What My Droid Does – Part 1

My goal since I purchased my Droid at the end of November has been to use it productively. But let’s face it. Most people ask me what I can do with it? It’s pretty much been a conversation of how it compares to a Blackberry or an iPhone.

Here’s what my Droid does:

I’ve downloaded and installed the UStream app from the Android Market. Since I already have login credentials for UStream, all I had to do was type in my username and password on my Droid and I was live on UStream. It couldn’t have been easier. I contemplated inviting my Twitter network to see my dog, Jazz, but thought perhaps another time.

After I was done experimenting with UStream, it occurred to me that many people prefer using Qik. I checked and there is an app for that in the Android Market.

More and more educators are using Evernote. This is also available in the Android Market for free. I can leave audio recordings, take pictures, upload files, or type in text and it all syncs with my Evernote account.

WordPress for the Droid – There’s an app you can find in Android Market called “wpToG0”. From this Android application, I can moderate comments on my WordPress blog, publish posts, and work on drafts. It has pretty decent functionality when it comes to tagging, categories, formating and uploading images.

Layar – This is so cool!!

“Layar is a free application on your mobile phone which shows what is around you by displaying real time digital information on top of reality through the camera of your mobile phone.”

Notepad – “Note Pad is a simple text processor, which lists all notes in a linear structure. Users can only add, edit and delete notes.” This is so simple, yet when I’m parking the car, sometimes I need to jot down which level or which row so that I can find it 6 hours later. You can find this app listed at http://www.androidfreeware.org/.

Finally, I want to mention the free version of  Advanced Task Killer. I noticed that sometimes my Droid was a bit sluggish, so I researched it and it turned out that many of the apps I had been launching were still running in the background. I installed this application so that I could manage all my apps in one place. You can uninstall from here as well as exit out of any applications you currently don’t need running.

I’m always looking for new resources to add to my bookmarks and new apps to install on my Droid if you have any suggestions.

Developing Your Personal Learning Network Using Twitter

I realize there are many amazing posts on the merits of using Twitter to develop a PLN. I also realize that there already exists dozens of collections of tools for making the most of Twitter. I also acknowledge that I have already posted on this very same topic. Yet, as I gather the resources for my presentation today at Kean University’s Center for Innovative Education, I feel it appropriate to post them here.

I was asked to present on using Twitter to develop a personal learning network. Here’s the description I provided for the session:

Developing Your Personal Learning Network Using Twitter

With over 14 million people on Twitter, if you haven’t checked it out yet, you just may be missing something. Join us for a presentation on ways Twitter can be harnessed to build a rich and powerful learning community. Whether you are a novice Tweeter or have been Tweeting for some time, you will gain tips and tricks to leverage the potential of this network using resources designed specifically for educators. Come capitalize on the face to face connections within this workshop to further enrich your Twitter experience.

I only have an hour and there’s so much about Twitter that I won’t be able to share because I will want attendees to take advantage of the face-to-face networking time before they go off to develop their online learning networks. I thought I would mention some of the tools and topics I would have liked to discuss here, so that anyone attending still has access to the information – all in one place – and of course to share with my PLN what I feel are valuable resources.

Twitter Memes and Hashtags:

Follow Friday – Each Friday, Twitter users suggests other Tweeters to follow. They end or begin their Tweet with #FollowFriday (An example.)
Teacher Tuesday suggests teachers to follow on Twitter and as the title suggest happens every Tuesday.
EdChat –  Educators pick specific topics to Tweet about and the conversation is archived.
CIE09 – The hashtag for the CIE conference on December 11, 2009

Using Twitter Hashtags – This is a great explanation of what a Hashtag is and how they are used.

Ways to Build your Network:

Twitter4Teachers – An extensive list of educators on Twitter  – categorized by subject area / grade level
Who Should I Follow? – Find new Twitter Friends
Mr.Tweet – Discover great people relevant to your current needs

Searching for Tweets and Twitterers:
Twitter Search – Search by keyword, Hashtag or even Twitter ID
TweetScan – Searches Twitter and allows you to get e-mail updates
Tweetdeck – Group people together and have separate columns for @Replies, DMs, Groups and the public timeline

Cool Twitter Tools:

Tweet Wheel– allows you to visually discover which of your followers know each other.
Top Twitter Friends –  Including a list of your top 20 BFFs and suggestions of Twitterers to follow. 

