I was extremely lucky to be able to participate in a professional development event today all about social media. And all from my desk in downtown Ottawa. I ‘attended’ an Armchair Discussion put on by the Canada School of Public Service on Social Media tools of the Government of Canada. I chose this event because I was keen to attend a free event (check!), that fit into my schedule easily (check!) and that would be meaningful to my career and work as well as applicable for this assignment (check, check!).
I have included a few screenshots that I also included in the summary of the presentation I did for my work colleagues. The format was ‘webcast’ as the event took place in Quebec City (PQ) but through a live link I was able to access the event in real time which was a great way to spend my lunch hour. The presentation was in French and lead by a public servant who works on tools for internal use for increased collaboration by public servants. The presentation was approximately 40 minutes long followed by a question/answer session.
Although I didn’t actually ‘meet’ anyone I was able to participate in the event by asking a question during the 20 minutes allotted for interaction at the end of the presentation. I was also able to share what I learned with my work colleagues shortly after the presentation through our own internal ‘social media’ collaborative online tool.
Although I’m not sure I learned what I thought I would learn, or be exposed to, I still feel like I’ve come away with a better understanding of different ways that public servants are using these internal tools (ex. GCpedia) to contribute to the workforce, to collaborate with their colleagues from coast to coast and to increase efficiency. I will definitely think differently of some of these tools based on examples that were shared during the event.
A great quote from the presenter, and I won’t translate is from the answer to my question which was about the challenge of using both official languages while using these collaborative tools. She said (slightly paraphrased): “Il faut traiter les outils comme les courriels et les réunions. » (These tools must be treated like emails and meetings) This is in the sense that official communication and meetings in bilingual regions for language of work purposes must be bilingual – and online collaboration should be no different.
I will continue to attend Canada School of Public Service Armchair Discussions, either in person or from my desk. I always find it interesting to hear from people who are working directly in a domain and be able to ask them questions rather than reading a report or news article. On top of that, these events are free and I am lucky to work with a team that encourages ongoing learning and participation in events like this one.