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Instructional Media - Overview of Audio and Video Conferencing

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Video Conferencing

With video conferencing two or more people can participate in a virtual classroom along with an instructor. The participants can not only communicate with one another, they can also see each other as well. This makes participating in a distance learning program feel more like actually being in a classroom. The equipment needed for video conferencing varies. It can be as simple as a computer that is set up with a video camera or web cam, computer monitor, speakers, and a microphone. The computer also needs a network system to transmit data back and forth. Most computers and laptops sold today have all of this functionality built in. Participants speak into their microphones and are able to hear what others have to say via the speakers that are in their computers. A television monitor can also be used to display images and a telephone network or LAN can also be used to transfer data. The video cameras capture and transmit images of the classroom participants or any other material that is positioned in front of the camera.

Video conferencing is appealing and can make for an immersive educational atmosphere. However, there are a few drawbacks. If the equipment is not already built-in, then setting up the video cameras, speakers, and microphones can be difficult for the technically challenged. And there is another interesting limitation of video conferencing and it does not have to do with equipment. When some participants realize they are 'on screen' there is a tendency to become camera shy. This problem usually goes away as participants become more comfortable in this type of learning environment.

Audio Conferencing

Audio conferencing is another learning environment in which students and instructors can communicate in real time. Because participants can only hear each other and aren't able to see one another, this type of instruction typically is supplemented with handouts that are either printed or are in an electronic format. With audio conferencing, individuals are connected to one another either by telephone or by equipment specifically designed for audio conferencing.

Audio conferencing involves only sound - it does not support graphics. Audio conferencing is beneficial in delivering lectures, when brainstorming, and for discussions. However, it has its drawbacks. Reliance solely on audio conferencing may cause some participants to lose interest in the material being presented. It may also diminish a participant's ability to concentrate. Together, these issues sometimes make it more difficult for students to grasp the lesson. It is for this very reason that many instructors will also prepare some type of printed material as that can make it easier for participants to follow along.

Audio and video conferencing are both beneficial to distance learning education programs. Both of these types of instructional media are used by students living in remote parts of the world, making it easier to become immersed in a distance learning environment provided they have access to the necessary equipment. When real-time, symmetrical communication is desired, both audio and video conferencing are acceptable teaching media. Both audio and video conferencing facilitate a high degree of interactivity between instructor and students. Since there are no limitations on location, it's much easier to arrange guest speakers from around the globe. And while audio conferencing cannot transmit images, it is not difficult to integrate this media with others such as satellite learning or ITV.

Guide Distance Learning Online Education

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Distance learning opportunities used to exist through what was called correspondence courses, which were conducted over the mail, on the radio or on television. Today, the internet is the primary method of presenting educational materials. Online education affords students who little time or money, or who live in remote areas, to attend classes.

Classes Offered Through Distance Learning Online Education

Almost any curriculum can be pursued online. Students can seek programs that result in certification, advanced technical skills, associates degrees, bachelors degrees, graduate degrees and even doctorates. Even continuing education classes for licensed professionals and high school equivalence courses can be completed through virtual classrooms.

Methods for Distance Learning Online Education

Online education is usually web-based with a specific web site designated for the course. Supplemental materials, such as software, may also be part of certain online courses. Students visit the course web site to complete the posted assignments and take tests. Instructors and students communicate through email and chat rooms. Sometimes virtual lectures and discussions are part of online coursework. Students can attend virtual classrooms to complete their education and some colleges even have virtual graduation ceremonies.

Types of Students Who Pursue Distance Learning Online Education

Many different students from all over the world participate in distance learning online education opportunities. Some students work and attend classes online during their free time. Other students live in remote areas where local colleges do not exist. Still other students choose to combine online courses with traditional classes for what is known as a blended learning experience. Student who pursue distance education do not fit a particular mold, but should possess the following qualities:

self-motivation;

well-organized;

independent learner;

computer literate;

good time management skills; and

excellent communication skills.

Validity of Distance Learning Online Education: Research from the Sloan Consortium states that online learning is comparable to education obtained in a traditional setting, based upon a poll of academic leaders. Academic leader James Sherwood, Ph.D. and dean of University Extension, the continuing education branch of The University of California at Berkley states that, "Coming out of World War II and getting into the 60's and 70's there was a kind of stigma associated with distance education. That has certainly changed." Because of technological advances and online resources, distance education has improved and offers an equivalent opportunity to traditional education.

Faculty Perspective of Distance Learning Online Education. Dr. Michael Otaigbe of Strayer University in Virginia has taught courses both in person and online at the same college. His opinion is that online classes generate an unexpected level of motivation, saying, "Online, I have the freedom to require contributions. Every week, my students have to submit essays and participate in group discussions. I get a better sense of the learning process." He also finds that online students come from all over the world and have unique contributions that benefit the other students.

Online Education Distance Learning Association in the US. Several distance learning associations exist within the United States that offer additional information about taking classes online for prospective students.

The United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA). The USDLA is a non-profit association that promotes the development and application of online distance learning for education and training purposes. The USDLA encourages distance learning for grades K-12, college and higher education, corporate training, continuing education, government training and military training. Further, the USDLA supported the implementation of the Snowe-Rockefeller Amendment to the 1996 Telecommunications Act, as well as other legislation in 1997 that was introduced by Kennedy and Snowe.

The Distance and Education Training Council (DETC). The DETC is a non-profit educational association that is a central hub of information about distance study and the correspondence learning field.

Federal Government Distance Learning Association (FGDLA). The FGDLA is also a non-profit association. The FGDLA was formed to promote development and application of distance learning programs. The Association also acts to foster understanding and collaboration among the people involved in education and training within the federal government.

Covering Costs for Distance Learning Online Education Programs
Financial aid is available to online students, just as it is for traditional students. Online students can apply for applicable state and government financial aid, Stafford loans, student loans, tuition reimbursement and scholarships to cover costs for cyber classes. Also, virtual students save money on transportation and housing. Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board, said, "The College Board continues to advocate for need-based aid, so that students can have the opportunity to benefit from college education."

