Frequently Asked Questions

Disclaimers
1.) Most of the app descriptions and instructions were written up in December 2013. All the information was accurate at that time. It is quite possible, or even likely, that the appearance and functions of some apps may have changed, they may no longer be free, or there may be other differences. This is the world of apps. If there are dramatic changes–the app has disappeared or now costs a lot–let us know. Otherwise, blog about the changes, suggest alternative apps, and go to the next Thing.

2.) We had to make choices when putting the program together. From among the many devices and operating systems, we chose a variety of Apple and Android devices to write up all the Things. We know our screenshots and videos may not look exactly like your device. The functionality should be the same on your device, but the icons or buttons may just be in different spots than what you see in our screenshots or videos. Just try your best with your device and the information we provide or find apps that work on your device and blog about those.

FAQs

1. How does this online learning program work?
This is a self-discovery program created by the Minnesota Multitype Library Systems that allows participants to take control of their own learning. Participants are encouraged to work together in their buildings and regions and to share their insights and discoveries with others through their blogs and in person. 23 Mobile Things is web-based and not tied to any particular computer. You can work at home, at school, at your public or academic library. You may need to work at home if your place of work or local library blocks multimedia or other sites. The program is free to all Minnesota library staff.

2. Who can participate?
This program is open only to staff in any Minnesota library – public, academic, school, or special – as well as members of their Governing Boards, their Friends groups, or Advisory Groups. College students in Minnesota library science programs, like those at St. Kate’s, St Cloud State, and MCTC, are also encouraged to participate. Each person must register her/his own blog. Participants who complete 23 Mobile Things program can receive CEUs.

3. Will you provide me with a device?
No, the Minnesota Multitype Library Systems will not provide any participant with a device. We hope participants will use their own Apple or Android devices (tablets or phones) or will be able to borrow devices available in their libraries. If you do use a library-owned device, be sure you have access/permission to download apps.

4. How do I register my blog?
Creating your blog is Thing 1, and after you have created a blog, register by clicking here. Note: you will not receive a confirmation of registration. We will add your blog to the list of Participants’ Blogs, but since we add them manually this may take a week or so. We will not list your name, only your blog’s name.

4a. Where’s my blog? It is not on the list under my region.
All of the blogs are entered on the list manually–it is not an immediate process. It may take a week or so to get the blog listed. If your blog is not up after a week, email minn23@gmail.com with your name, the blog name, and URL.

4b. The link to my blog doesn’t work or goes to some weird blog. What’s the deal?
Possible reasons:

  • The links are copied and pasted onto the Participants’ Blogs page, so it is possible the link had a typo or was incomplete. We try to check them, but we miss some. Email minn23@gmail.com with your name, the blog name, and URL so we can check the registration info.
  • You registered a blog that belongs to someone else. If you did not create your blog prior to registering and just selected a URL without checking availability, you may have a link to someone else’s blog. Make sure to create your own blog first and then re-register with a new URL. We will change the list to reflect your new blog.
  • We couldn’t figure out the URL you supplied, so it is not listed yet. You will be hearing from us soon.
  • You registered multiple blogs with different names and/or emails and we are waiting to get that straightened out with you.

5. How long do I have to complete the program?
Participants who wish to receive the completion incentive must register their blogs by February 15, 2014 and complete all 23 Things (and blog about each one) by June 15, 2014.

6. Are there prizes?
Yes! Participants who complete the entire course will receive a completion incentive. You must register your blog as described in Thing 1 and complete all Things by June 15, 2014. Only registered Minnesota participants are eligible for prizes.

Plus, badges! Each time you complete a group of five things (in any order), send us an email at minn23@gmail.com with your name, region and blog name and we will add a badge next to your blog on the blog list by region. If you have another place to display a badge, let us know that, too, and we will send you the badge to display. You can see the badges in the right sidebar.

7. How do I track my progress of the 23 Things?
You will create a blog of your own in Thing 1 to track your progress. Please use your blog to write your reactions to the exercises and add any ideas you may have on how to use apps for yourself and/or your library. This is your time to experiment, have fun, and learn at you own pace. Links to the blogs of all participants are listed on the Participants’ Blogs page.

To help track your progress, include the Thing # in the heading of each blog post. It will help you and the 23 Mobile Things Team track your progress. It is helpful when you want to refer back or add something new on a specific topic or tool, too.

