Reflections on the Personal Learning Networks Challenge

Following the release of the Personal Learning Networks Building your Personal Network animation - which depicts Kristina's (a fictional character's) experience of using social media - we invited individuals and organisations to take up a challenge to learn more about using social media in their role.

Debbie Lucas, staff development officer in a local authority social work department took part in the challenge and offers her reflections on using social media both in her own role and to support colleagues.

Using Google

Google, possibly the web search engine of choice for most people, is wonderfully efficient at unearthing useful information. But have you ever wondered if there might be something relevant away down there on page 100 of your results? For more effective and efficient searching it's worth looking at some of Google's more advanced features.

Newsfeeds (RSS)

The little orange icon below can make your life easier. You will see it all over the web and it means you can keep up to date without having to visit the website to see what's new. The icon denotes the existence of something called an RSS feed (sometimes called news feeds, web feeds, XML feeds or simply feeds). RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication but you don't have to worry about this. More important is what it does, which is to summarise and syndicate.

Unblocking web access

Even the best designed websites and web-based services can be rendered inaccessible by corporate IT policies. Polices which restrict access to social media sites seem to be particularly prevalent in the public sector.