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

  • 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 11 & 12: Podcasting and YouTube

Podcasts are audio or video files that you can either stream on the web or download, for example to an iPod.

Thing 11: Find some podcasts which interest you

I was already familiar with the idea of podcasts, though I didn’t quite realise the extent to which they are used. I had only really encountered the Guardian books podcast, and that was when I borrowed my boyfriend’s iPod, so this ‘Thing’ was quite interesting for me.

Since I was aware the Guardian had some podcasts, that was where I started. I was expecting to find one or two categories of podcasts, but I hadn’t counted on quite so many!

Subscribe to the feed for your favourite podcast in Google Reader

I have subscribed to the Guardian Books podcast in my Google Reader, and also to their Bike Podcast. However, I don’t actually own an mp3 player, so I wouldn’t really get the chance to listen to many podcasts, so I stopped there. Perhaps I will invest in one!

I was struck by how easy subscribing to podcasts is, and is just like any other RSS feed. However there are some RSS readers that are specially for podcasts, such as iTunes, which would make it much easier to put these audio files onto an iPod.

Thing 12: Search for and view some videos on a topic of your choice on YouTube

I already know a lot about YouTube, since I have used it to watch a whole range of videos for various reasons. During a university seminar in my final year, we discussed the sociological mythologies of a Cadbury’s advert, but in contrast I also like to keep up to date with the Vlogbrothers channel.

The great thing about YouTube is that you can pretty much guarantee something you want will be on there. Whether that content is legal (or safe for work!) is debatable, but it is so easy to type in some key words on the site and come up with a relevant video in the first few results.

Find “YouTube EDU” and view some videos from a university of your choice
I didn’t know about YouTube EDU before this ‘Thing’. I searched for Exeter University, but found they hadn’t uploaded much to the site (4 videos). I then had a look for Sheffield, and found that most of the results were from Leeds Metropolitan University, and were videos of various sports matches.
I can see why this part of YouTube is useful, as it narrows down the search results into the ‘Education’ category. I personally couldn’t find much, but I think if I had a more specific topic in mind it would be easier to navigate. It also depends a lot on how much a particular university has contributed, as it is with most of these social media sites I have explored in the 23 Things.