National and international strides are being made everyday in distance learning online education. Rep. Vernon J. Ehlers, R-Mich., introduced legislation to scientifically scrutinize online learning. The Independent Study of Distance Education Act of 2007 directs the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study that would compare classroom instruction with distance learning programs. Colleges such as the University of Wyoming are experimenting with gaming as a form of teaching online education. Consider that the dynamic nature and convenience of online education has attracted about 3.2 million people to take a distance learning course in the past year. Distance learning online education programs are an effective way to achieve higher education.

Google Reader is Shutting Down July 1st - here's a great replacement

Tuesday, June 25, 2013



Lots of people use Google Reader as their RSS feed reader, including a few thousand who follow this blog using the RSS feed. Google is shutting down Google Reader as of July 1st. Here's how you can backup your subscriptions and a great replacement you can use.

You can export your Google Reader Data (subscriptions) using Google Takeout. Google Takeout actually lets you export pretty much all your Google account data. You go to Google Takeout, and go to the Reader page and click "Create Archive". This will then download all of your feeds, people you follow, starred items and more. When the file is completed, click download. The subscriptions.xml file in the zip file is your subscriptions that you will need to import into other readers.

The app I am using to replace Google Reader is Feedly. It has a web version, plus an Android and iOS app. It's easy to use, can be setup to look like Google Reader, or even better with some cool views with pictures and preview text. The apps sync with the web so no matter what device you use, your feeds will be up to date. It's also free. I've been using it for about a month and love it.

Feedly even has a one-click Google Reader import to make it easy to switch.

Remember, you need to export your data, or import into Feedly before July 1st!




Related:

Google Takeout - Take your Google Account Data with you (or just back it up)

Google for Educators Resources

Why I Use Google's Products as an Educator



Social Media and Baby Boomers

Monday, June 24, 2013

Social media usage among baby boomers is increasing, but it still lags in usage as compared to successive generations. Introduction to the internet for most boomers is focused on email and basic e-commerce applications. Somehow many boomers managed to live without computers really touching their life for several decades, and when the internet arrived, they were not early adapters of the trend, but found themselves dragged into its use. Now social media is truly a part of our social fabric and has many benefits, and yet many baby boomers still hesitate to embrace social media applications in a similar way they resisted adapting the computers and the internet. Hesitation to go online is often not because of lack of interest but because many technologies and social technologies are not developed with older people in mind.

What is social media?

When I ask baby boomers what they believe social media is, I get varying answers, but in the end the answer is usually popular social network sites such as, Facebook. So I offer this definition for future reference:

Social media includes web-based and mobile technologies for social interaction as a super-set, which goes beyond social communication. Enabled by ubiquitously accessible and scalable communication techniques, social media has substantially changed the way organizations, communities, and individuals communicate.

Facebook and other social networking sites are just one element of social media. There are currently six different categories of social media: collaborative projects (e.g., Wikipedia), blogs and microblogs (e.g., Twitter), content communities (e.g., YouTube), social networking sites (e.g., Facebook), virtual game worlds (e.g. Social Life), and social markets (e.g. Groupon). Technologies include: blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs (a form of blogging for which the medium is video, and is a form of Web television), wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music-sharing and voice over IP. Many of these social media services can be integrated via social network aggregation platforms (the process of collecting content from multiple social network services, such as Twitter or Facebook). These categories will continue to evolve as new forms of collaboration is introduced.

A good analogy is, "social media is to social networking as fruit is to bananas." There are other forms of social media as there are other forms of fruit.

Adoption Rate Lags for Boomers

A Pew Internet & American Life Project (Rainie, 2010) compared internet usage of baby boomers to internet usage of the millennial generation, ages 18 to 32. Results found that boomers internet usage is very similar to millennial usage in regard to emails and e-commerce:

Emails: Boomers 91% vs. Millennial 94%
Search Engines: Boomers 88% vs. Millennial 89%
Health Info: Boomers 78% vs. Millennial 85%
Get News: Boomers 74% vs. Millennial 83%
Research Products: Boomers 81% vs. Millennial 83%
Buy Goods: Boomers 70% vs. Millennial 81%
Travel Reservations: Boomers 68% vs. Millennial 62%
Banking: Boomers 55% vs. Millennial 58%
Auction: Boomers 27% vs. Millennial 26%

The overall composite score of this survey is boomers 70 percent and millennial 73 percent. Clearly, usage is very similar between generations for internet applications involving the basic search functions, email use and e-commence of the internet. But when social media usage was surveyed the differences were quite significant:

Video Sharing Sites: Boomers 45% vs. Millennial 85%
Use of Social Network Sites: Boomers 39% vs. Millennial 81%
Rate Product/Services: Boomers 27% vs. Millennial 38%
Read Blogs: Boomers 26% vs. Millennial 51%
Post Comments: Boomers 25% vs. Millennial 33%
Share Creations: Boomers 23% vs. Millennial 38%
Have Websites: Boomers 11% vs. Millennial 18%
Twitter: Boomers 10% vs. Millennial 29%
Blog: Boomers 8% vs. Millennial 18%

The composite score for use of social media is boomers 23 percent and millennial 43 percent, boomers social media usage is nearly half of millennial usage. Now, this research is a couple of years old and the overall adoption has proportionally increased, but it's unlikely that the gap between generation has changed substantially. Many boomers have established a presence on sites like Twitter and Facebook which counts for social media usage, but rarely is it used to communicate with others in their generation. Instead, much of the increase in Twitter and Facebook accounts by baby boomers are related to business and not for personal use. The reason for this is in part how baby boomers were educated and how they organize data.

