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Reuse, update and recycle old technology

Monday, December 31, 2012



Technology changes rapidly and it seems like something you just bought last week is already outdated and replaced by something new. Some people and companies are always buying the latest and greatest technology, but schools, and most people, can't afford to do that. So, what can we do?

One thing is to reuse old technology for new purposes. I use an old Palm PDA as my backup alarm clock. I can set repeating alarms for each day and when it goes off, the screen turns on, adding a visual alarm along with the sound. I use my old Palm Centro phone as a backup remote control for the TV, DVD, and VCR. It has an IR transmitter and an app that has all of the programs in it. I also have an old netbook that I still use. It is my remote back up system. It has Dropbox and Sugarsync on it and backs up those accounts, along with my Google Drive and Google Accounts and Evernote. This means that all of my data is on my main computer, this netbook, those systems, and my mobile devices. Great way to reuse an old device.

You can update old technology and give it new life. With thousands of computers in our district, many are very old. Yet for a small amount of money, we can get them running better and longer. We have been updating hard drives and RAM for a fraction of the cost of a new device and they run great. We also move the older computers for the lower grades student use since the software they use does not need high end devices. We even have very old LCD projectors out there that work fine. We are taking old laptops and updating the RAM and re imaging them. Most of the services and apps that the schools are using are all going web based so these older laptops, using a browser like Google Chrome, will be perfectly adequate and will be used like Chromebooks for web based apps only.

As schools got computer projectors and streaming video, TV's with VCRs and DVDs have been sitting idle. We just found some converters that allow you to connect your computer to a TV. Since we have some great, large TVs, we can use these converters to allow teachers who do not have a computer projector to share their computer image with their class.

You can also recycle your old technology, and even get some money for it. We have lots of old computers that need to be disposed of, along with printers, fax machines and old monitors. There are a variety of companies out there that will not only take away your old technology, they will pay you for it. They even certify that the data is securely erased. The only thing they don't pay for is the old monitors, but they also don't charge to hall them away and properly dispose of them.

Don't just throw away your old technology, find new uses, new lives, or at least get some cash for it.


How do you reuse and recycle your old technology?



Social Entrepreneurship & Social Media Marketing Go Together, Like Peanut Butter & Jelly

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Why have so many people risked everything to undertake new ventures, when over half of all new businesses fail within five years? Until the late 20th Century, the answer was simple--the lure of riches and being your own boss. However, a new breed of social entrepreneur is combining societal and environment concerns with wealth creation. Today, more and more people are finding innovative ways to make capitalism work for them, their communities, and the environment.

Many social entrepreneurs still dream of making money and being their own bosses by forming traditional sole proprietorships or corporations, while others join together in nonprofit cooperatives. Nonetheless, they are all united by a single purpose-to improve the world, either through environmental or societal advances. Despite the altruistic goals, social entrepreneurs are just as driven and ambitious as conventional businesspeople to deliver groundbreaking solutions.

For example, social entrepreneurs build low cost shelters for the poor from recyclable materials, develop inexpensive solutions to widespread health problems, create water cleaning systems for drought-stricken areas, bring educational resources to remote regions, promote the arts to the underprivileged, and develop efficient means to transport freight and people over rugged terrain.

Social entrepreneurship success stories abound, such as Wendy Kopp, who launched, Teach for America, a highly successful movement to eliminate educational inequity in the nation by signing up the most promising college graduates to teach in low income communities. Since 1989, Teach for America has recruited, trained, and supported over 17,000 recent graduates in teaching for two years in economically depressed districts. 

Mimi Silbert, founded Delancey Street, one of the foremost residential self-help organizations in the country, working with everyone from the illiterate and homeless to junkies and ex-convicts. Delancey Street equips those who have hit bottom with marketable skills in just six months. The organization is financially self-sufficient, with most of its funding coming from the businesses founded by Delancey Street graduates, such as moving companies, restaurants, and delivery services.

Although there is no single path to becoming a successful social entrepreneur, the following five steps provide a roadmap that can markedly boost your odds of success: 

1. Find a cause that inspires and holds a profitable solution

The first, and perhaps the most important, step to becoming a successful social entrepreneur is to identify an environmental or social ill that motivates you to act. However, that's just half of the challenge; the other half is to find a profitable solution to the problem. Even nonprofit organizations must survive financially, so you must secure an ongoing means to fund your venture. It is worth noting that government grants come and go, while revenues from selling products and services tend to be a more consist source of money.

2. Craft a solid business plan

Whatever form of social entrepreneurship you wish to pursue, certain elements must be present for it to succeed. Research show tat poor planning and insufficient financing are the two major reasons businesses fail. Fortunately, creating a well researched and carefully thought out business plan can go a long way to ensuring success. Creating a business plan forces you to consider your organization's fundamental mission and its objectives, as well as whom you want to serve, their unmet needs, and how to organize your marketing mix to satisfy those needs. In addition, a good business plan provides operational details, financial forecasts, and spells out how to monitor performance and adjust course accordingly.

3. Securing financing

Without question, the most significant challenge a social entrepreneur faces is finding the necessary funding to launch and sustain a new enterprise. In addition to traditional equity and lending sources, social entrepreneurs can seek assistance from the following organizations:

  • Ashoka provides funding and support services to social entrepreneurs
  • Echoing Green offers seed capital and support to entrepreneurs with pioneering ideas to bring about social change.
  • Skoll Foundation invests with social entrepreneurs primarily through its Skoll Awards for Entrepreneurship and connects them with key people and resources that can advance their causes.
  • Tides Foundation partners with social entrepreneurs to promote economic, social, environmental progress through a variety of efforts, including fiscal sponsorship.
  • Schwab Foundation identifies, connects, works with selected companies to advance specific social entrepreneurial initiatives.

4. Be smart in implementing your plan

Since social entrepreneurs are especially cash-strapped, with little or no money to finance their operations, marketing, and delivery of services, they must exploit the least expensive and most effective strategies and tactics. Most importantly, social entrepreneurs must efficiently find the people and communities they seek to serve and identify their unmet needs.

This is where social media marketing comes into play. Social media marketing enables organizations to identify and interact with their constituencies, access opinions, gather valuable feedback, and influence views about the organization and its offerings. Social media platforms include everything from blogs and video sharing to social networking and social bookmarking.

To use these freely available social media platforms wisely, social entrepreneurs have to decide which platforms are best suited for their purposes and how to use them productively. This means crafting a social media marketing campaign, which lays out clear measurable goals, investing the time to become familiar with the platforms and participants, creating compelling content, monitoring campaign results, and making the necessary adjustments to succeed.

Done right, social media marketing provides a cost-effective way for social entrepreneurs to make contacts, find support, influence constituencies, form collaborative efforts, as well as establish an image of trustworthiness, integrity, and dependability. 

5. Monitor for success

The focus of social entrepreneurship, whether for-profit or not, is social change. Hence, the evaluation process should assess the progress made in achieving specific environmental or societal improvements. Clear and well-defined goals greatly simplify measuring the impact of a program on its intended eco-system or recipients.

