Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Thing 23 - What Next?

Ok - Thing 23 - where do I go from here?
I am not in the mood for a PDP as this is already a part of my Chartership and I have just updated the original one I sent to CILIP at the beginning with an Outcomes column so I can see exactly when and how I achieved/didn't quite achieve those things I set out to do.  Therefore I thought I'd try a SWOT analysis instead


PLN – keeping up to date

Excellent LRC staff

Support of professional body

Lots of Things to do/try

Freedom to use initiative

Creative & Innovative

Linking to teaching & learning




Sixth Form role taking too much time

Being new at the job

My 'prickly' nature

Balancing work/life

Actually implementing Things – finding the time

Lurking too much online and being in my own bubble

Fear and personal insecurity

Sixth Form role


Ideal environment to try some Things out with students/staff

Web 2.0 & new technologies actually in new job description

City wide Librarian development

Pop Up Library Idea

New English Bac qualification


Sixth Form role

Economic climate affect on school funding

Demands/use of LRC due to timetabling/rooming/size of school

Fear of stagnating – been in role/school too long

New English Bac qualification 

My biggest aim is to complete my Chartership and I have set myself the end of this academic year (July 2013) as my final, final date, although I would love to get it done before then.  After that, I don't honestly know.  Chartering has been on my horizon since 2005 (OFSTED, husband in hospital for almost a year in total, having a baby, being on maternity leave, procrastination) and I haven't really looked further than that.  My experiences with my ever increasing virtual network is beginning to show me that there is more to life than my LRC/Library, but just exactly what, I am not sure.  I was only saying yesterday that I never thought I would be in the same organization for this long, but what could be out there, I honestly don't know.   My interest is also piqued by the fact that my sixth form role appears in three out of the four boxes and not the Strength one so this is a definite place to start.

Finally to finish:- six word stories to describe my experience of CPD23:
  • Cannot believe I have finished it
  • Oh my goodness, what an achievement
  • Finish chartership next or die trying
  • Didn't think I would finish it
  • Learned a lot, now to do/use/try/explore
Oh, and I will continue blogging because it really is a great tool to get my thoughts in order and I have learned so much from other peoples' blogs in the last few years. 

Monday, 15 October 2012

Thing 22 - Volunteering

Hmm - volunteering - bit of a thorny issue perhaps.  Personally I have never volunteered in libraries.  I don't think this has been a conscious decision however, more a fact that when I have needed experience the opportunities have been there to be paid.  As recorded in previous Things, when I wanted to get into libraries I was lucky enough to be offered a position as a Casual in my city Lending Library, grabbing any hours which came my way.  Again, when I needed experience outside of the lending library (having got a contract for 14 hours a week) I was able to pick up extra hours at various branch libraries.  I then managed to get a temporary job in the City Reference Library which again gave me valuable experience, indeed the only volunteering I can really think I did was ostensibly for my MSc dissertation which I was originally going to do on the People's Network and I offered to take the minutes so I could sit in on the SMT's meetings.  However this didn't last long as I moved into school librarianship and so changed the focus of my dissertation to something more relevant. 
I have however given others the opportunity to volunteer.  In about 2005 I received a request from a lady who had just left the Armed Forces, asking if she could volunteer in the LRC; she was anxious to move into libraries and so was trying to get as much different library experience as she could.  She worked with me for two weeks in total and I think it was a fairly positive experience for her as she ended up applying for a school librarian post in the city and getting it.  I recall the Principal of the school ringing me up to have a chat about her and the work she did with me and 7 years later she is still there and doing great work.  On a personal note, I would just not be able to find the time.  Everytime I visit my daughter's school I make a beeline for the library to 'check' it out and wish that I had the time to 'volunteer' in there.  The librarian in me aches to sort and weed the non-fiction (Dewey), to create some book displays and to just generally give it a tidy, but a) I am too scared I would be treading on a TA's toes and b) I work full time in a school so getting in there would be nigh on impossible.  
Having reflected on my personal volunteering history (practically nil), I am going to consider the very thorny issue of volunteers in libraries which has come about recently because of many councils looking to replace qualified and/or experienced library staff with unpaid volunteers so as to cut costs.  They will say it is so local communities can run their libraries in the best way to serve the needs of that area and who is more equipped to do this than the people who live in that area; if this is true and such a vital service, then surely these people should be reimbursed for their time and expertise just like......oh, lets see, librarians.  Typing volunteers in libraries into Google brings up hit after hit of public library services asking for volunteers and I was interested to see one authority make clear the difference between volunteers and their proposed community run libraries which will be run by volunteers with support and guidance from part time paid members of staff (no mention of any professional qualifications however) and it is at this point where I want to stand up for the profession.
I have nothing against people volunteering in libraries WHEN it is alongside paid professional and/or experienced staff.  Using volunteers INSTEAD of paid professional/and or experienced staff is demeaning for both the profession and the library users.  I have worked extremely hard to achieve my professional qualification and in the various library roles and responsibilities I have held, to believe that someone with no experience can just come in and do my job.  Regarding the library users, fulfilling their needs (whether it be information, a book to read, access to the Internet, just a friendly smile) is so much more than just stamping a book.  Placing it in the context of my school LRC; the LRC Manager and Assistant are currently working on a variety of projects under my leadership including building genre lists on our VLE, working with a pilot group of students to begin tagging fiction books with reviews as part of the OPAC record, collating data on usage of staff pedagogy books, implementing Goodreads with a pilot post 16 group AS WELL as planning activities for National Non-Fiction Day, answering enquiries, supervising students etc etc etc.  I should also add that the LRC Manager has got 10 years experience of library work, albeit all under my leadership and management and the LRC Assistant has years of working for Waterstones including as a store manager.  Whilst I accept that volunteers are great for front desk work, I think that there should always be paid, professional staff to do that behind the scenes stuff.  Who, for example, buys the books based on borrowing figures, local demographics, supply and demand statistics; who keeps the website up to date and keeps the library in touch with its users through Facebook, Twitter; who maintains the database with details of local community groups; who plans, delivers and evaluates sessions on how to use the Internet/email/social media..... I could go on, but would be here forever. 
As part of this Thing, I read Phil Bradley's (CILIP President) blog post (1)  on Volunteers in Public Libraries (this sector  is mainly where the furore is coming from) from May 2012 in which he defended CILIP's 2010 policy and a subsequent 2012 version on volunteers in libraries.  First of all I believe wholeheartedly Phil's statement that  "a library without a librarian isn’t a library, it’s a collection of books" and I applaud him for coming out in support of the profession so firmly.  For me it is the statement found within the policy (2) itself  "In order to optimise the value of that contribution, [use of volunteers] should form part of a professionally managed public library service that has at its core sufficient paid staff to ensure the direction, development and quality of the service provided.”  Volunteers are great in libraries which/should be at the heart of every community, whether it be on a university campus, within a school, in a town centre, a prison to name a few, but only when working alongside paid staff whose responsibility it is to maintain the level of service.  Many community groups, (Girls & Boys Brigade, Scouts, Guides, choirs, toddler groups, Not so Nimble clubs etc) only survive because of the generosity of volunteers who give their time and labour for free and such is the current state of Britain in the recession, it may well be the case that some libraries will only survive if we bring in volunteers.  Now volunteers can be as passionate about libraries as any paid professional/experienced library staff, but the level of service cannot be maintained, developed, improved upon without those professional and/or experienced library staff who have the knowledge, backed up by degrees, CPD, CILIP membership etc, AND the passion.
I understand the argument in the current economic climate about a library being better than no library, but those run by volunteers can be no more than a book exchanging service and as I truly believe that libraries are far more than that, I cannot in my heart of hearts support the idea that volunteers, however well meaning and passionate they are about the service, can run a library (who would ensure that the budget is spent fairly and equitably, based on a thorough understanding of the community's needs) and that is even before we get onto the nitty gritty such as what happens if the volunteers are ill, want a holiday, want a lie-in?  I applaud CILIP for saying that they (on my behalf) will not provide training for volunteers where it is apparent that they are replacing "qualified, trained and paid library and information workers"  (3) and I feel quite proud when it clearly says that
"high quality information services are vital to people’s lives, and local communities, learners, workers and businesses need the support of a trained and skilled workforce to thrive". (4), because libraries are high quality, information services and more than just a book repository.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Thing 21

