Broken Cookies Contain Fewer Calories

I have two Girls Scouts in my house. That’s twice as many cookies that have to be sold to meet their quotas. Twice as much prepping them to say “Thank you berry much” (ode to the new Thank U Berry Munch cookie.)

I was wondering how in the world the girls and I were going to meet their goals this year and then I saw my friend Erica Hartman post a Google Form for friends and family to fill out on Facebook. Shortly after that, I saw a neighbor of mine update her FB status to “Girl Scout cookies for sale”. Was this the route I was going to take with the girls? I wasn’t sure.

Well, we went out yesterday to sell to our neighbors. It started raining as we were out and the girls were getting whiny, but I told them we had to forge ahead as it was the time I had carved out to sell, sell, sell.

When we returned home, drenched, and far from our goal (we have wonderful neighbors, it’s just that most of them weren’t home), I updated my Facebook status to read…

"I was just out with the girls selling Girl Scout Cookies - determined - even in the rain to fill our quota. We didn't make it."

 

Well, I have an amazing group of friends, family and fellow educators because I immediately got orders for cookies. Some were from local family that I’d be able to deliver as soon as they came in and others were from ed tech buddies that I would see at ISTE11 and BLC11 I think there’s going to be a cookie fest at ed tech conferences this summer.

Now, please don’t take this post the wrong way. I am not looking for more orders (though the girls do want their badges). I just wanted to share another story about how using  social media can increase your reach.

(P.S. A favorite aunt of mine, long ago, had a magnet that read “Broken cookies contain fewer calories”. I still have it on my fridge. I’m sticking with it.)

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Who are Your Friends on Facebook?

I don’t know about you, but I have gotten a recent flood of friend requests on Facebook. Most of them are not from family members or from folks that I truly know well. They are from “Mutual Friends“. You know what I’m talking about. You look at the number listed to the right of their request to see how many mutual friends you have and that helps you decide whether to accept them or not. Right?

When I first started using Facebook back in 2008 I thought I would use it to keep in touch with family and close friends and possibly even those folks that I had met at conferences and edtech events. But that has now grown and I find myself looking at status updates from people I don’t know at all. What happened?

The other day I logged in to update my status and check out what my FB friends were up to when I got an IM (instant message) from someone I really didn’t know.

“Hello?”

I didn’t respond.

“when u will reply me? never?”

I know what we teach our students and our children about not replying to people that we don’t know, but I was ALREADY friends with this person. Something had convinced me to accept his friend request. When I clicked on his profile I saw only 4 common friends and the face of someone I had never met in person. I also saw that his status updates were not in English. Why was I FB friends with him?

“sometimes i see u
try to talk to u
but u never replied me
i really wonder why?
just a human i m too
not a monster”

What would you do at this point?

I was so frustrated with myself because if I didn’t want to IM with this person, I should have never accepted his friend request, yet I felt a sense of guilt for not replying.

“i think i saw u
from nice place for example
about education
about projects
i m a teacher and an engineer
and a coordinator of projects”

Feeling guilty and curious, I asked what he wanted to chat about.

“i thought
i would talk
or share somehting
but as i see u dont care
if i disturbed u
i m really sorry

I replied that he was not disturbing me, but that I had to log off and go walk my dog. (This was true as my dog had been barking for a few minutes and obviously needed to go out.)

  • Where would the conversation have gone?
  • How do you make decisions as to who you are friends with on Facebook?
  • How SHOULD you make decisions as to who you are friends with on Facebook?
  • Do you practice what you preach in terms of internet safety?

These are questions I have been asking myself for a few days. What are your answers?

Foursquare, More Square, We Square, Your Square

I started using foursquare back in January during Educon when a few friends checked into my car. I didn’t really get it, (if you don’t either watch this video) but I thought it was funny and I wanted to join in. I signed up for an account and found that it was really easy to use from my Droid, so I started creating venues and checking in when I would travel for work and go to different schools in NJ.

I soon realized that I could send my check-ins to Twitter (which I rarely do) and to Facebo0k. Foursquare actually became a great tool for me to add status updates to my Facebook page and I soon realized that many of my ed tech friends were using it there as well. I figured that anyone that didn’t want to see those posts would just hide them.

After using foursquare so much at ISTE10 and even presenting about it in the Social Butterfly Lounge, I decided I might review a few basics as many have an interest in it on their way to BLC10 this week.

Here’s a A How To on foursquare. This one will answer many of the simple questions you might have that you are hesitant to ask an existing foursquare user.

How to pick your Mayorship battles is one that some folks I know (present company included) should take a look at. Chris Craft has coined the phrase “fauxsquaring” based on a recent competition for the Mayorship of a specific venue. This article provides some reasonable guidelines.

As of tonight, Alec Couros is the Mayor of BLC10. There will be some competition as we all arrive tomorrow for pre-conferences and EubloggerCon East.

How to be cool (and not uncool) on Foursquare is something every foursquare user should read after they’ve earned their first few badges. As I’ve already pointed out, there are some guidelines to follow.