For discovering many more Twitter tools:

Top Twitter Tools for 2009
Twitter Fan Wiki

I know there are so many more tools and resources out there. Many folks in my PLN have created screencasts and video tutorials on how to use these tools and on the merits of using Twitter. They are all in my Social Bookmarks at http://delicious.com/lthumann/twitter or http://www.diigo.com/user/lthumann/twitter. I also bookmark anything related to Twitter to the Diigo Twitter Freaks Group.

My Droid, My Dream Come True

Image Source: http://www.productqas.com

I’ve been using my Blackberry 8830 since November 2007. I got it around the same time lots of my techie friends were getting their iPhones, but I refused to switch providers as my family has four lines and it was just too much to go through that kind of hassle. I’m sure you understand.

My Blackberry did everything I wanted it to. I was able to communicate through e-mail, Twitter and ultimately Facebook as well. But as time went by, browsing became an issue. The model I had did not have a built in camera and the multimedia functions of it were just not fulfilling my needs. So much so that when I was in my own home and other Wi-Fi environments, I got in the habit of using my iPod Touch to access all of my social networks and communication needs.

Then came the Droid.

This is an early holiday gift from my husband. (You’re welcome Chris. Now you don’t have to go shopping for me.) After reading and researching the Android Market and checking out the many features of the phone itself, I took a field trip to my provider’s store this past Sunday. Here are the initial features that sold me:

  • 3G network
  • camera (by the way it’s a 5 megapixels)
  • video camera
  • 3.7 inch touch screen
  • pre-installed apps (like Facebook and YouTube)
  • Wi-Fi capable

I turned off my Blackberry forever. It was funny. A few days later my 6-year old asked me if I missed it and I realized that for the last couple of years she’s known me to pretty much always have it with me. But the answer was easy. I didn’t miss it at all.

I walked out of the store, got in my car and just for fun used the Google Maps with Navigation over speakerphone to get home. The voice over the Droid gave me ACCURATE, turn-by-turn directions to get right to my driveway. Not that I won’t still use my Garmin GPS, but it’s nice to have an alternative.

One thing that the gentleman at the store explained to me is that I would no longer be able to use Microsoft Outlook to sync my Calendar and Contacts. Bummer. So, when I got inside, I fired up my computer and exported everything out of Outlook and imported everything into my Google Account. This is something I had planned to ultimately do anyway, I guess I just needed a reason. Check this out:

  • Google Over the Air updates – no need for a wire to sync your phone – it happens over the air and automatically – Holy Cow!!
  • Integrated Google and Facebook contacts – so someone calls me and I see their Facebook picture
  • Rotate the Droid and the screen changes to landscape, rotate again it goes back to the portrait orientation
  • Android Market
Image Source: http://www.dialaphone.co.uk

I’ve been downloading and using a few of the apps from the Android Market. There are about 10,000 apps there. I realize that for you iPhone users, there’s still no comparison, and I’m not writing about the Droid to bring it into the classroom, but because it’s such a great productivity tool for me. So here are the apps that I have downloaded and used so far with thanks to Damian Bariexca and Paula White:

  • Twidroid“twidroid is the industry-standard twitter client for android and among the most used twitter applications across all platforms. it’s available as a free and commercial pro version that supports all twitter features as well as functionality that is customized to the capabilities of android devices.”
  • Flashlightsimple white screen allows you to see in dark places
  • Mother TED“Mother TED allows you to watch the latest TED videos based on Themes, Talks and Tags.”
  • Where“WHERE is a bundle of cool GPS apps all wrapped into one. Are you looking for the hottest restaurants, jonesing for your next coffee fix, or need a cheap fill-up? Maybe you want to know the local weather, traffic or headlines? Whatever you are after, WHERE has it.”

It’s not quite yet a week. I have so much to learn. I’ve been bookmarking some great resources and I plan on posting more on the Droid in the near future. If you have one and care to share your experiences or some apps that have been helpful, please do. If you are thinking about getting one,  don’t hesitate to ask me about mine.