A Generation Gap May Explain Differences

The bifurcation in social media use can be explained in large part by the differences in early development of each generation. Oddly enough differences between people of a younger generation and their elders are termed the generation gap. A term popularized in Western cultures during the 60s and at a time when baby boomers were expressing their displeasure with society.

It is a fact baby boomers were raised in an environment that was much different than the millennial generation. Baby Boomers grew up in an era that was much more structured. Boomers played by the rules and focused on building careers. They would wait for news in newspapers, write letters to communicate with distant family and friends, write checks and go to a bank to do business, and participate in face to face meetings at the office.

The millennial age prefers more informal arrangements. They are known to be more independent, flexible, and incredibly sophisticated with technology. They grew up with technology and have been exposed to it since early childhood. From the internet, IM and MP3s to handheld video games, mobile phones and texting, the millennial generation is used to tactile, instant, and constant communication. They prefer to communicate via blogs, IMs and text messages, rather than on the phone or face to face, methods preferred by Boomers.

These differences are evident in the study above. E-mails and e-commerce applications are accepted by baby boomers because these applications are very structured, for example; there is a section for the address, subject, and message within e-mails. In e-commerce, there is a product selection, a shopping cart and checkout process. A structure well defined and in keeping with the way boomers were trained to think in life. Not surprisingly, these applications were developed by a generation of baby boomers.

In contrast, a social media application works in a virtual setting and requires much more abstract thinking. For example, a social network is made up of "friends," many of who you may not know. Messages are sent by leaving comments instead of directing it to a particular individual. It's a different way of thinking for baby boomers, so it is difficult for a structured mind to comprehend. The advancing computing concept of "The Cloud" is another virtual concept that is difficult for many baby boomers to understand. A commonality between the advancing computing concepts and social media is that they are being developed and driven by members of the millennial generation.

With upcoming advances in technology and the Internet, we will continue to see bifurcation in adoptions of these advances primarily because of the differing perspectives in the formative years between the creators and the baby boomer users. Although bifurcation is evident, there are many important benefits for baby boomers to stay involved and to participate in a virtual world. Exploring these benefits will be the subject of subsequent articles. 

Sellers - Are You Trusting Your Realtor Or the News Media?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Some segments of the news media sell newspapers, magazines, and news broadcasts with a large dose of gloom and doom, negative news, and sensationalism. Such tactics do not successfully sell homes. Real estate professionals sell property by providing up-to-date statistics and information on relevant trends. Whom are you going to trust?

If you are preparing to sell your home, it's easy to become discouraged with national news about foreclosures, falling home prices, stagnant markets, and rising interests rates. Here's how to know whom you can trust so you can sell with confidence.

Think for yourself.

Make the decision that is right for you. National trends and local markets are simply pieces of a pattern. They are not a traffic light, regulating when you can go sell your house.

Don't believe everything you see or hear.

Thanks to the Internet and social media, we have instant access to all kinds of information and news. Just because you find a statistic on the Internet, hear it from your favorite news anchor, or read it in the local paper does not mean it is universally true. However, if you repeatedly get reliable help from the same source, you know you can probably trust them.

Double check facts and figures.

Dig deeper. Make sure the information you have at your disposal is not outdated. Talk to your realtor and get the facts for your geographical area instead of relying on generalizations. Look for matching statistics from more than one source to recognize trustworthy sources.

Be an educated consumer.

Don't rely solely on the word of your best friend, co-worker, or neighbor. Do your homework. Visit your public library to gather local data. Search online to discover patterns. Talk with your realtor to discover what is true at this time for your geographical area and other homes in your target price range.

Form a team of trusted professionals.

Your realtor, banker, insurance agent, accountant, lawyer, and Chamber of Commerce all have access to reliable data for sellers. Increase your confidence in your ability to sell your home now by trusting the right professionals.

Counter what you see and hear in the media. Think for yourself. Don't believe everything that is presented as fact. Double check the figures. Be an educated consumer. Form your own team of trusted professionals including your realtor and sell with confidence.

Is Distance Education Right for You

Friday, June 21, 2013

Distance education is seen both as a way to offer more equitable distribution of educational resources to special populations of students, and as a way to make instruction more cost-effective by sharing teachers and instructional materials. Distance education is a newer term for correspondence courses, which arose from the need to provide schooling to students in remote, sparsely populated areas that could not support a school. Distance education is the current hot topic for educators in all fields, including second and foreign language, and it was the focus of the CALL-IS academic session and other panels this year at the international TESOL convention. Distance education is often used to enhance the quality of traditional primary and secondary schooling and to deliver instruction to students in remote rural areas.

Teaching

As the National Science Foundation (NSF) provided access for universities to the Internet, educators gained a powerful means for teaching and learning, which was radically different with previous electronic media. As we look today, educators can define and design effective and robust teaching and learning systems that would be responsive to the needs of student communities close and afar. In addition, institutions with 10+ years experience used satellite and videotape delivery more often, paid for faculty release time for DE teaching, and paid for a DE teaching assistant. According to these respondents, institutions compensate faculty more to develop distance learning courses than to teach them, in spite of anecdotes from faculty that teaching a DE course requires a lot more time and energy than traditional face-to-face courses.

Courses

Courses are delivered though a combination of printed texts and both live and prerecorded television broadcasts, with communication between faculty and students facilitated by computers. Enhanced streaming video and broadband delivery will change the face of distance education once again, as web-based interactive communication changed paper-based correspondence courses. One hundred and thirty respondents (61%) indicated their institutions have a maximum enrollment level for DE courses. Given the fact that more institutions are moving toward offering distance courses for many reasons including accreditation demands, a systematic evaluation is needed on whether DE is truly more time intensive.

Conclusion

Distance education is becoming more accepted by academia and the public. Distance education is not prevalent among elementary students but distance learning as a supplemental program has been successful implemented by pioneers. Currently, distance education is structured mostly for graduate-level and professional students. A critically important component of distance education is multimedia, in particular streaming media and Web-enabled DVDs. Distance education is undergoing enormous change, and not all the pieces are in place yet.

