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.

Preparations for an Online Social Networking Safety Seminar

I agree with Chad Lehman’s post earlier this week that it’s helpful to be able to connect with the author of an article or blog post. Chad was nice enough to include me with the list of bloggers from Tech&Learning where I recently starting blogging every couple of weeks. As many of our PLNs have grown exponentially, I have truly benefited from the face-to-face connections that I have made as a result of  connections first initiated via Twitter or Diigo. Actually, I remember meeting up with Chad (@imcguy) in Second Life via a Tweet of his many, many months ago.

I decided a while back to use the “Lists” feature in Diigo to gather resources for a seminar that is tonight. The Online Social Networking Safety Seminar is being held at one of the local YMCA’s near me. I knew that many in my PLN had spoken on the topic before, so as I added resources to my list, I also began reading what they had posted on the topic. Here is some of what I found:

Jeff Utecht who blogs at TheThinkingStick had already prepared a workshop for parents and posted the information to his blog. I really liked the questions he suggested that parents ask their children.

  1. What do you think this pictures says about you?
  2. Do you know all (number of friends) of your ‘friends’?
  3. Can you trust everyone on your ‘friends’ list not to download that picture?
  4. What does that update say about you as a person?
  5. Is that who you want to be known as?

BJ Fogg who runs FacebookForParents.org also had a nice list of suggestions. BJ’s list was about signing up for Facebook. I’ll also be sharing this in the seminar tonight.

  1. Join Facebook.
  2. “Friend” your kids.
  3. Review your kids’ profile pages.
  4. Review who is “friends” with your kids.
  5. Select “More About” for your kids.

Dean Shareski who blogs at IdeasandThoughts.org has passionately posted on the topic many times. His posts led me to some extremely relevant research. It’s worth a read (Dean’s posts and the research).

If you are friends with me on Facebook, you might remember the day when I was looking for videos. I’ll be sharing three during the seminar. One is just for fun. You might be able to guess which one 🙂

  1. Social Media Revolution
  2. Facebook Manners and You
  3. The Facebook Song

Lastly, here’s my presentation. I tried to predict what folks might ask. There’s seating for 300. It’s bring-your-own-laptop. I was told to expect approximately 40 parents. I don’t really know what to expect. I’m sure I could have prepared differently, more, better, etc. But I thought I would share it with you.

Classroom 2.0 – Ten Reasons to Join in 2009

When I introduce teachers to Web 2.0 in a professional development event, I urge them to join Classroom 2.0. When I read Peggy George’s request to submit a list of Top Ten new ideas, techniques, tools, books, conversations that made 2008 special for you for the “What We Learned in 2008.” show on January 2, 2009, it gave me the idea to create a list of reasons why teachers new to Web 2.0 or Social Networking should join.

Here’s the list – please let me know if you think I’ve missed anything important as I value your input.

  1. Ask a question get an answer if you are active in your PLN.
  2. Classroom 2.0 is THE best place for Web 2.0 Ed Tech Newbies to get started.cr2_japanese
  3. If you want to learn about Screencasting – check out the thread CR has on it – there are 48 posts with over 25 useful links to check out.
  4. You can search CR2.0 by area, by subject or by tool, which makes it a bit easier to find specific information when you don’t know what keyword to search with.
  5. With over 15,000 members, Classroom 2.0 has to be the best resources for information for classroom teachers – not just techies.
  6. There are over 300 subgroups within CR 2.0 including one for Second Life, the DEN, one for educators interested in brain research and one for music teachers . There is something for everyone.
  7. You can add the Classroom 2.0 badge to your website, blog, Facebook page, pretty much anywhere you’d like to let people know you are a member and where they can go to find out more information about you. CR2.0 provides the code for several different badges at http://www.classroom20.com/main/embeddable/list.
  8. Don’t speak English? Not a problem. CR2.0 is available in 11 languages including Portuguese, Hebrew and Japanese .
  9. Classroom 2.0 is not only a Ning . It’s so much more – including FREE Professional Development. There are the workshops and the weekly Elluminate sessions on Classroom 2.0 Live.
  10. Join the CR2.0 Wikispace and contribute, subscribe to updates and changes, or just bookmark this great resource.

