Hacking the NWP Annual Meeting: Part 2

So now that you’ve started thinking about how you might go about hacking the conference, you may be looking at my proposed list in part 1 and having a few thoughts. For instance, “I really don’t want to lug my laptop around to the conference, especially without internet access in the meeting rooms.” or “that just seems like too much, but I’d like to try something a little easier.”

And, so I present to you Part 2: If you can make a phone call and send a text, you can tweet, podcast, and even blog without carrying anything but your cellphone. That’s right: not a smart phone, but your plain old cell phone.

Part 2: Hacking with your cell phone (or hacking without internet access)

I have long been inspired by Liz Kolb’s work around cell phones in K-12 learning, and a lot of my inspiration has come from her. Feel free to poke around her site for more ideas and tutorials.

1. Short updates can mean a lot

In part 1, we discussed the use of twitter and hashtags in order to share learning gained from sessions.  Twitter began as an SMS service that integrated with the website, allowing users to text in their tweets.  There are lots of other services that also do this–the underlying concept being that the user texts a number and the service puts the update up on the web.  These short updates, when taken together, can draw a pretty robust picture of some of the ideas being discussed and are bite-sized archives of the experience.

2. Decide what you want to do and set it up ahead of time.

The key to hacking these kinds of services is to decide what you are going to use and integrate the various services well before the conference.  Without doing some work setting up your account on the actual websites ahead of time, the services are unavailable to you.  Here are some sites to get you started.

  • twitter.com: one of the easiest services to integrate with your cell phone: set up an account, enter your cell phone number in the “Mobile” settings, and get ready to text 40404.
  • Ping.fm: one of my favorite new finds! The tag line reads: post from anywhere to anywhere.  After setting up your account and your cell phone, you can post to a number of different blogs (including posterous), your twitter, facebook, flickr and any number of other social media sites with a single text.  Not a bad little service. Udefn is another source for this type of service.
  • Finally, if you are a Blogger user (which is a great service as part of the Google suite of applications), they provide a “Blogger on the Go” service in which you can write a blog entry and post it via a text message.  There is a nice little explanation on the Blogger on the Go site, so please check that out.

3. Consider Phonecasting: podcasts from your phone

You don’t need a fancy digital voice recorder to do some podcasting.  There are a number of services that allow you to call into a dedicated phone number, enter some account information, and record a podcast. Tumblr (also has smartphone apps), ipadio (which also has a nice iPhone and Android app for the smartphone users) , and Phonecasting.com (which not only allows you to call in your podcasts, but you can call in to listen to podcasts as well) are among my favorite services that allow for this type of podcasting.

4. Remember to tag, tag, tag.

NWPAM10 is all you need to remember.

P.S. Sometimes you meet the coolest people

Another great site that integrates cell phones is Contxts.com, which allows a person to text a username to 50500 (or you can have the site text the person if you have their number) and it texts the phone a business card.  Additionally, it will track the people with whom you are exchanging business cards.   Want to try it? Text 50500 and put “Zellner” in the message.

For more information:


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