Madelin O'Sullivan is now a blogger!

My INN333 site

The end of INN333

My journey though INN333 this semester has been interesting, engaging and entertaining all at the same time. The five reflections I completed contributed to these emotions and allowed me to experience INN333. The reflections I completed were –

Week 2 – Drawing a Line
Week 4 – VOIP
Week 6 – SNS
Week 8 – Web Blogging
Week 10 – Gamification

I also completed 8 play activities including –

Week 2 – Channel You
Week 3 – Twitter
Week 4 – VOIP
Week 5 – Curation
Week 6 – Facebook
Week 7 – Flickr
Week 9 – QR
Week 10 Gamification & this too.

By completing all these tasks weekly I have been able to develop my skills regarding information programs and learn some key skills. The key skills I learnt were eCommunication and developing my oral and written skills by participating in the PLN, completing the play activities and by writing reflective blogs that critically discuss what I had learnt.

Reflective Blogs

The five reflections allowed me to keep on track with my studies and this increased my knowledge and skills of information programs. In particular I was able to view a lot more of the relevant literature and information from a variety of formats such as blogs and videos. I had not used these formats for research or learning before and found them an engaging and easy to understand with lots of relevant and reliable information incorporated into them. By utilising these new formats it also allowed me to see their positives and negatives for sharing information and knowledge in today’s society. This is especially highlighted in my gamification blog. I can use this as an information professional to help better serve any clients that I may have and to aide in research.

One of my main weaknesses is usually over extending my word limit. This unit’s reflective blogs have really helped me develop my writing skills so that I am better able at producing concise and critical discussions. I believe that sticking to the word limit is a strength that I have developed and applied in this unit. A weakness I identified was that I am not very knowledgeable with computer programming. This made creating complex blogs difficult as I was not able to use the programs to their full capacity. In the future I will need to invest more time into programs that I am using directly in order to fully understand them and use them effectively. Another weakness I found was that I had not written a blog before so I did not have a distinct style. By completing this unit I found my blogs improving and growing as I grew and learnt as an information professional.

Overall the reflective blogs have allowed me to develop my skills and knowledge of eCommunication and written communication.

Play Activities

The play activities have been fun and have let me explore a variety of new techniques and programs that I would not have usually tried. It forced me to go out of my comfort zone and try technologies that I had never heard of before, such as curation tools like Blundr. By completing these activities I have come to see that these new technologies aren’t scary but actually very engaging and make information processing fun. I particularly enjoyed learning to use flickr and the gamification week. Both activities were fun and also highlighted their importance in the information profession. Both are new ways to engage users visually and help share information to those who would not be interested in reading or listening. One of my strengths in doing the play activities is that I was always ready to have a go and jump right in. This allowed me to make the most out of the experiences and develop my skills surrounding new technologies. However, my weakness is time management and I did not always have enough time to learn as much about the technologies as I would like. An example of this is video blogging where I did not have enough time to learn about creating video blogs as a teaching tool. I feel this would be a useful skill to have and will need to invest more time into it in the future. Overall, the play activities in INN333 have been very beneficial to me and have given me confidence to use and experiment with the new technologies that are being formed.

Personal Learning Network & Unit Site

The personal learning network and the course site was an experience. There were positives and negatives about it. One negative that can’t be helped is that initially the site and network is very overwhelming, especially to those not used to using much technology. As I mentioned earlier I am not that computer savvy and initially this website caused me to struggle. However, as the unit progressed I became more comfortable with the site and the PLN and easily navigated around it. In saying this, I still found one of my main weaknesses was getting the motivation to become involved within the PLN as there were so many aspects such as the RSS feeds, twitter, comments and blogs. I did like meeting fellow students and finding out more about them through their blogs and comments and I feel I engaged with them well and this was my strength regarding the PLN and the site. A key thing I learnt from this aspect of the unit was to develop my skills regarding engaging in others and exchanging professional opinions. Overall, the course site and personal learning network produced mixed responses.

If I had to do it again…

If I had to do this course all over again I would do a few things different. From the start I would prefer to do this unit not on a full time work & study schedule. That way I can give it my full attention more often so I could engage more in the PLN, complete more activities and go even further with the extra readings. This course is very interesting and its applications for the real world are undeniable. By allowing practical application of what we are learning we also can more closely see how it relates to the bigger picture. For example, learning about VOIP services, we could use it ourselves (with skype) and by assessing our use of it and the researching its application in an information organisation, such as a library, we could see this programs merits, such as appealing to long distance studies, and its downfalls, such as students not using it.

