Tools and Products of Seek-Sense-Share

Do I need another online tool for work or learning? I use or have used a little over half of the Top 100 Tools for Learning in 2014 compiled by Jane Hart.

I wanted to know:  Why am I using these tools? How do they support my learning and work in online environments? Should I consider using a new tool? Take a tool off my list? I began to answer that question by mapping out how I use these tools as part of a PKM routine using Harold Jarche’s Seek-Sense-Share framework.

I’m simplifying here, but ‘Seek’ is an input – how we gather information. ‘Sense’ is an output, or how we reflect and create new meaning. ‘Share’ is also an output, how we share with others in a meaningful way.

Seek-Sense-Share sketch

What Seek-Sense-Share looks like to me

Near the edges of my routine Seek-Sense-Share process, I found intermediary processes:

  • collect, capture,  organize
  • group collaboration
  • create

These intermediary processes help me move between Seek, Sense, or Share.

Seek-Sense-Share with accompanying routine practices

Seek-Sense-Share with accompanying routine practices

Next, I mapped out how I was using online tools to fit with my Seek-Sense-Share process.

Seek-Sense-Share: Tools (green), products (grey), intermediary processes (blue)

Seek-Sense-Share: intermediary processes (blue), tools (green), products (grey),

Seek Tools – These tools or conversation spaces are the primary places I receive sources of online information. I tame the flow of information by trying to tune in this information by creating useful categories and filtering mechanisms.  My ‘Seek’ tools include:

  • Twitter (also the top tool for learning in 2014)
  • Google+
  • Feedly (manage blog subscriptions)
  • Pinterest (search for diversity of ideas)
  • Slideshare (an increasingly good source of ideas)
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn

Collect, Capture, Organize Tools

I use tools and methods to collect, capture, and organize information I ‘Seek’ before I ‘Sense’ by making sketchnotes, writing or present information. These include:

  • Evernote/Skitch  (capturing, tagging, and making personal notes about resources)
  • Twitter Favorites (bookmarking tweets to sort and review at a later date)
  • Flickr – (storing, and organizing images I take or create)
  • Pinterest  – (bookmark visual resources onto themed boards).

Group Collaboration Tools

I  consider group collaboration both an input (Seek) and an output (Sense). This is why I’ve sketched ‘Group Collaboration’ between and at the edges of ‘Seek’ and ‘Share’.  It is certainly an integral process to my sense-making process, especially the conversations that take place around collaborative or brainstorming processes.  I have routinely found my favorite and most frequently used group collaboration tools to be:

  • Google Apps
    • Google Drive – (I especially like the ‘share with anyone with a link’, sticky note-like comments, autosave, and revision history features)
    • Conversations via Google Hangout
  • Boardthing – (group facilitation tool to brainstorm, understand, or organize ideas)
  • Basecamp – (helpful for communication around project needs)

Sense Products – In my sketchnotes, I identified ‘Sense’ outcomes as products, rather than a set of tools. Having three main products seems very simple for how much work these three products create!

  • Sketchnotes
  • Presentations
  • Blogging

Creation Tools  –   These creation tools feel more like an input to create my ‘Sense’ products, and yet, when creating, I need to think how they will be used as an output ‘Sense’ and ‘Share.’ This is why these are listed separately and on the edge between ‘Sense’ and ‘Share’. My list of creation tools for creating ‘Sense’ products, include:

  • Sketchnoting:
    • Samsung Galaxy Note Tablet & SketchbookX App
    • Paper sketches captured to Evernote or Dropbox
  • Presenting (includes making graphics, slide decks, or videos):
    • PowerPoint
    • Prezi
    • Photoshop
    • Screenflow
    • iMovie
  • Writing:
    • Blogging
    • Evernote

Share Tools – Sharing is like exhaling.  I find a significant part of my what happens in ‘Share’ is actually thought about in ‘Create’ and ‘Sense’, as I have to determine when and where (or with whom) to share to present a valuable product. My ‘Share’ tools, include:

  • Twitter, Google+ (most frequent)
  • Comment on blogs (I could be much better about this)
  • Slideshare/Prezi (when presenting)
  • Vimeo (mostly ‘how to’ screen capture videos)
  • YouTube (rarely used)
  • Web conference (Adobe Connect, Google+)

Do I need another online tool for work or learning in 2014?

I see two areas where I may adopt new tools this year: Create and Group Collaboration. In the next few months, I’ll likely experiment with tools that help me present or communicate more effectively (e.g. Canva, Goanimate) and look for task management tools that may tie group collaborative tasks to personal notes (like Evernote).

The above prediction is limited. I know there are tools I don’t know of yet that may be useful, so more importantly, mapping out my tools, products, and processes in this post, I have a new set of questions to ask when I consider adopting a new tool:

  • How will a new tool supports the processes I’ve outlined above?
  • How often will I use it (i.e. daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or as-needed) ?
  • Does it fill a niche, does it make it easier for me to find, retrieve, make or share information?
  • Will I add it to my toolbox as a complement to something else I’m already using?

An experiment in writing a half-hour per day

For the last twenty-one days or so, I’ve been working at writing a half-hour per day about my personal-professional development. (Full disclosure: I traveled last week and didn’t write at all since I was with colleagues during the day and evening).

I’ve been struggling to work in writing and reflection time as a routine practice into my daily workflow. From past work-related experiences, I have estimated that one blog post usually takes about 4 or more hours of time. During most weeks, finding one solid four-hour time block to write is pretty rare for me.

That is why I recently decided to try giving writing a half hour per day a try.  A “half-hour” is an approximate amount of time for me, as some days I have been writing as much as an hour, whereas other days it may be twenty minutes. As of now,  I am not forcing myself to have a published product (or blog posts) in that same half-hour, for now it’s about writing (here in WordPress, Evernote, or on paper) so I develop a habit of working out loud or narrating my work.

At two weeks into this process, I’ve mostly worked on one blog post, which remains unpublished, but I’ve also had the following reflections:

1)Even though I haven’t published the original blog posts I’ve been working, I have done more thinking and research on the topic then I intended (that is a good thing). I also ended up sharing these ideas with co-workers more easily since they were already put together in a (unpublished) blog post.

2)It’s been very helpful for clearing my mind. Writing a half-hour per day has helped me feel like I can become aware of other new ideas, either by tabling them,  incorporating them into what I am writing at the time,  or helping me to deflect new ideas that may be interesting,  but less relevant to things I’m working on at the moment.

3)Other people find this act of writing for a half an hour, helpful or interesting too.  After tweeting about my 4th day of writing for a half-hour, a former #xplrpln cMooc member Tanya Lau mentioned she’d like to join me, and several other people retweeted or favorited my tweet. This is great, because I could always use social accountability to continue the momentum.

4)There are some days I need to take a break. I think I’m going to allow taking two – three days most weeks for this kind of non-committal activity. Why? I also need my early morning time to write the grocery list, set health goals and stay on top of the family calendar.

5)Other days I need to write with the intention not to share with others.  The reason for this is there are some ideas that I’m working on but not ready to share yet. When I find myself working on these ideas, I plan to journal in Evernote or in a paper notebook.

So far, I’m pretty satisfied with taking the time to write for a half-hour per day.  I think taking the time to write a half-hour a day is working from the stand point that I look forward to sitting down to write a half-hour every morning, and I’m putting this into my daily routine consistently. However, I am interested in getting to the point of publishing more frequently. As Tanya Lau mentioned,  I think it may be helpful to start to develop an outline and plan of things I’d like to write to publish here once I get the ideas flowing from a couple a weeks of just writing a half-hour per day.