In addition, it seems appropriate to evaluate the leadership performance of the social entrepreneur. After all, that individual is at the heart of social entrepreneurship, acting as the proponent, champion, and steward of a driving vision to improve the environment or society. Thus, assessing the social entrepreneur's leadership, management, and spokesperson capabilities is essential to ensure the sustainability and ultimate success of the enterprise.

Finally, as with any startup, the economic performance of the organization should be analyzed using the same methodologies applied to traditional for-profit businesses. Although profit can be a secondary or even nonexistent consideration for some social entrepreneurs, every enterprise must receive or generate sufficient funds to survive, if not thrive.

Media Training And Crisis Communication Training: The Myth About 3 Key Messages

Friday, December 28, 2012

Media training teaches the concept of identifying your "3 Key Messages." In other words, what are the 3 most important things you need to communicate during your interview with the reporter?

But what exactly is a key message? Is it a bullet point? Is it a talking point? Is it a set of words that incorporate more spin than truth? Is it a set of verbatim words that incorporate both truth and quotes?

In my world, it is a set of verbatim words that incorporate both truth and quotes. But many media trainers teach only bullet points and talking points. I call this "The Myth About 3 Key Messages."

Let's put this in the context of a U.S. political candidate in a debate with his or her opponent. The moderator of the debate might ask a question such as, "Please give me your thoughts on education."

The candidate, whose strategist may have determined that the key messages should only be about energy, the economy and international relations, is left with nothing to say. Therefore, the candidate will BS his or her way through 50 seconds of a 60 second answer, then conclude by saying, "Education is important and you can get more details on my website."

That is such bull!

When you give a spokesperson or executive only bullet points and talking points for an interview, you give them license to ad lib. Have you ever seen anyone who can truly ad lib well? They are few and far between. The person who ad libs is doing what? They are winging it! And when you wing it you crash and burn.

You should start an interview with 3 key AREAS that you want to talk about. For each of those areas, you should have learned and internalized several pre-written sentences that are also very quotable sentences. Then, each of those 3 areas should have 3 key messages of their own, that are well written, internalized and quotable. And conceivably, each of those 3 key messages will have 3 more messages to go with them.

Think of your conversation as a large live oak tree like you see in the south. Picture that tree with a huge, study trunk and 3 large branches. Your "Tree Trunk Message" should consist of 2 sentences that anchor the entire conversation. These are the first words out of your mouth when the reporter asks the first question and they provide context for the entire conversation. Both sentences must be quotable.

Next, write 2 more sentences for each of those 3 large branches that grow from the tree trunk. These sentences must also be highly quotable and will add a few more overarching facts and point to other important areas that you may want to talk about.

Now add 3 limbs to each of the large branches. Then add 3 twigs to each of the limbs. Then add 3 leaves to each of the twigs. Ultimately, just as a tree sprouts limbs, twigs and leaves, your conversation needs to sprout additional sentences with slightly more detail. Draw it out. If you can visualize the tree, you will begin to understand how the conversation grows.

In our visualization, the leaves represent great detail while the tree trunk and 3 branches symbolize very basic facts. If you invest time to populate your tree with verbatim, quotable sentences that you internalize, your next interview will be the easiest interview ever. Basically, your populated tree has created a full conversation and an interview should be a conversation. It should tell a story.

The Conversation Tree analogy has prepared us to tell our story in the inverted pyramid style - the same style reporters use when they write.

Is this easy? No. Does it take preparation? Absolutely. How much preparation? An interview is as important as any business deal. If you could attach a dollar to every word that comes out of your mouth, would you make money or lose money?

Bottom line - know what you want to say, know it verbatim, and be prepared to tell a story.

Gooru - the Search Engine for Learning

Thursday, December 27, 2012




Gooru is a site I wrote about a while back when it was in Alpha status. It is now in Beta status and open for everyone to use.

Gooru describes itself as a "Search Engine for Learning". It is a study tool that allows students to explore resources and study guides that are aligned to standards. The materials are in math, social studeis and science and are from 5th grade up to high school. Resources include digital textbooks, videos, animations, links and much more. It also includes social media functions so that students can work, study, and share with others.There are ready made collections of resources, and users can create their own collections of resources as a study tool, or even as a class project.



There are self-assessments in Gooru that help it adapt to the student, suggesting resources and study guides based on the student's performance.

The resources are all vetted by educational professionals and you can even create custom collections and resources.

The site has resources to learn more about it and how it can be beneficial to educators and students.




Technology I'm using daily as a School District CIO


This past November I started a new chapter in my career and became the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the district I was a teacher in for 10 years. It combines my experience as a teacher and educational technology specialist, as well as my 10 years as an engineer and project manager, into one very exciting, busy, crazy, rewarding job. I am responsible for the IT department, as well as coordinating with the data teams and all technology issues and projects.

In the past, I've written about the technology I used on a daily basis as a teacher. Today, I want to write about the technology I'm using on a daily basis in my job as CIO and how this technology helps keep me organized, informed, and communicating with others. Some of it is the same, some different, and some just used differently.




Evernote - Evernote, an electronic notebook with lots of great features, is my main tool. I have used it for lesson plans, lesson notes, lesson resources as a teacher and travel info, recipes, clippings from web sites, to do lists, personal references, tech resources and instructions and so much more. It is the main app I use for almost everything. 


As CIO, I have created multiple notebooks. They are each named CIO and then the specific notebook title and all stacked under CIO as a main category. I have a note entitled "Priorities" that I update each week. It has a list of the major tasks and projects that I need to work on that week. I don't keep much for details in this note, rather I put the link to other notes that have all of the details on them. 

I also upload files as attachments to Evernote so that I can easily access them anywhere, on any device. Files that I have to edit often are stored on our servers and I can access them remotely via VPN client. 

I also use the Clip to Evernote extension for Chrome (my browser of choice) to clip web articles for future reference. 

Another great feature is the Outlook to Evernote extension. I use Outlook for email, contacts, and calendar, and can export any email or contact from Outlook to Evernote, including attachments. This keeps my email less cluttered and allows me easier access to the emails and files from other devices. 

I use Evernote to take notes in meetings also, either with my smartphone, Chromebook or laptop, or using my Livescribe Sky pen to take handwritten notes (I'm faster that way) and have them synced directly to Evernote. 

I use the Evernote desktop app at home and at work due to the advanced features and local backup of data. I have a premium account (only $45 per year), although many people would be fine with the free account. 




Dropbox - Dropbox is a great file sync, backup, and sharing service that you can use for free. The rest of the files I need to use that are not in Evernote or Google Drive are setup in my Dropbox so that they are synced on my home computer and my smartphone. I can access my files from any web browser also. I never have to worry about losing a flash drive or forgetting to copy or email myself a file.




Google Chrome is my browser of choice. It's fast, secure, easy to use, has great extensions and bookmarklets, and just works great. I have it automatically open up my most used tabs: Gmail, Google Calendar, Blogger, Tweetdeck, and Evernote. I also have bookmarklets for saving pages into my Google Bookmarks, accessing school systems, and much more.

Extensions:
Evernote Clipper - clip web pages and articles into my Evernote notebooks for reference or sharing with students.
Goo.gl URL Shortener - shorten web page URL's for better sharing and tracking of sharing.
Webpage Screenshot - take screenshots of web pages, edit and format them, and save them.
Evernote Clearly - clean up a web page for easier reading and clipping.