One step further…

The unit promotes forward thinking by asking questions about taking it one step further. Some things to take my lessons from this unit one step further would be – what is the future for information programs? So many things have changed in the last few years, what will be left of our current knowledge in 5 years? Once information organisations like libraries embrace these new technologies can they maintain them and stay up to date? Is this even feasible financially or worthwhile for the staff and the users? This unit has shown me to open my mind and not just think about the here and now but to think about what the future will bring.

In conclusion

Overall, INN333 has taught me many things. It has allowed me to develop skills & knowledge regarding new technologies and programs that are highly relevant to the information profession that will aid me in any future endeavours I have in libraries and other information venues. By developing my eCommunication and writing skills I am more comfortable and confident with approaching new and exciting technologies available to the information profession. It has also taught me to be more forward thinking in my opinion’s, it is not always about what is happening now. In conclusion INN333 has been a great experience that has taught me a great many things that I can carry on into my professional life.

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What else from gamification?

So at the end of one week of gamification what have I really learnt?

1. Gamification is not just for kids. It can be used a multitude of people and organisations including library users. Mario also shows us that corporations can use gamification to involve not only staff but also their customers.

2. Gamification is useful for a variety of things. It can stimulate user activity and interaction with the organisation involved. This helps promote the organisation. Gamification can also help produce information for companies by directly getting users to input data for rewards or by collecting it from reviews and tags. It can also be used as a fun way to encourage learning and education in schools and learning institutions.

3. Gamification is EVERYWHERE. Not only in libraries, schools and big organisations but also at your local supermarkets (flybuys), on your phone and even weight watchers is in on it. This video illustrates just this.

So overall, gamification can be used by anyone, anywhere and is very useful 🙂

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Gamification in Libraries & Organisations? YES, YES, YES

Gamification does play an important role in many organisation including libraries. Their role is to make things fun and enjoyable for users. There are many positives to be found in gamification. One of the main ones, as Bohyun Kim explains, is that it enables users/workers to complete what could originally be boring and monotonous work in a fun and engaging setting.

I can see the huge draw of gamification by team leaders or owners of organisations as it can really help to motivate their staff. The right game can motivate people to increase their sales, work that little bit harder and interact more with their resources and within their community. All for the right reward of course! I participated in games like this without even knowing I was gamifying, such as competitions at a retail store I used to work at to increase sales and my sales skills.

It is also interesting to note that libraries are really embracing gamification too in order to keep their users engaged. Already a university library at Hudders University (UK) has the Lemon Tree. This game creates an atmosphere of fun within their library resources. Users are rewarded for interacting with library resources, such as leaving comments or reviews. This provides the library with lots of useful data they can use. So not only does this gamification promote the library and its resources to their users, it also gives back to the library in the form of data.

Another library gamification I found really interesting was, when reading 7 Things You Should Know About Gamification, Dartmouth University used gamification to get students to do work for them. When they played the game set up they may not even have realised they were volunteer workers for the Dartmouth University! It was a very clever use of gamification that paid off for Dartmouth as they received over 6,000 image tags just in the pilot.

Overall, I think gamification is important in organisation, especially libraries if it creates a fun and engaging atmosphere. If created correctly they can be used for multiple purposes that benefit both users and organisation. However it is worth thinking if it is embraced by libraries where are the boundaries? If the organisation is not careful, could they become over gamified, gimmicky and lose perspective of their organisation’s aims and goals? So, while gamification is a grand concept and fun for most there are some serious issues to be looked at before over running our lives with games.

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Gamification = play?

This week is and will be (until Sunday) a very intense week. When I saw the subject would be gamification I thought this will be heaps of fun to learn about. Then I saw all the competitions and the points and became a bit anxious. So many things to complete, read, do and contribute to. How could I possible manage all this, work in all my other studies and work full time?

Somehow I made my first tentative step into the gamification world and commented on a post (something I would have done anyway). From there pushed on and did the Timed Activity involving Historypin. This was a very interesting site and I really enjoyed watching the old video. Historypin is such an interesting concept, bringing together pinning, organisation and whole collections all in a MAP!

