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Trapping Frustrations!

I have to admit that I was surprised to see most of you frustrated with the process of finding the information you need and with expressions of too much information out there. Yet your topic was about how to proceed to trap and process the information your want and the many tools that are available to accomplish this.

A lot of the tools (applications) that we have been experiencing this quarter are all about new types of technologies that give us more control in managing the information flow of the Internet. There are more advanced methods for using search engines like Google, and there are many specialized search engines that perform differently that Google. RSS allows us to collect our favorite sites that are useful to us, and allow us to quickly and conveniently scan the latest additions to those sites and choose which articles are of interest to us. We have found new tools that assist us in continuously scanning a particular topic and get updated emails when changes occur; customized search functions with Google and other engines to go after our primary topics of interest; sites that tell us when there are changes to a selected or targeted site; a bot that can be scripted to tell us when certain kinds of information is changed or available, and our growing of a personal learning environment that pulls together all of our resources and experiences of creating.

My concern is that it may be assumed that these tools along with social networking and forming a trusting community of learners is a simple thing to occur. We read about something and expect it to happen. But each of these processes are new to most of you, and have not been extensively practiced. It is not easy to understand how some of them benefit you. And there is always the difficulty we face trying to change and instill new habits and processes into our lives. All of these activities take practice and time to develop the skills necessary to use them effectively. They will not suddenly make sense to everyone. You have to adjust, make a concerted effort, and most of all, you have to want to improve your skills. We are fortunate to have a trusting and capable group to share our learning experiences with. You may have some fear of expressing yourselves, but so far it is only helping each of us to grow. The benefits of becoming skilled at managing the information you need is a lifelong learning process that continues to become richer and more valuable to you as you move from student to career professional.

Give it time. Practice even when you don’t want to or it doesn’t make a lot of sense to you. It will come. And with it, the joy that you are in control. That you truly can find whatever you need in a critical career decision. And remember too, that it is not just about formal or academic learning, but informal learning also. It can bring rewards in all aspects of your life.

Categories: Class Activities
  1. August 24, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    There sure is alot involved in this and then the adapting part is a whole stage in it self. But I am glad I am trying all these new tools, they are really changing the way I spend my time on the computer checking to see if anyone has something new updated on their site or trying to search for information. I use to spend hours checking different blogs to see if anything was new and some would only post every week and every other week, now I am notified if something new gets posted. I know one other tool I am looking forward to venturing more into is the netvibes, I can now check out different web sites all on one page without leaving that page!!! (and I was excited when they came out with the ability to have tabs) Oh, and also the one that checks for update on web pages, that I can’t wait to get into using that more. Man I love technology.

  2. Bj
    August 26, 2008 at 9:02 am

    Actually, I wish I knew this information much earlier when I did my reseaches in my previous studies.
    I had to email myself many many links and would get extremely frustrated because I had to organize them, find and read them and sometimes I would just stop opening them, because it was very overwhelming and even more confusing.

    If I knew back then what I knew now, I would have actually “Liked” doing research much more.

    Thank you. I get alerts in my email now.
    It’s almost like having a personal research assistant.

  3. wayne
    August 26, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    Sometimes our struggles to manage information are overwhelming and not what we would expect. But then that is what we are in this industry for, to assist people in finding the right communication/information for their needs. As you discover new tools and processes for your own life work, then you will be able to design for others. We must experience our own growth and change in order to help others with their process.

    I am happy for both of you in finding meaning in these activities we have committed ourselves to!

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