October 6, 2008

Wrap Up & Reflection

This has been an interesting journey for me. I usually consider myself technically literate - but this course had forced me to go out and find lots of things and tools that I have never used before. Hopefully I can use this as a launching point to keep exploring these things.

I enjoyed being able to actually create and manage my own blog space - never thought I woud do that. I also enjoyed learning work related ways to use tools that I considered for fun or personal use only. Who would have thought that social networking could be used for work too!?

I look forward to Amy's next challenge!

October 3, 2008

Web Conferencing & UM Connect

I did go into UMConnect and set up a private meeting with myself. I did experiment with the different layouts in the program. I was difficult for me to take advantage of the audio protion or videa - because being in a county office - we do not have that technology.

I would like to see this technology used in a way that producers owning small ruminants could get together once a month for a short educational series. In order for this to work - the technology would need to be in place at a variety of county offices so that producers could come to those locations to use the software. This would be difficult for someone with dial up service.

September 23, 2008

Another Photo

We (my husband & I) occassionally get requests to bring kids (baby goats) to elementary schools in the spring. This is a photo that was taken this spring with some week old babies and the students. I think you could say that they had a good time and learned a lot.

Twitter

Twitter is very interesting to me. I think it could be really handy during our trip to Brazil. For example - when my husband and I took our trip to New Zealand we took our laptop with us. Every few days we would send a lengthy email to a huge email list of family and friends. Sometimes we would include a few photos. With twitter - you could send one short message - or a web link to an online journal or blog with all of that information.

Oh what fun!

Uploading Photos

Just wanted to try my hand at uploading photos to my blog. These were a few heifers that were part of a research study I did while in graduate school. It will be neat to do this while we are in Brazil in November.


Social Networking

I have to say that I am part of the minority it seems - I do not have a social networking page. I guess I always thought that type of thing was for "fun" uses only. I have had friends & family send me messages saying they have created a facebook page, but I have not joined in the fun. I never thought about using something like that for work or actual networking, go figure! I will really have to stretch my brain a little to think about how to use this type of site within Extension work. Maybe it would take the place of list serves. Just a thought.

September 15, 2008

Productivity Tools

When it comes to these types on online items, I seem quite comfortable. I have a gmail/google account for personal things, and I can sure see the benefit of having some items saved through Gogle Docs so that my husband and I could access them at various locations.

The "remember the milk" site is very interesting. I am constantly calling individuals to remind them of things, and then forget things myself! One can only maintain a certain number of little sticky notes, before one of them gets lost and the whole system breaks down. This may help to remedy that situation. I wonder if you can send other people reminders through this service?

I have also worked with Net Files as part of the small farms team within Extension. It is a nice way to have things shared, although it is a bit cumbersome to get into at first. The same comments could be said about UM Cal. Being in a county position, I have to maintain a number of calendars including the web version of UM Cal - this maked it a bit more of a chore.

Wikis

Okay, I will be the first to admit it - wiki's scare me! I am the type of person that is looking for hard facts. To know that people/potential Extension clients may be getting information from wikis that may not be entirely factual - oh my!

I cna definately see the benefit to having a platform of information that can be worked on by so many different sources, but I still have big concerns over the sources for that information and their credability. I see that as the biggest issue for Extension right now and into the future in all areas, not just the web.

August 28, 2008

PodCasts & Audio

Hi there,
So I took some time today to experiment with Pod Nova. Interesting - I think that sums it up. I think I have found that absolutely anyone can do a "podcast" about anything! This makes me wonder as people are using the internet to gather information - how do they determine the credability of the source? This will be something that the University and Extension will have to grapple with.

I added the Farm Network to my bloglines account. I plan on doing a little bit more investigating to see what other interesting tidbits I can find. I did try to search for the MN state fair - thinking that tv and radio stations might do smaller stories. All I found was one particular person who had done a number. Since I didn't find him that interesting - I decided against adding it. Ah - the power of choice and technology in one!

I can see this being a great tool with a family member at a distance or deployed. Being able to hear a familiar voice is comforting.

Thanks,
Laura

August 18, 2008

Images & Video

I have used google, picasa, shutterfly and winflash to share photos, but have never tried flickr. I have used sites like that to keep in touch with friends and family - as well as sharing the latest "happenings" on our farm. www.fourseasonsfarm.shutterfly.com We also used the same site to share photos from out reip to New Zealand. www.kiesernztrip.shutterfly.com

In regards to Flickr - I think it's neat that a person can leave a note about a particular part of a photo - even more fun to see the same photo after a number of people have commented about it. I wish there was a way to decide which one of these sites was the best - maybe a checklist of their features would be useful.

Thanks!
Laura

August 12, 2008

RSS Feeds

Howdy,
So I tried my hand at RSS feeds today. It seems simple enough to subscribe to these. I added the Star Tribune South and Ag Buzz. Although I am still confused about a few things.

1. Are these feeds supposed to be connected to my blog somehow?
2. Do they appear in my email, or do I need to go to Blog Lines to look at them?

If you are an expert at RSS feeds, feel free to leave me a bit of advice! I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks,
Laura

First Post!

I can't beleive it - I am blogging! I have seen blogs posted on the web, and often wondered how to get started.

I think this course will be a fantastic way to learn about alternative ways to communicate with folks within Extension as well as reaching a whole new audience that might not be aware of Extension and all of the wonderful programs we offer.

I look forward to learning how to make a blog exciting - and how to make it a place that people want to check out on a regular basis.

Thanks!
Laura