Yesterday afternoon, Giz and I presented “Technology Tools for the Classroom” to an off-site faculty retreat of the Schools of Business. You may recall that the Calloway and Babcock schools have merged under a single dean; the combined faculty met at the Brookstown Inn for the day to kick off the new academic year. Michelle Roehm, Sr. Assoc. Dean of Faculty, invited Giz and me to present some new tools; after consulting with her we agreed to present Twitter, Google tools and LibGuides.
A quick poll revealed that faculty members aren’t using Twitter. Giz and I briefly described the micro-blogging site while showing it on two screens. We explained that it serves as a personalized news feed, a marketing channel and a social network. We demonstrated a Twitter feed we had created two weeks ago that assembled Tweets from such sources as the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Forbes and Business Week. The feed also pulled Tweets from a handful of business schools and nationally known consultants. We showed how links in the Tweets will take the reader to the original article and shared that Twitter is the first place that breaking news can be found.
Twitter is used as a marketing channel by companies to announce promotions and new products, communicate with customers and in some cases, solve customer problems. Some companies use Twitter to solicit customer comments while designing or improving products. Others use the customer interaction on Twitter to build customer loyalty. Giz suggested that the Schools of Business could use Twitter for keeping in touch with alumni, especially the 20-somethings who have moved on from Facebook.
The social networking aspect of Twitter wasn’t our focus, but we told the group about Twibes and how this can connect a reader with other Twitterers interested in a topic. We did show them how to find feeds using Google or Twitter’s find people tool. We also demonstrated how to follow issues using hash tags; our examples were #Fed for the Federal Reserve Bank and #economy for the economy.
Google has many wonderful tools and Giz loves them all. With much enthusiasm, we showed the faculty how to use Google docs for collaborating on projects; that could include faculty collaborating on research or their students’ working on group projects. The power of Google docs quickly became apparent to the group, which expressed enthusiasm for it and generated lots of questions. After Giz had shown them the benefits of docs, he went on to tell them about Google sites, a tool that helps one construct a web site very easily. Google will also host that website up to 100 mg of memory for free. He also described how Google Wave is going to combine email, chat and documents into a single, powerful, free tool. His repeated reminders that all these Google tools are free earned him the nickname “The Prophet” before the session was finished.
After finishing with Google, we demonstrated LibGuides to the group. We showed that there is a long list of guides available; some are course-specific while others cover general topics. An example of the former is for ACC111, into which I’ve placed links to all the resources a student would need to successfully complete the final project for the class. The guide includes instructions on how to use the individual databases and features video and screen shots. The example we showed of the latter is Company and Industry Information, a topical guide serving numerous classes.
The group paid rapt attention and several faculty sought us out after the session to discuss how we might help them apply these technologies in their classes. We appreciated the opportunity to interact with the faculty and enjoyed our time with them.