Thing 23: Reflection

The 23 Things for Digital Knowledge program has been a great adventure. My favourite sections were: Thing 3 – Digital Footprint, Thing 4 – Digital Security and Thing 10 – Wikimedia. Wikimedia was perhaps the most helpful section. I had taken a Wikipedia workshop for UofE staff before, but the Wikipedia Adventure gave me a more in-depth understanding of how to edit on Wikipedia. I have since written an article and I am currently doing research to write more. The sections focused on digital security were eye-opening and something every device owner should partake in. I liked that these more serious topics were mixed with fun experiences like the diversity section where you also made a Bitmoji.

I think there was ample support for the program. The 23 Things email updates provided important information about any changes in the program or the apps mentioned and it kept me engaged as it sometimes acted as a reminder to complete that weeks “Thing”. I really enjoyed that the program was self-paced. I was able to take a break when I started a new job, but it was easy to dive back in once I was settled.

I think that I have learnt what I had hoped. This program has been a good introduction to a great range of topics that I will continue to develop my knowledge of, particularly OERs. Overall, I have enjoyed learning a lot through the 23 Things for Digital Knowledge program and I would recommend it to my colleagues. I am also looking forward to a sticker!

 

*** One issue that is not really related to the actual program, is formatting in WordPress. Over the last couple of weeks, my posts have appeared with extra letter and long spaces or off centered formatting. However, I cannot edit it out in the visual or HTML editor. Hopefully this is just temporary. ***

Thing 22: Fun, Play, and Create

 

I used Snapchat to remix some art. I thought these portraits could use some more colour! Please excuse the screenshots, I cannot upload the video to WordPress. I had not used the app in a couple of years, but it was easy enough. I mostly like the option to edit photos after with stickers and writing.

Thing 21: Online Games and Learning

 

game still from Treasure MathStorm
Treasure MathStorm, source: myabandonware.com

 

 

still from cluefinders game, solving a riddle by the lagoon.
The Clue Finders, source: myabandonware.com

 

 

 

 

 

I really like the simplicity of Kahoots. It looks like it would be a great resource for teachers because of its ease of use and GeoGebra would have been very helpful when I was studying maths! I was really impressed with the variety of games on the NMS website. My favourite online game was the NMS Robots game with the wee museum robot. The Sheet Metal and Morse Code games were also fun.

Educational games have come a long way since I was a child. Although, I did enjoy Treasure MathStorm and The Clue Finders (with about 3 pixels between them). I find the best educational games are the ones that feel natural and have a bit of a challenge so you want to keep playing. Clue Finders was a game that I could not get enough of. They had different versions for every school level and because they were structured like an adventure with an end goal, you wanted to keep playing. As an adult, I use educational games like Duolingo and some coding apps. They are not necessarily traditional games, but the way they are structured is fun and the variety of questions and challenges makes them feel like a game.

Thing 20: Professional Social Networks

I have used LinkedIn, Academia.edu and ResearchGate before. Academia.edu was very helpful when I was in school. I could use it to find more articles on a particular subject, read work by my professors and even look at what topics within my interests were already being researched.

LinkedIn has been very helpful in my professional life. Although I have never used it directly to apply for a job, I do try to keep it up to date and use it to connect with current and past colleagues. I have also found it very helpful to explore what type of education, skills and experience people in careers that I am interested in have. I think a professional online presence can also be reassuring to potential employers as it shows my commitment to my professional life and I like the ability to endorse people’s skills.

Thing 19: Altmetrics

I like how easy it is to read the altmetrics bookmarklet and the fact that the summary can be viewed in the corner of the article. However, I would not rely on the altmetrics. I find it quite untrustworthy and more than anything, something fun to satisfy curiosity or to lead you to more resources. People are paid to watch YouTube videos and anyone can buy Twitter or Instagram followers. I imagine the same concept of “buying views/likes” could be applied to academic publications. The fact that an article has been visited frequently does not have any bearing on its quality. The way social media works, I would actually think a lot of Twitter mentions is more likely to mean something negative. People share more about negative experiences than positive ones.

I do not think it is possible to have the context required to understand the mention scores. We cannot know the intention behind every single mention without evaluating them individually. The closest I think we could get is a program that would pick up on keywords that might hint at the intention of the user, like, “love, hate, or dislike”. But, these words would still be out of context. To summarise, I think the Altmetric tool is fun, but not very indicative of anything, perhaps with the exception of the “reference in X policy” result. I do, however, like that the Altmetric website leads you to the sites where an article was mentioned. This would have been very helpful when I was working on my MA which was on a fairly obscure historical topic and in which there were few academic resources. I often relied on mentions of other resources in the footnotes to lead me to much needed sources.

 

Thing 18: Augmented and Virtual Reality

Augmented Reality

I have not personally used Pokémon Go, but I have seen others use the app. I can see why it became a sensation. It is a more interactive version of a scavenger hunt for adults. It is pretty brilliant, but it also revealed a lot of holes in human attention spans and logic as some people (I am sure a minority of users) were putting themselves in dangerous situations to “catch them all”. As I have not played the game myself, I cannot say for certain, but I would hazard a guess that people’s general awareness of their surroundings was impeded when focusing on seeing the world through their phone’s camera. The same issues of a lack of awareness can be seen in popular tourist locations where people are focused on seeing their surroundings through a screen rather than what is actually in front of them. It would be really interesting to learn more about how our brain reacts differently to seeing your immediate surroundings filtered through a screen.

Virtual Reality

Several years ago, I was gifted a Google Cardboard headset. As it was early in its development, there were only a handful of apps that could be used with the headset, but it was a very fun experience. There was a certain sense of satisfaction in building the cardboard set yourself. The experience of wearing the headset reminded me of Viewfinders.

I also looked through the CRC 3D models on Sketchfab. What an incredible way to study collections! I think the British Museum used similar technology to create models of the Parthenon Marbles. However, 3D models of collections do require more context. Although you may be able to view them from all angles, some objects were not meant to be viewed that way, like the Parthenon frieze, and this can distort your perspective.

Thing 17: Geolocation Tools

View of Princes Street Gardens
The Princes Street Gardens and some buildings by Ulayiti. CC BY-SA 3.0. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Scotland#/media/File:Princes_Street_Gardens.jpg

Unfortunately, many of the suggested apps would not work on my phone, but I was able to access the Curious Edinburgh app. I found the app very easy to use and I enjoyed the variety of tours. The write-ups were very informative and it was fascinating to see the vast amount of points of interest around Edinburgh. As I live in the city centre, I found that there were a lot of points of interest that I passed every day without knowing. Many of the points are within a short walking distance of each other and so tours could be completed easily by following the suggested route, but I think the simplicity of the app and the pedestrian-friendly layout of the city centre make it possible for users to create their own route. I also liked that although the tours are all centrally located, they do utilise different routes. The History of Brewing and the History of Charity and Civic Action tours were particularly interesting. While there are lots of Edinburgh guides for tourists, Curious Edinburgh would be great for locals (as long as they don’t use it in August). We often overlook what is right in our back yard.

I hope in the future I will have the opportunity to complete some geocaching adventures. I have not done it before, but in high school, there was an outdoors club that popularised geocaching. It would also be a great way to explore the city.