I really like Skype as an instant messaging tool - you don't have to mess around with headphones and you are also not necessarily interrupting someone else's workflow just to say g'day. My list of contacts tells me who's online and I can just tap out a quick message and do some text based social networking. I had a quick messaging session this afternoon with Glenn Malone while the boys finished watching the last 20 minutes of "The Cat In The Hat."
Sometimes, this instant messaging can lead to a chain of events sparked by an idea. A while back, I had a great discussion on the possible use of mobile phones in school with my class, based on some ideas that Alex Hayes has been proposing for a while. This led to a poster activity where the kids designed hand drawn posters that showed brainstorm style all of the potential educational tools embedded in a mobile phone. They were even allowed to take out their phones and use them to flesh out the detail. I scanned a few of the best (in terms of ideas) and stored them away with the idea I would share them here (with the kids' permission, of course) eventually. Anyway, I was working away on the PC when Alex popped a Skype message through to me to say hello. I then said that I had something he might be interested in and told him about the posters. I used the Skype file transfer tool to send him jpeg's of the posters and he was stoked. In fact, he was so inspired, he had to get offline for half an hour! He used that time to collaborate with Anne Paterson to produce this video on the same ideas the kids explore in the posters. Read her post here. Now, I know that was a while back but it's taken until now for me to get the students' permission - I've put them into a Bubbleshare show.
I also would like to highlight this other great little movie on mobiles which I think features Alex interviewing teenagers on the streets of Byron Bay. It was part of BYS06 which Alex encouraged me to be a part of but I have to admit I chickened out because I didn't think I had anything worthwhile to offer. And looking at what was on, I think I was right. What a great line up of educators pushing the boundaries of what these excellent technology tools could be used for. Gotta keep the mind wide open these days or get left way, way behind.