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Sunday, July 05, 2009

Update your Calendar & ToDo Lists via Twitter

My first post about Twitter, Little Known Facts about Twitter in the Classroom, talked about some easy uses for Twitter in the classroom. I said, 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.

This post follows up that and talks about the calendar and ToDo updates via Twitter. If you're busy, like most people are, you might find that your calendar and a ToDo list are very helpful in keeping you going. I rely heavily on both in my everyday life. Usually when I'm out and about, and I need to either add an event or meeting to my calendar, I find it a hassle to pull up my calendar program and add it. Same thing with my ToDo lists. But I've found that sending a text message directly to Twitter can do that for me. All I have to do is text a direct message to my Google Calendar or Remember the Milk ToDo service and it automatically posts to my calendar or list. Click the links for more information about each.

I use this when I schedule conferences with students. I grab my phone and send a text message to 40404 with "d gcal Meeting with 'Student' Tuesday at 11am." The d is for direct message, which is private on Twitter, and gcal is the Google Calendar Twitter name. The rest is the event I want added to the calendar. When I get to a computer, all the appointments are there in my calendar. And since I sync my Google calendar with my Blackberry, they show up on my phone calendar too within minutes. The screencast below shows you how this all works.



Part II of III tips for using Twitter in the classroom. Part I covers using Twitter via text messaging on your cell phone, Part II update calendar/ToDo list via Twitter. The last tip will show you how to use Twitter with a polling service PollEverywhere.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Teaching Kids Technology

I had and opportunity to teach a bunch of Upward Bound students how to use various technologies over a 6 week period this summer. We learned to create photo essays using Animoto, and plain Word documents using Creative Commons images. We used Picnik to remix photos. We also learned to create videos using Flip cameras and Windows Movie Maker. And our last project was creating podcasts using Audacity. Below are a few of the podcasts they created. I was really proud of their work.