One of the benefits of writing about my personal learning environment was that it forced me to rethink a few of the things I've been doing. If I hadn't reflected on it, though, I wouldn't have discovered the problems.
Probably my biggest issue is that for whatever reason--still not sure why--I've had the various tools of my learning scattered all over the place. I haven't had a Personal Learning Environment (all caps, meaning some kind of learning portal), but instead a badly organized personal learning environment--a loosely organized set of tools that were often scattered in various places, both physical and digital.
I'm OK with the lower case "personal learning environment"--in fact, I'd prefer to avoid having some kind of learning tool imposed on me. But I'm not OK with how I was implementing it, once I saw it all written down. This has been influenced by the fact that I'm now winding my way through David Allen's Getting Things Done (probably 5 years after everyone else discovered it), and it has me thinking more about how I'm organizing my work. So I've changed a few things in the past few days to make things a little more efficient.
Moved Back to Netvibes
One day several months ago, Netvibes annoyed me and I switched to Feedraider. I have no idea why, really, since Netvibes is so much better for what I'm trying to do. So my first step was to head back over.
Created a Dashboard for Myself
One of the tabs I created for myself in Netvibes is called My Work. This is the first tab in my reader and I put in a few things that have begun to help me already.
- A quick bookmarks module--One of the netvibes modules you can drag and drop into your page is a Bookmarks Module. It allows you to add any bookmark you want, so I put in a few pages that I access a few times a day, such as my Typepad Account, a page with HTML codes (since I always forget), etc. I also added links to my blog and to my ePortfolio (more on that another day). This way I can reach these things directly from my dashboard. And that dashboard is always available to me no matter where I am. Sort of a mini de.licio.us, I suppose.
- A feed to my "BlogThis" tag in de.licio.us --A few weeks ago, I noticed that someone had used a de.licio.us tag called "blog this." I loved that idea and have begun to use the tag. But I also forget to look at it. So I added a feed to that tag onto my dashboard so I'll be reminded of the topics I'd been thinking about blogging. My Tumblr microblog feed is there, too, for the same reason.
- A feed to my "To Do List" on Work Hack--I'll be revisiting my whole "To Do List" concept once I finish Getting Things Done, I know. But for now I still use it. I like WorkHack's version because it allows you to color code and use different sizes to visually represent the importance of the task. If it's big and red, I'd better do it right now. If it's small and green, then it's OK.
Re-Purposing Blog Content
One of the things I've been planning to do for a while is work on my ePortfolio. Things are a little slower for me right now, so I've been trying to do that over the past several days. I plan to do a separate post just on the portfolio and the process I've been going through, but part of what I've been doing is working on a "Best of Bamboo" wiki where I'm re-organizing my posts from this blog.
It's been an interesting process for a few reasons. It's making me look back at what I've done and how I've progressed, which is learning in and of itself. I'm also seeing new ways of putting some things together for different purposes that have me thinking more creatively. But I'm seeing holes in what I've done that need to be filled, too, so I think it's giving me a new learning agenda in a way.
My point in all of this is to reiterate how important it is to take the time to reflect on our work and to process what we've done. That's what I find so valuable about blogging--it helps me make sense of what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. It also helps me get better at what I do as I set new learning tasks for myself based on what I discover through this reflection and processing. It's probably the most important career advice I would give to someone. Do it, reflect on it, refine it and then do it again. Each iteration you'll learn something new and get better at it in the process.