Google Apps - I use Google's many apps, including Gmail, Blogger, Calendar, Docs/Drive and Reader for myself and as part of my daily job. We are also going to Google Apps for Education for our students and faculty along with Chromebooks for different groups.




I use Tweetdeck in Chrome browser to access my PLN on Twitter. It is easy to use and has great features like multiple columns and scheduling of tweets. It's a great way for me to connect with other CIO's and Technology Directors for help and advice.





Android Smartphone - with my Android Smartphone, I can access all of my materials and resources, all of the apps and resources listed above and even control my computer with SplasthTop Remote.Android works great with all of the Google resources I use, and the Evernote app for it is awesome. This allows me to access meeting notes, files, and much more anywhere I go. Very handy as I travel the district for meetings and working with staff on technology projects.






Livescribe Sky Smartpen - This job entails a lot of meetings, issues, and challenges. One way I have been able to keep up with things is through my Livescribe Sky WiFi Smartpen. With this smartpen, I'm able to take notes in meetings on paper, which is very efficient, especially with my note taking style, which incorporates sketches, symbols, arrows, and more that don't translate well with a keyboard. The smartpen saves all of my notes and syncs them to Evernote over WiFi. This means that all of my notes are stored inEvernote so that I can access them anywhere. They are even searchable. I can also record audio in important or fast moving meetings to make sure I don't miss anything.



Outlook icon

Microsoft Outlook - As a teacher, we all used the web version of Outlook. Administration and office staff use the desktop version of Outlook because we utilize more features. Email management, calendar and meeting schedules, contacts, and more. The full version of Outlook also has the Evernote extension so I can save emails, attachments, and contacts right to Evernote. 



Brookstone Boogie Board -  a paperless notepad. It is small, thin and lightweight. You write on it using the stylus, or even your finger. It has sealed battery that lasts for 50,000 erasures. I figure 50,000 erasures will last about 20 years or so. It only uses power to clear the screen. I use this as my scratch pad on my desk to take quick notes with before adding them to Evernote or doing that task.


I also use some other systems, such as Tack-IT for our Help Desk, and our budget and purchase order system. For hardware, I have an HP desktop workstation, HP laptop, Chromebook (Samsung 303) and my smartphone and Livescribe SkyPen. 

So, that's what I use each day in my role as CIO. These technologies allow me to be organized and easily access all of the data and information that I need to access each day, as well as communicate with my staff and other personnel. 


What technology do you use each day in your job?




Importance of Metrics For Education Evaluation

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

We all know how important it is to evaluate the performance of educational institutions, such as universities and colleges. These performance measurements are actually needed in the assessment of the quality of education offered by universities and colleges at hand. And when it comes to ensuring accurate measurement of such performance, there then is a need to implement metrics for education evaluation. This way, the metrics would be geared and directed to measure and evaluate the quality of education offered by the institution, as well as the performance of all aspects of the institution combined.

When it comes to the performance measurements themselves, they can either be qualitative or quantitative. Quantitative metrics are simpler to deal with because they are already measurable in nature. One of the commonly used quantitative performance measurement used by schools is the assessment of research funding. The typical academic institution would have to undergo research of some sort, and funding would certainly be one of the entailed associations here. The assessment would then be quantitative in nature simply because this is just an evaluation of how the funding was processed - more importantly, if it was processed accurately and successfully. Was the portion assigned to the purchasing of media equipment really used to purchase media equipment? How about the budget for sports equipment? This is quite easy to deal with because these are already numerical in nature.

What is more difficult to deal with are qualitative metrics. Just how can you expect to extrapolate improvement in terms of quality from growth in quantity? To illustrate, let us say that the number of graduates for this academic year has increased from that of last year. This quantifiable figure should then be translated into qualitative growth in terms of improvement in the quality of education offered by the college or university, right? It is so easy to assume this is so, but in reality, you cannot assume this right off the bat. This is because there could be more graduates this academic year due to the fact that the coursework offered by the institution has degraded somehow, thereby making it less challenging to deal with as a whole. This is the complete opposite of improvement, in spite of the fact that the quantifiable figures are leaning towards supposed improvement.

Another common case to ponder on is the population of graduating seniors who rate the university as excellent as a whole, in terms of experience. This quantifiable metric does not really bring forth significant qualitative results when translated because the concept of "excellent" here would be undoubtedly relative from one senior to another. How then can you expect this metric to shed off relevant information? This is precisely why there is a need to select quantity targets as carefully as possible. This way, the quality of education would be reflected more accurately in the long run.

If you are not too sure about which metrics for education evaluation to use, then do not fret just yet. The Internet is laden with sources that can help you in this endeavor. Just think of these sources as templates that can guide you in developing your balanced scorecard along the way.

Happy Holidays - Most Read Posts of 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012


Happy Holidays from Google!
image from Google.com homepage 

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from Connecticut. I'm finishing up my day at work today with a quick post of the Most Read Posts of 2012. It's been an interesting year for me, as I started a new job as the Chief Information Officer for our district. It's a rewarding and challenging job that I love.

Tonight we head to friends' for Christmas Eve and then off to my cousins' tomorrow with the whole family.

I want to wish all of my readers Happy Holidays and Happy New Year. In this time of joy and celebration, please keep those less fortunate in mind, and please remember the 26 we lost in Newtown, and also the 2 Firefighter's lost today in upstate New York.


Most Read Posts of 2012:

1. 10 Tech Skills Every Student Should Have

2. 10 Important Skills Students need for the Future

How to Save For Your Child's Education

Paying for your child's education is an expensive business for any parent, but it is just about one of the most important things you will ever give your child, and their education is not something you want to cut corners on. Therefore, you need to plan to save for your child's education as soon as possible, and you need to know you are contributing to your child's education savings fund in the most effective way.

1 Start saving for your child's education before they're born

If you are planning to have children or if you already have one on the way then you know they are going to need to go to school, and complete some sort of study once they finish school. Whether your child decides to go to university, TAFE, a technical college or take up an apprenticeship you can start saving for their future now.

It doesn't matter to begin with that you don't know exactly what you are saving for because you know that in one form or another you are going to help pay for your child's education. If your children are very young or still on the way you may also like to think about whether you will pay for just their high school education and encourage them to apply for a scholarship or get a part time job to pay their way through college, or whether you want to take care of all of their education costs so they can start their adult life debt free and with their own savings in the bank.

2 Research the costs of your child's education

This is where you need to start thinking about the types of education you are saving for because having a savings target will help you stay on track with your savings plan, as well as help you reassess your savings and funds along the way. Also don't forget to calculate the costs of the education, plus the incidental costs too; these include textbooks, workbooks, accommodation and travel.

Knowing when your child will need access to their education fund will also help you calculate how much you need. If you are saving for the college tuition of an unborn child you need to project the costs to what they will be 20 years in the future, if your child is already at school you only need to work out what tertiary education will cost in around 10 years.

3 Saving and investing tools, for your child's education

So now you have an idea of how much you need to save for your child's education, make sure you are using the right saving and investing tools to get you to that goal. Two of the main financial products you may choose start your child's education savings with are a high interest savings account, or a term deposit account.