When I saw this Thing, my first thought was that this doesn't apply to me.  I have worked in the same institution for 11 years and although my role has changed, none of the changes required me to apply for them or have an interview.  With regards to the Careers Coordinator role, I did put together a proposal detailing why I was the right person for the job, but the Assistant Head of Sixth Form role was offered to me in light of how my original role had subsumed some of the duties naturally.  I do however need a CV for my Chartership portfolio, so I will be returning to that part of the task at a later date, so for now I am going to think about 'me': what I like to do, my hobbies, interests and what I like about my job. Having had a chance to think about this, I can see why this is a useful thing to do.  It goes back to my original reason for wanting to be a librarian and part of Thing 20; when asked what it was about my BA in English and History that I really liked, I replied "the reading and the research". I loved finding out about things; researching; using multiple sources; knowing I had 'done' a source, i.e. got all the information I needed from it.  

So many years down the line, here is what I like doing now for fun in no particular order:
  • Reading mainly children's older literature: Enid Blyton, Elinor Brent Dyer, Antonia Forrest, Lorna Hill, Elsie Oxenham, Malcolm Saville and Arthur Ransome  I also like historical fiction, especially Plantagenet and Tudor times as well as Bernard Knight's Crowner John series. 
  • Keeping a clean and tidy house - this also extends rather obsessively to a clean LRC
  • Disney films
  • Eating out
  • Shopping
  • Being with my daughter and husband
  • My Christian faith - going to church, being a Sunday School teacher
Now what about my job?
  • Working with the students
  • My LRC - it will always be my LRC deep down, even though I may not be the one with day to day responsibility anymore. However I took it on when the Public Library service had just pulled out meaning that it was no longer a dual use library.  How it looks today is because of me (I am honestly not showing off at this point.  For ages I was a virtual solo librarian)
  • Being part of an organisation with a really clear purpose; the education of young people.  I like that there is a clear goal to work for such as preparing students for their GCSEs, A-Levels, university etc
  • Convenience - my husband works in the same school
  • Satisfaction of knowing I play an important part in matching students up to the right courses for them, whether it be GCSEs, A -levels, degrees, apprenticeships etc.  This year I was involved in setting up my institution's first ever apprenticeship, doing the initial research for the Business Manager and then supporting the student with his application to the National Apprenticeship Service
  • Trying out new ideas in the LRC like Web 2.0 technologies, finding new resources, learning how they work, best ways to promote them to students and staff
  • Buying books still!
  • Planning research based lessons.  I loved working with Science this year helping them deliver the case study coursework element to the students
Making this list has only really confirmed what I really knew and have been 'fighting' for recently as my new job description is written.  I want to be a librarian and although I may have digressed a bit with the Careers and Sixth Form role, if I should leave it will have to be for an information professional role, preferably in education as that will give me that feeling of satisfaction and fulfilment.  I have always made sure that the main aspects of my role are information based; I still have strategic management responsibility for the LRC and my sixth form responsibility is predominantly IAG (information, advice and guidance); signposting students to relevant resources regarding their future aspirations, responding to their requests for advice and support with which courses to take, apprenticeships to apply for etc and coordinating with the external careers service we buy in as a school so as to ensure that the students can access impartial advice and guidance as well.  Nevertheless there are times when I wish I could still 'be' in the LRC all day every day which suggests to me that libraries are what really does it for me.

As far as interviews are concerned, the most recent advice I was ever given was from a headteacher who was also a university admissions tutor and who had come to visit my Year 13 students to give them some advice with their personal statements as part of their UCAS application.  He said that 'body language' tells us volumes about an applicant, whether they smile, gesticulate, are animated about why they want to study a particular degree etc.  It might be one of the most nerve wracking times of your life, being interviewed, but you have to look as if you are enjoying it.  I suppose that if you really want something (a job, a place on a degree), then your passion will shine through. 