I know there’s so much more, but I wanted to keep the list to ten. Your comments abd additions would further show the power of a PLN as I point educators to this list during the coming year.

mwsnap010122

Happy New Year! I hope to see you in the chat at the “What We Learned in 2008” Classroom 2.0 event with Peggy George, Kim Caise and of course, Steve Hargadon tomorrow at 1pm EST.

The Six Degrees of GCTs

You may be familiar with the game, “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”. The challenge of the game is to connect every film actor to Kevin Bacon in six cast lists or less. The game was developed in 1994 by some students at Pennsylvania’s Albright College. Today, it exists in several formats including a board game and a web site generator.

6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon Generator
6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon Generator

It all started in 1967 when  Stanley Milgram, an American Sociologist decided to test what he termed the “small-world problem”. He randomly chose a few people in the mid-West and had them send packages to complete strangers in Massachusetts. Each package had an ultimate target destination, which Milgram estimated it would take hundreds of exchanges to reach, but the experiment proved him wrong.  The packages arrived to their pre-determined recipients in (on average) between five and seven exchanges. According to articles published on Milgrim’s experiment,  his findings inspired the phrase “six degrees of separation.”

Lots of others have jumped on this craze though.  There’s John Guare’s play, Six Degrees of Separation which premiered in 1990. There’s also the movie by the same title released in 1993.

In August 2008, Microsoft set out to test the theory of the 6 Degrees of Separation. Using data from their Microsoft Messenger instant-messaging network in June 2006 (equivalent to roughly half the world’s instant-messaging traffic at that time):

  1. They looked at 180 billion different pairs of users in the database
  2. They found that the average length to connect two users was 6.6 hops
  3. 78 per cent of the pairs could be connected in seven steps or fewer

And then there’s the 6 Degrees of Wikipedia.

I choose to go from Google to Education and these were my results:

I would need only 2 clicks – – Google – – Ann Arbor, Michigan – – Education

6 Degrees of Wikipedia
6 Degrees of Wikipedia

6 Degrees of GCTs
There are now over 250 GCTs and we’re about to welcome 50 more. How are we all connected to each other? Before we used Social Bookmarking tools like Delicious and Diigo and Social Networking tools like Twitter, Plurk and Facebook would it have taken 6 hops to get to each other? Maybe. But I think we’ve got a really strong network of dedicated educators who need maybe two hops at the most to reach each other. I’m really proud to be part of such a strong community.

cert_teacher1

By the way, for those of you who were asking about the video I created for my application back in 2007, the old link is active, but it doesn’t come up in any search queries. I’ve re posted it here.

What Do You Mean 30 Is Too Old for Facebook?

What do you mean I’m too old for Facebook?

You have got to be kidding!

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was making the 70 mile commute down to Camden City, NJ to teach a workshop called Technology for Tots when some, shall we say, immature, inexperienced, basic lack of diplomacy, intern on the radio ranted on for ten minutes about how nobody over the age of 30 should be on Facebook.

I had to pull over at the rest stop.

At the time I was not yet on Facebook. Since that day I have been meaning to sign up. Pretty much every day I answer these questions because I truly value social networking as a means of developing as a professional and relieving the feelings of isolation.

Plus there’s the Nings I belong to and Classroom2.0 and don’t forget e-mail. I’m on SecondLife, occasionally I Skype or ooVoo with someone. I recently even joined Linkedin.

So, a new contact in my PLN, Beth Ritter-Guth, shared a link in Diigo today that caught my attention and reminded me of that comment regarding Facebook. The link was to an article posted on the ReadWriteWeb. I was hoping that this article, Study: Women Outnumber Men on Most Social Networks would have the statistics on the ages of Facebook users.

Social Network Sites
Gender and Age Analysis of Social Networking Users: Social Network Sites

And there it was – the proof I guess I was waiting for – that I was not too old to join Facebook. Once I added up the women, men and the unspecified, I was ready to join the over 580,000 over-the-age-of-34 (TAKE THAT RADIO INTERN) Facebook users.

I am now registered. I was happy to find so many people in my PLN already on Facebook. It makes me truly wonder what I’ve been missing.

I might need to try another radio station or stick to listening to my iPod in the car.