A high interest savings account is a flexible online savings account which allows you to make deposits from your everyday transaction account whenever it suits you; you can even set up a regular transfer every pay day to make sure that constant contributions are being made to your child's future, without you having to remember. High interest savings accounts are usually fee free and will calculate a high rate of interest on your savings daily and pay you the compounded interest monthly. Because a high interest savings account is so easy to open and use, you can set up an education savings plan when you first start saving for your child's future no matter how old they are, and you know your savings will be safe and will keep growing as they are in a stable bank account, rather than a sometimes unpredictable investment portfolio.

A term deposit account requires an initial investment to offer you substantial returns, and the longer the term you choose, the more interest you will be able to earn on your investment. You can often choose a term for your term deposit from one month to five years, but the longer the term, the better the returns and the greater the investment amount, the higher the interest rate you'll be able to negotiate. Therefore, you may want to consider transferring some or all of the funds you have grown in a high interest savings account, into a term deposit account when your child starts high school, to give your education savings a boost in time for your child to decide what they want to study and where.

4 Education funds

There are a range of education funds and state operated savings plans which can help you save for your child's education in a reduced tax or tax free account. Often education funds are run in a similar way to a scholarship plan and this is what makes them tax effective, some education saving plan contributions can even be tax free. Often an education fund can be opened for any child up to the age of 10 years old, and you or your parents - the grandparents - can make contributions regularly, or in lump sum contributions when you are able. Education funds will allow you to save for your child's school or tertiary education and can be paid out as an allowance when your child goes to college to cover their books and living expenses.

5 Prepaid tuition

There are also state run programs which allow you to purchase a year (or however many years you choose) of tuition for your child at the cost they are now, to be redeemed when your child begins their study. This helps you overcome the issue of inflation affecting your savings, and saving an amount which covers the costs for your child's education now, may not be enough to cover the costs when they actually need the funds.

There are a number of dedicated education saving financial products, and state and government initiatives will also vary depending where you live, and where your child decides to study. That's why it is important for you to start with these top five tips and do your own research on the best way to save for your child's education.

Google Play books reads aloud - great for struggling readers

Friday, December 21, 2012



I just wrote about Evernote Clearly having text-to-speech and I just found out that Google Play Books does too. It has a read aloud function that will read books to you. It has to have an internet access at the time, but it is another resource for students who struggle to read.



Google Play Books gets high quality read aloud, pinch zoom, recommendations



Adobe Photoshop Touch Updated for 7 Inch Devices


Adobe® Photoshop® Touch

Adobe Photoshop Touch is a great app for tablets and smartphones that I wrote about before. It has just been updated for 7 inch devices like the Nexus 7, Kindle Fire and iPad mini.

This is a great app for students and educators to use for photo editing and effects and now it is available for the smaller tablets. I happen to love my Nexus 7 and the 7 inch table size, so I'm very happy. The app is $9.99.


Take a look at more information about Adobe Photoshop Touch.






Evernote Skitch meeets Windows to create a great, easy to use screen capture and image editing service.


skitch screen capture
Evernote, the app I talk about way too much, has some other great apps that work with it. Skitch is one of them. Skitch is a free image editing and screen capture app that has been on mobile devices for a while and is now, finally, on Windows.

It is easy to use, has enough features for most users, and is free. Hard to beat that. You can use it to take screen captures, annotate images, and it integrates with Evernote.

Teachers can use it to capture and annotate images for students, professional development, e-portfolios, etc. and students can use it for class projects.

It is available for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, and Windows 8.

Learn more at the source page below.

Source: Evernote Skitch website



India's Move to Right to Education

Thursday, December 20, 2012

BACKGROUND.

It was Saturday afternoon; the world seemed to be on vacation but me, as I was busy serving guests at a lunch party at my masters' residence. Chatting and laughing was loud enough to be heard in every nook and corner of the house. But those were of least concern to me, because I had to respond to every single call for any requirement at the very word of the guests or the master in particular. It was 2009, and I was just seven, wearing a sweater and a half pant, watching a bunch of people boasting about the achievements of their wards and trying to prove ones child better than the other. When suddenly, an old man read from a magazine that the government was to pass a new act namely, Right to Education Act. But to me those routine talks about the household work made more sense than this new coming up topic, because neither I could read or understand there high-level conversation, which had diverted there talks from their children, on top of that I didn't even understand, what the word 'right' meant. That elderly fellow said something like...

History of the Act:

The Free and Compulsory Education Bill 2003 was the first attempt of the Central government to draft a comprehensive legislation on education after the 86th Constitutional Amendment that made education a fundamental right. The Bill was an excellent example of bureaucratic empowerment, creating up to 6 levels of various authorities to ensure the provision of free and compulsory education. Furthermore, the reservation of up to 25% of the private school seats for the economically backward students to be selected by these authorities ensured that the Bill was a throwback to the old licence-permit-raj regime. Following widespread criticism, the Bill was discarded.

The Right to Education Bill 2005 is the second attempt by the Central government to set the education system right. Some of the important provisions of the Bill:

• Promises free and compulsory education of equitable quality up to the elementary level to all children in the age group of 6 to 14.
• Mandates unaided private schools to reserve up to 25 percent of the seats for students from weaker sections. The schools will be reimbursed by the lower of the actual school fee or per student expenditure in the government school. The aided schools will reserve "at least such proportion of their admitted children as its annual recurring aid bears to its annual recurring expenses subject to a minimum of 25 per cent."
• Requires all remaining students to be accommodated by opening new government schools and within three years of the passage all students to have a school to go within their own neighbourhood.
• Forms School Management Committees (SMCs) comprising parents and teachers for state schools and aided schools. The SMCs will own the assets of the school, manage the accounts, and pay salaries.
• Establishes a National Commission for Elementary Education to monitor the implementation of the Bill, State Regulatory Authorities to address grievances under the Bill, and several 'competent authorities,' 'local authorities,' and 'empowered authorities' to perform a vast number of regulatory functions and meet out punishment to defaulters.
• Assigns all state school teachers to particular schools from which they will never be transferred-creates a school-based teacher cadre.

The finance committee and planning commission rejected the Bill citing the lack of funds and a Model bill was sent to states for the making necessary arrangements.

INTRODUCTION

As is evident, even after 60 years, universal elementary education remains a distant dream. Despite high enrolment rates of approximately 95% as per the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER 2009), 52.8% of children studying in 5th grade lack the reading skills expected at 2nd grade. Free and compulsory elementary education was made a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution in December 2002, by the 86th Amendment. In translating this into action, the `Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill' was drafted in 2005. This was revised and became an Act in August 2009, but was not notified for roughly 7 months.

The reasons for delay in notification can be mostly attributed to unresolved financial negotiations between the National University of Education Planning and Administration, NUEPA, which has been responsible for estimating RTE funds and the Planning Commission and Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD). From an estimate of an additional Rs.3.2 trillion to Rs.4.4 trillion for the implementation of RTE Draft Bill 2005 over 6 years (Central Advisory Board of Education, CABE) the figure finally set by NUEPA now stands at a much reduced Rs.1.7 trillion over the coming 5 years. For a frame of reference, Rs.1 trillion is 1.8% of one year's GDP.