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Thing 20 - Library Roots

Ok, I'm on a bit of a roll here, getting started on another Thing in the same Sunday afternoon, but it is cold and windy outside, my husband has the football on and my five year old daughter is cuddled up asleep and a chance to think about why I went into the library profession. 
Before I started I took a look at the blog 'A Desk Set of One' by Ruthie Saylor and can honestly say, much of what she wrote I can really empathise with and say 'So did I' or 'That's so me'.  I adored reading as a child, still do of course and have passed down my love of books to my daughter who this week at the age of 5 and four weeks into Year 1, became a free reader, meaning she has worked her way through the set books (Biff & Kipper etc) and can now read what she likes (within reason of course).  I loved Enid Blyton (so does she - it is Amelia Jane for her at the moment), Lorna Hill, Antonia Forrest, Elinor Brent Dyer, Anne Digby, Ruby Ferguson and I still do love them, preferring to reread these more than ever.  I also loved my local public library, doing BookTrack at least twice, but I never thought about being a librarian.  My experiences of librarians were mostly good, but there are a few memories which really stick in my mind and now make me determined that I won't be like that.  One was a library assistant in my public library who sneered/criticised my choice of reading at the tender age of 11 when I was into the Sweet Dreams series of books; an American, sweetly romantic series of books in which girls of 16 always got the boy of their dreams, even if they didn't know it at first.  The other memory is really a lack of one, in that I cannot remember much about my school librarian and my school library except it was a place to hide from the popular kids in about Year 8 or 9 and where you spent your free periods in the sixth form.  There was nothing else; no Information Literacy lessons, dedicated study support, library inductions.  I can't even remember their being any book displays or anything. 
After A-Levels, I went to university and studied a BA Honours degree in English and Contemporary History, combining my two great loves - reading and reading about history.  Strangely enough my favourite part of both my two university libraries (Rolle College in Exmouth, part of Plymouth University and Aberystwyth) were the children's sections aimed at those students training to be teachers as I was transported back to those books I had loved in my childhood which possibly tells you why I ended up where I am now.  It was only after I graduated with my BA 2:1, that I had to start thinking about what I wanted to do as a career; up till now I had just wanted to go to university and read English.  I was really stuck in a dead end job which I hated (working in a clothes shop), when my then boyfriend asked me 'but what did you enjoy best about university?  To which, I replied naturally 'reading and finding out about things'.  Suffice it to say, that was it.  I applied for several jobs in my local public library service, getting turned down for two in the Resources & Technical Services Unit before being offered a casual position in the Central Lending Library.  I then managed to get a permanent position for 14 hours a week, desperately picking up as many cover hours as possible anywhere - branch libraries, reference, mobile - to make as near a full time job as I could manage.
Once I had been at the Central Library a year, I began to ask 'what now....?'  I wasn't sure if just issuing and discharging books was what I wanted to do forever.  I began to ask questions as to: How do you get promotion?  What other jobs were there that I could do?  How did you get to choose which books to buy?  I was then put in touch with another member of staff who was doing her BA in ILS distance learning with Aberystwyth and by September 1999, about 15 months after starting as a casual, I had begun my MSc in Information & Library Studies.  During the first three years of my PG Diploma in ILS, I continued to get as much library experience as possible, including a temporary position in the Central Reference Library and then becoming Central Lending Library Coordinator; a non professional position, managing about 15 members of staff.  Unfortunately this was not what I or some of the other staff had hoped for and for a few awkward months I suffered a degree of resentment from some people who felt I had usurped them, still being a comparative newcomer to the profession.  
Which is why I ended up going for a post as a School Librarian and where I still am today, although in a very different role from what I originally took.  It wasn't a promotion as the original position was on a pro-rata salary, but it was a professional post and although I wasn't to qualify for my MSc for two years, the Principal employed me providing I completed my professional qualification.  My role at the school has changed dramatically in 11 years from Librarian, to LRC Manager and Careers Coordinator in 2003, to Learning Resource Coordinator with whole school responsibility in 2005 and then Assistant Head of Sixth Form, 11 - 19 CEIAG AND Learning Resource Coordinator.  My staffing has changed too as I now line manage a full time LRC Manager and a part-time LRC Assistant which leaves me as a middle manager to strategically manage the LRC, considering its place and development within the curriculum. 
Am I happy?  I think so, although there are occasions when I worry that my sixth form  responsibilities overwhelm the library side of my job.  Although I have always been careful to keep my job based in information; my role for sixth form and careers is very much IAG (information, advice and guidance) focused which draws on my professional background all the time, the very nature of a large and busy sixth form means that I can get distracted easily.  Nevertheless my chartership is very much ongoing - this blog is a record of that and I really need to get back on track with that so I can charter by the end of the school year.  What are my job prospects outside of schools?  I am not sure, but I think that my new job description retains enough library and information based work to ensure that I keep up my professionalism. 

Thing 18 and 19

Still playing catch up and a bit daunted by Thing 18 as I haven't really used much screen capture software e.g. Jing or podcasts, but I have looked briefly at Screen-cast-a-matic and Goanimate as ways to interact more fully with the students at school and to engage them a bit more with the LRC and its resources.  The concept of the 'flipped classroom' is one which I am focusing on at the moment, particularly for post 16 students as this ties in with my Assistant Head of Sixth Form role as well.  The idea behind the flipped classroom is that teachers or educators are now using technology to 'lecture' or teach the content to the students at home which then frees them up to do the real learning at school with the teacher.  In the past the lesson would have consisted of the teacher delivering the content with the student then doing the work at home unsupervised and with no support from either the teacher or their fellow students.  

The first way I thought about using screen capture software was as an LRC Induction.  Often when we have done inductions in the past I have felt that I have wasted precious time on Dewey, opening hours and everyday minatue like how many books can be borrowed.  For the past several years, we have used question dice to get the students to ask the questions they want to know about the LRC, a more cooperative version of Cephalonian Method? which makes the Librarian more of the Meddler in the Middle role and not the Sage on the Stage.  So this year we experimented briefly with Goanimate; making an animated video of cartoon characters 'discussing the LRC' which could then be put onto YouTube with a link from our Oliver homepage. I had seen some really good  uses of Goanimate by our Head of English who had created some fantastic revision videos of texts studied at GCSES and had gained a very large following of students across the country with some of his videos having half a million hits in the run up to exams.  Once we had got over our giggles at our first attempt, our characters were just that bit too stilted, we decided that Goanimate would be something we would return to in more earnest and definitely create a video which would serve as a reminder of the induction lesson and reinforce the more boring, but necessary side of the LRC.  

