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How to use Smartphones to make your next in-person dialogue awesome!
Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Smartphones bring the world into users’ hands.  Web access, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia and apps allow people to access, share and co-create knowledge in real time.

They are also powerful tools that can make in-person dialogues awesome – both in terms of generating shared information and giving participants a more engaging experience.  

And, researchers estimate that there are over 5 million Canadians with Smartphones.  They are becoming more common as tools for business and/or personal use.

Earlier this week, we read a great blog by Dwayne at LearningCycle.ca called “35 Ways to Use an iPhone in a Workshop”.  Some are there for fun but there are quite a few thoughtful ways to use iPhones or other Smartphones in workshop.

Here are our favourite 5:

Camera: Use it to snap pictures of group activities, flip charts, and other knowledge products participants create during small group breakouts.  These can be analyzed and included in reports, as well as shared online.

Video: Use it to capture the “story” of the day – the opening, group interactions, individual conversations, and even personal “what I learned” or reflections interviews at the end of the event.  This could be easily edited and kept as a time capsule, shared with participants only or posted online for the broader community experience the event as well.

Twitter: With an LCD display and active search enabled, use it to ask participants questions and have them @message or DM replies.  140 characters isn’t much, but it can help participants express their ideas concisely!  (You can read an earlier blog with more tips for using Twitter at in-person events here)

Wikipedia app or Google search: Use them to check facts, conduct quick research and bring additional knowledge to play to inform deliberations and make they are truly evidence-informed.

Networking: Use it to help participants build professional networks or stay in touch.  On the free Bump App for iPhones, participants can “bump” fists with their devices and exchange contact information wirelessly.  It’s as easy as shaking hands… only more fun.

A big thanks to @learningcycle for a great blog that got us thinking…

Ellis Westwood & Stephan Telka