Most education experts agree that this amount will be insufficient. Since education falls under the concurrent list of the Constitution, financial negotiations were also undertaken between Central and State authorities to agree on sharing of expenses. This has been agreed at 35:65 between States and Centre, though state governments continue to argue that their share should be lower.

KEY FEATURES OF THE ACT INCLUDE:

1. Every child from 6 to 14 years of age has a right to free and compulsory education in a neighbourhood school till completion of elementary education.
2. Private schools must take in a quarter of their class strength from `weaker sections and disadvantaged groups', sponsored by the government.
3. All schools except private unaided schools are to be managed by School Management Committees with 75 per cent parents and guardians as members.
4. All schools except government schools are required to be recognized by meeting specified norms and standards within 3 years to avoid closure.

On the basis of this Act, the government has framed subordinate legislation called model rules as guidelines to states for the implementation of the Act.

The family, I had been working for, (walia family) had always been caring for me, with occasional slaps and abuses, to which I had become accustomed to and accepted them as a part and parcel of my monthly income of 700 Rs along with square meals and the discarded cloths of the children to the master. But then that was my life......bhaiya and didi (son and daughter to the master) were both elder to me by 4 or 5 years respectively and during my free time often played along with me, but again I was reminded of my being a servant whenever I forgot that...they had thought me to read and write my name in Hindi, which I always kept scribbling at the corners of the walls which resulted in a colour change of my cheeks to red from white, whenever caught. That Act being the burning topic of those days always managed to occupy some space at the front page of every news paper, which further became a topic of early morning drawing room discussion for the family as it was that day and just like every normal citizen he also started which his speech, with the critique of right to education act and its loop holes....

LOOPHOLES IN THE ACT

The Act is excessively input-focused rather than outcomes-oriented. Even though better school facilities, books, uniforms and better qualified teachers are important, their significance in the Act has been overestimated in the light of inefficient, corrupt and unaccountable institutions of education provision. Then the Act unfairly penalises private unrecognised schools for their payment of market wages for teachers rather than elevated civil service wages. It also penalises private schools for lacking the infrastructural facilities defined under a Schedule under the Act. These schools, which are extremely cost efficient, operate mostly in rural areas or urban slums, and provide essential educational services to the poor. Independent studies by Geeta Kingdon, James Tooley and ASER 2009 suggest that these schools provide similar if not better teaching services when compared to government schools, while spending a much smaller amount. However, the Act requires government action to shut down these schools over the coming three years. A better alternative would have been to find mechanisms through which public resources could have been infused into these schools. The exemption from these same recognition requirements for government schools is the case of double standards -- with the public sector being exempted from the same `requirements'. By the Act, SMCs (school management committees) are to comprise of mostly parents, and are to be responsible for planning and managing the operations of government and aided schools. SMCs will help increase the accountability of government schools, but SMCs for government schools need to be given greater powers over evaluation of teacher competencies and students learning assessment. Members of SMCs are required to volunteer their time and effort. This is an onerous burden for the poor. Payment of some compensation to members of SMCs could help increase the time and focus upon these. Turning to private but `aided' schools, the new role of SMCs for private `aided' schools will lead to a breakdown of the existing management structures. Teachers are the cornerstone of good quality education and need to be paid market-driven compensation. But the government has gone too far by requiring high teacher salaries averaging close to Rs.20,000 per month. These wages are clearly out of line, when compared with the market wage of a teacher, for most schools in most locations in the country. A better mechanism would have involved schools being allowed to design their own teacher salary packages and having autonomy to manage teachers. A major problem in India is the lack of incentive faced by teachers either in terms of carrot or stick. In the RTE Act, proper disciplinary channels for teachers have not been defined. Such disciplinary action is a must given that an average of 25 percent teachers are absent from schools at any given point and almost half of those who are present are not engaged in teaching activity. School Management Committees need to be given this power to allow speedy disciplinary action at the local level. Performance based pay scales need to be considered as a way to improve teaching.

The Act and the Rules require all private schools (whether aided or not) to reserve at least 25% of their seats for economically weaker and socially disadvantaged sections in the entry level class. These students will not pay tuition fees. Private schools will receive reimbursements from the government calculated on the basis of per-child expenditure in government schools. Greater clarity for successful implementation is needed on:

• How will 'weaker and disadvantaged sections' be defined and verified?
• How will the government select these students for entry level class?
• Would the admission lottery be conducted by neighbourhood or by entire village/town/city? How would the supply-demand gaps in each neighbourhood be addressed?
• What will be the mechanism for reimbursement to private schools?
• How will the government monitor the whole process? What type of external vigilance/social audit would be allowed/encouraged on the process?
• What would happen if some of these students need to change school in higher classes?

Moreover, the method for calculation of per-child reimbursement expenditure (which is to exclude capital cost estimates) will yield an inadequate resource flow to private schools. It will be tantamount to a tax on private schools. Private schools will end up charging more to the 75% of students - who are paying tuition's - to make space for the 25% of students they are forced to take. This will drive up tuition fees for private schools (while government schools continue to be taxpayer funded and essentially free).

Reimbursement calculations should include capital as well recurring costs incurred by the government.

By dictating the terms of payment, the government has reserved the right to fix its own price, which makes private unaided schools resent this imposition of a flat price. A graded system for reimbursement would work better, where schools are grouped -- based on infrastructure, academic outcomes and other quality indicators -- into different categories, which would then determine their reimbursement.

Quality of Education

The quality of education provided by the government system remains in question. While it remains the largest provider of elementary education in the country forming 80% of all recognized schools, it suffers from shortages of teachers, infrastructural gaps and several habitations continue to lack schools altogether. There are also frequent allegations of government schools being riddled with absenteeism and mismanagement and appointments are based on political convenience. Despite the allure of free lunch-food in the government schools, which has basically turned the schools into a "dhaba" and school teachers to "chefs", many parents send their children to private schools. Average schoolteacher salaries in private rural schools in some States (about Rs. 4,000 per month) are considerably lower than that in government schools. As a result, proponents of low cost private schools, critiqued government schools as being poor value for money.

Children attending the private schools are seen to be at an advantage, thus discriminating against the weakest sections, who are forced to go to government schools. Furthermore, the system has been criticized as catering to the rural elites who are able to afford school fees in a country where large number of families live in absolute poverty. The act has been criticized as discriminatory for not addressing these issues. Well-known educationist Anil Sadagopal said of the hurriedly-drafted act:

"It is a fraud on our children. It gives neither free education nor compulsory education. In fact, it only legitimizes the present multi-layered, inferior quality school education system where discrimination shall continue to prevail."

For me this new topic was like Ramayana being recited in the house, although Ramayana was still Hindi, but this was complete alien...it was Wednesday afternoon and the family members were all taking rest when I decided to run away from that house, and then actually did...but when was back home I was scolded brutally by my father who said 'here comes one more, person with his mouth wide open, good for nothing creature'. After few days, I was as well enrolled in local village school, which served lunch to every student who attended the school. But the food wasn't easy here too, every pupil was made to cook food and wash dishes, the left out time was utilized in fulfilling the desires of the school teacher. I did everything in the school but study. But my sister was not as lucky as me, although for sake of attending school, she was only enrolled in there but the reality was that she hardly attended any classes due to engagement in the household work, as that was more important and education for marriage than that what was written the school books. The only day we had a feast was when inspection was on the calendar. I did wanted to study but my pockets didn't allow me, I always pondered but couldn't make out what was wrong with my school when compared to those big ones in the cities but the answers were nowhere for me......