The other piece of technology that I have taken a look at recently and which is (I think) quite similar to Jing is Screen-cast-o-matic which allows you to capture each screen at a time so you can create a video showing a particular process, e.g. how to use a piece of software etc.  In the past I, and many many others, have created Word documents with screenshots to demonstrate a particular process through a piece of software, but Screen-cast-o-matic does this, but in video form which again can be put on Youtube with a link from your library's website etc.  My immediate thought again was how I could create this 'flipped classroom' concept by creating videos showing students how to access and use some of the resources that the LRC offers.  We have recently purchased online access to the Philip Allan Review periodicals including the archives so as to provide post 16 students with some really pertinant information, written by the exam boards themselves.  We have purchased the magazines themselves for about 11 years, but providing online access to the archives is definitely a step forward, particularly for the teachers themselves who are really pleased!  Using Screen-cast-o-matic, I hope, will make the resources seem that bit more relevant to the students and ensure that they can access and use them appropriately so as to make good use of them. 

As far as Jing goes, I think the two I have already mentioned are good enough replacements for me to pursue, however I did find a good example of how Jing is being used in the flipped classroom at  http://www.techsmith.com/flipped-classroom.html where a teacher encourages her students to take screenshots of themselves solving maths problems both in and out of the classroom.  As far as Thing 19 is concerned, this was all about looking back at how we might have integrated some of the previous 'Things' into our working habits.  For me, it has really been the reflective nature of CPD23 which has made a difference to me and how I hope will in turn, become part of my chartership portfolio.  That, and how it has opened me up to new bloggers and blogs and my blog to others in return.  I also didn't really see how reading about graduate traineeships, LISPN - the new professionals network set up by Ned Potter etc (Thing 10) was really relevant to me at this stage of my career, but a week or so ago I was asked to meet up with  a recent graduate of Egyptology, who was considering moving into libraries and I was able to use the information gained from Thing 10 to guide and 'persuade' her!  I now just have to get to the end of CPD23!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Thing 17 - Prezi and Slideshare

For a while now I have been aware of the death by powerpoint syndrome, both as a teaching and learning tool in schools and at conferences, training etc.  When I was doing a great deal of Information Literacy teaching from about 2003 - 2009 in particular, all of my lessons were on Powerpoint and actually replaced my lesson plans.  This was very much the case across the school in terms of being very reliant on Powerpoint with faculties having whole schemes of work presented using Powerpoint.  Over the years, I have seen a gradual 'move' away from Powerpoint in teaching, although not necessarily at conferences, however more people tend to be using pictures as a visual stimulus rather than reading vast amounts of information from a slide.  And, a lot of the teaching I now see at my school, does not depend on Powerpoint at all, which I can only put down to our whole college ethos for cooperative learning; the teacher is the Meddler in the Middle rather than the Sage on the Stage.
Nevertheless, I have used Prezi, interested as I was to find an alternative for presentations and although I successfully used it (two examples include presenting at a workshop on Web 2.0 and social media and in a 6th form assembly), I am not a fan of it.  For me, it is the constant zooming in and out, layering of text and pictures etc which distracts me from the actual information contained wherein.  I fully empathise with the writer of Thing 17's blog post when she says that people often overuse these techniques to make their presentation seem more exciting with the same result as death by powerpoint.  The saving grace for Prezi, as far as I am concerned, is the ability for users to simultaneously access the same Prezi, make and save changes, thus making it a truly collaborative piece of work and indeed I have witnessed this in the classroom.  For me, I am trying to keep my use of Powerpoint to a bare minimum, relying on images or single words as a visual stimuli rather than flooding the delegate, teacher, student with a lot of information to read.
Although I haven't used Slideshare personally, i.e. have an account and upload presentations, I have accessed many a presentation via it, Powerpoints, Publisher documents etc and I think it is a great way of sharing presentations, gaining feedback etc, both for professional purposes and for use in the classroom enabling students to offer feedback and reflect on other students' learning etc, using that to consolidate their own understanding. Slideshare is great for inspiring you to try and do different things; seeing what works for other people e.g. in their libraries etc and then developing resources for your own use/institution etc as is any resource sharing Web 2.0 site.  Slideshare is used quite a bit by the Dixie Grammer School Library and it is good to see different takes on the same type of resources, e.g. staff library handbooks.  As far as gaining inspiration, having watched the visual resume example given on the CPD23 blog, I really wish I could do my CV for my chartership portfolio in the same way http://www.slideshare.net/andysomm/visual-resume-2977339

Update on 21/9/12 - enjoyed reading Phil Bradley's presentation as part of the CILIPSW group's AGM which I was unable to attend.  Put up on Slideshare and link sent to all committee members, it was great to see 'why librarians should use social media'.  I already do, but interesting to see other resources such as Trailfire, Trailmeme and Quora.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Thing 16: Advocacy and getting published

Still trying to catch up and having read ahead to some Things to come, I am not sure I want to catch up as they look quite hard.  Still, advocacy.....not something I am especially good at I think.  I am very good at keeping up to date with what other people are doing to save the library profession, such as Voices for the Library http://www.voicesforthelibrary.org.uk  and I wrote to my MP when they organised a parliamentary lobby earlier this year (receiving a rather bland and slippery shoulder response); my letter and the response can be seen in my earlier posts.  I am also aware of the upcoming parliamentary Lobby for School Libraries on 29th October and will be contacting an MP (can't decide if it should be my own MP or the one for the constituency where my school is - don't hold out much hope for either really) in due course, although I cannot be there in person.

But that's about it for me.  It's not that I don't care about the profession.  I do and I have always been quick to support its professionalism.  I am qualified, currently chartering and working in a school where it is essential to have a professional qualification and more (Masters, NPQH, threshold 1, 2, 3) for career progression, therefore I believe in celebrating this professionalism.  Not that I am going to get into that whole professional/non professional stuff in this post.  It's just that I don't get out there and shout! I am not an Ian Clark or a Lauren Smith et al who are doing great things to advocate libraries and I am not even sure I do it very well in my workplace where I am sometimes scared to say I am a librarian for fear of not being taken seriously or ridiculed. It's why in my email signature, my job as Assistant Head of Sixth Form is listed first because I know that this carries more weight, despite me working in a very supporting school as far as the LRC is concerned, employing me (qualified) to strategically manage the LRC (alongside my other responsibilities), a full time (non-qualified) LRC Manager and a part time (22 hours a week) LRC assistant.

Regarding being published, I have been in 2009.  I contributed a chapter to a School Library Association publication called the SLA Survival Guide.  Each of the chapters was written by a school librarian who had featured on the School Librarian of the Year honours list and aimed to give bite size chunks of advice to librarians entering the school library profession for the first time.  I have also had an article recently published in the CILIP SW branch's newsletter, circulated with September's Update.  I wrote an account of a recent workshop I attended on marketing online resources in library, run by Credo (see an earlier post) and this has also been featured on the  Libraries Thriving  website at: http://www.librariesthriving.org/workshops/workshops

So that's it for this Thing.  Definitely a need to do more both with my personal advocacy for libraries and to try and share more of my experience as a professional librarian, including keeping up with this blog once CPD23 and my chartership is finished.


