Thing 23: Reflection

Were there Things that you particularly enjoyed?

This could be a long list as I have enjoyed most of the course, but two things really stand out: Thing 7: Twitter – the Twitter chat was great fun and I have been using Twitter much more regularly since then; and editing Wikipedia (Thing 10) – even though I wrote very little I got a real sense of achievement and the knowledge that it would be possible for me to do more (albeit with a lot of research!). I will look out for another editathon to attend.

Was there a Thing has has either had something in it that surprised you, or one you particularly enjoyed?

Thing 5: Diversity really made me think about white privilege, it was very eye-opening.

Have you been reading the community blogs? How did you find the blogging aspect of the course?

I have read some of the community blogs, especially ones by people who are at roughly the same stage of the course as me. It was interesting and reassuring to see what other people had written about the same Thing.

I was not looking forward to the public blogging aspect of the course, and even considered creating a private Pebblepad blog, but it has been better than I expected. A few people have written comments on my blog posts, which I found really supportive (and probably something that I should have made more effort to do on other people’s blogs). Two things that I have discovered about blogging: You don’t need to write *everything* (I like shorter posts better); and try not rewrite the content too much – it can easily turn into a Sisyphean task, so better just to read it through a couple of times and click Publish.

Did you have any difficulties completing the Things?

Only finding the time to do it. I’m proud that I’ve had the discipline to finish it.

If you were to do a course like this again is there anything you would change, or additional support you would like to see?

I can’t think of anything in particular. I enjoyed being part of a little community and I think that aspect could have been enhanced if there were more people doing the same Thing at the same time and more opportunities for virtual or real-life meet-ups, but then that would make it a different sort of course, and I’ve also enjoyed (and taken advantage of) the freedom to work at my own pace.

If you wrote a blog post at the beginning on what you hoped to gain out of the 23 Things course, looking back on the post do you feel you achieved those goals?

In my first post I wrote:

I hope to find out about digital tools that I haven’t used before (the second half of the course looks especially interesting) and learn a bit more about tools I am already using. I also hope to get a sense of achievement from completing the course, I’ve started a bit late so I’ve got some catching up to do.

These goals have definitely been achieved. I am particularly pleased to have had the opportunity to try out so many new things.

Thing 22: Fun & Play

For this Thing I looked at the Snapchat app. I have used Snapchat before but only a couple of times. It was one of the apps I uninstalled back at Thing 4 because it uses so many permissions. I don’t know anyone else using it – but it’s fun and very easy to make amazing pictures and videos, and it’s simpler than I remembered to download them to your phone. This video lens was my favourite:

(Sorry the video is so big – I can’t work out how to resize it)

Thing 21: Online Games

Hour of Code

I went to the Hour of Code website expecting it to be a single tutorial to work through, so I was surprised to find there are nearly 200 different games to choose from. Helpfully they can be filtered by age, experience and technology. I chose Box Island, which is suitable for all ages, and installed it on my Android phone. It was very easy to use and in less than an hour I had completed the levels and was able to download a certificate (admittedly I did play it on the easiest setting!).

My Hour of Code Certificate of Completion

The Hour of Code website was completely new to me and I’m glad to know about it. I was impressed by the number of games and their apparent quality. It’s not directly relevant to my work, but it’s something I might look at again outside of work.

Nobel Prize Games

I also played some of the Nobel Prize games. These have been created to teach about Nobel Prize-awarded achievements. I played Blood Typing, Lord of the Flies and Control of the Cell Cycle. They were interesting – not really applicable to me, but could be useful to educators in the relevant fields. I could see them being used as resources for students studying for GCSEs or A-levels, for example.

Thing 16: OneNote

I haven’t used OneNote before so I watched Microsoft’s Getting Started with OneNote Guide for Teachers (nice interactive video!). I was surprised by how many different things can be added to a notebook. Then I tried out OneNote, first in the Office 365 online version where I added sections and pages, text, symbols, a picture, a file attachment, a file printout, and an audio recording. I realised that not all the features are available in the online version so I switched to the desktop version and experimented with the Draw tab, including the ‘Ink to Text’ button, which had no problem converting my very wobbly handwriting to text. I also recorded a video, and took a screen clipping and copied the text from it with the built-in optical character recognition (OCR).

This is impressive software and I will be looking out for opportunities to use it in the future.


Thing 20: LinkedIn

I have taken the plunge and joined LinkedIn. I’ve been thinking about it for a while after receiving invitations from a couple of groups I was interested in. I haven’t joined before, partly because I’m not looking for a job at the moment, and partly because I’ve been put off by horror stories about getting lots of emails from them that are very difficult to turn off (not sure how true this it – we’ll see!). I don’t know how much I’m going to use it, but it’s interesting to take a look and I can see how it could be really useful for job hunting – I was impressed by the student case study from the Careers Service.

Thing 19: Altmetrics

I installed the Altmetric bookmarklet in my browser. As I don’t work in research I was a bit stumped as to which paper I should analyse, in the end I decided to look at one from back when I was studying for my PhD (Differences in cue use and spatial ability in men and women). Even though the paper is 10 years old, I was surprised to find it has been mentioned in five tweets and one Wikipedia page, which gives it an attention score in the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric.

Altmetrics for my chosen article

And now it’s mentioned in one blog as well, which makes me think that Altmetrics must be quite easy for the author to influence. However, I can see that they are an interesting addition to traditional impact factors like counting citations in peer-reviewed articles. I especially like that it links to the citations so you can quickly find out who has written about the article and in what context.

Thing 18: Augmented and Virtual Reality

I went to one of the 23 Things drop-in sessions to try out virtual reality. I had a go at the InCell game and was impressed with how well it worked, especially considering there was no high-tech equipment involved – just a mobile phone and an inexpensive pair of goggles. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the Cosmic Rollercoaster app to work on my Moto G phone, probably because it doesn’t have a gyroscope (this is also why I can’t use the augmented reality option in Pokémon Go).

I also tried the QuiverVision augmented reality app. You print off a picture, colour it in, then use the app on your phone to interact with it. This worked quite well once I’d realised you need to use crayons rather than pens to colour in. A volcano picture had a ‘name the parts of the volcano’ quiz – I can see that this sort of thing could be useful in teaching.

QuiverVision’s Penfold the penguin

Thing 17: Geolocation tools

I’ve decided to skip thing 16 (OneNote) for the moment and move on to week 9. I installed the Geocaching app and noticed two geocaches in a local park, so I decided to check them out. However, despite getting to the right place and reading all the clues, I couldn’t find a cache at either site. They were both last found on 3rd November so I suspect they are there, it’s just that I don’t know what I’m looking for or the sort of place they might be hidden. Anyway, it was nice walk on a frosty autumn morning.

Figgate Park, Edinburgh (CC-BY Catherine Koppe)

One geolocation app that I really like is Pokémon Go. I’ve been playing since it was released in July and have caught 99 different types of Pokémon.

Eevee, my favourite Pokemon


Thing 15: Storify

I hadn’t heard of Storify before, but I was very impressed with Charlie’s Storify for the 23 Things Twitter chat so I decided to have a go. I have created a Storify about my experience of the 23 Things course so far. It’s a nice tool – I really like being able to easily add so many different bits from the web. I could see myself potentially using this at work to bring together resources for a particular subject.