Festivals and Concerts, Google Calendar Sharing: www.bit.ly/bostonsummer

by Jess Faulk

For the last seven summers that I’ve lived in the wonderful city of Boston, I have sought out every free festival, movie, and concert in town and logged it into a Google calendar.  I just can’t stand the idea of something amazing (and free) happening and me not knowing about it.  Seriously, I get upset when I find out after the fact that I didn’t know about some awesome event.

For those of you who have read Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point, you probably recognize me as a Maven.  The person who takes it on as their personal responsibility to gather massive amounts of information and then pass on knowledge to others.  Each May, I pull up every bit of information I can find from web and print sources and feed them into a public Google calendar and share it with the world.  I have 50+ Google subscribers.  I share the calendar widely, hoping that the information I pull together benefits others.  If I can’t make it to a wonderful event, I really want other people to!!

Boston Summer Calendar

How to make your own calendar:

  • To make it easier to share, I set up a bit.ly for my annual Boston Summer Calendar: www.bit.ly/bostonsummer

  • In the “description” section of the event, I copy and paste whatever information I find online.  Ideally, a short summary of the event itself.  I also copy and paste the link to event itself if possible, and if not available, a link to the source where I found the information.

  • When possible, I put in exact times of the events so someone can easily see whether they will be able to make it to multiple events in one day.

  • In the “title” area I write in a dollar amount if it is not free and if the title is short enough, the city or suburb where it is taking place.

  • Because I am a movie buff, I also take the time to plug in all of the best summer movie premieres too.

This year, I am taking my information gathering to a new level.  I have made a public Google document which lists all of the websites I used to gather events.  Not only will this make my job easier year after year, but it allows folks to go deeper into any of the venues or city sites that they are interested in.  You can see my source listing (50+ sites) at www.bit.ly/bostonsummersources.

Amazing things happening in your city this summer?  Then take some time while watching a movie (or two or three) to fill up a public Google calendar and share the wealth of knowledge.

Festivals and Concerts, Google Calendar Sharing: www.bit.ly/bostonsummer

Google Drive – A Review

by Kristen Abell

If you haven’t been playing with Google Docs lately, you may not have noticed that it has morphed into a whole new cloud system – Google Drive. With this new system, Google has done a great job of taking the cloud to the next – more accessible – level. I have been using it much more than I used Google Docs previously, and that’s saying something. Here are some of my initial thoughts after using it for a bit…

I love that you can download and install Google Drive on your desktop/laptop. I have installed it on my MacBook Air, and I’ve managed to use it to store files on instead of the Air when I know I will have the ability to access them through wireless. If I know I need a document later when I may not have access, I simply download it to the computer, then upload it again when I have access again. This has saved me a lot of storage space on the Air, which is running more quickly now.

There is a limited amount of space with Drive – for free, that is. I could easily go over my storage limits if I were using it to store all of my pictures. Since I’ve started shooting a number of my pictures in both RAW and JPEG, they suck up storage space on my computers like crazy. I’m considering purchasing additional space just so I can continue to access them from multiple computers.

Occasionally Drive doesn’t save my documents in the format I’d like when I try to save directly to it. This is mainly for spreadsheets – I don’t know why, and I probably just have to play around with it a bit more, but occasionally when I start working on an Excel spreadsheet and try to save directly to Google Drive, for some reason it saves it as an uneditable document. On the other hand, if I save it to my computer or server as an Excel spreadsheet and then upload it to Drive, I can usually get it to convert with no issues. Obviously, this is probably user error, but I always figure that if someone who is generally as tech savvy as me has difficulty with it, it’s probably not the most user-friendly feature, so it could probably use some improvement (and no, that isn’t meant to sound pompous – I just know that I tend to be able to figure those things out, whereas those who are not so computer-friendly will more than likely have a harder time with it; therefore, if I have a hard time with it, they may never figure it out.).

I love the ability to work in Drive with the various applications – like Aviary for quick and easy picture editing – as well as the ability to access documents while in Google Hangouts. Although, to be fair, that’s a holdover from Google Docs – but a great one for collaborations. I’ve worked on a few different writing projects and presentations just by combining the ability to chat in Google Hangouts with the ability to edit documents from Google Docs/Drive, and it has made for some fantastic products, thanks to ease of combining communication and document tools.

So my overall grade at this point for Google Drive is a B+. There are a lot of amazing features, but I think there are a few that still need some fleshing out to be truly amazing, and I’d love it if there were more storage available for free, obviously. Have you been using Google Drive? What are your thoughts about it? Pros and cons?

