23 Things, Thing 13

Reflection week! To start, enjoy this youtube video from the user 100disks featuring their kitten and a mirror.

Right, now all the reflection-related cuteness is over, I shall start reflecting upon the more serious topic of 23 Things so far!

In the original Cam23 post for Thing 13, Libby Tilley recommends taking the VARK questionnaire which apparently will allow for you to gain some insight into your preferred learning technique and style. I often take these sort of tests with a pinch of salt because often I find the questions to be either too specific, not specific enough or just plain weird so the result tends to be as confused as I was when selecting my answers.

However, the VARK questionnaire was refreshingly accurate. According to my results, I scored quite low on the visual and read/write learning techniques, which didn’t surprise me at all, and I scored fairly high on the aural technique and extremely high on the tongue-twister term of kinesthetic learning.

According to Wikipedia, kinesthetic learning is,  a learning style in which learning takes place by the student actually carrying out a physical activity, rather than listening to a lecture or merely watching a demonstration. It is also referred to as tactile learning. People with a kinesthetic learning style are also commonly known as do-ers.”

I would say that this definition describes my preferred learning style perfectly. As a result, I feel that I have gained a considerable amount for 23 Things based purely on the delivery style. By encouraging participants to actively go out and test the new gadgets, website and other tools themselves and then report back on what they found, everyone has a chance to learn kinesthetically. Obviously, as I have already said, this style works great for me but I feel that it should work well for a lot of other people too. By going through the motions, so-to-speak, and having a hands-on experience of the new tech that we’ve been exploring, I think that people will be able to remember things better rather than having to trawl through a massive textbook covering essentially the same subject areas.

But learning approaches aside, have I actually gained anything for the experience thus far?

I would say that I have gained a huge amount. If nothing else, I have dabbled in areas that I would never have gone near if the decision was solely down to me. For example, as I mentioned in my post about Thing 7, I would never have even signed up to Twitter if it had not been a set activity for 23 Things. Even though I still remain unconvinced as to how much I personally would use something like Twitter, I can see the application options for a library-based scenario and I can at least say that I have tried it, even if I did not like it very much.

I have enjoyed a lot of other things that I had already used or had wanted to use but had not had the chance to do so. For example, I already have a Flickr account but when Thing 10 came along, I had the chance to explore a facet of Flickr that I had never even really been aware of. Now I know more about the Creative Commons licencing system, I can use images more effectively, credit authors better and be more aware of the growing community of people who are happy to share their work for free (with conditions of course!). As for things that I had never had the chance to use before, I enjoyed using Delicious, learning about RSS feeds and working my way through the world of Slideshare.

I feel that everything that we have covered so far have been incredibly useful. I guess I always hoped that 23 Things would be a useful Web 2.0 programme to get involved with but I have been pleasantly suprised as to how much I have gotten from following the different Things and blogging about them. I certainly feel lot more confident in an area that I thought I was already fairly good in but soon realised that there was still lots more to learn! By blogging about the various Things, I have been able to work through potential application ideas for the various things that we have learnt so far. For example, I had the idea of using Flickr’s note application to effectively describe how to use a UL photocopier and in the comments for this post, Magistra et Mater made the excellent suggestion of using such Flickr techniques to explain the often confusing UL classmarking system in a more visual way.

When I started 23 Things, I promised myself that I would try and blog on a weekly basis and keep up with each Thing fairly effortlessly. Of course, that never happened and so if I had the chance to do 23 Things again, I would try to set aside a bit more time to blog more regularly rather than having to try and do many posts in one sitting, which isn’t always best. Saying that though, time and work always will get in the way so I think that anyone who may be in a similar situation to me should not feel too bad about not keeping up. We still have until the 27th August to get it all done!

If I could recommend any of the Things to a colleague or friend, I would probably recommend the Doodle poll site. Not only can you personalise the poll to whatever task you need to complete, it is incredibly easy to share via email and to gauge how many people you can expect before the meeting/event/other is even upon you.
Overall, I have been very happy with 23 Things so far and I cannot wait to get cracking on the next few Things. LibraryThing (Thing 14) looks especially exciting! Good luck everyone and roll on the 27th August!

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