THINGS WHICH CAN BE DONE FOR THE IMPROVEMENT.

The RTE Act has been passed; the Model Rules have been released; financial closure appears in hand. Does this mean the policy process is now impervious to change? Even today, much can be achieved through a sustained engagement with this problem.

Drafting of State Rules

Even though state rules are likely to be on the same lines as the model rules, these rules are still to be drafted by state level authorities keeping in mind contextual requirements. Advocacy on the flaws of the Central arrangements, and partnerships with state education departments, could yield improvements in at least some States. Examples of critical changes which state governments should consider are: giving SMCs greater disciplinary power over teachers and responsibility of students learning assessment, greater autonomy for schools to decide teacher salaries and increased clarity in the implementation strategy for 25% reservations. If even a few States are able to break away from the flaws of the Central arrangements, this would yield demonstration effects of the benefits from better policies.

Assisting private unrecognized schools

Since unrecognized schools could face closure in view of prescribed recognition standards within three years, we could find ways to support such schools to improve their facilities by resource support and providing linkages with financial institutions. Moreover, by instituting proper rating mechanisms wherein schools can be rated on the basis of infrastructure, learning achievements and other quality indicators, constructive competition can ensue.

Ensure proper implementation

Despite the flaws in the RTE Act, it is equally important for us to simultaneously ensure its proper implementation. Besides bringing about design changes, we as responsible civil society members need to make the government accountable through social audits, filing right to information applications and demanding our children's right to quality elementary education. Moreover, it is likely that once the Act is notified, a number of different groups affected by this Act will challenge it in court. It is, therefore, critically important for us to follow such cases and where feasible provide support which addresses their concerns without jeopardizing the implementation of the Act.

Awareness

Most well-meaning legislation's fail to make significant changes without proper awareness and grassroot pressure. Schools need to be made aware of provisions of the 25% reservations, the role of SMCs and the requirements under the Schedule. This can be undertaken through mass awareness programs as well as ensuring proper understanding by stakeholders responsible for its implementation.

Ecosystem creation for greater private involvement

Finally, along with ensuring implementation of the RTE Act which stipulates focused reforms in government schools and regulation for private schools, we need to broaden our vision so as to create an ecosystem conducive to spontaneous private involvement. The current licensing and regulatory restrictions in the education sector discourage well-intentioned 'entrepreneurs' from opening more schools. Starting a school in Delhi, for instance, is a mind-numbing, expensive and time-consuming task which requires clearances from four different departments totaling more than 30 licenses. The need for deregulation is obvious.

Today, I am 15 in age, out of school and again away from home, working only to earn hand to mouth, to boast that am literate I have gained my elementary education but the fact is, I only know how to write my name in Hindi along with few more things and that's not because of the school but I owe that to Mr walias' children. And today, the biggest question for me is, why should anyone get enrolled in a school to gain elementary education, when that education is doing no good to him in the future? After 14 I had to leave the school, in spite of me being still in standard four, I couldn't support my studies further so ultimately all my efforts went in vain, leaving me all to myself, just to ponder what should I do????

CONCLUSION:

The Act has failed in identifying what actually ails our education system and so not surprisingly it offers solutions that are either redundant or counter-productive. Its unrelenting faith in the bureaucracy and its seething animosity towards private initiatives in education reflect a bygone era. However well-intentioned the government may be, the central planning approach cannot serve the future needs of India. It has failed in economics and it cannot do any better in education. The promises made in the Bill then amount to political grandstanding.

The fulfillment of the constitutional obligation does not necessarily require the state to build and manage schools. It can discharge its obligation successfully by restricting its role to the provision of financial resources to those who cannot afford and enabling all parents to make informed choices. The education system should be designed in such a manner that there is competition and choice. The schools should compete with each other to attract students and the students should in turn have the freedom to choose their school. This would ensure the best allocation of scarce resources and an improving quality of education.

One way for the government to finance education that would guarantee access to school and would create right incentives for improving quality is to fund government schools on the basis of number students in the school. Instead of a lump sum grant, the government fixes a per student charge, which multiplied with the number of students, determines the grant that a school would receive. The state can also provide financial support to students in the form of a voucher that can be redeemed only at educational institutions to cover the expenses of education. With this education voucher, the student would be in a position to choose from amongst the various public and private schools.

This would ensure competition amongst schools and thus good quality education. Furthermore, the financial resources of the state would be put to more effective use by targeting them towards the poor only and by optimally utilizing the management skills of the private sector. There is no doubt that privately managed institutions have made a tremendous contribution to the cause of education, and in the last decade particularly the unrecognised private schools for the poor. It would be a tremendous loss of social capital if these schools were forced to close down. If the government opens a new school and runs well, there would be no reason for parents to send their children to a fee-charging, unrecognised school.

They would go out of business automatically. One more reason not to outlaw these schools with the passage of the Act is the chaos and harm it would create since they will have to close down well before the government will be able to open new schools across the country. In its zeal to fulfill its constitutional mandate, the government would achieve the opposite.

Instead of treating private initiative as inherently corrupt and exploitative, the government should channel the private enterprise to help expand access and improve quality of education. It has been done with great success in many areas.a

Evernote Clearly gets Text-to-Speech - premium only



Evernote is one of my most used apps, ever. I'll be sharing the apps I use, and how I use them, in my new job as CIO shortly.

Evernote has a very cool product called Clearly. Evernote Clearly is a browser extension for Google Chrome (other browsers will be added soon) that allows you to read online with less distractions. You simply click the extension and it hides all the distractions from blogs and articles, allowing you to read with less distractions and more easily.It use it a lot, especially on sites that I want to clip to Evernote (it keeps all the junk from getting clipped too).

This is great for students who have issues with distractions and makes things easier to read.

It has a great new feature also. Clearly now has Text-to-Speech for premium account users. Premium accounts are only $5 per month, or $45 per year and are well worth it, adding some great features.

Words are highlighted as they are read and users can pause and skip. This is a great feature for ELL, early readers, and struggling readers. It supports 12 languages.



Source: Evernote Blog



Study Reveals That Online Education Beats the Classroom!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

In recent times, the SRI International for the Department of Education revealed a 93-page report founded on one of the serious topics these days i.e. online education.

Surprising but true, the report shows that students enrolled in an online educational course exhibit an improved performance when it comes to their comparison with students attending the brick-and-mortar educational schemes.

The study bases its conclusions from the broad research on online education in opposition to the typical classroom teaching from 1996 to 2008. Though, a part of it was in K-12 premises, a considerably bigger part of the research was done at the level of colleges and continuing-education programs for adults in a variety of field, ranging from medical science to military education.

