Whenever I share at a conference, I get asked a couple of questions: “How do you learn about all this stuff?” “How do you keep up?”
Most of us did not learn strategies for the type of keeping up we now need to do when we were in library school.
New tools for current awareness, curation and network building emerge daily. But not all of them have serious legs.
For me, it’s about workflow and the development of a toolkit.
In the next few posts I’ll share a few of my personal learning strategies, using tools that fall in a few basic categories.
Let’s start with what may be one of the more overlooked strategies–presentations or slideshows.
slideshare and authorSTREAM, are two major, international sharing spaces for slideshows and documents. When I first began using these platforms, I did not exploit their potential for search, discovery and networking. I’d been using them as spaces to backup and display. They were third-party spaces that allowed me an my students to grab embed code to transplant presentations to blogs, wikis, moodles, sites and LibGuides.
But the power of these platforms is really the community behind them.
With an average of 60 million unique visitors a month and 215 million page views, SlideShare is likely the world’s largest network for video and slide presentation sharing and I believe it is a must for educational networking.
Both slideshare and authorSTREAM allow you to browse for and search presentations at the intersections of your professional interests. I follow other educators, other librarians, social media and marketing professionals, design professionals, academics to see how they organize and chunk knowledge to share with others and how they visually make the content engaging (or how they don’t). When I know nothing about a topic, I may first search for videos on YouTube or Vimeo, and my second step is to see how the content is presented.
The fact is that professionals tend to share their knowledge through their presentations.
So each morning, when I check my email, I see updates and alerts in the form of new presentations from the people I follow and admire. When I am trying to get up to speed for a new lesson or presentation, I search and browse these networks to see how others have approached the same topics.
My searching is not limited to slide content. When I find a wonderful lead, I check out who they follow and who follows them. I look to see who is frequently quoted in these presentations. And I am constantly on the lookout for brilliant design ideas to compensate for and to improve my own limited aesthetic.
I follow my new discoveries and expand my network.
What’s on these portals for teacher librarians?
Many teacher librarians share their orientations, instruction, reports. Academics use the platform to share their lectures. Classroom teachers and teacher librarians who flip, archive their lessons.
Nearly everyone uses one platform or the other to share conference presentations. These presentations generally represent the work of leaders in a variety of fields.
Both platforms are free in their basic versions.
A couple of years back, LinkedIn acquired SlideShare, making it possible for those visiting your LinkedIn profile to see your presentations as well.
slideshare allows users to upload and share docs, PDFs, presentations (PowerPoint, Keynote or OpenOffice), infographics, video, and more from their desktops, Google Drive, Dropbox, gmail.
authorSTREAM focuses on presentation files–PowerPoint and Keynote. It allows users to create channels, present live and purchase templates from its Presentation Marketplace. A new feature offers the ability to save presentations as videos for free as long as they are under five minutes.
Both platforms allow community members to
- determine the level of privacy with which you want to share and decide whether or not you want to allow others to comment on or download your content
- include videos into presentations
- determine an appropriate copyright or Creative Commons license for content
- share content with URLs, embed code or via social media
- replace content with updates
- browse or search the community of users
- view, like, comment on, follow, and often download the content of others
- capture analytics about number of views, downloads, comments, tweets, likes, and links
These features aside, for me, the important stuff is the network–the excitement of discovery from featured, new and popular content, the continual updates from the folks I follow, and my regular discovery of new folks to follow. Consider how their sharing helps build their social capital well beyond the actual presentation of their slides.
Here are just a few of the specific slide sharers from whom I regularly discover inspiration: