BECAUSE I MAY teach business students "internet and web technologies", I asked my Evernote what should be on the curriculum. The first result was an item Adrian Weckler wrote in the Sunday Business Post.
Look at the image that topped my search result. It's all about business apps, suggesting that the academic module should be focused in touchscreen space, not framed in terms of desktop usage. I agree with that perspective because that's what I observe smart people doing as they operate productively. However, I wonder what the academic syllabus directs. More importantly, I wonder if the students taking the academic course have devices suitable for professional engagement as eager employees stepping into their first jobs.
I intend to revise my listing, probably once a year, but at this moment in time I think it's instructive to share the essential technologies I believe young business students should see and use before they finish their first year in university.
-- A clever and reliable notification system like Boxcar on iOS. Although Android and iOS have very good notifications that show you important things happening in ecosystems you visit, Boxcar's is better than anything else. I wish Windows Phone would catch up in this area because my primary phone is a Nokia Lumia and even though little tones go off when certain things happen, I can't pull down a screen and see what occurred. That's a common (and essential) screen move on other handsets. On Windows Phone, I have to install a live tile and watch a number click upwards as activities occur in various applications.
-- Mailbox. You need to control your email flow. I use Mailbox on iOS very effectively (it feels like a game to swipe and delete things) and I get the same positive vibe on Windows Phone and Android too. Mailbox on iOS is engineered for Gmail. In actual practise, the bog-standard GMail app (or GMail interface) should work well when chasing InBox Zero but you cannot ignore the fun that flows from swiping and deleting email through apps like Mailbox.
-- Calendaring and ToDo Lists. This function deserves time and space of its own. In fact, I give an entire hour of treatment to calendaring on the fly as well as explaining fundamental principles of Getting Things Done before diving into my recommendations for ToDo lists.
Most of the time, I'm happy to present shared space to do things (to check things off) in Wunderlist. However, I also use 2Day on Windows Phone and its web service connectivity to Toodledo. When I'm firing on all cylinders, I'm logging and checking off a lot of tasks. This is an essential business management skill.
-- Contact management. Effective contact management means you know how to map your phone's contacts to an online service like Google Contacts. I go one step further and ensure my most important contacts connect to LinkedIn and to Brewster on iOS.
-- Evernote. I believe Evernote will outlive my grandchildren. I teach how to make and follow up notes saved in Evernote. I hope to persuade students to set up reminders and tick-off lists in Evernote. I also believe people need to have a regular system to hand that facilitates easy note-making. On my Windows Phone, One Note does this well.
-- CrashPlan. If you do not have an automatic back-up system operating, you will lose work. If that lost work costs your employer a contract or a gig, you can easily lose your job. I introduce the CrashPlan functionality as a Systems Tray item on Windows and I show CrashPlan working in-app on Android and iOS.
-- LinkedIn has as much street credibility today as freshly-pressed CVs had in the 20th century. Done cleverly, LinkedIn updates can spawn from a Twitter feed or a Flickr photostream, catching the eyes of attentive readers who need clever young staff members for their businesses.
-- Dropbox works better as an app than Google Drive, providing a better in-app experience for me than the bloat that can infect Google Drive. That said, both internet technologies deserve attention because they are prominent features in modern workplaces.
-- Google for search and Google Plus for its Community and Hangout features. I'm also a fan of posting short form content in G+ and letting it push out onto one of my Twitter accounts. I learn more from G+ than from Twitter but I respect the opinion of well-informed friends who thrive because of the Twitter support system.
-- Skype is the tool most commonly used to connect extended families and the Irish national broadcaster to breaking news an ocean away. I use Skype for quick-hitting video (or audio) commentary. I wish my closest family in the States used it more.
-- Twitter, Audioboo, and Tumblr. These are the three social networks most worthy of contributing to a company's activity stream. They are the ones I will leverage for best effect in the late 2013 time frame with my academic courseload.