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Thursday, May 28, 2009

What's on Your iPod Touch? Mobile Apps for Learning


We've been having a little exchange on our list about mobile gadgets and apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch, so I decided to blog about what I have on my iPod Touch. Not so surprisingly, I have very little music. I have an iPod Video and Nano for that. The Touch is for mobile learning. I'm trying to see how this gadget can be used in education. The obvious is podcasts, both audio and video. It's easy to find good podcasts to share and recommend with students, as well as create your own. So I have over 3 GB of video on my Touch, mostly video podcasts. One of my favorite apps on the Touch is iTalk. I can hook up an external microphone and record lectures right on the Touch. Then I can sync and have the podcast uploaded to where ever in a matter of minutes. Sound quality is really good.

Most of my apps are free, unless indicated by (paid). Here is a list of my first page of apps on my Touch.
  • Google
  • YouTube
  • Remember the Milk (RTM)
  • Twitterific & TwitterFon
  • iTalk
  • Facebook
  • Bb Learn
These are all obvious choices. We haven't had a chance to try out the Bb Learn app yet. District says we will be able to do so after the upgrade, which just happened, so I'll check into that next week.

My second page of apps is a mixed bag. I have a few ereaders I'm trying out and some blogging tools.
  • Kindle & eReader & GReader (Readers)
  • Google Voice & GV Mobile (Paid)
  • Google Talk & Skype (chat)
  • Gyminee
  • Wordpress
  • Animoto
  • WootWatch
  • Tumblr
  • Where
  • Brightkite
  • TripIt
  • Nike +iPod
These are some of the more important mobile tools for blogging, reading documents, books and RSS feeds, and communicating via chat, voicemail and text messaging.

As I move through my app pages, the apps get less and less relevant to mobile learning. So far we've seen lots of social networking apps and reading and writing apps. That trend continues, but I start to add more home automation and fun stuff. I mean, you never know when you will need to Tivo a show for class, right.
  • myhomework (Keep track of classes and homework)
  • Evernote (This could be a big elearning app)
  • Shakespeare (Complete works on my iPod)
  • Yelp
  • Yahoo!
  • LinkedIn
  • i.TV & DirecTV & PhoneFlix (Schedule DVRs & Netflix)
  • fring (IM & Skype in one/VOIP)
  • Assistant (PageOnce - Acct Management)
  • WSJ (Wall Street Journal)
  • Flickr
  • Ustream (watching only)
I found lots of apps that have created collections of works like the Shakespeare one. This would make teaching a lit class easy in terms of access to free books. Evernote has the biggest potential for impact in the mobile learning space. I will be exploring this a bit more this summer.

My last two pages are just a bunch of games and sports apps like for the Master's and the NBA playoffs. Also MLB (At Bat) lets you listen to live game audio for $10 for the whole season. I also have the Stanza ebook reader, a dictionary, notes, and a calculator. That's it. And like I mentioned earlier, I only paid for 3 apps. As I explore and try new ones, I'll probably purchase more if they are worth it. We'll see.

So what's on your iPod Touch or iPhone? Leave a comment and let me know so I can add to my collection.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Little Known Facts about Twitter in the Classroom

The whole world is talking about Twitter, so this post is probably nothing new to some. Most people get that you can post a short message about what you are doing, and anyone who follows you on Twitter will be able to see the message. I follow you, I see your messages. You follow me, you see mine. But many people still don't understand how it works beyond that. For instance, many aren't aware that you can have selective tweeters' tweets delivered directly to your cell phone via text message. And you can reply back to Twitter via text message. Once you and your students are signed up and properly set up, the whole process can be conducted via cell phone text messaging, making the whole process mobile and not tied to a web page on a computer.

Another little known secret to novice Twitter users is that Twitter is connected to everything. I can update my Google calendar and ToDo tasks via Twitter, and I can set it up so Twitter will broadcast my blog posts from my blog to Twitter with a link sending people back to my blog to read the post. Think announcements for students with that one. It's also connected with a very nice polling site, Poll Everywhere, that lets your respondents vote in your polls via Twitter. Twitter makes their API available so any company can develop tools that will work through Twitter. There are so many more, but in the following movie I focus on the first tool mentioned above. In subsequent posts I'll show you the other tips. Have a look.

Using Text Messaging with Twitter from soul4real on Vimeo.

Part I of III tips for using Twitter in the classroom. Part I covers using Twitter via text messaging on your cell phone.

One of the things I forgot to mention is once you get your cell phone set up to receive text messages from Twitter, you can post a tweet by sending it to 40404 from your phone. Next up, update your Google calender and ToDo tasks via Twitter.

Twitter Killed My Blog - Almost

Wow! I hardly posted at all this semester. Two times. That's it. I'm going to blame Twitter on that. Who has time to blog when we're tweeting all day. :) Well, I was inspired to come back to traditional blogging after the MaricopaTech conference earlier this week. So here I am. I'm breathing a little life into "The Maricopa Experience" because it is quite an experience working in one of the largest community college systems in the country. Not only that, but times are tough, and as the district cuts more and more of our resources, like faculty professional growth, this blog may become a valuable tool. It can be used either for whining and complaining about the cuts or building resources for others who are stuck in the same situation. I'm leaning more towards the latter.

I anticipate next semester I'll have more to blog about since I'm transferring from my current campus to a much larger one, GCC. That should be enough fodder alone, but I have some ideas to share until I get to that point. My plan for this summer is a series on mobile learning. I will be reading up mLearning and playing with lots of mobile devices and programs designed for these devices. I'll also be looking a ways to enhance online courses using mobile gadgets. Can't wait to blog about all that. In addition, I plan a series of posts on how I'm using some of the newer Web 2.0 tools in my classes or how I plan to.

So the blog is not abandoned; just consider it having been on vacation. Now if you'll be patient, I'll be back with a post about "something" in a few. If you want, you can follow me on Twitter. I'm soul4real.