The outcome was analyzed on the basis of the 99 studies involving points, indicating which type of education (online or class room) is more beneficial for student's overall performance in the diverse educational fields. It then became evident from the conclusions of those studies that on the whole, students pursuing some or a number of courses online would more likely rank in the 59th percentile in terms of experienced performance, while the average classroom student would score in the 50th percentile. Now, this theory indicates a significant amount of major difference in both the learning methods.

Barbara Means who's the lead author of the study and a teaching psychologist says that the study is essentially aimed for the promotion of the fact that online study currently is far better than the conservative educational methods. Though, this doesn't indicate that the time to "greet farewell" to classrooms has arrived. The chief aim of the study is to promote online education at a higher level for an improved and flexible educational method. Online education bases its success from the advancement in technology and the inclusion of highly developed online tools, which have together made online learning not only better but fun too.

Experts explain that online education plays an important role in the provision of individual attention to every learner that turns out to be highly problematic in a classroom loaded with a number of students. Consequently, a significantly big student majority takes this system as more engaging and winning than the traditional one.

According to Dean Philip R. Regier, online education is at its inflection point. Therefore, the maximum near-term growth will prove to be in continuing educational programs. In fact, a usual university accommodates 5,000 students in its continuing education programs, including in-person classes and online courses. If this educational strategy continues to maintain its recognition, the number of students is likely to triple within the upcoming three to five years.

It is also believed that online education can additionally play a role in the complete conversion of college campuses. Today, universities and several K-12 schools are incorporating online educational management systems, such as the Blackboard or the open-source Moodle. These are extensively used in the submissions of coursework, reading lists, and class timetable and even hosting some Web discussion boards.

It is because of the improved involvement of social networking technology, things seem to be quite diverse. Students will not only facilitate themselves but be trained to help others too. For example, it will be understood that college students are familiar with the basics of calculus, and the classroom time will focus more on applying the math on practical situations - perhaps in understanding the physics of weather changes or ups and downs in stock rates. This implies that people can accomplish a degree in a shorter span of time.

According to Mr. Regier, the latest educational scheme can effectively develop learning communities in the middle of students in a number of ways. It is evident that online education will give education a new shape- something beyond the classrooms. Education will then be free, accessible for anyone irrespective of the learner's location. This surely can modify the way we work and can without any doubt influence the literacy rates in a positive manner.

Newtown - Sandy Hook Elementary

Monday, December 17, 2012



Friday was a shocking day. I was at one of our elementary schools working with a principal on some technology ideas when we started to get the news about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, just 15 miles north of us. We were shocked and saddened even without knowing any details. Staff members live in that town and were trying to get more information about their own children.

As the day and weekend progressed and more information was released, things got worse. One of the students killed was the daughter of a teacher in our district. One of the hero teachers, Vicki Soto, was someone I had known when she was younger. She was a member of the EMS Explorer post at the EMS service I was a paramedic at and I had worked with her and the other Explorers many times. I know many of the first responders, having either worked with them as a paramedic or trained them. I've worked some very bad calls, including the death of a child, but I can not even begin to imagine what they are going through.

Newtown is a great town that my wife and I love. It's beautiful and quintessential New England. We go there a lot to go shopping, have some great pizza, and have ice cream at a dairy farm. It's a town that we have been considering to buy a house in, and still will.

It's been a rough few days. I can only hope that all those affected can find peace and comfort.







Looking For the Ideal Mixed Media Art Class?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Mixed Media Art Classes in Los Angeles area should not be challenging to discover. Artists now are more ambitious as they use several platforms, different sorts of canvases, making use of so many concepts in one theme. This in fact may succeed as a benefit and a disadvantage. Because of the broad variety of selections today, it can easily get puzzling and frustrating any time choosing an art form and also when you attempt to compose something which is for you a self-expression, a person additionally desires to be acknowledged as one of those real artists and not just one of those fly by night growing in number "wannabees".

And so, if you are a true artist and you genuinely want to discover how to do certain points, it is even now very good and the most ideal that you go to school for it. I'm hoping to give you certain recommendations in discovering the right school or the right adviser, because it still pays to do just a little research. Possibly your objective is to someday receive cash for your efforts or it is solely for your own motives, I hope this can help.

First, study around that specific school/art professor whom you will give a lot of money to educate you what it will take to be beneficial in your picked field. If it is accessible, attempt to peek at the success rates of their students and with whom that school is associated with that can support in your personal accomplishment. Secondly, keep in mind that "hands-on-experience" is much more crucial than any kind of theoretical methods. Be sure that you get lots of this when deciding on a school and that they have the resources and the center to make sure you receive the best practice. Finally, does the university you are taking into consideration give the art program you are searching for? If so, will the program make you eligible for the art job you desire? Does the school have the proper school certification? Addressing inquiries just like these can help you find out how to carry on with your art training. Taking your current level of knowledge, your own profession ambitions and time line into concern will aid a person pick the level and type of art degree which is right for you. As soon as you have determined your focal points and wants, you really should be able to slim down your school query.

Mixed Media Art Classes in the Los Angeles location have certainly not been easier to find. Keep in mind to always research, research and research. You ought to in no way take your education so calmly!

Quality Educational Videos Enhance Discovery Ed Streaming

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The use of technology in the classroom not only helps to prepare students for the 21st century, it also enhances the lesson for the teacher, ensuring the experience is beneficial for both. School videos and educational videos play a large part in enhancing the technology offerings in today's educational systems. With resources such as Discovery Education streaming from Discovery Education, teachers can literally have the world at their fingertips.

Now with an enhanced landing page, Discovery Education streaming offers teachers access to the latest in school videos and education videos. The new landing page is designed to allow teachers to access all services on the website, preview new media library additions, customize the learning experience and personalize technology options.

The new landing page, My Discovery Education, or My DE, provides access to more than one million users who seek to use Discovery Education services. With the My DE page, teachers and other educators can view the latest in the media library to best identify and use the new content in their classroom. School videos and education videos are an important part of this media and this site offers more than 5,000 videos and 50,000 video clips.

With the personalization element of the website, educators can use My DE according to their classroom needs and interests. The site will capture previous information and activities to personalize the experience each time a teacher uses the site. Educators also have the option of adding calendars that are customized according to subject, blog headlines and other topics. To provide even further enhancement and integration, the page provides quick links back to the district, school and other saved media, assignments, and quizzes across every Discovery Education service provided to the educator through subscription.

The My DE page also provides for one central location where educators can view and register for Discovery Education's Professional Development opportunities. This team works with tens of thousands of educators each year to help improve student achievement with the latest educational technology resources. As a result, teachers and educators throughout the nation have access to the latest school videos and education videos to enhance the overall learning experience.

Kelli Campbell, Discovery Education Senior Vice President of Content and Product Development said in a statement, "Instead of playing an entire film, usage data shows educators are increasingly using 2-3 minute key concept clips. Teacher feedback indicates clips are incorporated as core lesson components to illustrate difficult concepts and engage the student. The new features added to Discovery Education save valuable preparation time and provide even greater flexibility for the teacher to locate standards-correlated video clips for individualized student assignments."

School videos and educational videos contribute significant enhancement to any lesson, as long as the teacher or educator provides a quality lesson overall. Discovery Learning provides the perfect outlet to access such content, including that provided by SchoolVideos.com.

