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Rudai 23 ~ Thing 6 ~ Reflective Practice

This post will be a summary of ideas which relate to the module ‘Visual Communicator’: image banks; communicating visually; video presentations; and infographics. To be quite clear, before starting the Rudai 23 course I hadn’t had any cause to use any of these applications, and was barely aware of some of them. I had accessed Flickr previously, but in practical terms, that was the extent of it. I was intrigued, and to some degree apprehensive, as I couldn’t really see how I could make the various tasks relevant to me.

Beginning with Thing 3 ~ Image Banks ~ was a fun introduction, and one which I was slightly familiar with. I was, however, unaware of how easy both Flickr and Pixabay have made it for users to access pictures which can be used without license. Learning more about Creative Commons in itself made the task worthwhile, and figuring out how to access, store and use the pictures was extremely useful.

I particularly enjoyed Thing 4 ~ Communicating Visually ~; I can see how many hours could be wasted playing around and manipulating stock photos and turning them into useful learning or teaching tools. However completing Thing 5 ~ Video Presentations ~ was for me something akin to torture. As I explained in my blog post at the time, I have a personal dislike for instructional videos which means I actively avoid using them, so having to create my own was… less than enjoyable! But I was definitely able to see the potential in terms of engaging users, in particular younger users, and the ease with which a video could be created makes it a handy tool. As the instructions suggested, having a story set out before beginning, and even a script if you’re doing you own voiceover, is essential, but other than that the process is actually quite painless.

Each of these activities was, at the time I completed them, simply a theoretical exercise. However, shortly afterwards I was lucky enough to get a job interview. As the job was in an academic library, and as part of the interview process involved bringing along a selection of materials you might use in the job, I decided to go through the first 3 tasks again, as well as Thing 8 – Infographics, and produce items which I could take along. This time, having a specific user and topic in mind, I found it much easier to create both photos (using the Photofunia app) and an instructional video (using Powtoons). The materials I produced were well received (the member of teaching staff on the panel was particularly interested in the Powtoons video) and the benefits of using these tools in a real environment became evident to me. My efforts were still fairly basic, but I am now able to see just how useful all the modules of this section have been, and am looking forward to using them more.

All images in this post were created using Photofunia, and below are my Infographic & Powtoons video:

Rudai 23 ~ Thing 5 ~ Video Presentations

Video Presentations. Not something I have any familiarity with. Again. But I had a quick play around, and produced one on Powtoons and one on Screencast-o-matic. I will confess, before I go any further, that I am not a fan of instructional videos; really, I can’t bear them. I will do anything to avoid watching one. But I realise that this is possibly not something to be proud of, or to shout about. I will continue to prefer reading ‘how to’ items, but I accept that I am probably in the minority…

I  have posted my second video first. I found Screencast-o-matic clear, concise and easy to use; not very exciting perhaps, but that isn’t really the issue here, is it?

Powtoons, on the other hand, I really did not like. It was too fiddly, too much like a story; however, I imagine with a specific reason to produce one I may feel differently. Certainly I can see how they would appeal to some users. I also had issues exporting the video, as after deliberately selecting the free tools, it then told me I had used some ‘locked’ items. So, don’t be too disappointed, but I’m afraid I can’t show you my masterpiece!

 

Rudai 23 ~ Thing 4 ~ Communicating Visually

Yet more new things for me to learn! I’ve not had any reason over the last few years to produce posters or images to convey a message – well, I possibly have, but I’d not thought about it, so for this task I fell back to my go-to topic, Cornish Folklore. In case you’re wondering, it was the topic for my MA dissertation, hence the interest.

First up was Photofunia, an app with a bank of images which you can alter either with your own picture or text. It’s simple to use, although limited by the range of images available for your use, but I can see how it could be a quick way to produce something with immediate impact. These are 3 of mine:

 

 

After messing about with pictures for a while I moved on to Quik, a video-editing app which allows you to combine several photographs together into a short film. I tried a couple; they’re fairly random but it gives an idea of what is available.

 

Quik Folklore 2

Quick – Folklore 1

 

What I did notice was that 2 of my saved images from Photofunia wouldn’t work in the Quik app; there was no explanation as to why, but once I’d realised that that was the case I could work around it. I still personally have no reason to use these, but I can certainly see the use!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rudai 23 ~ Thing 3 ~ Image Banks

I’ve been a member of Flickr for years, but never really paid it much attention, and I’d never come across Pixabay, so getting started on Rudai 23’s Thing 3 project was a real eye-opener.

As Flickr is the platform I’m familiar with, I started there. The idea of Creative Commons is also, I’m sorry to say, a new one to me. But what a fabulous invention! To be able to search such a vast selection of images only for those you are able to use is fantastic for freeing up time. I decided to use the same search term, ‘mythology Cornwall’ on both platforms so that I could compare the results; Flickr’s ‘any license’ selection had surprisingly few (to my mind at least):

But once I’d found a few results I then followed the instructions to create a gallery; again, something I hadn’t investigated before. I must say that I love this feature for saving images which may be useful in future:

What I did find slightly irritating is that the app (iOS, used on an iPad) doesn’t seem to give you the option to view galleries, but that is a minor niggle.

Having played with Flickr I moved on to Pixabay, and typed in the same search; the results here were fewer, and whilst there was an option to ‘like’ the images, there was no facility to store them in a gallery of any sort:

Admittedly this is early days for me and searching image banks, but I love how simple both sources are to use, and how easy they make it for you to be certain that your use of the images is legal. That said, I’ll probably stick with Flickr – I do like to pretend that I’m organised!

A time for (brief) introductions

Meanwhile, back in the world of libraries and information management…

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, I was a librarian. A university librarian, then a further education college Assistant Learning Resource Centre Manager; they are, essentially, the same thing. I had degree in English Literature from Middlesex Poly (I told you it was a long time ago!) and an MA in Information and Library Management from the University of Northumbria. Then I left it all behind to bring up my children.

And while I did that, I trained as a yoga teacher.  I missed academia so I did a second MA, this time in English Literature at Exeter University. Then I taught myself jewellery making, and I began a business making and selling jewellery, and running holiday cottages.

But now my children are grown, and my time will be more my own. I plan to take a PhD, but I also love the idea of getting back into library work in some way. And so I’m taking an online course ~ Rudai 23 ~ to help with that, and this blog is stage one.

I’m not sure yet what you can expect to see here, so be prepared for a random selection of thoughts relating to libraries, information, studying, literature, folklore, storytelling… and who knows what else!

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Oh, and if you’re wondering about the blog title… When I was trying to come up with a name, the first thing that leapt into my head was a line from a song. So let’s just call it a blend of “…too much information…”,   PhD ideas on literature and folklore, and the fact that I am a Northumbrian lass in Cornwall, and something about it reminds me of home!