Adobe Announces Updates to Creative Cloud



Adobe Creative Cloud was launched last year as a cloud offering of many of it's most popular applications. This month Adobe has announced a major update to it. The update adds new features, including cross device collaboration, syncing, and publishing. There is also an expanded community of users.

Adobe has also launched Create Now: a Celebration of Creativity, where Adobe will hots a variety of projects and programs and projects. You can read more about it here: http://adobe.ly/createnow

For more information about Adobe Creative Cloud and the updates, visit: https://creative.adobe.com/plans.

Evernote releases some great new features



Evernote is my go to app. In fact, in my position as CIO, I use two apps for 90% of my work - Outlook for email and calendar and Evernote for all my notes, project planning and more. I keep meeting notes, project management, reference files, clip websites and even save emails with Evernote clipper for Outlook. I use it on all my devices: desktop, smartphone, Nexus 7, Livescribe pen, and ScanSnap scanner and Chromebook and it is an indispensable app.

One thing I love about Evernote is that they are always working to improve it. This month, Evernote has announced some great new features.

The first new feature is reminders. Reminders allow you to add alarms to notes, create a to do list by pinning notes and mark tasks as they are complete. I use them for tasks and even to remind me to check notes for other information and tasks inside meeting notes. This feature is available on all platforms.

The next feature is using the Chrome web clipper to clip Gmail emails and attachments. I use the Outlook clipper and it's a great way to save emails, and their attachments, to Evernote. With Gmail being so popular, and so many schools using Google Apps for Education, this is a great feature to have. Save the important stuff to your Evernote account and keep you email account clean.

Evernote has also improved Penultimate for iPads and Evernote Food.

The Evernote blog is a great way to find out about features and tips. This weeks tip is organizing your notebooks in Notebook Stacks, which is a great way to keep things organized.  Learn more →

Evernote is a great tool, that just keeps getting better.


Evernote for Education Resources





The Role of Adult Education Centres

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." The famous quote of John Dewey simply says it all. Society is dependent on its individuals and education plays an important role in developing communities. Education provides humans with the ability to improve their performance and lifestyle by making informed choices and by forming opinion on political issues concerning themselves. Developed nations invest heavily on education as they realize the importance of providing education to their citizens.

In the UK there are many adult education centres that deal with the education of adults in the workplace, through continuing education courses at colleges, universities or lifelong learning centres. Adult education is often referred to as 'second-chance' or 'training and development' and many schools offer tailor-made courses and learning programs for the returning learners. Hence, these adult education centres play a vital role in society since education contributes to the development of communities.

Adult education is different from traditional children's education since adults have accumulated knowledge, and work experience which adds to their learning experience. They often apply their knowledge practically to learn more effectively. For instance in the 1990s when PCs were newly introduced many adults, mostly office workers, enrolled in computer training to learn the basic use of the operating system or specific application software. Most of the adult education centres provide one to one tutoring and small group sessions for adults.

Continuing education is also called further education in the UK, which refers to post-secondary learning activities and programs. The post-secondary learning activities include degree credit courses by non-traditional students, non-degree career training, workforce training, on-campus and online formal personal enrichment courses, self-directed learning through Internet interest groups, clubs or personal research activities, and experiential learning as applied to problem solving. The method of delivery of continuing education can include traditional types of classroom lectures and laboratories.

However, mostly continuing education is offered through distance learning, including videotaped/CD-ROM material, broadcast programming, online/Internet delivery and online Interactive Courses. Continuing education is basically for those adult learners who are beyond the traditional undergraduate college or university age. However, further education assumes adults have basic education and are continuing with their education hence it does not include basic instruction such as literacy, English language skills, or programs such as vocational training.

For more information regarding Adult Education Centres in the UK refer to SearchMe4 online business directory.

Choosing the Tools for Social Media for Small Business

Monday, June 17, 2013

The initial part of this series explored the need for small businesses to use social media and what were some of the critical steps in the process. Questions were raised to assist the small business owner to focus their efforts in the best way possible to achieve the desired results based upon the overall objectives and goals of the marketing plan. It gave a few tips on how to specifically identify the target audience and where they could be found on social media.

It is possible to compare the selection of the tools for social media to how a farmer selects the tools. First he/she surveys the land to determine the best type of crop to plant. This is similar to the owner reviewing the business website. The website for the small business is very much like the land for the farmer. It must be easy to use, provide content, contains various ways for people to interact with business and other ways to link with the business. As the farmer begins to make a choice of crop or crops to plant, he/she identifies who will be buying the crops. For the owner, it is the identification of the target audience. The farmer then makes the selection of the crop or crops that will produce the greatest results for them and develops a plan or process that will be used to plant the crops. This includes the review of the tools the farmer has on hand and the tools he/she needs to purchase or lease to complete the job of planting. Thus the farmer reviews each of their tools to ensure they are in good condition and able to perform effectively the tasks that need to be accomplished.

As the farmer makes the decisions about crops, the owner has to make the choice of the products or services he/she are going to provide to customers. The owner must review the website and began asking the questions that will assist in making the correct decisions on improvement.

For instance,

  1. How effective has the website been in assisting creating more sales?
  2. What kind of content are we providing that helps prospective customers?
  3. What is on the site that keeps the customer captured in order for them to spend more time looking at other products?
  4. Do I have links to other social media sites?
  5. Do I have a place for them to sign up for something free I am giving them?
  6. What other things can I offer to them to keep them on the site longer or have them buy a product or service?

The implements for the farmer are limited by the type of product they are going to produce and the overall size of the area to be planted. For the owner, the implements for social media are much more varied and are dependent on the target audience and the overall time that a small business owner plans to expand on social media. Presently, the major tools being used include: Facebook, Twitter; LinkedIn; You Tube; and Google+.

