Sunday, November 29, 2009

Things 4 & 5: Cloud Computing, Twitter

Now that we're getting a little more comfortable with some Web 2.0 tools, we're going to take the next step and explore collaboration with cloud computing in Thing 4, and then we'll look at microblogging sensation Twitter in Thing 5.

Thing 4: Cloud Computing

Do you ever find yourself working on a document, spreadsheet or PowerPoint at home and wishing there was an easier way to access it at school, or vice-versa? Have you ever lost a flash drive (I know our students have!) or had your computer crash, erasing all of your work? Or have you ever had to work on a group project and had to email a document around and around so everyone could edit? So cumbersome! Google Docs is a Web 2.0 application that is part of the new wave of "cloud computing", where documents are saved in a "cloud" (on a server somewhere), and can be accessed from any computer around the world (this was Allison's part of the video). Watch these videos below for a quick explanation:

And just for fun since we ARE working in a high school :)

I've created a document called 17 Things Ideas, where I've asked people to add an idea for how we could use some of these Web 2.0 tools in a school setting. I have saved it as a "Public" document that ANYONE can edit, just to make it easier for this exercise, but you can also choose to allow only certain people editing rights. Open this document and add an idea or two.

I've also created a shared calendar , but in order to edit it, you've got to create a Google Calendar account. You should just be able to go to, sign in with the same username/password you use for Blogger, and then sign up for Google Calendar. Once you've done this successfully, send me an email and I'll give you editing rights to the shared calendar. We were having some trouble getting people set up with Google Calendar here in the library, however, so if this doesn't work, I will figure something else out!

To complete Thing 4:
  • Add an idea or two to the 17 Things Ideas shared document.
  • Accept the invitation to edit the shared calendar and then add an event (you can make one up, if you want)
  • Reflect on your experience using Google Docs and Calendar. Could you see yourself using these tools?
Just for fun (optional): is another online application that allows you to create documents, spreadsheets, and slideshows. The slideshow I used during the Institute Day presentation was created using Zoho. Check it out and post about the differences you noticed, and which tool you liked best.

Thing 5: Twitter

Willie Nelson does it. Ellen does it. John McCain does it, too! And now it's your turn. No longer is Twitter mainly used to let the world know what you had for breakfast: surgeons use it to instruct medical students, politicians use it to update their constituents, and educational leaders use it to share new ideas and engage in dialogues with interested "followers."

Read "Twittering, Not Frittering: Professional Development in 140 Characters" from Edutopia, and then create a Twitter account for yourself. If you're comfortable with this, set your account as "Public" (that way we can all find you on Twitter). If not, then I think you have to approve individual people to be your followers. If you choose to be "Private", please give me "mrsduelllibrary" permission to follow you! Do a few Internet searches to find leaders in your area, and chances are that they will have a Twitter account (for example, I might search for leaders in the world of school librarianship). "Follow" at least three of them, post your Twitter name to your blog (mine is mrsduelllibrary), and then let us know who you're following.

To complete Thing 5:
  • Create a Twitter account
  • Find at least 3 people to "follow"
  • Re-tweet at least 3 of their posts
  • Post your Twitter name to your blog
  • Tell us who you're following
  • Reflect on your experience using/reading about Twitter. Do you think you would use Twitter? How could it be applied to a school setting?
Just for fun (optional): Tweet a few of your favorite lessons or activities in which you take part here at RB. You never know who might re-tweet YOU!

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