Thank you for your wonderful letter. As Communications Elf, I am very keen on the use of social media for internal communications. Although the tools can be useful for small groups to work together, it is often a matter of perception whether a system is worth using, based on the number of people already using it. There is also a reluctance, it would seem, on the part of both staff and students to use this sort of tool for communication between the two groups. Added to that, when people are already using a social networking system to keep in touch with family, friends and possibly colleagues, they would often prefer to carry on using the one they are used to, in which they have already established their ‘social graph’.
Training is a perennial issue – in a world of quickly changing technologies, keeping everybody trained to use the various systems available become unmanageable. At some point, if we want to be able to choose and use tools from the plethora available, we have to be able to adopt and adapt tools without undertaking formal training. Hopefully, if we can help people identify their needs and provide some pointers to where you can find tutorials/help, it will overcome some of the gaps. Obviously there are some systems for which training needs to be provided, and hopefully if people can identify which courses they need, it will be easier to ensure they can access it.
Shiny toys! I’d love a kindle too – I can add it to the phone and tablet I have bought and use primarily for work here in Santa industries! But I do agree it would be nice to work more towards a paperless environment. I’m not sure it has to be a brand-specific solution, but making papers and everything readily available and findable online so they can be accessed (and annotated) without having to print them off would be a big step forward.