So if you can have some fun with it, look at it as a way to track where you’ve been, possibly get a free coffee or a coupon for your troubles, then you’re in for a treat. If you’re look for educational value, look here as I don’t plan on using foursquare in the classroom any time soon.

#ISTE10 Where to go, What to see, What to do

If you are attending ISTE10 next week, you have most likely been flooded with e-mails regarding events, booth #’s, Tweet-ups and every imaginable social gathering. I’ve assembled a list of some of the highlights of what I’ve received with some of my notes as I thought it might be helpful for those that have not attending ISTE before or are looking for some guidance as to how to manage their time. (I’m sure I’ve missed something. Please feel free to leave additions in the comments.)

Are you deciding where to go and what to attend?

  • Drop past the ISTE Bloggers Cafe to meet Sue Waters, The Edublogger and leave your contact details with her to WIN one of 10 twelve month Edublogs Pro subscriptions per day. (This is also a great place to meet folks from your PLN and have those more informal, yet priceless, conversations that make the trip to ISTE so worthwhile.)
  • The recently announced Global Education Conference will be at the Global Collaboration Session Sunday night from 7:00 – 8:30pm  in the Convention Center Lobby A, table #P19.
  • Visit ISTE’s Social Butterfly Lounge to learn about Twitter, FourSquare, Facebook and more. (Stop by to see me on 6/29 at 2pm)
  • Don’t forget to use your conference planner to keep your self organized (make sure to schedule a visit to booth #2419 – the yolink booth to visit me)

Are you looking to present something?

  • Sign up to present at ISTE Unplugged.  This is your chance.
  • Participate in the Classroom 2.0 LIVE! broadcast of their show live from the Blogger’s Cafe / ISTE Unplugged area on Wednesday from 1:30pm – 2:30pm.

Are you looking to stay connected?

  • For instant conference updates, visit ISTE Connects. Here you’ll find blog posts, Twitter and RSS feeds with links to everything and everything having to do with ISTE10.
  • Visit the ISTE 2010 Ning to connect to other conference attendees.
  • The official conference hashtag is #ISTE10.
  • Check out the folks blogging about #ISTE10.
  • Go mobile with the new ISTE app (hey ISTE! – where’s the one for the Droid?)

I hope this has been helpful.

I’m looking forward to ISTE10 and reconnecting face-to-face with many from my PLN that I only get to see this time of year as well as meeting those of you that I have only yet to communicate with virtually.

What My Droid Does – Part 4

Image Source http://segmentnext.com

I have been traveling quite a bit lately and relying on my Droid to keep me organised, connected and occupied. I also have had the opportunity to tap into many educators in my PLN face-to-face to find out what apps they are using on their Android phones.

I must admit that the only feature I had been missing since switching from Blackberry to the Droid was the ability to tether. A while back I had purchased Tetherberry so that I could pull data from my Blackberry and get access to the Internet on my laptop even when I was not in a wireless environment. When I first purchased my Droid back in November, this was not yet an option, but since browsing the web on it was so easy, I decided it was not a deal breaker.

When I was out in San Antonio a week ago, Cory Pavicich and I spent some time tinkering with our Droids. We were a little frustrated with the wireless at one point during the event we were attending and I noticed that he had Tweeted that he had tethered his phone. I asked what app he was using and he gave me the link to PdaNet. I installed the free version and was tethered to my Droid in just a couple of minutes. Verbiage on their site indicates that you must pay for the full version of PdaNet if you want to browse secure web sites, but I have been able to access both http and https sites with the free version so far. (Note that since I installed this free tethering software I did receive an invitation to download the Android Beta Test from Tether, formerly Tetherberry.)

Image Source http://2.bp.blogspot.com

I learned about Gesture Search from Dana Nguyen, a Googler (someone that works for Google) I have the honor of working with Dana when I present at the Google Teacher Academies. She also has to same Android phone as I do, so I know that I can also count on her for some great tips. You can download Gesture Search in the Android Market or from the Google Labs page. It lets you search your Android-powered device by drawing alphabet gestures on the touch screen. It allows you to quickly find a contact, a bookmark, an application, or a music track from hundreds or thousands of items, all in one place. You must have Android 2.0 or above for this application to work.

Dana also started my quest for the perfect flashlight app. Everyone that owns an Android phone or an iPhone has some variation of a flashlight app. But Dana introduced me to an app that utilized the built-in camera’s flash to shed light rather than the phone’s screen.  My application of choice is the free one called MotoTorch LED

This application will allow you to use the LEDs as a strobe light and as a MORSE CODE sender should you need to. The app is free, but there’s a paid version available in the Android Market as well that is identical, should you want to donate money to the developer.

