Read it when you need it!


This post was triggered by a tweet from Jess McCulloch (@jessmcculloch) that initiated a train of thought much longer than suggested by her original question.

Jess’s tweet  raised the issue of the “Read later” tag/list asking does anyone get round to their “Read later”s. I sent a reply to the effect that I never use “Read later” options as I know perfectly well that I will never read them! This started me thinking about what I do actually do with respect to dealing with the myriad links and posts that cross my desktop each day.

My online “imperatives”

These are some of my personal strategies (other than using an iGoogle page for easy access to many things):

  • Don’t try to read/view (or promise myself to read/view) everything that passes across my desktop.
  • Don’t collect “read later” lists because I know I won’t do it.
  • Have in my GoogleReader feed only very few feeds from blogs I have a particular reason to follow. Even then I don’t expect to read them all in depth or even at all.
  • Skim anything that attracts my immediate attention eg from the title or topic mentions and then tag with Diigo. That way I can find it with a search of my Diigo tags.
  • Adopt a read it when I need it approach – hence skimming & tagging in Diigo for those items that interest me at first glance rather than reading them in depth.
  • Adopt a find it when I need it approach – use my search skills to find what I need when I need it then tag in Diigo for future use. This saves me inordinate amounts of time as I rarely read, and therefore don’t catalogue/tag, an item until I need it.

  • Use different bookmarking applications for different purposes – for example all my virtual room links and a number of frequent access sites are saved via Google Bookmarks for easy access whereas I use Diigo for web pages, blog posts etc that need to be tagged for me to find relevant ones.
  • Never re-share, re-tweet, re-post links without reading or at least skimming them first! This is one reason that I don’t re-tweet often. I know it is counter to the way most people operate on Twitter but I am unwilling to re-share anything I haven’t accessed myself!
  • With anything that gives me a daily/weekly email of updates I rarely open these until I want information from them. I simply file them in a folder labelled with the source and then access & keyword search the folder.


I think I am lucky in that I remember key information relating to things that interest me (I have a magpie mind) even if they have only been briefly mentioned or have been submerged in other content. Also I am  a relatively good “searcher” and usually find it easy to access the information I need quite quickly when I need it!.

Three Edublogs webinar overviews!

Serendipity – Two topics UDL and information curation (13th/14th October 2011)

Apologies for not posting the last couple of overviews – pressure of work just got too heavy. I hope that doing three posts in one will get me back on track!


In this recorded session we had two topics because we had a dead heat betweeen looking at universal design for learning and curating information. The consensus was to discuss both so we split the time between the two beginning with information curation

The Session

We initially used a whiteboard to gather some of the methods we use to manage (curate) information.

The conversation moved on using text and audio as we discussed some of these in a little more depth. There are so many tools that can be used for curating information, we all have our preferences based on the ways we think and learn. No one tools will ever be right for everyone!

We moved on to look at Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Initially we spent time clarifying our various understandings of UDL. The focus on accessiblity underpins UDL but there is some perception that it can be used as a way to make everyone conform.

Both topics are really deserving of full Fine Focus sessions – information curation probably needs as many sessions as there are tools and different ways of using them.


This session reinforced for me something that I already feel very strongly. That is the importance of giving learners and colleagues choice with respect to tools not just for information curation but for all aspects of their e-learning. This was particularly interesting when juxtaposed with the second half of the session on UDL which focuses on accessiblity. This sometimes seem be used as a justification for trying to make a tool or site “all things to all people” and thus removing “difference”.

“Regional Voices Crying Out To Be Heard” (20th/21st October 2011)


In this session I told the story of Western Australia’s unique approach to participation in the national consultation for Australia’s new Foundation Skills Strategy. The session was as always recorded.

The Session

The session really was more of a story than a presentation. I shared the slides I had used in my recent workshop/presentation via Elluminate at the 34th Australian Council for Adult Literacy Conference – Literacy on the Map about how Western Australia enabled our regional voices to be heard in the by using Elluminate for their regional focus group in the national consultation for Australia’s new Foundation Skills Strategy. The recording of that session plus the slides and an approximate transcript of content are available on the conference Presentations page under “Tuesday” Session D5 Regional voices crying out to be heard! I also posted on this blog about the consultation when it happened back in April under the title “Elluminate Your Consultation Process”

Those of us who took part in the consultation felt that using Elluminate enabled us to overcome Western Australia’s tyranny of distance and thus play a significant role in that consultation process.


I really enjoyed this session! It was very much a talk through the processes, both of:

  • presenting via Elluminate at a conference that was entirely face-to-face except for my workshop; and
  • the consultation process itself and how we met the consultants’ requirements via Elluminate

It was very satisfying to re-visit the processes in company with several experienced Elluminate users and to discuss some of the rationale behind the choices of tools and strategies.

Serendipity – Parent Education (because they seem so hostile to technology) – (27th/28th October 2011)


In this very lively recorded Serendipity session the topic of choice was “parent education – because they seem so hostile to technology”.

The Session

A really great session! This is one of those topics where all e-minded educators seem to feel very strongly and that always gives rise to a good session.

We looked first at some possible reasons why parents give such an impression of hostility about technology in the classroom. These thoughts filled a whiteboard quickly and generated further discussion ranging into the educational “value” of some student use of technology. There were also several links in textchat relating to research in the area of parent education.

Having discussed why parents were negative we moved on to consider how they might be educated in the value of the technology in a learning context.

Again we quickly filled a whiteboard with ideas and more links both on the whiteboard and in textchat. There were some great ideas shared on the whiteboard and chat and then expanded on through audio. As always there was much serendipitous learning in the diversions into e-portfolios, blogging, QRcodes and other fascinating areas.


This was a buzzy session with contributions coming thick and fast. The best thing about Serendipity sessions is the unconference nature because we never know where we will go in our “e-xplorations”.

Our Next Session

Our next Webinar is an Edublogs “Fine Focus” session, “Facebook won’t go away!” I take a look at Facebook – from the premise that if it won’t go away (and it won’t) we need to embrace it as a tool. Join us on Thursday November 3rd at 23:00 GMT/UTC the time for you will vary depending on your timezone (check yours here) Thursday afternoon/evening in the USA, late night Thursday in Europe, and Friday morning October 4th in Australia – in the usual virtual room