Wednesday, 11 July 2012

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,, not at the moment. 

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