Thursday, July 15, 2010

10 Tips for Managing Information Overload

Yesterday at the BLC conference I presented on how to manage information overload. Together we looked at the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment for this all to prevalent problem. Here is a list of 10 things you can do to keep your Online life under control.
1. Have compassion for yourself - We are all works in progress, don't be too hard on yourself if you don't know everything. No one can know everything. It is OK Not to know.

2. Measure - There are many tools that you can use to measure your use computer use. They run in the background and will give you data on the sites you visit, the applications you use and how much time you spend on each tool.

3. Set goals
- Before you open up a browser consider what you are hoping to accomplish.

4. Triage
- Filter on the way in, not on the way out. Look through your email and create filters so that not everything comes in to your inbox. For example, if you are CCd on an email you probably don't have to look at it immediately. Filter those messages into a separate file to look at later. Also check out Howard Rheingold's resources on mindful infotention.

5. Ask a Librarian
- Don't overlook the human resources in your own building.

6. Don't check email until lunch
- If you are the fastest responder to a problem, you will get all the problems. If you wait to respond, they may figure out their own answers.

7. Be effective, not just efficient
- Being efficient is doing things right, being effective is doing the right things. Make sure you are doing the right things right.

8. Use a productivity tool
- Applications like Evernote and Remember the Milk can help you to keep track of all your tasks and information. You can learn about other productivity tools here.

9. Mark as read
- Don't be afraid to go through your reader and mark everything as read. Start fresh. If it is important it will come back up to the top.

10. Take time outs
- Explore the Pomodoro technique which suggests you use a timer and set it for 25 minutes of work time and then take a 5 minute break. And, during the work time you keep track of your distractions and take a look at when they occur and what they are.
Do you have a good strategy for managing your information overload? Have you tried something on this list that has worked for you? Please leave a comment and share it with us.

image source:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Full Brain after First Day at BLC 2010

I have had a great first day of the Building Learning Communities conference, but my brain is full. The day started with an interesting keynote by Mitch Resnick, the inventor of Scratch. I do a lot with Scratch at my school and it was wonderful to see all of the projects that students are doing with the Scratch software. Mitch pointed out that good technology should have a low floor, so that it is easy to get started with, a high ceiling, so that students can take it far, and a wide walls, so that students can follow their own interests. Scratch certainly has that and I think it is a great rubric for evaluating any software.

In my second session I was not the smartest person in the room with Dean Shareski. School is no longer the primary place for learning. He asked the great question, what does it mean to be a life long learner? How do we move past an educational model that is tethered in time and place. Students have already moved there, when will schools follow?

In Jeff Utecht's session on Blended Learning, he showed us how his school is using blogs as online portfolios of their work over their entire school career. He suggests finding a container that works for you, whether it be a blog, a wiki or a ning, and using that to hold student work. He also encouraged us to be connectors for our students to use our own networks to help network our students and expose their work to a wider audience.

Finally, I learned about different iPad apps at Seth Bowers's session. He showed us too many to talk about, but he nicely posted a list here.

If you aren't at the conference, you can follow a lot of what is going on by searching #blc10 on Twitter or checking out the delicious bookmarks tagged BLC10. If you are here, I hope you will leave a comment and or a link and share some of the highlights of your first day!