Another Android user at the Google Teacher Academy for Administrators was Miguel Guhlin.  The first app that Miguel introduced me to that I hadn’t heard of was Handcent. At first I didn’t see the value of using a different SMS app. But then, after a few days of using it, I don’t think I could go back to the texting app that came installed on my Droid. Here are just a few of the features that Handcent offers:

  • Group send SMS
  • Different themes and different conversation bubble styles
  • Additional font packs you can download in the Android Market

Miguel also told me about Bloo. I was asking about an alternative Facebook app and this was what he suggested trying.  So when Corey and I had some down time at ASCD the next day, we both installed and gave it a try.  I did have some trouble as every time I went to went to read a Feed it would ask to “Enable Permission”, but this is addressed on their blog at http://fbandroid.wordpress.com/2010/03/02/i-am-alive-and-so-is-1-4-4/.  I still would like to see Facebook messages handled better, but I’m sure we’ll see that soon.

I certainly don’t want to leave this one out. The next day I went to the circus with my family and I was sharing some of the apps I had learned about with a family friend and he showed me Key Ring by Froogloid. My wallet is much lighter now that I’ve digitized all my discount/reward cards. All I have to do is display the barcode on my Droid and I receive my discount. Check out this video from http://www.wirefly.net/. You just scan your cards and select the store they are from, and you are set to go.

Social Networking in High School

Is the average high school student able to define social networking or give an example of it? I thought most would use Facebook as an example, but during a recent visit to a local high school, one freshman student used e-mailing his teacher in First Class as an example.  Many of his classmates were of the same opinion as he, so it opened up a much-needed conversation during which this classroom full of 20 students spoke about where they preferred to network with each other.
Their preferred places to communicate with their friends:
As for social networking in schools, the students felt that there were just too many places to have to check already (a complaint that teachers share themselves).  It was the one topic of conversation that period that everyone in the room seemed to agree on. The complaint was that in one subject area the teacher would use Moodle, the next Google Apps, the next Diigo and that ultimately they forgot to check something and missed turning in an assignment.
Image Credit: http://treatingyourself.com

When asked which network would be the preferred place to use for school, students had a tough time coming to a consensus. We posed a similar request as to which gaming system the majority of the class would prefer to use (ie X-Box, Wii, Nintendo DSi) and they could not make a decision either. We reasoned that teachers felt the same and found it difficult to find a content management system or collaboration tool that satisfied every staff member in a building which resulted in all these different tools the students had to use.

The conversation ended with a link to a Wallwisher we had set up in the hopes that those that didn’t particate in the conversation might take a stab at it this way. They didn’t really. The comments left were from the same boys (the young ladies remained very quiet during our session together) that shared their opinions during class and the tool, in this case, didn’t reveal anything that our talk hadn’t uncovered. But it did introduce the classroom teacher to an easy way to post a question or topic and have students share answers.
Yet another place to have to check for information.

What My Droid Does – Part 3

I get it now.

I understand why everyone has been so obsessed with their iPhones for the last couple of years. But I am also happy that I can do everything that they have been able to do, and in some cases… I can do it better. One of the videos that I show when I facilitate workshops on iPod Touches in Education is this one. I find it amazing that these young women were able to create such wonderful music and I have been enjoying listening to my own children create their own music with my iPod Touch and now with my Droid using the following music apps.

  1. Strings – Guitar Solo Lite
  2. Piano – Piano Play
  3. Percussion – Hit It! Lite
  4. Wind – Magic Flute
  5. Tap Tap Revenge – There’s talk…Join the Facebook Group to bring TTR to Android Phones

Here are some other apps from the Android Market that I have found useful. I wanted to share them here.

Scan2PDF Mobile
“Scan2PDF Mobile is a  new software release which uses your mobile phone to scan documents and convert them to PDF files. It all happens on your phone allowing you to scan documents anywhere – as long as you have your phone. Think of it as a document scanner/fax machine that you always have with you!”

Google Voice
If you really don’t understand the benefits of using voice, please read this article from MacWorld.  If you want to use your Google Voice number full-time from your Android phone, here’s some tips on how to best go about it. Incidentally, all Android powered phones come pre-installed with the following Google Apps:

  • Quick Search Box
  • Gmail
  • Latitude
  • Google Contacts
  • Google Goggles
  • Gooogle Voice
  • Maps
  • Google Talk
  • Finance
  • Google Calendar
  • You Tube
  • Buzz – (We’ll talk about this in my next post.)

Swift

I also have marveled at how effortlessly folks have Tweeted from their SmartPhones including the fast posting of pictures and video. I started off a couple of months ago using Twidroid but have happily switched to a different Twitter app called Swift.

With this app I can easily follow @Mentions, Direct Messages, the timeline of my friends as well as search Twitter and check out profiles. It’s easy for me to share a picture via Swift as it’s integrated with my camera. Plus I can select which hosting services I want to use for pictures and videos that I take and want to Tweet.

If you happen to be looking for something cool and creative to do with some of your pictures, you might want to take a look at PicSay for the Android phone. You can use it to color-correct pictures, add word balloons and all sorts of effects. The paid version has a few more bells and whistles, but I’ve been happy with the free version so far.

What apps have you been using with your Android phone? Please share them with me here. Thanks.