One last thing…

23. Summarise your thoughts on the 23 Things @ Oxford programme
 

I started the 23 Things programme back in February, and  I am quite pleased with how it has gone. The web tools I have experienced as part of the programme are: 

  • iGoogle

    Word cloud from wordle.net

  • Blogging
  • RSS feeds & readers
  • FlickR & Picnik
  • Delicious
  • Podcasting & Youtube
  • Facebook & LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Wikis
  • Google Documents & ThinkFree Office
  • Widgets

I think the most useful of these, and the ones I am likely to keep using in the future, are blogging, Twitter, Google Docs, and perhaps the iGoogle page.

I think a blog is a great way to keep track of what you’ve been up to, and to be reflective about it too. Blogging about these Things has helped me get the confidence to start blogging properly; if I feel I don’t have anything interesting to say, I can fall back on doing the next Thing on the list! (Perhaps I’ll start doing 23cpd just to carry this safety net on!)

The same can be said of Twitter, really. I used it before, but not nearly to the extent I do now. As for Google Docs, I can see it being very handy indeed for group work during my MA.

It has been interesting to compare my thoughts and views of the web tools with the other trainees, and to read back over the past participant’s blogs too. I think at the start I was expecting to know everything straight away about the tools, but I actually learned a lot of new useful information about them. I’m glad I took part, as even if I don’t use all of them that often, at least I have a ground knowledge of them, and will recognise when they might just be the perfect thing to use.

Thing 21 & 22: Widgets

Widgets are very similar to what we used to personalise iGoogle. I already had a few added to my blog, but for this Thing I have experimented with others.

Thing 21: FlickR

I added this widget, and it was really easy to do. I just had to drag a box into my list of existing widgets, and add my FlickR photo stream URL. However, it looked pretty bad – I’ve only got test photos from when I set up the account, so I didn’t keep it.

Thing 22. Delicious bookmarks on your iGoogle page

I haven’t used my iGoogle page in ages, so I didn’t really do this one. Instead I added my Twitter messages to my blog, and a picture of myself.

The widgets make a blog look more personal, especially with things like photos and Twitter streams. I think that’s important if you want people to keep reading your blog. It’s also a good way to link it to other parts of your online presence, such as Twitter, so people realise it’s you.

Thing 7 & 8: Online Photos and Images

Create a Flickr account, upload some of your own photos, tag them and add descriptions

It was easy to set up a Flikr account, as there is the option to sign in with your Google account. I uploaded some photos which I had saved from Facebook to my desktop. I am sure there is an easier way to import photos from Facebook, but I was just playing around with mine so that seemed the easiest way.

I uploaded some photos from my Graduation in Exeter, and a few others which were taken in Oxford and back home in Colchester, so that I would have a slightly more interesting map when I ‘Geotagged’ them. Geotagging is an interesting concept, and I am sure geotagged holiday snaps from an around the world trip would make a fantastic map!

 

Go to the Picnik site and connect to your Flickr account, try out the different editing tools on your photos

Picnik is an online photo editing site, which allows you to grab photos from where you store them, including Flikr and Facebook, which is where I store most of my own photos. 

There were a couple of tools which really stood out when I was editing my photos. I was playing around with a picture of the Radcliffe Camera, and the ‘Sharpen’ option really made this photos better.

Rad Cam

It made details like the cobbles on the street and the bicycles’ spokes really stand out, and I hadn’t realised they were quite so blurred in the first place!

When I was editing a picture of one of my Mother’s chickens, I found the ‘temperature’ option quite useful. I took this photo in the summer, and I wanted the colours to be warm.

Chicken under a bush

By adjusting the temperature, I could make it look a little sunnier than my camera could. Unfortunately, I’m not sure how good the quality was when I took these photos, so it may not be all that great now!

After fiddling round with the basic editing tools, I clicked on the ‘create’ tab, which opened up a whole new realm of crazy-photo possibilities. There’s everything on there, from adding frames to various effects. There is even the option to pixellate faces and make the lines in your picture neon. I had a play around on this photo of my friends in a bumper car, and it looks pretty tame compared to some of the possible effects.

Bumper car

In terms of other photo sharing sites, I have used photobucket before, and Flikr seems to be quite similar. I’m not sure how much I will use Flikr and Picnik, but it is useful to know just how much of the work they can do for you. It’s also good to link between your accounts, for ease and simplicity.