to see where we are, with contact details, etc)10

So that was fun, but what did I discover?

1 – I am quite good (Bad?) about abandoning tools if there is something easier/better out there.

2 – I am the person who highlights to others that a new tool might be useful for their need.

3 – I do try and find ways of using tools for things they were not originally designed for.

4- I need to be clearer with myself about what I learn when using a tool.

5 – I am very bad about deleting apps for tools I no longer use (Within 5 mins of looking at this list I had uninstalled the LinkedIn, Skype, DropBox and Evernote apps from all my devices.)

6 – I am frustrated at having to use less-effective tools at work, because the better ones are not part of our managed applications bundle.

6.1 – I need to be more forgiving of the tools in work and find ways to use them more effectively.

6.2 – I also need to continue pushing for the more-effective tools to be added to our bundle.

7 – I am unlikely to stop chasing the new shiny……and I’m ok with that.

There are many more on Jane’s list that I want to revisit and some new ones I want to explore. Hopefully I will find some more apps in my current list that can be removed. Let the Purge commence.

Do you have tools (Apps) that are now just filling space? Are there tools you can make more useful by thoroughly exploring their functionality? Are there more New Shiny’s I should go and play with?

image – blakespot via Flickr

Creative Commons License

The Purge – Mastering my Personal Knowledge 2 by David Wallace was written in London, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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