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Archive for the ‘Productivity’ Category

What We’re Reading

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Stack of magazines viewed from corner

 

Summer can  be a great time to catch up on reading. Here are a few things we’ve been reading that you might find interesting or useful too.

What did you read over the summer? Share with us on Facebook or Twitter your favorites!

 

Top Teaching and Learning Tools: Part 2

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Last week I shared with you a list of Top 100 Tools for Learning from the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies and how we at the NTC take advantage of the top 5 tools. This week, I’ll continue to share some of the technologies on the list and ideas for how you might use them in your own teaching and learning. Of course, we welcome your feedback and ideas for additional ways to take advantage of what the technologies offer.

phone with generic app icons

6. Evernote: Evernote is a tool I use daily in my work environment, but not one that the NTC “officially” uses. I keep short-term and long-term to do lists (I love the checkboxes), a list of books to read, and a standard packing list in Evernote. I use it to take and organize notes at meetings and conferences. One feature I really like is that I can take a picture with my tablet or phone and embed the picture in my Evernote note. This is especially useful if you just took a bunch of notes on a whiteboard and want to capture them for later. Your notes synch across your devices, so you always have them available.

7. Dropbox: Dropbox is a file storage tool that synchs across platforms and can be great for collaborating. When we travel for classes, I keep a copy of class materials in Dropbox just in case I have trouble accessing any of the other 3 locations where I have them stored. You can share files and folders without having to email them back and forth.

8. WordPress: You’re seeing our version of WordPress right now! We use WordPress as our webpage, the home page of which functions as a blog. While the content of the home page changes regularly, we keep semi-static pages as well. Do you use a blog in your own teaching or work? We’ve worked with one librarian who created a blog for a group of pediatric residents and posted any of their presentations from Grand Rounds so they would have them all in one place and could also use commenting features to ask questions. She also posted reference questions and resources to the blog as well.

9. Facebook: Are you following us on Facebook? We post our blog content on Facebook, as well as advertise new classes, post photos from our in-person classes and occasionally post a survey. Do you use Facebook in a teaching or learning capacity? We’ve heard of libraries and librarians that answer basic and reference questions on Facebook, but let us know how you use it!

10. Google+/Hangouts: The NTC doesn’t have Google+ account, but I’ve used the hangout feature for a larger group meeting (7 or 8 people), and it seemed to work well. It allows you to take advantage of webcams and you can share screen as well. Have you used hangouts?

11. Moodle: Moodle is the NTC’s course management system, so if you’ve ever taken a class with us, you’ve used Moodle. Moodle is a pretty versatile platform – we can create quizzes, have a discussion forum, share videos and tutorials, and many other types of content. It’s free, and open-source which gives it a little extra appeal. You can try out Moodle’s demo site as well.

Share with us on Facebook or Twitter how you use these tools!

 

Who’s the Boss?

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Tell Technology you’re Boss! 3 Tips from blogger TalentCulture from Brazen Careerist.

While technology has helped us all take great strides, sometimes it’s good to scale back a little. Here are 3 ideas to rein in technology.

1) Make an email policy.

What do you do when you just want to check your Inbox and you see a time sensitive email? TalentCulture suggests: Everyone has 24 hours to reply to all non-emergency emails; build in a time buffer, just to be on the safe side

2) Be Here Now.

Try having a device-free meeting (other than the presentation computer) so people can be more engaged and less distracted. I worked for an organization that held an annual planning meeting. I remember more than once not being able to use a computer during the day-long meeting.

3) Say Goodbye.

TalentCulture says: “When you’re away from the office, leave the office behind.” We know that sometimes that isn’t possible, but having a designated place to work and a place to leave work behind (even at home) is important. It’s good to unplug from work.

Unplug, Eat Lunch, Be Productive

Monday, October 28th, 2013

The NTC blog focuses on PubMed, training and presentation tips, adult learning principles and more. This blog entry is going to tell you to forget all about that…for just a little while.  I recently received an email with the heading: HATE HAPPINESS? THEN KEEP EATING LUNCH AT YOUR DESK. Well, that caught my eye. A recent article in Fast Company talks about the personal and work benefits of not only breaking for lunch, but moving away from your desk (completely away, not just away from your computer screen).

Sometimes I think we take more care in recharging our phones than ourselves. It’s a fact of life. We must eat to charge our body. Chris Cunningham an organizational psychologist at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga told the Wall Street Journal in a recent interview that where, how, and who we eat with is as important as what you eat.

The gist is…our work can drain us emotionally and drain us of our energy. Unplugging during lunch (a walk, lunch with a friend, a personal phone call) can help recharge us and keep us productive for the rest of the day. We may not be able to take a full hour, but every little bit helps!

Outliners

Monday, October 21st, 2013

OMG! I sat down to write this post, but first I did a search of the NTC blog to see when I had last written about mind mapping tools. OMG again! The date was October 20, 2011. Almost exactly 2 years ago today.

Mind mapping tools help you visually organize a topic using boxes and circles and connecting arrows…oh my! Click here to see some very elaborate examples.  With mind mapping tools you can include content (text, files and links) so you can build the topic as you go along. Mapping tools often save your work in a proprietary format which may not retain formatting when you export into Word, for example. 

Fast forward 2 years and now let’s talk about outliners (not as pretty as mind mappers). As of last week, I had never heard of this type of program. Outliners are similar to mind mappers, but with outliners there is more emphasis on the text or content you are developing. From the Outliners of Giants site: “Outliners combine the functionality of a word processor with the ability to give a tangible structure to interrelated blocks of information.” The outlining tool is almost like a puzzle waiting to be assembled.

I read the article linked below and I tried the free version of The Outliner of Giants. I was preparing for a meeting and I thought the tool would be a good way to capture some of my thoughts and then use the outline as a collaboration tool during the meeting. You don’t need to create an account, Outliner of Giants connects to your Google Drive account (Use your regular Google login). You can export to Google Drive and continue to edit the document or you can export to Word from Google Drive and continue working on the document.

Follow this link to read about 5 outliner tools:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2038607/5-free-tools-to-organize-your-thoughts.html

Completely Obsessive Apps

Monday, November 19th, 2012

David Allen is a ‘getting things done’ guru. The CEO of Intentional Software was a chief developer for Microsoft Office. Together, they are working on an app that they say we need. An app that is “obsessively helpful and completely app-agnostic”. They want the experience to be about you, not the interface or the data mining process.

Live online chat with David Allen tomorrow, November 20th at noon CT/1 ET. Follow the links below.

Read about Getting Things Done:
http://www.fastcompany.com/3003010/how-official-getting-things-done-app-will-free-your-mind-and-empty-your-inboxes

Log into chat: http://live.fastcompany.com/Event/GTD_QA_With_Getting_Things_Done_Author_David_Allen?5g5