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Thing 7: communicate

I haven’t had much to do with Google hangouts although I participated in the EdTech Crew end of year podcast hangout at the end of last year.
I hadn’t realised, till I started reading the post for this topic and exploring some of the links, that you could broadcast the hangout live, that you don’t actually have to be a participant to view. This opens up lots of possibilities I think, particularly for presentations to large distributed groups where several people need to interact while others just listen (or participate via backchannels perhaps). Hangouts in general would be amazing at the organisation where I work as there are 3000 employees and many volunteers spread across the country. There are teleconferences held all the time but how much better would it be to see who you’re talking to, and to be able to record the conversation for anyone who missed out live. Even on a smaller scale it would be fabulous. My manager is in Brisbane and our partner from another organisation is in Macedon. Unfortunately the computer system doesn’t currently allow the use of Skype and the only browser is an old version of IE! Oh yeah, and we don’t have audio!
Skype I’ve used more. I once had a job interview on Skype; my husband has travelled a bit for work so we’ve caught up on Skype (much nicer than a phone call but it confuses the dogs no end), and I’ve attended several conferences where keynote speakers have presented virtually through Skype. The most recent was at EduTech in Brisbane in June. Sir Ken Robinson lost none of his charisma or impact even though he was thousands of miles away and it was 2am where he was.
The Skype an author wiki is a great resource and well worth checking out for schools and libraries alike. In my current job I have suggested that a similar central listing of emergency management personnel could be a useful addition to existing disaster resilience education resources.

Postscript 21 July

I just came across this fantastic list of 50 Ideas for using G+ Hangouts in Learning by Category from Teachthought Can’t wait to try some of them out!

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Thing 4 : Maps and checking in

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So this is new. Instead of my usual blogging on the train on my phone I’m at Adelaide airport, waiting to catch my flight home, using my ipad.
GPS and maps on mobile devices, how could you travel without them these days. From making sure the taxi driver is on the straight and narrow to negotiating an unfamiliar public transport system to locating places of interest…it’s all good.
Geo caching is another fun use for your mobile’s GPS, as are apps like Walk watch and Map my run so you can record how far you’ve walked/cycled/run, where you went and elevation climbed. I hadn’t considered setting up geo caches in the library but it could be part of a special event like book week.
Checking in…hmmm not so much.
It has disturbed me the frequency which some people check in their every movement and report this for all the world to see on Twitter. To the point I know where they live and whether or not they are at home. Now I’m an honest, law-abiding citizen but not everyone is. Just sayin’.

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Thing One: Twitter

I’ve been using Twitter since October 2008. Seems like a long time now but at the time I felt like a late-adopter. Earlier in 2008 I’d completed SLAV’s original 23 things course and started this amazing personal/professional learning roller coaster that hasn’t shown signs of slowing yet. At that time Twitter wasn’t part of 23 Things. I know, hard to believe now! But it was definitely growing in use and was being written about regularly in the blogs I was reading voraciously at the time. I wrote about my reluctance to join in and the adventure I had when I finally jumped here and here. Safe to say I’ve been a convert ever since.
I love Twitter for lots of reasons: keeping in touch with colleagues and friends, learning about new resources, finding great stuff to read, sharing resources I’ve found, getting help, keeping up with the latest news, and having a laugh. I’m by no means a prolific twitterer, my 5700 tweets in 4 1/2 years is modest compared to many. I find I go in fits and starts of actually tweeting. That said, I check my twitter feed several times most days. I’m following about 1200 people and I have1600 followers. My Twitter ‘claim to fame’ is that @stephenfry follows me!
I use the Tweetdeck app on Chrome on my laptop although for some reason that doesn’t work on the school network so when I’m there I use the Hootsuite website.
Like Facebook, Twitter really becomes useful and fun on a mobile device, I haven’t found anything better than the native Twitter app on my phone but on my iPad I’ve just started using Twitterific after Osfoora stopped working properly for search and lists. I also use Flipboard, it’s great for #tag searches and the presentation is really nice.
I mostly follow # tags related to conferences and events – they are a great way of finding like-minded people to follow. I’ve only set up one list of my own, to follow emergency management agencies as part of my current job. I follow a few lists, a great way to keep up with a group, especially if you follow a lot of people. On that, whenever someone new follows me I check out their profile and make a decision whether or not to follow back. I almost always follow teachers and librarians or anyone with an interest in ICT. I’ll follow anyone from Melbourne and anyone I know in real life. I never follow back people who protect their updates – I’m not sure why they are on Twitter in the first place.
I have set up a Twitter account for my library. Initially it was just to use to set up a paper.li daily to embed on our website. It also tweets a link to anything we put on our Facebook page. If I was at school this year, developing the library’s social media presence would have been a focus. As it is that will have to wait till next year.
Right now I’m involved in applying to set up a Twitter account for the project I’m working on. That is far more involved than I would have thought necessary and just drives home the difference between this job and working in a school (not that that is necessarily a bad thing).
So that’s me and Twitter – to anyone out there who hasn’t had a go I say just do it, get into the conversation. Don’t think you have to read every tweet – someone likened it to the radio, it’s broadcasting 24/7 but you only listen when you choose and you only listen closely when it really interests you. You’ll learn to express yourself very concisely and you’ll find all kinds of things that you never even knew existed.

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23 Mobile Things

I just happened upon the 23 Mobile Things website this afternoon and I’ve quickly decided its just the impetus I need to get back to blogging regularly.
But this won’t be ordinary blogging, this will be mobile blogging. I’ve downloaded the Edublogs app onto my phone, connected my blog and I’m composing this post on it as we speak (so to speak)! In fact I’m very mobile, this is being written as I wait for my train home to arrive.
A quick glance over the scope of 23 Mobile Things shows that there’s lots of stuff I’m already familiar with but I’m really looking forward to looking at these apps and sites with a more reflective eye via the structure of the course and the questions it poses.
Let the fun begin!