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Thing 14 moving swiftly onto 15

I meant to look at one of the following bibliographic tools, Zotero / Mendeley / CiteULike, at my leisure over the summer holidays.  Honestly, really I did.  As the CPD23 blog post says I also laboriously typed my bibliography up myself when I did my dissertations, but I did do them in the dark old ages of 1997 and 2004, so taking a look at software which makes it a slightly less laborious process is a sensible thing, especially as I will (honest, really I will), get around to starting my Chartership portfolio (right after I attend a portfolio writing course on the 27th of this month).  It will also be useful in my dual role as sort of Senior Librarian and Assistant Head of Sixth Form to share with the Year 12 and 13 students.  We currently tell them about http://www.neilstoolbox.com/bibliography-creator/ which allows users to generate a bibliographic record, Harvard style, which can then be cut and pasted into a bibliography and also tell them about the iCite app for the Iphone, giving access to records in Worldcat, so an understanding of a free tool which will allow them to import, export references etc will be another tool in the fight against the cut and paste generation!  The only issue I can see is the need to download Zotero and Mendeley as this will prevent students (and me) from using them in school due to the firewall restrictions etc.
However onto Thing 15; attending, presenting and organising seminars, conferences and other events.  Whew!  Where do I start?  Previous posts entitled Libcampsw 2012, Recent CPD and Sharing Good Practice: Social Media demonstrate what events, seminars and conferences I have either attended or attended AND presented at over the past year, including Libcampsw, Use of Ipads in teaching and learning at the Apple Regional Training, Cyberlibrary as part of the Plymouth Area Secondary Heads' training day as well as two relating to my management & careers aspects of my role.  I delivered a session on Social Media at the Cyberlibrary event, focusing on tools such as Twitter, Prezi, Animoto, Glogster etc as well as the use of Ipads in the LRC.  I also pitched an idea for a session at Libcampsw, facilitating the session when people actually came to it much to my relief. Over the years, I have presented at various conferences, including one where I received payment from RTA on Managing an Outstanding Library/LRC.  In addition I have presented workshops to teachers at my school on cooperative learning and Thinking Maps as part of the teachers' inhouse CPD programme and also delievered teaching and learning sessions at whole city events to NQTs (newly qualified teachers) and student teachers.  In my experience, although presenting at a conference, workshop etc is nerve wracking, it does get easier providing you are properly prepared for any eventuality (even people walking out) and the immense personal satisfaction you get makes it worth it. 
Part of my PPDP (Personal Professional Development Plan) for my chartership aimed to improve communication between school libraries in the city, especially raising awareness of digital literacy and social media and although I  have established better links with some schools and their library staff, visibly seeing their journeys with social media extend and expand, I have not had much success with others, partly due to my fear of treading on the local SLS's toes (the other schools are not members and so it has been easier to share good practice).  Perhaps a LibMeet after school this year would be a possibility with people offering bite size training sessions on good practice - maybe a follow up to an event on social media hosted by the SLS with CILIP President Phil Bradley next month. Hmmm.....

Monday, 20 August 2012

Thing 13

Ok.  I am seriously behind with CPD23 because it is the summer holidays.  Working in a school gives me great holidays, but does also mean that I tend to switch off completely from anything work related and that does include my chartership as well unfortunately.  I am also blogging this from my IPad which is a first, so I apologise for any mistakes.  

So Thing 13 is online collaboration and the examples given are Google Docs, Dropbox and Wikis.  At this point, I am also going to put into the mix Titanpad as well which I have used with some effect in the LRC with students and one of my first posts on this blog was how I used Titanpad with several Year 7 and 8 classes.  The students worked in cooperative groups using a variation on a Sage, Scribe, Serf, Crusader activity (Kagan Cooperative Learning) to jointly produce some research in preparation for a visit by the author, Paul Dowswell.  Although I haven't been able to move forward as I would have liked with Titanpad (see some of my previous posts as to how my job has developed this past year) I have been pleased to see how those teachers who watched me using it with their classes have moved forward with Titanpad in their own teaching; one teacher has done some great collaborative work with schools across the UK and this is of course part of our CPD as any professional ( be it librarian or teacher) sharing what we find out so as to improve the learning experience of our users or in my case, students. 

So back to Google Docs etc.  I have used Google Docs quite a bit as part of staff development training sessions.  One example of how the Digital SIG (school improvement group, of which I am a member), used Google Docs was when we collaborated to produce a rationale, based on the cooperative values (my school is a cooperative school and these are at the heart of all we do).  I liked how our changes were identified on the screen which makes for a great feeling of shared ownership, although there does have to some degree of responsibility and respect!  Our aim as a school is to implement the use of Google across the college, including email etc, with Google Docs being used so as to encourage students to bring their physical cooperative learning into the online world as well. With this in mind, I shall probably use Google Docs in the future instead of Titanpad because it will also sit beside the other Google products I use, such as Reader and Calendar. 

Regarding Dropbox and Wikis, I am sure they are great, but for the reason above, I don't think they are going to be something that I personally will use in the future.  I am a bit of a believer in being consistent, especially when dealing with young people who often dislike change in the classroom/LRC I find.  Although I am always prepared to try new resources, products etc, I am a bit obsessive about not flitting to and fro between lots of different ideas.  So having been really 'forced' into adopting Google Docs at school and liking it, this is the collaborative product which I am sticking with.  This is not to say of course that I won't be contributing to wikis for my CPD at all: I made several contributions to the Libcampsw wiki for example and I have also been a contributor to a wiki shared and developed by school librarians, but for my personal professional development AND developing collaborative learning in the LRC at school, it will be Google Docs.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Thing 12

Putting the social into social media is this week's Thing and initially I wondered why we were repeating ourselves, having done online networks in Thing 5, but when I read the post on http://cpd23.blogspot.co.uk/, I understood that this was more about putting our use of social media into practice and having a bit of time to reflect on how we use it, i.e. how we interact with social media, rather than just pushing information out.

