Using technology to make your life easier!
A few months back I wrote an article on 3 of my picks for best Instant Messengers (IM) aggregators (http://www.tywallart.com/symanticweb/?p=9) that collect multiple IM accounts into one place/application. Well I have now had to revamp that list and add one more to the mix, Digsby.
Now that is not to say the others are obsolete but Digsby does have a huge advantage at the moment because it offers the added benefit of aggregating your email and social networking accounts as well. To me this is definitely a game changer as I only have 2 IM accounts but I have many more email accounts and am signed into several social networking sites that I can now aggregate from one application without having to switch back and forth. Digsby has been around for awhile but it wasn’t until recently that they upgraded the speed of their application making it far more usable.
Digsby also allows a task manager that alerts you when things need to get done, a handy feature for the absent minded like myself.
So sounds too good to be true right? Actually that is right, there are a few things that don’t make this the best choice for all people. First it is a down loadable application, which isn’t a bad thing but I really like having these kind of applications online and run in a browser (like Meebo) that way I have access to it wherever I go without being tethered to one computer. a temporary deficiency is that it is Windows only, they are developing other versions but they are not out yet and I am impatient (subscribe to my RSS feed to find out when it becomes available for Mac and Linux).
Now something that is despicable for all of them, their mobile presence or lack thereof. I really don’t know why these companies haven’t got a presence on the iPhone or Blackberry. Everything is moving this way and they really need to have a presence that does a better job of the built in IM’s.
All in all Digsby has a huge amount of potential and may be good enough for most people to use but alas I must wait until a Mac version comes out. You can download the PDF of this comparison chart here or click on the image to view it in a browser.
How can this be used for education?
I will refer to a previous article I posted on IM’s for ways it can be used in education.
Many instant messaging tools (MSN, Gtalk, Yahoo, AIM) really bridged the gap that email left by allowing you to have synchronous conversations with people. The only problem with it is that there are so many services out there that it gets hard to figure out which friend/collegue/student is on which service. That is where Adium, Meebo and Pidgin come in. They collect various IM services into one service.
So How could this work for Education?
If you want a comparison chart that I created of the three services you can download the PDF here.
I wrote an article extolling the social bookmarking tool Diigo. In my zeal I left out some really important ways that Diigo can and is used so I thought it was worth a revisit.
Diigo’s tools in a nutshell:
There is more but I only have so much space.
So what can an educator use this application for?
Here are some ideas I came up with,
These are just some ideas that I came up with but the possibilities are there for the taking.
I want to hear about what you use Diigo for or ideas that you may have on how to use it for education.
I have been using email or a form of email going back to the BBS days in the late 80’s the Kermit based access to the University of Alberta in the early 90’s and then through dial-& and then ISDN access through commercial ISP’s in the mid 90’s up to the broadband access of today. There are very few email servers (Sendmail & Exchange), systems (PINE & ELM) and clients (Eudora, Pegasus, Outlook, Thunderbird) that I have not used on all platforms (Windows, Mac, UNIX and Linux) so this perspective is not coming from a “Johnny come lately” nor does it come from someone who is “religiously” tied to a particular OS or platform.
I started using Google mail (Gmail) back in 2005 after receiving an invite from a colleague in Silicon Valley. Gmail as introduced in early 2004 and up until 2005 it was being tested by a relatively small group of beta testers. In 2005 you had to recieve and invite from a current Gmail user to get access to the system. It wasn’t until early 2006 when Google introduced an integrated calendar that I decided to give up all my other email system ties and rely exclusively on Gmail. Until a better system comes along I will continue to use Gmail because it is simply the easiest and best system available. Gmails advantages include:
As the resident computer guru in my family and circle of friends I am often called upon to help diagnose and help people solve their problems. This means that I am often called upon to help people out with there Internet problems which are more often than not related to the sending and receiving of email. The sooner I get people off of their POP/SMTP based email and onto Gmail the sooner their (and my) problems go away.
Gmail just works and is the simplest (you don’t need any training to use it) and most effective email system we have yet. I say yet because I am still looking for something that will be even easier to use and when that comes along I will be using it.
Just go to http://www.gmail.com and give it a go.