Twinning partners can harness the Web's free resources to use as a platform for girl, volunteer, and staff communications.
- Skype: Users are able to call each other as if using the phone system. All that is needed is a PC equipped with speakers, a microphone, Web camera, and Internet connection. Included are a video-to-video link, text messaging, and file sharing.
- Flickr: A photo-database enabling twinning partners to share photos and video images. Flickr allows for a closed, password-protected network available only to girl, volunteer, and staff partners.
- Facebook: Enables girls, volunteers, and staff to share information, experiences, video, music, pictures, poetry, ideas, and other information in the context of a password-protected, closed network. Also features a rich, user-friendly interface. Other features of Facebook include:
- Authoring: Constantly updated content is made available via a platform that is part of an interconnected work.
- Blogs: Content is cumulative; posts and comments of individuals are accumulated over time.
- Tags: Content is categorized by creating tags that are simple, one-word descriptions to facilitate searching.
- Wiki: The wiki is a knowledge management system powered by twinning-partner contributions. Some of the benefits of using it are:
- Access: As soon as you sign into the wiki, you and your twinning partner have instant and equal access to the same content, with opportunity to collaborate and build on your collective input.
- Flexibility: You can configure the layout, content, and features to suit your needs and those of your twinning partner.
- A 360-degree view: Clarity of information and cross-team sharing is ensured.
- Real-time visibility: Up-to-the-minute feedback on your projects is made available.
- Community: There is optimal capacity to share best practices, tips, success stories, and ideas that link your project to the broader communities you are serving.
- Video Teleconferencing (VTC): Enables groups of girls or adults to connect using video and audio conferencing equipment. Although expensive to purchase, video teleconferencing can often be rented at local universities and colleges. In addition, some Non Governmental Organizations offer discounted rates.
Tips for Using Technology Successfully
- Compatibility: Does your twinning partner have access to the same types of technology? Remember, girls and volunteers associated with your twinning partner may not have Internet capability at their homes/councils. Several partners have had to travel to public Internet centers in order to participate in videoconferences and update Facebook pages.
- Permission: Please make certain that the girls participating in the twinning project have permission from their parent or legal guardian to participate in Facebook-based activities and other social networking initiatives. Ask girls to take the Girl Scouts Internet Safety Pledge: www.girlscouts.org/internet_safety_pledge.asp.
- Diversity: Encourage the girls to utilize a variety of communications tools, including exchanging scrapbooks, pictures, and letters with their twinning partner.