Scanning--it's what we do. Once again I should be reading those pesky NSF proposals, but checking my email always seems to put me in "scanning" mode. You never know where you'll end up.
I first heard the term in connection with the high-tech world at a keynote talk at the ATE (Advanced Technological Education) PI conference a few years ago. The speaker said that high tech computer consultants spend up to 40% of their time "scanning" (mainly online) to keep up with what the next "big things" would be so they could pitch their services before the rabble knew what was coming down the pike. I've heard it used more conventionally in relation to developing strategic plans for universities and businesses, i.e. "environmental scanning."
I realized at that moment that I spent a lot of time doing what could be called onlne scanning, and most of my colleagues did not. I seem to have inherited the "early adopter" gene from some dark corner of my midwest farmer heritage. So how does this relate to anything?
Yesterday I was reading the HASTAC post about Educause, and I wondered who the writer was "in real life." I googled the four character username, and her identity popped right up. Then I went to bed. This AM, something in my email lead me to wonder what would come up if I googled my (new) common moniker--LDinSTL (it used to be LDinAZ before I moved a year ago). Sure enough, it gave me about 3 pages (only) of weird Web 2.0 stuff I signed up for and promptly forgot about. At least some of it.
One interesting thing was the reminder of the random documents I uploaded to Scribd to test out whether it was as simple as it sounded. Today I noticed all of the data on who had viewed the docs, what search engines had dropped by, and much more. Amazing.
Here's just one of them that many of you have probably already seen. That is, if the embed code works.
Here it is:
When I enter the code using the "HTML" window, it comes up blank, so maybe it's not an approved thing to embed. Just testing.
So, you can go here.
So many options. So many colleagues who don't have a clue.
I guess I'll have to google LDinAZ to see what I used to be doing, then I'll get back to "work". Or am I doing something just as important right now? Depends on who you ask. The key is figuring out how to share and make use of all this "scanning" input.
P.S. Mechelle, my new friend and colleague from the HASTAC blog connection, has joined my Visualization in Education Network. Does that mean it's working?
P.P.S. Anyone want me to fly over and do an NSF-DUE education proposal writing workshop? Us ex-DUE program officers are an under-utilized breed. I can bring along a biologist, a computer scientist, an engineer, a mathematician, anything your heart desires. Check out www.nsf.gov and select Education from the drop-down lists. Lots of possibilities. :-)