While the ones listed above are the most popular and used most often, they are not the only tools that are available for a small business. Some other tools being used are Tumblr, Slideshare, Instagram, Foursquare, Yelp, Pinterest, Gentlemint and Merchant Circle. Each one of these tools provides different formats and reaches different audiences.

So much as the farmer decides on the best tools for planting the crops, small business owners must do the same thing. As we review the popular tools, it is important for you as the small business owner to keep in mind your target audience; also, the amount of time you want to expend in using social media.

Social media tools discussed below have requirements that you create a profile. The profile will differ somewhat between social media platforms. It is important that the owner complete each of the profiles. This becomes the key for people to learn to know about the owner and the services or products that the company provides. Some of the requested information include: name, picture, professional headline, current title, web sites, public profile, summary, specialties, experience, education, interests, groups and associations, skills, personal information, contact settings, and companies.

The tool called Facebook is one of the most popular of the tools and is constantly growing. Businesses of all sizes are using this tool. Businesses create fan pages and business pages to promote their business. They ask people to like their pages in order to create greater number of followers. When they post updates people who have asked to get notifications and feeds will get them. This is a way for them to promote their brands, events, and coupons. Before selecting this as the place where you want your business listed as an owner must understand that just posting a page is not sufficient. It requires time to place status updates and respond to updates in a timely manner. It is about the relationship you are creating. Prior to select this tool the owner should check for the demographics of the website to ensure it fits the target audience.

LinkedIn as a tool is one of the most powerful tools for connecting with professionals. It is a tool that allows a person to develop a professional profile, upload a resume and join groups, create groups and follow individuals and companies. It is a good source to find information about a person or company. It is an excellent way to connect to other professionals across the nation and world as well as generate request for introductions to others. It allows a user to maintain a contact list of people they know and trust in business and can use to help connect with others. As with other tools, it must be used professionally and needs to have ongoing maintenance. Interactions are also important in establishing your creditability with this tool.

Twitter is another of the more popular tools in social media. It requires more attention than others because it is more like carrying on several conversations. It is used worldwide and can be considered a micro blogging site. It is a good tool to keep people posted as to what is occurring in your industry and information that as a business should be shared with others. It is a means of connecting with leaders in your industry and finding out their thoughts and how they influence people. As with the other tools, it requires a time commitment to maintain and respond to twits or updates from people.

YouTube is a video sharing social media site that is owned by Google. This site has grown considerably and is now the number two search engine. Business and individuals use this as a means of connecting with people using a visual mode. Studies show that people will watch a short video rather than read a large amount of data. It is also used as an educational platform and provides various types of self-development information. It is a great platform for delivering video-based testimonials, how to guides and commercials promoting products and/or services. As with other tools, a business can subscribe to other users and receive information when new posts are made. Before selecting this medium recognize that new videos will need to be developed and uploaded to be an effective tool.

Google+ (Google Plus) is a relative new tool as far as social media is concerned. It is used by both businesses and individuals. It provides a few more tools to use within the site than some of the others. Some of them include: Circles, Hangouts, Messenger, Instant Upload of Photos, Hashtags, Explore posts, Find People, Events, Find Local Businesses, Create Business Pages and more. The features make it easy for an individual to use. Since it is part of the Google product line one must have a Google Email account to use Google+. As a whole when viewed with the other Google product provides a great arsenal of tools to assist small business become more successful.

The tools we have briefly discussed are some of the most powerful being used presently, but they are only as good as the owner who selects to use them. The owner must remember that as a farmer selects the tools, the owner must do the same that are best for the designed marketing plan. The use of the tools themselves for owner is most important. Once the farmer prepares the field with the right tools and plants the seed, it is now important to water the seeds and plants until it is time to harvest. The owner has prepared his website, selected the social media tools based upon the marketing design, prepared each of the sites with the requested profiles and published each of the sites.

Now as the farmer waters the owner must use the status updates, tweets, messages, videos, slides. Responding to comments is also the way that a owner works with small business to establish the know, like and trust factors. This must be done with consistency overtime. As discussed in the previous article, social media is the developing of relationships with people and that does not happen quickly. Thus it is of utmost importance that a regular schedule be developed and implemented on a weekly basis.

The next segment of the series will review and look at social media sites that are up and coming and sites that are very powerful but have not gained in the overall popularity. As with the others, each has its strengths and weaknesses. Each therefore has different demographics and different targets. The business owner needs to have an understanding in order to select the best tool. A discussion of some of the sites that are better for international use will also be discussed. The subsequent articles will deal with tools to use to make using social media a little easier and ways to measure the return on investment of social media. The final part of the series will discuss other web-based tools that can assist small business become more effective in delivering services and products to customers.

As a owner, take the time to review each of the demographics for the sites. If you do not have a social media site, then select one that fits your demographics. Ask questions, raise concerns, review your goals, and talk to those who are using the sites, and then move forward with your plan.

6/5/20132 Lonnie G. Juarez, Jr. Ph.D. Visionary/CEO Social Business Media Connections and Social Business Media Managers

As a Small Business Are You Using Social Media In Your Hiring Process?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Many small business owners still do not consider social media to be a part of their overall marketing or business plan. If you are one of the many that feel that social media is a waste of time, consider these facts:

  • Time spent on social media networks surpassed time spent on email for the first time in February 2009 according to the May 18, 2009 issue of New York Times.
  • Social Media is now the number one activity on the internet.
  • Many employers are encouraging marketing through social media.

One area that many small businesses miss out on is using this form of media to attract good employees. Sites such as LinkedIn provide a great platform to attract good prospects to your company that may not be in your direct local area.

A good use of social sites is to flush out potential employees. Most people do not bother to change their privacy settings and therefore their information is open to the world. As a business owner you can use the internet to conduct checks on potential employees. You can view a person's educational background and previous employers. Because this information is public, you will not trigger a problem under the fair credit reporting act when you do not hire a person because of what you found on these sites.

