b) Technical Knowledge and Ability

DRAFT 10/05/2017
Core Area 1: Operational Issues
b) Technical knowledge and ability in the use of learning technology
I routinely uses a wide range of social media tools and technologies to connect with the community and disseminate education technology innovation and practice.

For the past ten years I have made extensive use of social media tools and technologies to facilitate my work as an education technologist.  Over this period I have built up a suite of tools that form my online working environment.  Some of the main tools I use are as follows.

Blogs [1]

I began blogging in a professional capacity in 2007 and have maintained a professional blog without interruption ever since.  I currently run three learning technology blogs:

  • openscot.net

    Open World lornamcampbell.org – my personal blog which I use to reflect on my professional practice.  This blog also acts as my eportfolio with links to my CV, publications, presentations and other relevant information.  Wordpress running on Reclaim Hosting.

  • Open Scotland openscot.net – acts as a focal point to engage the community and disseminate news and developments relating to all aspects of openness in education in Scotland and further afield. WordPress running on Reclaim Hosting.
  • University of Edinburgh Open Knowledge Network okn.ed.ac.uk – promotes the events and activities of UoE OKN, an informal forum that draws together the University’s strategic policies and activities in the area of Open Data, Open Access, Open Education, Open Research, Open Collections and Archives, in order to support cross-fertilisation and promote the institution’s activities in these areas. WordPress running on University of Edinburgh servers.

I also write occasional posts for other blogs including Wikimedia UK [2], #ALTC [3] and the Open Education Working Group [4].

@LornaMCampbell

Twitter [5]

I have maintained a twitter account since 2009.  In addition to my blog Open World this is my main channel for disseminating practise and connecting with the community.  I use twitter to engage in conversations with colleagues, publicise my own blog posts, reflect on practise, and  retweet items of interest.  In addition I regularly livetweet a wide range of conferences and events, using hashtags to disseminate and collate information I have been invited to provide social media coverage for a number of high profile events including the ALT Conference [6] and the Digital Day of Ideas [7] at the University of Edinburgh.

Storify [8]

I use storify to create curated social media archives of events I have attended, selecting tweets, images and links to create a coherent narrative of these events.

Slideshare

Slideshare [9]

I have a Slideshare account that I use to share my own powerpoint slides, and speakers’ slides from events I have run and facilitated. All presentations are appropriately described and tagged and the majority of my own slides are CC BY licensed.

Skype

I use Skype for one to one conversations with colleagues while working remotely, for project management calls with small groups and for transferring documents and images.

Google Hangouts [10]

I find hangouts tend to be more reliable that Skype for facilitating video conversations with slightly larger groups. The maximum number of people who can actively participate in a video hangout is ten which is an obvious limiting factor, though a much larger number can listen in.  Hangouts can also be streamed directly on to Youtube which makes them a useful broadcasting tool. I tend to find hangouts are useful for project meetings, small committees, broadcast interviews such as the ALT Community Call below, and Virtually Connecting sessions [11].

Project management with Google Drive

Google Drive

Google Drive is one of the most valuable tools I use for creating, sharing and managing documents.  (The other is DropBox.)  I frequently use Google Drive as a cloud storage space to enable me to access documents from multiple devices, however its real value for me is in facilitating collaborative working and document authoring.  I have routinely used Google Docs and Google Sheets collaborative functionality to author project reports, draft funding bids, write papers, chapters and books, manage projects and finances, peer review papers, and organise conferences and events.  The ability to suggest edits and add comments while retaining a fine grained revision history is invaluable for collaborative working.

Reflection

It’s no exaggeration to say that my use of social media technology has been fundamental to shaping my personal and professional identity as an open practitioner and as a learning technologist. Communication and dissemination has always been a critically important part of my role, and as someone who frequently works remotely and with distributed teams scattered across the institution, the country, the world, social media provides me with an invaluable channel to talk to colleagues, reflect on my practice, seek feedback from my peers, and participate and engage with the global connected open education community.

My use of Twitter and WordPress blogs is so fundamental to the way I work that I genuinely don’t think I could do my job effectively without access to these tools. Twitter in particular is my workspace, my office, engage with my peers and connect to colleagues all over the world.  It’s where I pick up news, find new ideas, and listen to fresh perspectives. It’s where continuous professional development happens and where I learn.

Twitter is also an invaluable tool for communicating and disseminating educational events all kinds of and it’s become second nature for me to live tweet every event I attend. I find that live tweeting helps me to process what I’m listening to and the 140 character limit means I have to synthesise the ideas as I go along.

Live tweeting in an official capacity  for events such as the ALT Conference [12] requires a slightly different approach to live tweeting from my own personal account.  When I live tweet on behalf of an event organiser I try to keep my tweets as factual, neutral and representative as possible.  It’s important not to misrepresent the speaker or inadvertently tweet anything that might bring the organisation into disrepute.  If I’m tweeting personally, I tend to tweet the points that interest or irritate me, adding my own thoughts and comments along the way. It feels like quite a different way to use the technology.

