It has been great to get out and meet people again this week: in Leeds on Wednesday and Taunton on Thursday. At both venues, it was good to meet old friends and colleagues and to make new acquaintances.
One of the things I’ve missed about my most recent work (2012) being mainly office based has been the lack of face-to-face human contact. There are various points of view regarding the fitness for purpose and value of online learning/collaboration and I have to say that I have argued for many of its positive aspects in the past, yet I believe that online activities can only be truly effective if there is some planned human contact as part of the process.
Being out and about and meeting people again has been great for me, I thrive on it.
I wrote last week about the new TechDis ‘Voices’ and this week I will touch upon the new ‘Toolbox’ facility. Perhaps later, when I have finished with the RSC summer fairs, I will reflect more on online distance learning and communications.
“[Toolbox] is a collection of resources which give useful hints and tips on technologies that can help individuals work smarter, quicker and more efficiently. JISC TechDis has a history of providing simple easy-to-use resources for tutors and lecturers. Here we have shifted our focus and Toolbox is aimed directly at the end users – the learners themselves. ” http://www.jisctechdis.ac.uk/techdis/news/detail/2012/ND2012Launch
As the above quote suggests, the Toolbox resources are aimed at learners rather than at teachers (although teachers are learners too!) When I was asked to create one small section of the site, it was suggested that I put myself in the shoes of someone who had never opened a computer before and to try and explain to that person how they might ‘Get started with Windows (7)’. That was an enlightening exercise, I can tell you because I’d never used Windows 7 at the time. I had stopped using Windows Vista in some despair and had become a Mac enthusiast. That ‘distance’ made it much easier for me to imagine the virginal adult user and hopefully, the resources I made are as acceptable and usable as those created by my fellow authors.
The Toolbox page is divided into ‘drawers’. Following the Toolbox semiotic, each drawer contains a different type of tool:
- Using Technology: features subjects like Working in Windows, Microsoft Office, Working in Mac OSX and many more.
- Planning and Organisation: featuring; managing your messages, finding information (amongst others).
- Communicating: Presenting yourself, Reading tools, Writing tools (and so on).
- Teamworking: Team planning, Team communication, Collaboration etc.
- Different needs: Vision, Hearing, Mobility to name just a few subjects in this section.
You may well recognise some of the different voices featured in each section (drawer) – and hopefully, you will recommend this site to colleagues and friends who may find something useful amongst the many resources to be found there. Let us know what you think.