Google Drive – A Review

Technology In The Classroom

By Jenn Prentice

In addition to my full time job as a tech blogger, I spend four hours a week teaching public speaking and small group communication skills to undergraduates. Maybe it’s just the college I teach at (most of the students are

Source: http://www.extron.com/company/article.aspx?id=salemlutheran

first-generation college students), but I’m constantly amazed at how little my students know about technology. Sure, they know how to “Like” a Facebook comment or send the occasional (predictably uninformative and possibly inappropriate) Tweet, but most of them are completely unaware of the ways in which websites like LinkedIn or applications like Google Documents could further their careers and facilitate communication.

Given their abject lack of skill with the interwebs, I don’t incorporate much technology into the classroom. But that will change this semester. Here’s four technologies that I plan to introduce to my students this fall and how I plan to use them:

1.) Gmail– True story: Last semester, I polled my students to see how many of them had a Gmail account.  One brave soul raised his hand and asked “Don’t you mean an EMAIL account?” Hiding my shock and incredulity, I dropped the matter and quickly changed the subject.  This semester, I am going to require all of my students to sign up for a Gmail account. Why? Because it is, IMHO, the best free email service available and it is the gateway to using the two tools I really want to teach them to use: Google Documents and Google +.

2.) Google Documents– Given the story above, it probably comes as no surprise to you when I say that only one of my students last semester had used Google Docs. For those of you who might work at a college or university in a lower income area (like I do), Google Documents gives students who don’t own a copy of the Microsoft Office Suite (or the Apple equivalent) and can’t afford to purchase one (or are too lazy to install it), the same basic functionality offered by MS Word, Excel or Power Point for free. Since I’ve already required them to sign up for a Gmail account and Google Documents are easy to share with fellow Gmail users, they now have no excuse for not being able to collaborate on group projects. (Yeah, right. Wouldn’t that be nice?)

3.) Google + – A lot has already been written about the ways in which Google + could or could not be used in the classroom. Personally, I plan to use the social network as a way to communicate with my students–or even hold office hours–outside of the classroom. By adding my students to a Circle (and teaching them how to add me to one of theirs), I can easily message them with reminders and updates about class or other assignments; and they, in turn, can post any questions they might have.  Now I know what you might be wondering: Doesn’t my college offer Blackboard as a way to communicate with my entire class? Yes, yes it does. And one those students graduate from college, they will never use Blackboard again.  Google +, on the other hand, could come in handy for them long after they leave my classroom.  In addition, the Hangout functionality on Google +  will prove useful should I need to hold an impromptu meeting with a student or even a previous scheduled one. Instead of coordinating a location and time to meet and chat, I’ll be able to speak face-to-face with my students anytime, anywhere.

4.) LinkedIn– At the end of every semester, my students are required to conduct a job interview as their final exam.  In addition to bringing in a hard copy of their resume, I will also require them to create a LinkedIn profile as part of their final exam grade.  Maybe they’ll never use the profile again, but then again, maybe they will. At the very least, they will have experience creating a professional online profile.

What about you? Whether you teach a class or not, what technology tools or websites do you think should be incorporated into the classroom? How do you think we can facilitate adoption of these tools among the younger generation?

 

Technology In The Classroom

Linkage Love: Lion & Google+

By Brenda Bethman

Happy Wednesday everyone! This week’s Linkage Love features the two biggest tech stories of July: Apple’s new OS, Lion and Google+ Happy reading!

Lion

Unless you live under a rock or really, really, really don’t care about Apple, you likely know that the newest version of Mac OS X, named Lion, showed up in the App Store this morning (along with some new MacBook Airs. Yes, I will confess to lusting for one despite having owned mine for less than a year. Can you say backlit keyboard?). If you’re a Mac owner planning to upgrade, here are some links for you:

Google+

I am fairly certain that most of you reading this are already on Google+ given the size of my #sachat circle. If you’re not, you probably will be soon. Below are some links of interest if you’re trying to figure out what all the Google+ hype is about:

What about you all? Are you on Google+? If yes, do you like it, hate it, feel “meh” about it? Anyone upgrading immediately to Lion? Or waiting to see how things go first? Let us know in the comments!

 

Linkage Love: Lion & Google+

Linkage Love

By Brenda Bethman

Source: http://www.macstories.com

This week’s Linkage Love has no rhyme or reason — just a list of random things that I found interesting in my RSS feeds over the last week or so. Enjoy!

That’s it for this week! Have you read something interesting lately? Share your links in the comments.

 

Linkage Love