Tag Archives: web 2.0

Top 5 Ways to Improve the Freshman Experience with Mobile Technologies

I’m currently teaching a First Year Odyssey at the University of Georgia.  I’m working with a small group of freshman as they learn more about using mobile technologies to improve their personal and academic lives.  So far, they’re doing a great job.  Both they and I are learning a lot about what life is like with mobile technology, and how to actively pursue ways to improve learning with mobile.

In a recent activity, we hammered out a ‘Top 5’ list about the top 5 ways mobile technologies can improve or have improved their lives.  Here’s our final list:

  1. Communicate.  Using tools like IM/Text, Facebook, and GroupMe, students can easily coordinate study sessions, share study guides, and talk about course topics.
  2. Organize.  This is where many students are focused right now.  Tools like iCal, iStudiez Pro, and Google Calendar offer lots of great tools for setting up reminders, color coding events, and organizing due dates. With iCloud and Google Drive, it’s easy to sync these across devices so that you have your information at all times.
  3. Study Aids.  Study Blue allows you to take notes, make flash cards, and pull flash cards all in the cloud.  There’s lots of Flash Card apps out there that pull from sites like Quizlet and Flashcard Exchange but also allow you to build your own. Great for those classes with lots of new content and language to master!
  4. Design/Performance Tasks.  Have to design something? Try searching Pintrest for ideas about decor, architecture, or other things. Use community sites like Diigo to see what others are tagging out there.  I personally love the Diigolet that installs quickly into my Safari browser – it makes tagging on the go very easy and simple!

Ok. #4 there actually counts as two things, but the idea is similar so I grouped them. Thus, we’ve got the Top 5 things these freshmen are doing with their mobile technology.

Remember, these come straight from the students – I did not make this up!  These students have got a lot more going on, but this brief summary provides a nice overview of our work to date.  Looking forward to seeing how this semester ends with these students.  It’s been fantastic so far!

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You can lead a horse to Twitter but you can’t make him tweet

My Twitter PageI’ve asked, begged, bargained, goaded, and just about hunted down many friends and associates imploring them to try Twitter, but to no avail. I say “Try it. You’ll like it!”. So they try it, and in a week or two I stop seeing tweets. Why? Twitter has all the elements of a great social tool — it’s fun, it’s easy, it’s avoids the socially awkward formalities that meeting people in the real world entails, and it’s highly informative. What gives?

It could be some lofty, esoteric thing like: Hey, man, they just don’t dig the paradigm shift and since they aren’t digital natives, bra, they never will. That just seems improbable though. My spidey-senses tell me that it’s probably something more basic than that. More like: Hey man, all I ever hear about is someone telling me about the incredibly banal details of the past hour of their life . I guess I can’t necessarily argue with that. Well, I could try…

So I’ll end this post with a thought for all you folks on Twitter who, like me, hope to convert the masses from nay-ing (or neighing, to keep with the metaphor) about the idea of Twitter to tweeting like birds who flock together (Ok, I’ve pushed the whole metaphor too far now, haven’t I?).

My thought? A big part of adopting the tool is trusting that you’ll get if you take the time to give. So I think us Twitter-lovers out there should do our best to tweet more about things we do that other people can use. In my area of interest, educational technology, I try to tweet about what tools I use and how I’m using them. If we all keep doing something that, I think that will help those we lead to Twitter begin to sing like canaries themselves.
Personally, I also love hearing about how a little bit of basil in your lemongrass soup made all the difference at the local Thai place, the latest in politics, or how you can’t help but wonder why ‘woot’ ever came to be. But that’s just me. Maybe that’s why I love the idea of this tool, and I love using it. Maybe t it’s tweets like those that turn others off to the tool — I don’t know. Until the whole thing gets sorted out, though, I ask you to try Twitter (if you haven’t already) and give what you want to get in return.

If that just doesn’t work for you, you can tell me why below. I really do want to know.


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