Completing this activity has really spurred me on to completing some other tasks. I have attempted the Treasure Hunt and thought this was a cool way for me to explore some of QUT’s databases that I have never had cause to use before. In this way at least INN333 gamification has been successful for me as I have learnt something new 🙂

I will continue on in my gamification journey and hopefully by the end of this week I will be on top of the leader board???? :p

Here is a link to my gamification activities!

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QR Play

This week I chose to play and did option 1. This is because I have never used QR codes before and thought option 1 was quite challenging in itself. It was actually quite simple to do in the end once I found a suitable website. I chose to use QR Stuff. After creating my QR business card I then had to download a QR scanner. I don’t have a smartphone but luckily I do own an iPad and could use this to read my own code & Kate’s secret message. So all up I was successful in completing the two play activities in option 1 with relative ease. You can see my QR code on my About Me page of this blog.

The QR codes do seem to be a handy way to store information. However this information is only accessible to people with smartphones or tablets. This limits there user group. I feel this exclusion is negative as it can make the excluded users unwelcome to the person or organisation using QR codes. For instance some promotions are only offered to people who can scan these codes.

Overall, QR codes are easy to use and a useful way to organise, store & share information however the fact that users need a certain device to access the information on the codes leaves me feeling a little bet annoyed.

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Week 8 Reflection – What Videoblogging etc represents to Libraries today

Here is my first attempt at video blogging. It is very rough and I realise I need to do alot more research into the development and creation of professional videos. However, for today, I am happy to have attempted a video blog so think nice thoughts when viewing 🙂

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Flickr Fun!

This week I have had a ball playing on Flickr. I am a big photo taker and love sharing my pictures with friends and family, usually on Facebook. This platform is obviously much more suitable for sharing photos and collaborating with groups. It was great to connect to the INN333 2012 group and look at all the photos people were showing. It allowed you to see, in my opinion, people’s personalities alot better as they shone through in their photographs. Overall, Flickr is a great platform to share and collaborate photographs and it is simple to use so it would appeal to a large user group.

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Connecting with Social Networking Sites

This week’s question posed was ‘Do customers want to connect with organisations on social network sites?’ In short my response is a resounding yes, especially for the younger generations who are more familiar with online communities then they are with physical organisations, such as libraries (Cahill, 2009).

From reading ECAR Research Study 8 it is quite obvious that the majority of young people access and utilise social networking sites on a daily basis. They are established in these virtual communities where they can express their opinions, ideas and thoughts in various formats such as blogs, comments, tags, forums and avatars. Not only can they do all this, they can also do it and remain anonymous (Cahill, 2009) and private. These are all reasons why customers would want to connect with organisations through SNS.

Another reason why users would connect through SNS was pointed out by Zaana Howard in that organisations must go to the users, and in today’s technologically savvy world the users are on their SNS such as facebook, twitter, youtube and linkedin. This idea is important especially for a librarian where “it is all about the user” (Cahill, 2009). If an organisation was to put an outpost in an SNS then chances are it will be seen and utilised especially if it allows the users to connect with the organisation through adding content, expressing ideas and providing feedback (Cahill, 2009).

Overall, customers, especially the younger ones, do want to connect with organisations through social network sites. This is because users are already active in these forums and it allows them to comfortably contact organisations in a familiar forum and express their ideas, views and interests anonymously & privately.

References –

Cahill, K. (2009). User-generated content and its impact on web-based library services. Chandos Publishing: Oxford, UK.

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Facebook & Professionals

I found this weeks play activity on Facebook interesting. By completing the play activy, I found an interesting page called Information Professionals

It is a great example of using social media to link people together. It includes posts of articles that relate to the information profesional field and allows a platform for discussions. Also, you can meet new, like minded people there and broaden your social and professional network.

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Yay for Curation in Play!

I found this play activity so much fun! I admit I had never thought about curation before but I love the concept of bringing together resources of different formats and from all over the place. For my collection I have chosen to focus on POMERANIANS because I dont think there are enough of them around 😀 I have my own pomeranian, Bella, who is pretty much a ball of fluff who just barks and sleeps. She is pretty cool. I have tried to include alot of different resources into my collection to show all the different angles of pomeranians. Anyway enough about my current obsession, please enjoy my collection!

[View the story “Pomeranians on the Loose…” on Storify]

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