This has really made me think about a Twitter account I set up just last Friday strangely enough.  Since becoming Assistant Head of Sixth Form last September, I have been considering ways in which we could improve interaction and levels of communication with the sixth formers; assemblies, messages via tutors and a message board in their common room only communicate so far.  The college uses My Big Campus as are our main VLE type resource, but after speaking to students about a sixth form specific area (including the sixth form council), I discovered that this was not something they wished to use and would prefer a more immediate form of communication such as Twitter or Facebook.  As I love Twitter and use it daily, hourly etc for my own PLN, I decided to set up a Twitter account for sixth form.

Having decided to follow users such as @UCAS_Online, @BBC Breaking News and @Apprenticeships, I initially saw it as a way of pushing information out to students; informing them of assemblies, trips, specific events such as UCAS registration etc as well as retweeting information from UCAs, National Apprenticeship Service and BBC News.  However the thought has now struck me how Twitter may also be used by the students to interact with me in return; when we want to gauge student opinion, telling us when they are going to be late, if they are ill, sharing of good news e.g. places at university, new jobs etc. If this happens, then it can only be a positive thing for the relationship between sixth form staff and students; more of a celebratory and moving forward than simply another means by which to nag them.  Social media really becoming social.

Friday, 13 July 2012


Saturday 7th July 2012 saw the first ever Libcamp in the southwest; our very own little sister to the national Libcamp.  It was a wet and windy day (when isn't it?) and unfortunately some attendees were unable to come, being stuck in Honiton.  Fortunately there were only a few minor delays on the line from Cornwall so I arrived at the Xfi building at Exeter University with time to get my Ipad connected to their wifi and to ogle the amazing array of cakes which was steadily growing!

I had my first moment of panic when Claire (one of the organizers) announced that we were to each introduce ourselves to everybody else (first panic - speaking in front of people), then handed over the microphone (second panic.....).  Once all 40 odd librarians (and one non-librarian) had introduced themselves, it was time for pitching workshops.  I had already pitched an idea on the wiki, http://librarycampsw.wikispaces.com/, but panic number 3 set in just as I bravely took the microphone again and nervously suggested that it would be good to talk about how libraries and librarians were using mobile devices - Ipads, tablets, smartphones etc.  That moment of pressure over, I then had the rest of the day to worry as to whether anybody would turn up to my proposed workshop as it was placed near the end of the day. 

Just for anybody who might be wondering why this didn't sound like a normal conference, let me show you what it was all about ....(from http://librarycampsw.wikispaces.com/)

"Library Camp SW will run as an “unconference” where participants decide on the programme at the beginning of the event, working on the principle that the sum of the knowledge, experience and expertise of the people in the room is likely to be greater than that of those on the stage at traditional conferences.

The idea is based on “Open Space Technology” (Harrison Owen) which has four main principles and one law:-

1. Whoever comes is the right people
2. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
3. Whenever it starts is the right time
4. When it’s over, it’s over

Law of two feet: If, during the course of the gathering, any person finds him or herself in any situation where they are neither learning nor contributing, they must use their two feet and go to some more productive place."

The first session I chose was on looking at children's services, specifically that of public libraries, but the discussion soon morphed into more of a general consideration as to how do you reach young people in the first place, then get them through the door and finally keeping them!  It was also interesting to hear the views of public librarians who use schools as the medium for reaching young people, many positive stories, but a few frustrations especially in the secondary sector which I could empathise with; pressures of teachers to get results doesn't always mean they have the time to do all those other things they would like to do.  The second session was an informal chartership chat which was great as I found that everybody has the same problems as I do; trying to get your portfolio done whilst holding down your full time job is hard.  It was also interesting to have a mentor as part of this group as we were able to hear from their perspective, especially the different ways in how mentors mentor.  Assigning chilli levels to each mentor on the CILIP website denoting levels of strictness was suggested!  One great outcome of this session was a regular Plymouth Chartership meet up #chartershippub and I am looking forward to our first 'date' later this month.  Hopefully this will keep us all on the straight and narrow and not the scenic route!  Thank you @annetteearl, @calire and @claireStevens.  We just need to keep asking 'so what'?

After a fabulous lunch (Libcampsw was sponsored by SWRLS, CILIPSW, Arts Council and OCLC, wild boar sausages and more cake, I attended a session on engaging people who don't use our libraries.  Having refreshed my memory by taking a look at the #libcampsw tweets, there were some great ideas suggested from Plymouth Libraries introducing a monthly email bulletin and sending to all users (a good discussion came out of this on using our user data more wisely), to a 'tell a friend' schemes whereby promotional material is given to regular users who then pass it on to friends etc. We discussed Twitter and Facebook as a means of getting to your library users and keeping them updated; several libraries/authorities are well down this road by now.  I also was interested to hear about a cross sector library group which meets regularly in Exeter to share ideas etc and we all agreed that one of the biggest barriers to libraries is that people still don't actually realise they are free!  The final session I attended (not of the day - I had to leave a bit early to get my train), was the one I pitched on using mobile devices in libraries.  Extremely relieved to find people turned up as the session on your Dream Library was very popular, I began by sharing how I have been using Ipads, Kindles and tablets in my school library and the discussion was taken up by several HE Librarians who shared how they were using tablets, specifically Ipads, so as to be roving Librarians which meant that could be amongst their users on the 'shop floor' if you like, not stuck behind a desk and not having to return to a PC to answer queries.  We also discussed the digital divide, but that of staff; those staff who are experienced and confident enough to use technology and those staff who require additional support and training.  A Gadget Day was suggested for the south west enabling library staff to have a 'play' on different technologies, including social media therefore enabling good practice and expertise to be shared informally.  Using QR codes was a popular discussion as well; promoting author events, bookmarks in books linking to the online version etc.  One tweet which came out of the session asked whether mobile devices are a distraction in a learning environment and this really struck a chord with me in particular being in a school.  We also decided that it was now acceptable to tweet at meetings, conferences etc and discussed the changes in the way in which we view and use technology as a society; one person shared how a few years ago he would have begun any training session with the words 'please switch off your mobile phones' and how different it is nowadays with people even using their tweets as the basis of their note taking and using Storify for example to curate them afterwards.

Although I had to leave before the last session finished, I was really pleased to drop-in on a discussion on 'what's next for #libcampsw as everybody seemed to have really positive feedback on the day.  I really hope that there will be another library camp in the south west and in the meantime look forward to keeping in contact with new colleagues on Twitter.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Things 10 and 11

I am finally catching up with myself, however the real test will be making sure I keep up during the summer holidays when I plan to be extremely lazy for at least the first four weeks, until I have to be back in for A-Level and GCSE results and their accompanying work for an Assistant Head of Sixth Form!