A recent study done by Career Builder's showed that 35% of employers decided not to hire someone based on information on their profile page. Top areas of concern:

  • Posting information regarding drinking or drug use
  • Posting provocative or inappropriate photos
  • Poor communication skills
  • Bad mouthing a previous company or fellow employee
  • Candidate lying about qualifications, educational degrees or experience
  • Candidate used discriminatory remarks regarding race, gender, religion, etc.
  • Candidate sharing confidential information about a previous employer

Keep in mind that a person's profile can also positively affect your decision to hire a person. You may find that the candidate's background fits your company's culture. You can see that the person has good communication skills, that they portray a professional image or they have a wide range of interests that could benefit your company.

It is not illegal to look at an applicant's public profile and posts. Problems will arise if you base your hiring decision solely on what you find on social media sites. If possible, have one person in your company that performs the review of the resume and the actual interview. Then have another person do your social media search. Compare notes and if there is conflicting information, verify with the applicant what you have learned. This will help to ensure that you are making an impartial decision.

The Education System in America

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The role that the educational system should play in the live of people is to educate them to be conscious, critically thinking individuals who do not passively accept knowledge but question the knowledge that is being taught to them. Education should be taught to give students the skills and intelligence they need to understand the world and how the world works in order to survive in it. However, the American educational system has been known to produce students whom are woefully ignorant about the world and different cultures. One of the reasons is because the educational system in its current state does not leave much room for critical thinking but trains individuals to be docile, worker bees in a global economy that keeps the status quo wealthy and "others" barely making it. The problem becomes evident if we look at the varied curriculums and subjects that are being taught. There is a lack of emphasis on academic learning, and the only thing that matters is high stakes testing. The schools in this country have become swamped with fuzzy curriculums that assume that through constant testing, students will be prepared for life in a new global society . . . whatever that is.

I recently had a conversation with a co-worker and we were discussing how African-Americans were treated forty years ago and I was amazed by her naivety about the subject, considering the fact that she was a college graduate and an African-American. From the moment I entered college, I was eager to explore the history of African and African-American history from a view point that did not make them seem sub-human and college affords students that opportunity. I could not help but wonder what type of history and sociological classes she had taken; from her conversation, none. But the sad truth is that when most people make the decision to attend college, it is for the purpose of reaping economic rewards, not for expanding one's consciousness.

In order for the educational system in this country to produce students who are not clueless about its history and the world surrounding them, it should be restructured in several ways. Parental involvement should be mandatory, just as school attendance for students is mandatory for graduation. Lack of parent involvement is an enormous contributing factor to the current failing educational system. Parents need to instill in their children just how detrimental a lack of education is to their future. Teachers are wonderful people who can take students from the top of Mount Olympus to the cold and desolation of Antarctica but they are there to teach, not parent. Many teachers spend a great deal of their class time disciplining children and playing babysitter, two things that are not a part of their job duties. Teachers need involvement from parents in order for the educational system to work and education begins at home.

Funding for the educational system should also be restructured. Public schools are traditionally funded by property taxes which results in a very unequal distribution of educational opportunity. Communities that are wealthy have more funding for their local schools than those who do not. This situation directly affects the quality of education that children in urban and poor rural areas receive. The No Child Left Behind Act will only make it worse because of the required testing and public reporting of results. When parents are buying a new house, they want to live in a school district that has strong test scores. This drives up the property values in those areas, meaning that only affluent families can afford to live in the top performing school districts. This means more property taxes to those areas, while the lower performing schools lose their funding if they do not meet federal standards. There should be a fair tax system for education that is not based on property taxes of homeowners. Government funding, for the most part, is distributed to the various schools by state and local governments and there is huge disparities in this funding based on race. According the text American Education by Joel Spring, there is a gap of more than $1,000 per student nation wide based on race, with large states like New York, Illinois, and Pennsylvania, who lead the nation in their unwillingness to fairly fund education (Spring, pg. 77). Children should not suffer because of their economic background or ethnicity and public education should make no distinction between rich and poor, or black and white. Every child attending a public school should be granted an equal education. Equal funding would grant teachers the proper resources to better educate students. School choice and the privatization of the public school system would not be a factor because under my plan, the educational system in America would be fully and equally funded by the federal government and closely monitored. With the influx of money pouring into the educational system from the government, schools would change dramatically for the better because that is the biggest issue in most public schools: lack of money.

The educational system's curriculum would be changed in order to fit in with the nation's melting pot of different cultures and ethnicities. From elementary to high school, students are bombarded with facts and figures about wealthy, white men as if women and other minorities do not exist or contribute anything worthy to the history of America. No wonder so many students blank out historical facts: they do not care these fact because they cannot relate to the actors in the story. Student should be required to take courses that have will give them a more in depth understanding of the world surrounding them, courses that will discuss the history of marginalized and oppressed individuals in this country and around the world. They should be required to read books that make them think, not just process information for the next test. If more students understood the values and cultures of people unlike themselves, it would not be easy or maybe even possible for the government to lie and use propaganda techniques to lull the masses into believing everything was okay and its leaders competent. High stakes testing would be eliminated because most of the tests are designed by people who do not have a clue about the demographics, ethnicities or economic backgrounds of the students who are to be tested and these tests are biased against minorities and the poor. If students are to be tested, extra tutoring would be available to students, at no cost to the parents.

Having competent teachers, board members, and administrators are also a vital part of restructuring the educational system. Having qualified administrators and board members who know and enforce standards and guidelines is important. What are the qualifications for an administrator? Are there required qualifications? These are the questions that need answers. Just because someone has obtained a degree does not make this person the best for the job. Board members should not be chosen because they golf with the mayor; all board members should have a Master's degree in Education or have an extensive social justice background. As for teachers, the educational system should make sure that the best teachers are chosen for the positions and evaluations should be given frequently. This would give parents and the educational system a chance to find out what is wrong and what is needed to correct the problems. Public education needs teachers and board members that actually care about the children and their education, not individuals who want the perks of working for school system: summers and holidays off, steady raises and a fat compensation package. American children are suffering due to the inadequacies of the individuals involved with the educational system.

