Thursday, 15 May 2014

Notebook's back, alright!

A recurring theme for me in writing this blog has been about taking responsibility for development and how we can take control of how we learn and adapt what we do as a result of this learning. I think I've reached a point where I need to change, in order to make sure I am performing at a level that I am happy with.

I've been committed for a long time to working in a paper light way. I take a tablet to meetings and my desk is clear of paper. I started doing this in a previous role as I felt I was getting swamped with paper, and was finding that I was losing track of things. My role required me to take notes in meetings, and write letters based in those notes, so it made sense to do this on a laptop so I could copy and paste as appropriate.

I continued this in my current role in Staff Development, but I have become more frustrated with this more recently. I've felt that my tablet is getting in the way of being able to take the notes I want to. Partly it's to do with my tablet getting a bit old and slow, partly it's my typing speed, but the thing that really bothers me is that I can't get it to capture my thoughts in the way I want to.

I find myself thinking more visually than I used to, and wanting to draw more pictures and diagrams to show connections between ideas. I've not been able to find an app that will achieve what I want, so I'm going to pick up pen and paper again.

It was surprisingly difficult to write that sentence, as it can be hard to commit to change how you are going to work, but I think I will be able to perform more effectively by making this change. I will be using the function within Evernote to take pictures of my notebook so that my notes are accessible from wherever I am, which is an aspect of online note taking that has been a real benefit. I may have to use my tablet or my phone to read meeting papers, but that's OK.

Despite this change, my desk will still remain clear of paper! After all, HR has won a gold Green Impact award.

So what have I learnt in doing this? I have learnt that it is within my power to both anticipate areas for personal improvement, and to act on making these changes. I have also learnt that we don't have to always do things in the same way, and that what was once the right way for you, can become the wrong way. Again, it is within my power to make necessary changes to how I do things.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Where have I been?

It's been a long time, since I've blogged, but there has been so much happening that I should have been blogging about.

There have been four big things that I have been working on since I last posted in January. The biggest has been preparing the SRDS participation data reports for departments. Although this takes quite a long time, SRDS participation is still at a high level (88%).

The second big piece of work is to help make sure that SRDS conversations are as useful and productive as possible. As a team, we have revised the content of the SRDS skills for reviewers learning event, to focus more closely on key skills for reviews. I have also put together a set of webpages, for reviewers and reviewees to use, providing links to web resources and top tips to help get the best out of SRDS.

I have also been working on the Learning Management System replacement project, with colleagues from around the University, and we are in the process of putting together proposals. There will be more to report soon.

The final big thing we have been working on is a presentation for the Staff Development Forum spring conference. We were fortunate enough to be invited to deliver a presentation on Development Everywhere, and the story of how we came up with it. This was a great opportunity to share what we have learnt and ideas with colleagues from universities across the University. Here's an action shot, and hopefully we will have our presentation recorded so we can share it on the Staff development at the University of Sheffield Google+ community.

 So what have I learnt from all this? There has been a lot of bits of learning along the way associated with all these activities (such as how many times my computer will crash whilst generating reports from Access using visual basic - four. I must be doing something wrong!), but the key thing has been around how to capture all this learning. I had intended this blog to be a way to do this, but as I've already said, I haven't done very well at this. But, I have been using Twitter and Google+ to share things that I have learnt, both widely and within smaller networks I am part of. It has reinforced the importance of sharing learning, not only to spread knowledge, but also to consolidate my own learning.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Development everywhere is here

After a very hectic couple of weeks to get all our resources together and uploaded onto CMS, our new webpages are now live! Here's a screenshot of the front page;

The website contains a range of resources in each of our four themes, including learning events, videos, books, web resources and useful guides. I would strongly encourage you to have a look at these resources, and also to share the link with colleagues.

There are two key things on the pages that I would like to highlight, firstly the Understanding how you learn page. There is a strong emphasis in Development Everywhere on taking personal responsibility for your own learning. This page gives you help and guidance with how to do this, by considering what it is you want to learn about, and your preferred method for learning. We are also looking to develop this page further by providing templates you can use, if you want, as a way to plan and structure your learning.

Which brings me nicely into the second thing I would like to highlight. Scattered liberally throughout the pages are requests for thoughts and feedback. We want the webpages to change and develop, so feedback is really important to us.

So what's next? The next big thing for me is a project to look at what the University might need from a learning management system. You're not rid of me yet!