I have been professionally qualified since 2004.  I initially did a BA Honours degree in English & History and then studied for my MSc in Information and Library Studies distance learning with Aberystywth, University of Wales.  I always said that the reason I did my professional qualification was because I wanted to explore librarianship at all levels and across different sectors and jobs.  I started as a part time library assistant in a Central Library Lending department, worked in branch libraries as a casual assistant, combined these with a part time role in the Central Library Reference department and eventually managed to gain a supervisory role in Lending until I left public libraries altogether and went into schools where I am lucky to say 'I have never looked back' such is the level of support I have received from the Principal and his team.  I do know however, that part of the reason that I have received so much support from my senior management is because they respect my degree level qualifications, expecting a certain level of work from me as a result.

This blog was set up last year to help me in my chartership which I eventually signed up for in 2011 after a bit of procrastinating, husband's prolonged stays in hospital from life threatening illnesses and a pregnancy.  I was always encouraged to do my chartership by my husband and my line manager (I will talk more about that relationship later), but working as a solo librarian in a school has always meant that any CPD that has come my way has been more towards the education/teaching side of my job and not my library side.  However my chartership seems to be progressing fairly well although it definitely needs to be speeded up a bit because I really do need to be putting my portfolio together now and not just amassing more and more evidence and although becoming chartered won't make a bit of difference to my job or salary, it will be personally satisfying for me and my continuing professional development.  Qualifications that I have considered which are outside of librarianship, include a Masters in Education and the Leading from the Middle qualification from the NCSL (National College for School Leadership) which look at five areas; leadership of innovation and change, understanding your role in leading teaching and learning, developing self confidence as a team leader, building teams of people and resources and self directed change.  I have tentatively discussed these with my line manager before, but definitely need to do that chartership first!  

Thing 11 is all about having a mentor.  Initially I saw this as my Chartership mentor who is by the way great!  Last Saturday at Libcampsw we held a Chartership session and it was generally decided that my mentor is the one to have.  Seriously, I have found both my Chartership mentors (see previous posts for why I have had two) to be excellent in their support, advice and guidance with two very different styles of mentoring.  My first mentor advocated very gentle encouragement, not causing me to panic and fall into a heap at the thought of all the ' extra work!' whilst my second mentor combines both understanding of the demands of a full time job with carefully thought out, but very firm targets so as to get the job done. When it comes to an informal mentor, this would be my line manager; the Vice Principal.  I have been incredibly lucky to have a line manager who has always been interested in my CPD with twice yearly performance management reviews, clearly stated learning outcomes which this year were co-constructed and whilst I might have been a little taken aback to have been told that I am 'prickly', I did eventually acknowledge that she was right in saying that I needed to improve my management and leadership skills.  In turn, having had such good mentors means that I should begin to consider developing my own skills as a mentor.  I have had a little experience at being a buddy of a new qualified teacher who had taken the same route as I had, i.e. been a member of support staff before moving over to the teaching side, but although I enjoyed 'chatting' with my buddy and offering a friendly ear and shoulder to collapse on, I would question what both of us really gained from it.  Something to consider for my performance management perhaps next term?

Thing 8 & 9

Before I start on these Things, just want to mention the fantastic Libcampsw which I went to on Saturday.  Held at Exeter University in the Xfi building (great place for a conference), it was so good to meet up with librarians from the south west from all sectors, including even a non librarian!  I even managed to pitch a session and people actually wanted to come to it!  I will blog about the day properly in another post, but just wanted to mention it here first.

So Things 8 and 9 - getting organised. I like to think I am pretty organised already, but I use very old fashioned organizational tools, like a calendar on the back of my kitchen door, a staff planner/diary at school and a great weekly desk pad with lots of different sections like Remember, Checklist, Urgent, Number Crunching, Doodle Space, Random Stuff and the one I use a lot - Do this, or else!  I don't actually have the desk pad itself, I saw it on a colleague's desk and borrowed a sheet to photocopy, sneaky I know, but it really is a blessing.

However I have been using Google Calendar this year to make communication and bookings easier for our Careers South West (CSW) Advisors and do we love it!  Let me explain.  As part of the Government's statutory requirement for schools to provide external (i.e. not employed by the school), impartial IAG (information, advice and guidance) to students age 13 - 19, we contract out to Careers South West (formerly Connexions) with whom we have a great relationship and history of working together to aspire and help our students achieve their potential.  Although some of the Personal Advisor's time in school is funded by the local authority, specifically focusing on those students with low resilence or high vulnerability, we as a school also think that all of our students should have access to impartial and high quality IAG.  Therefore we choose to purchase 'top up' days, 2 to be specific this year, so all students can have the opportunity of 1-1 IAG. 

As an information professional, I am employed as Careers Coordinator and Assistant Head of Sixth Form with responsibility for IAG and so I work very closely with our Personal Advisor from CSW to ensure that students are given appointments when requested, but not missing English, Maths and Science lessons in the case of Key Stage 4 (sixth form must use one of their study periods to have an appointment) and also to help both myself (representing the school) and the Personal Advisor to follow up any issues etc.  In the past we had operated a very hit and miss booking system which often meant that I didn't even know when the Advisors would actually be in school and this was ok when we were accessing a free service!  However now we are paying for 2 days a week, it became necessary for both the college and CSW to adopt a more robust system devising a whole school IAG referral policy, including IAG bookings as part of an administrative assistant's job role and all 3 of us (me, Personal Advisor and Admin Assistant) sharing a Google Calendar (I hold the calendar and then share it with them).  Students are highlighted in green (turned up) or red (not turned up) by the Personal Advisor which then alerts the Admin Assistant to chase up the students and make any additional appointments if required so as to continue supporting them with the necessary intervention. It also means we are are able to keep track of all appointments made, thereby ensuring that we are making full use of our paid for service.   Google Calendar has completely changed the way I work with CSW (for the better) and we are hoping to share this best practice around the city soon.  

Regarding Evernote, I am going to be very honest and say I don't think I want to use it.  I do use a PC (at work), Blackberry (on the go) and an Ipad (at home) and I have taken a look, both online and the apps and I can see the potential, but.....no, not at the moment. 

Monday, 25 June 2012

Thing 6 & 7

Just seen on Twitter that this week is a catch up week for CPD23.  Yay!  I won't get anymore behind while I am trying to catch up 4 things. 