The "culture of poverty" theory that has been used by several politicians to explain differences in learning between different ethnicities would be exposed as a blatant attempt by the status quo to "blame" individuals for their poverty if the educational system was restructured to meet the needs of all students, not just the wealthy. Huge educational gaps between poor students and wealthy students do not occur because the poorer students have adapted to their poverty-stricken existence but because they do not have resources needed to succeed in school. If students have to deal with textbooks that are outdated, lack of toiletries, and computers from the late 1980s, their opportunity to advance academically is dismal and their chances of dropping out of school likely.

In a just and an equal society, the educational system I have discussed would have already been implemented decades ago but it has not and more than likely will not. In a hierarchical society such as in America, there will always be someone on the low end of the totem pole and the best way to do that is through the mis-education of its most vulnerable: the children. The neglect of the educational system in the US threatens the economic well being of the entire nation. Unless the inequalities in education is diminished and its system totally restructured, the wealthy gap between the rich and the poor will continue to widen and the US will be infamous for being the nation of the undereducated. Spring, Joel. American Education. (2006). New York: McGraw-Hill

Education is Perfect in Itself

Sunday, June 9, 2013

To a huge side of the population, education may mean "nothing at all", but to a petty portion of people, education may mean "everything." Referring back to its founding father, the two goals of education are: The good for the entire society and the world, and secondly the former good must be the sources of other good. Because of these two goals of education, we have reached the terms: human evolution, sustainable development, development for all, equality in all conditions, etc; these consolations, are indeed, destined to fetch in good for one society, and increasingly the whole world.

However, I have seen that education has been negatively converted into an artificial key for self-benefit; this is far away from the principal and mindset of its founding father. Law and political science are two of the fields that have been negatively derailed from their founding fathers.

"The good for the mass" is the goal of political science and law, and this goal is ubiquitously informed to all students of political science and law. However, their education gained while they were in school was made imperfect, as soon as they become the enforcers of this educational goal in the society. So what are the reasons behind this evil?

Self-benefit is the ultimate, the first and foremost reason that turns education imperfect. Students of political science and law were never taught to be corrupt while they were in school; however, as they become the implementer of the education in the society, the educational goal was upside-down from "the good for the mass" to "the good for me first, for my family second, and for the mass at last."

Indeed, self-benefit is truly acceptable, because we need to be strong ourselves, before we help others. However, the goal of "the good for me first" never ends. We have often seen that, for the politician or lawyer, this first goal never ends, until the last minute that they become unable to gain self-benefit. "The good for me first" clouds and over-clouds other two goals: the good for my family second and for the mass at last.

To me every education is perfect; Communism, Democracy, Central planning, Free market economy, Laws are all perfect, if we ubiquitously follow their principles and determine ourselves to attain their goals. But they are made imperfect and unchangeably imperfect, when the educated individuals in these fields become the enforcers in the society and interpret these goals and principles for their benefits.

The second reason that makes education imperfect is "intentionally / unintentionally mistaken interpretation."

Mao t-se Tung and former Soviet leaders all claimed that they were genuine interpreters of communism; this is the path to make education imperfect. Communism which was invented by Max in his "communism manifesto" was intentionally or unintentionally interpreted to fit into Chinese or Soviet societies by Mao and former Soviet leaders. May and former Soviet leaders may know that their interpretations was mistaken, but because they just want it to be their communism, not the original communism which they did not like.

The differences of human natures, the different societies in which we are living in and other physical and mental differences between people in different part of the world have contributed to make education imperfect.

The third reason that makes education imperfect is: "Facilitating for easy implementation."

The education interpreters may clearly understand the foundation father's educational idea; however, totally and genuinely follow that educational ideas would be too difficult to reach the goal, so they decide to interpret them to make them less complicated and for easier implementation for themselves, as well as for the entire society.

The campaign to call back the true goal of education is strongly encouraged by me.

Lay Vicheka's quotes on Education:

1- "Understanding the goal of education is the most effective way of knowledge absorbing."

2- "Education is for everyone, so remember! Becoming highly educated is not for self-benefit."

3- "Education is the first and foremost mean to settle human differences and bringing like-mindedness to the entire world and like-mindedness is the source of world peace."

4- "Deeply understand your educational goal first, before sacrificing yourself to become a highly educated person."

5- "Education must be endlessly bettered." (Coined by Lay Vicheka, October 17, 2006, at 9:45 P.M., Cambodian time.)

Lindsey Hopkins Technical Education Center

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Lindsey Hopkins Technical Education Center is located in Miami, Florida, in United States and is a public institution. Offering associate degrees, the center is a public institution known especially for nutrition and exercise therapy.

Campus

Lindsay Hopkins Technical education Center is located at 750 NW 20 Street, Miami, Florida, 33127. Functioning in rich diverse South Florida Community, this center sustains an accepting environment that continues maintenance of impressive results. It was the first vocational and technical center built in Miami-Dade County and has a rich history.

Brief History

Originally founded as north side technical School in the year 1937 the college was renamed as Lindsey Hopkins Education Center. Located in Miami, Florida, the named was changed to Lindsay Hopkins Technical Education towards the end of the 20 th century.

Programs Offered

Programs include health science, communication, architecture, arts, hospitality, transportation, tourism, distribution, manufacturing and logistics. It has a Library Media center that enables students to access database. A variety of technical and vocational programs are offered by the Center including health science, arts, human services, distribution, AV technology, logistics, hospitality and tourism, communications, education and training, and architecture and construction etc.