Live tweeting ALTC

Me and Rich Goodman livetweeting at ALTC by www.chrisbullphotographer.com

Despite the fact that twitter is such an important channel for me, I actually use very few Twitter tools. I have tweetbot installed for occasions when I want to manage multiple accounts but I prefer to use the generic web interface.  I have several lists set up, but I very rarely use them, I prefer not to filter as I particularly appreciate the random serendipity of my Twitter feed.  The only twitter tools I use with any regularity are Storify, for collating event tweets, and TAGs for archiving and visualising tweets associated with event hashtags.

Although the suite of tools I use meets my current requirements, I still make an effort to explore new social media technologies as they emerge, so that I can have an informed opinion on new technology developments and how they may or may not be applicable for teaching and learning in general and my own personal practice in particular.

Another important aspect of my social media use is that it allows me to maintain my professional profile and portfolio when my role changes.  As someone who has worked for much of their academic career on multiple project and short term contracts I have found it useful to curate a professional profile outwith the bounds of the institution.   Maintaining my own social media channels provides some continuity and avoids the disruption that can be caused by contracts ending and having to migrate from one role or institution to another, with all the technology interoperability issues that this can entail.  In order to ensure I have greater control over my personal blog Open World I recently transferred my blog from WordPress.com to Reclaim Hosting, the service that provides domains and web hosting for students and educators.

Despite or perhaps because, I use social media tools and channels so routinely, I don’t always give these technologies as much thought and consideration as I perhaps should.  I was able to address this issue in the Autumn of 2016 when I enrolled for 23 Things for Digital Knowledge, the award-winning self-directed course from the University of Edinburgh that aims to introduce learners to a range of digital tools for their personal and professional development.  Although I was already an experienced user of many of the tools the course covered, 23 Things gave me a great opportunity to step back and actually think about how I use these technologies to present myself online and engage with my peers [13]. Although I was unable to finish the course due to work commitments, I found 23 Things to be an enjoyable and thought provoking experience and I hope to pick up where I left off later this year

23 Things, CC BY 2.0 The University of Edinburgh

Evidence

  1. Blogs – Open World lornamcampbell.org, Open Scotland openscot.net, UoE Open Knowledge Network okn.ed.ac.uk,
  2. Campbell, L.M., (2016), Open Archaeology and the Digital Cultural Commons, Wikimedia UK Blog, https://blog.wikimedia.org.uk/2016/11/open-archaeology-and-the-digital-cultural-commons/
  3. Campbell, L.M., (2014), Marvellous Monsters: thoughts on the #altc 2014 keynotes, ALT Blog, https://altc.alt.ac.uk/blog/2014/11/marvellous-monsters-thoughts-on-the-altc-2014-keynotes/
  4. Campbell, L.M., (2016) An Overview of Open Education policy ad Practice in Scotland, Open Knowledge Open Education Working Group https://education.okfn.org/an-overview-of-open-education-policy-and-practice-in-scotland/
  5. @LornaMCampbell on Twitter https://twitter.com/LornaMCampbell
  6. Connecting, collaborating and creating #altc: your posts and thanks to our social media team, https://www.alt.ac.uk/news/all_news/connecting-collaborating-and-creating-altc-your-posts-and-thanks-our-social-media-team
  7. From: A E Lang
    Subject: Digital Day thanks
    Date: 21 May 2016 at 11:12:56 BST
    To: OSBORNE Nicola, CAMPBELL Lorna
    Hi Nicola and Lorna
    Thank you both very much for coming to the Digital Day and giving participants the benefits of your expertise on academic social media in a workshop. I talked to many people who, though they were clearly apprehensive about starting their own blogging/tweeting lives, now felt like they were in a much better position to begin doing so. I’m also deeply grateful to you for generating the digital record of the day with your own blogging and tweeting – I can’t do much more than amplify other people’s interesting thoughts while I’m at a conference, and I continue to be amazed at your ability to capture things in depth in real-time! We’ll put links to those up on the digital.hss.ed.ac.uk website, but it may take a week or so as there’s a lot of mopping up to do, so forgive me if we’re not as lightning-fast as the two of you!
    Regards
    Anouk
  8. Lorna M. Campbell’s Stories on Storify, https://storify.com/LornaMCampbell
  9. Lorna M. Campbell’s slides and presentaitons on Slideshare, https://www.slideshare.net/LornaMCampbell/edit_my_uploads
  10. ALT Community Hangout Lorna Campbell on Open Education, Technology and Practice https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_i47gUBBr6U
  11. Vconnecting at #ALTC with Fiona Harvey and Lorna Campbell onsite buddy Teresa MacKinnon, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqsi9lvcrBs
  12. Campbell, L.M., (2016), Social Media at ALTC Connect, Collaborate and Create, http://lornamcampbell.org/higher-education/altc-connect-collaborate-and-create/
  13. Campbell, L.M., (2016), 23 Things blog posts, http://lornamcampbell.org/tag/23thingseduni/