So onto Things 6 & 7.  I am going to combine these as Thing 6 looks at online networks and 7 at real life networks.  With regards to online networks, I am a big fan of Twitter (see my post on Thing 3), but the two specifically mentioned on the CPD23 blog are Facebook and Linkedin.  I have expressed my reservations re Facebook quite a few times and am still not tempted to potentially jeopardise my career and whilst my teaching union have relaxed their stance on members being a part of social networks, they have issued a set of quite stringent do's and don'ts.  My Twitter account is permanently locked down and I go by a name that is not my real name - have just done a test and searched Twitter with my actual name and you don't find me.  So Facebook is a no-go area for me.

Whilst I have known about Linkedin for a while now, I have never felt especially motivated to try it.  I took a look at an Infographic by Charlie White which said that Linkedin has over 10 million users - I didn't think it was that big.  Mistake number 1.  I think part of the problem is that I have always regarded it as a professional work thing, more akin to businesses etc than librarians or teachers.  As a business person you are required to promote you and your business to maximise success - oh!   Maybe Linkedin does have something to offer me and my profession because of the fact we live in a society which is increasingly undervaluing (make that wiping out of existence) libraries and librarians, especially professional posts.  I do like the idea that Linkedin is seemingly orientated towards the professional and this was evident in the data showing that top level managers tend to use it more for promoting their business, whilst middle management and entry level workers rely on it for networking with other colleagues etc.  Thank you to the CPD23 blog for mentioning this amazing analogy as I can instantly understand the difference between Linkedin and Facebook (the office rather than the back garden barbecue)  Having taken a quick look at linkedin, I see that it can also be used to reconnect with past classmates which fills me with foreboding.  I was never that keen on Friendsreunited and have the attitude that I am still in contact with those I want to be, i.e. with whom I have never lost contact.  I do accept that using Linkedin to create a PLN of business contacts will always be useful especially when trying to boost your career and obviously as a way of sharing ideas, answering questions it would be beneficial, BUT I can do all those things via Twitter so I can't see myself joining Linkedin any time soon.  Just having another login and password to remember as well as not forgetting to use Linkedin (the only value you get out of such forums is dependant on how much/little you use them I find), is just a hassle I can do without at the moment.  

Other online networks which look/are promising are CILIP Communities - I am a CILIP Blogger (my blog has the much prized logo on it) and have set up the feed as part of my Google Reader.  I like Google Reader as the posts are marked as read as I scroll down the screen.  This allows me to skim over those which I don't think will interest me, especially useful as working in a school with a firewall which filters many social media sites (not all), it can be frustrating to laboriously override the network with my staff ID only to find that I wasn't very interested in it anyway!  I had never heard of the Librarians as Teachers network (LAT) so this is something I will be looking into in the future.  Having taken a brief look at its origins, I find it resonates with my own beliefs in that I think academic librarians would be better served with a teaching qualification as well (it would put to rest at the very least the discrepancy in salaries in schools if librarians were dual qualified).

I find I get so much more from my online network than my real life network - should this be so?  Am I becoming a 'geek'?  I don't think so, although I know many people who think there is something geekish about librarians and ironically it is not the students in my school!  I have been a member of CILIP since 1998 and to be honest, until CILIP Communities and the regular online bulletins (e.g. information world etc), I have always questioned what I really get out of my membership.  The monthly journal is nice to read, but...... I know that CILIP isn't just about the headquarters in London and I have made the effort to get involved with my regional branch (see previous posts) and indicated an interest in setting up an south west branch of the School Librarians Group, but there are times when I feel isolated from Ridgemount Street, London and the SE where it all seems to happen. I am also a member of the School Librarian Association and to be honest, feel very similar; nice magazine, informative website and ....... ? Having been involved in writing for a publication of their's I recognise that the publishing house is very good, especially for newly qualified school librarians who are often solo workers as well, but again....  Perhaps its me? When I began working in school libraries I was so much a solo worker, brand new to the profession and still working on my MSc at Aber that I think I became very self reliant.  There are some in my school who call me 'prickly' (thank you - line manager) because of my overwhelmining championing and protectiveness towards the library and its services, but when you are a solo librarian, it does fall to you to 'do it all' and I sometimes think that I need to look elsewhere for some support sometimes, but to be honest, my online network ticks all the boxes for me most of the time.

Thing 5

Thing 5 should have been done the week beginning 28th May so I am about four things behind.  It is ironic that Thing 5 is all about reflective practice which is what I find most difficult; not the actual process in itself, but actually stopping and taking the time to think about what I have learned from a  particular training opportunity or from reading a particular article etc.  It does seem that I hurtle from one thing to another without actually pausing to think and I can honestly say that this has been the hardest part of my chartership.  I looked with interest at a proforma  on Googledocs used by @joeyanne to critically evaluate and reflect on the impact of events, reading, projects etc as part of her chartership and then how it becomes part of her overall spreadsheet linking to her PPDP.  It was really good and I can see why others on Twitter have adopted and adapted it for their own practices, although as I am someway into both my chartership and my blog I shall continue my rambling.

The original purpose of this blog was to 'chart' the progress of my chartership and it has definitely helped to focus and get down in writing what I have 'done' this past year or so and hopefully will help me when I begin to write up my portfolio (which I should have started already according to my mentor), but again I think I am too busy 'doing' and not stopping to reflect.  I am not too naive to think that this practice is only limited to schools (where I work), but a product of most people's workplace and I certainly believe that our working habits, knowledge and applied understanding would be much improved if we all had the 'time' to reflect.

I don't  especially use a model like the one suggested on the CPD23 blog - recall it, evaluate it and then apply it, but I do like the prompts suggested e.g. what did you learn, enjoy, think worked well/went wrong, would change etc and will consider them in future.  I also think that more could be made of this at the end of courses that you attend as part of your CPD.  In my experience, leaders of CPD sessions are so eager to cram as much as possible into the time they have, that they often forget the need for reflection and to consider how new skills, knowledge may be applied.  A recent course I went on actually built self reflection time into the course; we were challenged to reflect on what we had learned and to come up with one way in which we would apply what we had learned using SMART targets and guess what!  I went back and did it which makes that course a really worthwhile experience as I can see the tangible evidence of it in my work.

If I can manage to reflect more on what I do, I can only see it having an advantageous effect on my work; I just need to stop more and think rather than rushing on to the next thing.