8. How will you know I have done all the Things?
You will write about each Thing you complete (see previous question) and we will be tracking your progress throughout the program.

9. Can I blog anonymously?
Yes and no. Since you control all the information you share on your blog, you can choose to use a screen name to keep yourself anonymous if that makes it more comfortable for you. However, if you want to be eligible for the prizes, you must register your blog, your name, and a valid email address. Your blog name will be posted on the Participants’ Blogs page, but your name and email address will not be identified on that page.

But, really, why be anonymous? Other participants want to know who you are so they can share and learn more. It is not necessary to put all your personal info in your profile, but complete anonymity works against the social community we want to create.

10. How much do I have to write in my blog posts?
Each blog post must describe which Thing you have completed (remember to put that in the post title, too), what your experience was learning about it, and ideas about how you can use this in your library, for professional development, or personally.  While we don’t expect a dissertation on every Thing, we do expect thoughtful reflection and active participation that is clear. Single sentence posts or those that show perfunctory participation will not be counted.

11. Will there be any training classes offered on how to do this?
Each multitype region will determine what programming is offered around the Things. This will vary, probably a lot! Watch your multitype’s info stream–blog, newsletter, website, email lists, or whatever–to find out what is happening. You can also check this website’s page on programming.

Staff are encouraged to work together in their libraries or region and share with each other their discoveries and techniques in person and through their blogs. You are encouraged to be resourceful and find a co-worker or another staff member who can help. Be sure to share your knowledge and expertise too!

We will provide helpful hints, encouraging words, and post comments on your blogs from time to time. The 23 Mobile Things Team will be available by email to answer your questions about the program and apps.

12. Is there any tech support?
We can assist you with the course, but not with your smartphone, tablet, or Internet connection. You need to know–or figure out–how to use your device. You also need to know how to find, download, and install an app on your device from whatever source you use. This is not a course in how to use your smartphone or tablet. Send an email with your questions to minn23@gmail.com. We try to answer questions within 24 hours during the week.

13. Can I earn CEUs for this program?
Yes, CEUs are available. We estimate that people will spend approximately one hour with each Thing, including exploring the app and blogging about it. People who complete all 23 Mobile Things and blog about them will receive 23 CEUs (indicate on the registration form that you want CEUs). At the end of the program we will mail certificates to those who completed all the Things and requested CEUs. Your blog about each Thing is further evidence of completion. Please note that no prorated CEUs will be awarded for partial completion.

14. Are there fees for the apps highlighted in 23 Mobile Things?
Every Thing will highlight free apps. Some Things may suggest some paid apps, but you are not required to use those paid apps to participate in this program. Paid apps will merely be suggested as additional apps you may want to explore, but free ones will be highlighted and used in the exercises for each Thing.

15. Why do this?
This is a great chance to spend time on your personal and professional development. All library staff need to be up-to-date with the latest trends and technology tools. We need to take time to learn how the tools can be utilized in or with our libraries and to know the tools being used by library patrons.

16. Who are members of the 23 Mobile Things Team?
The Directors and staff of the seven Minnesota Multitype Multicounty Library Systems are the core of the team. This group has worked together to create the 23 Mobile Things website and modify and create the content and instructions for the Things. The team will read participants’ blogs.

8 thoughts on “Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Wendy Prokosch January 17, 2014 at 4:57 pm Reply

    Will a Kindle Fire work for this class?

  2. Kathy Marquis January 24, 2014 at 2:29 pm Reply

    May non-Minnesotans participate, even if we don’t qualify for the prizes?

    • 23mobilethingsmn January 24, 2014 at 3:10 pm Reply

      Anyone can use our website and look at all the 23 Mobile Things, but only Minnesota participants can register. So feel free to look at and use the information on the site (our Creative Commons license is on the bottom right-hand side of the page), but just don’t register for the program.

  3. Renee Zurn February 10, 2014 at 5:58 pm Reply

    Some of us won’t be able to particpate this time around. Will you be offering this course again, maybe this fall?

    • 23mobilethingsmn February 12, 2014 at 1:39 pm Reply

      The decision on whether or not to offer a second round won’t be made until later, but the site will remain available for people to follow the program on their own if they wish.

  4. Becky Stouten June 26, 2014 at 9:46 am Reply

    was the date extended? if so, to what date?

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