Take Your Seat! Social Media Shuttle Ready To Go Next Level

Monday, December 10, 2012

Get in before all seats are taken. The buzz is in the air and you better understand how to monetize the social media, using Twitter, Facebook, and other social media tools.

Customers are showing the way how they preferred to buy. So we need to catch up and reformulate our business plans. People prefer to purchase from companies they trust, that are continuously providing value to them. How to create a bridge to these new breed of costumers is what you will learn following these tips.

In order to take Social Media to the Next Level and have your business flight high, you must prepare a plan in harmony with the rest of your marketing strategy. You need to define your flight destination.

Starting a Social Media campaign required to be educated, you either find information on the Internet, which you will find vast valuable information on this hot topic or outsource this service. The issue is you must know at least a clue on how this work in order to value some else services.

October is known for Halloween in America and in Europe for October's Beer Fest but this one will be remember by the brilliant campaign conducted by one of the top Networkers using Facebook Fan page to promote his latest educational product on how to monetize Facebook. He planned it well. The results will be known as epic in the Internet Marketing Industry. These are some tips how he made it so successful.

· Authority. Delivering knowledge and true value on the topics you touch. If you are not an expert in one theme, bring in someone who is.
· Passion. It is all about emotion and excitement. This is a Social Medium. You need to convey the fire you feel on how relevant is this product for your niche.
· Be Yourself. This platform is like a big party, you have to show who you are. People will relate to you once they perceive you are transparent.
· Hard Sales Pitch Won't Cut. Again this is a social arena, focus in giving quality content.
· Market. No hard sales but you need to be continuously marketing your product or service.
· Urgency. Masterly used could generate massive conversion. If you can't have it, you want it.

Social Media is like a science, we need to be educated in order to use its real potential, the time to focus on this tool has come, don't miss your flight!

Mimio Teach Interactive System - great IWB system with great features





Many teachers use interactive white boards in their classrooms. They can be used for interesting lessons, engaging students at the board, recording what is done on the board, and controlling the computer from the board.

There are a variety of brands and devices out there, and one that I like is the MimioTeach system. This turns any white board into an interactive white board. It can capture handwritten notes, annotations, operate the computer and presentation from the board and more. The receiver is mounted on the white board using suction cups or adhesive mounting brackets or magnets.



There is software for it that is similar to the Smart Board software and there are tons of lessons and resources available on their site. You can capture what you write on the board, your annotations, create your own lessons with the MimioStudio software, or use some of the lessons that are in their library.

The Mimio system includes the MimioTeach (make any white board interactive), MimioVote (classroom response system) and MimioPad (wireless tablet) and MimioView document camera. The entire MimioTeach family of products are excellent to use.

Another nice feature is portability. You can use them anywhere and the system is wireless. The capture can even capture to the device and then connect to a computer later to transfer captured data. A teacher moves rooms, the Mimio goes with them. Need to use one in another room, bring one along. Storage is a snap too since they are small. Lock them up to protect them from theft or damage. Bring them along to a conference and use them with your presentation.

If you are thinking about getting an interactive whiteboard, check out the Mimio System. They are more cost effective and easy to install and operate. The products all integrate with each other, are easy to use, and have great support. There are discounts for educators, great training materials, and a vibrant community of educators and lesson resources.



Here are some pictures of the system:

MimioTeach
MimioVote
MimioView
MimioPad




(I am not compensated by Mimio at all for this article)



Use The Online Education to Convert Your Hobbies to Lucrative Careers

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ever think of creating an income stream and earn money with your hobbies? Your career can become more exciting if you are working on the area of your interest especially if it is among your hobbies. The enhanced internet technology has made it possible for you to earn your credential with a degree online and convert your hobbies to lucrative careers. Online degrees nowadays covered almost any field that you can think off, you can easily find a degree that related to your hobby and earn that degree from your comfort home.

Let's see some examples how's online degree helps to convert hobbies to lucrative careers:

1. Web Surfer Become Media Marketer Guru

Internet surfing has been hobby for many people, most of them love to surf the internet than sleep, they can spend many hours online. Online advertisements have been on of the most profitable industry since the innovation of internet technology.

Have you ever think of earning money from this profitable industry? Do you know how your can create income stream from internet or online business? What are the techniques involved to make a success in the competitive online business? You need all these knowledge to be successful.

Thanks to online education, you can easily find the online courses related to online business and internet marketing offered by various online schools. Learn up how to start up and manage the online business and get yourself equip with the knowledge of internet marketing will help you to convert your hobby of web surfing to online media marketing career.

2. Early Child Education Career

You like to take care of children and playing with them is fun to you; then, have you ever thinking of involving in early child education career? If you do, where could find the necessary knowledge and earn your credential to start your career in this field? Online education can be your best option to earn the required degree without the need to quit your current job. Online degree in early child education is one of the popular major for many online students. This shows that there is high market demand in this field, you can't be wrong if you select it as your career. With the growth of the needs for online early child education degree, many online schools have made available the degree for their online students. What you need to do is select a degree program that contains courses which best meet your interest.

3. Activities & Program Coordinator

You like to organize parties and other program functions such as outing, group traveling for your family and friends. Every time if there is an activity or program rise up by your group members, you will be one of the volunteer in the organizing committee. Have you think of utilizing your capability in organizing activities to earn you an income? Then, online education can helps to train you with the professional knowledge to help you to become a professional activities and program coordinator. The career opportunities are huge as more and more companies and organizations are outsourcing their activities to a professional program coordinator.

Summary

Online education has made possible for you to earn a credential for your hobbies from your comfort home. With the credential earned, you can convert your hobbies to lucrative careers which integrated what you like into your career field. You will get more successful in your career path if the works you do is one of your hobbies.

Social Media Public Speaker - How to Choose the Right One

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Social media public speakers, and Internet marketing public speakers are in high demand today. You can't have a conversation with a friend, open a magazine, or turn on the radio without hearing about the next best thing online. Sadly, it does not take much to announce yourself as a social media public speaker.

This is where it becomes challenging for event planner to select and choose an appropriate professional. An experienced public speaker is one thing, but I would argue that in today's changing landscape you also need a professional who has street smarts and actual experience in the world of social media and Internet marketing.

But how does an event planner actually choose? Well it is not as hard as you might think. The irony here is that a social media public speaker (if they walk the walk and talk the talk) can very easily be evaluated.

You simply need to Google them. If this business speaker is worth their salt, then you should easily be able to find them actively engaged on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and their own website and blog.

There should be educational and informational articles about the subject matter, there should be video and audio of them, pictures even. And best of all... there should be proof they've spoken successfully on this subject before.

What you don't want is a polished professional speaker who is all flash and no substance. The hot topics of social media and Internet marketing (along with your audience) demand your seminar speaker has 'got the goods' and really can provide feedback, information, and direction on this exciting and evolving topic.

I can't tell you how many times I've been to presentation or a business seminar and while I've been impressed with "look" of the speaker I've lamented the lack of substance delivered. That's just not acceptable in today's demanding markets.

Remember, diamonds are expensive because they're rare and finding a social media or Internet marketing public speaker who has a mixture of quality current material to deliver, combined with a natural talent and easy nature at the front of a room is not easy... but it is possible.

 

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