Aug 192009

Carol Cooper-Taylor has compiled 50 ideas for using Twitter in Education. The article is??a great starting point for those of you out there just learning about or starting to use Twitter for your school or classroom. Some of the highlights from this article include:

  • Point out interesting things happening in your school/classroom (whatever for that takes)
  • Instead of answering the question, "What are you doing?" which is how Twitter prompts your posts, answer the question "What has your attention?"
  • If someone says you???re using twitter wrong, forget it. It???s an opt out society. They can unfollow if they don???t like how you use it.
  • Twitter can augment parent feedback.
  • Twitter in the classroom helps people build an instant ???backchannel.???
This last one may need a little explaining. Every "tweet" or post on twitter can be tagged with any word that can then be searched by using a preceding # (pound) symbol. If you want your students to debate a topic using Twitter, you can instruct them to use a tag that is unique to your class or for the topic at hand, and you can have that tag search on the projector summarizing the debate.

Let's say we are talking about how my students have been affected by the current economic downturn. Students could post their responses on Twitter (they'd have to have an account first). I'd instruct them to include #EHSStephens or #EHSEcoDown – whatever keyword you want to designate – anywhere in their post. This tag is now "clickable" in any of your students posts and can now be searched on Twitter @ – just search the tag you are using for the discussion. Twitter will bring back, in real time, all of your students responses. Just refresh the page and new responses will appear.

The Twitter search can really be used for ANY topic, not just those that you have tagged. Just head to?? and enter in any term that you are discussing in class. WARNING! These results are unfiltered and live. Using your own class/discussion tag will avoid 99.9% of the issues – especially if it is unique to your class.

Aug 132009

I was asked today how in the world I could get an iPod Touch to sync to a Google Calendar. I had another setup working by adding my Google Calendar to my iCal and then anytime I synched my iPod, those events would be synched to iCal and in turn my Google Calendar. Well, our schedules change quickly and often, and this was not working as well as I had liked. I felt like I could miss some events that I have added on my iPod (since we CAN’T have an iPhone – we are stuck with Verizon).

I knew that it could be done, I just hadn’t had the excuse to sit down and spend some time to figure it out. The good news is, it IS possible and not too hard to set up – I just got it working for myself. You’ll need to follow two sets of instructions – one to select which calendars you want to sync (if it’s more than your default calendar – the first one on the calendar list), and one to set up the synching.

Your Gmail Administrator needs to check one box in the Mobile section of the Domain Management for your educational domain to allow calendar and contact synching. Here’s the instructions on what setting needs to be altered.

Alright. Here are the instructions on how to set this up on the iPod. I did the below in the reverse order, and had to repeat my first step. So, give this a try in this order and hopefully it will work the first time.
– Follow these instructions to choose which calendars to sync – Note: follow the second set of instructions under “Google Apps alternate instructions”
– Follow these instructions to set up synching on the iPod Touch.

Now, on Calendar on the iPod, I have a new section of calendars called “Exchange” where I can view my synchronized Google calendar events. If I add an event on that calendar, it will automatically sync to Google calendar (and iCal for me because I’ve set it up that way) and vice versa. Adding an event on your synched Google calendar will “push” that event to your iPod over the wireless network without having to plug in and sync to iTunes.

Very slick. I am glad that the problem was brought up so that I could have an excuse to take the time to figure out how to do it for myself. I’m VERY happy to get this working!