Unique Features

One of the unique features of the institute is that it offers adult education classes that help improving their life skills and literacy. In addition skill and literacy improvements, free citizenship courses, and high school diploma equivalence and English language classes are provided by the institute. Morning and evening classes are available that can suit all schedules.

Admission

Serving over 12,000 students in technical and vocational programs and adult general education programs, the Lindsey Hopkins Technical Education Center follows open admission policy. Dual enrollment program for exceptional students from the twelve local high schools in Miami-Dade County is also provided. Details of the admission process can be obtained from college administration and the state university website.

Accreditation

Lindsey Hopkins Technical Education Center is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Council on Occupational Education.

Financial Aid

Lindsay Hopkins Technical Education Center offers multiple financial aids for students that include federal, state, local, institutional, scholarships, and student loans. FE waivers, district financial aids and some other types of financial assistance are also available for the students. Normal procedure is use of FAFSA forms. However these aids are not available for students applying for adult base education or other languages courses.

Student Support

Lindsey Hopkins Technical Education Center has a library media center on their website providing all information about the library events. Books, guest speakers, new library materials, and future development plans for the library are available on the site. Career search is allowed by posting resumes and searching job listings in the South Florida area.

New Dental Patients From Social Media?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

When you think of social media, you don't often think of your dentist. But when dentists are thinking about patients, do they think of social media?

In 2011, social media and local search represent the most advantageous and cost-effective new patient recruitment opportunities available to the neighborhood dental practice. The smart practices out there have already jumped on board and are reaping the benefits. To keep things simple for this post, we will concentrate on defining social media, and providing a starting point for the majority of practices that have yet to realize or explore social media or local search opportunities.

At this point (February 2011) local dental practices that have started business profile listings on Facebook, commonly referred to as Fan Pages, are now gaining more online exposure to not only existing patients, but also opening up an entirely new way to educate and communicate with potential new patients. These practices are also increasing website and blog traffic, actively nurturing and monitoring their online reputation, and doing so in an unbelievably cost-effective manner.

How much does your Yellow Pages ad cost?

Full Stop - This doesn't mean go out and cancel (or reduce, in some cases) your offline Yellow Pages ad!

In fact when talking about online visibility it is of the utmost important for you to have that foundational practice information within such a trusted and established source. The huge information aggregators out there, and ultimately the search engines, one way use that YP listing to derive or confirm your business info. More on that later.

All we need to do is turn on the TV or radio, or log-on to the Internet to realize the immense popularity and marketing viability of social media over the past few years. How this is defined and applies to a dental practice is simple. Everyone is a dental patient, or potential patient. These social channels enable the dentist to develop relationships where these existing and potential patients gather everyday to communicate with each other.

Ten years ago, every dentist wanted to be on Google - they still do, they're just behind the marketing curve. Right now, the smart dentists (the ones who are highly visible ON Google) know they need to be on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube...etc.

To not only send the message that the office is at the forefront of the technology curve and to communicate and educate new and existing patients, but also that they are an approachable and enduring partner in the patient's long-term overall health.

If we as a general population congregate in specific places regularly - being the social media sites, doesn't it make sense for our friends and family, the businesses we patronize, and yes even our medical professionals, to also come together in that place?

Now, and more so in the near future, these social connections can be used to amplify that word of mouth marketing so important to the core of a local dental practice - more often than not the lifeblood of an effective internal referral generation program. More of the user experience, along with the locally identifiable map listings (Local Search), can now be combined with the popular social networking sites in a way that is just beginning to be realized. This affords the practice maximum online locally identifiable impact.

Things will only get directed more so this way in the future, and combined with whatever other marketing the practice has enlisted to garner maximum local visibility on the major search engines. Tune in next week to see why Local Search goes hand in hand with social media, then we can begin identifying action steps to initiate your practice social media and local search campaigns.

The Heart of Education is the Student's Learning - The Library and the Librarian

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The heart of education is the student's learning. The responsibility of the librarian is to develop knowledge so that learning will become more lastingly significant, more permanently meaningful and more personally satisfying. Perhaps, much of what the students learn will wear out or become obsolete. But information skills learned in libraries will continue to be functional indefinitely or for as long as they are needed (Mangay, 2004).

The school/college library is a vital partner in knowledge management and should share with the school/college their responsibility to systematically design, carry out, and evaluate the total process of learning and teaching (Herring, 1982). In which case, the library assumes the role of mediator between pupils/students and learning resources, and between teachers/lecturers and instructional resources. The library contributes to a meaningful, satisfying and challenging education, if directly involved (Mangay, 2004).

The school/college library should be seen as an integral part of the school/college organization and not as an orphanage. Its development cannot be isolated from development in education because it is a part of the education system. The library is unique in that its users are part of its education, acquiring skills in the effective use of information to meet certain learning goals. The library is not merely a support to the curriculum but an active part of the curriculum.

Education generally is moving from traditional class teaching of restricted subject/modules, towards more individual work, group learning, project work, research and making increasing use of non-book as well as book resources. The disappearance of streaming in the school curriculum plays a vital role in the search for methods or sources that will cope with the great variety in the learning capabilities of pupils/students.

The traditional 'chalk and talk' approach of teacher/lecturer centred education has been modified. Teachers/lecturers now spend their time to introduce pupils/students to topics and explain concepts and methods in a lecturer-type situation. Pupils/students are required to learn for themselves and by themselves and where possible as their own pace. We continue to see the gradual growth of the use of the 'newer media' alongside the 'older print' medium (Mangay, 2004).

School/college libraries offer a learning environment within which the pupil/student can learn and practice the techniques of enquiring and research. Their collections express anticipated requirements of all teaching units and special interests of the school/college, and in addition, pay particular attention to the personal cultural and recreational interests of young people themselves, so that reading and enquiring become natural habits of life.

Libraries are now entering a new stage of development in the information age. New educational developments have strengthened the role and importance of school/librarians. They have the task of fulfilling the natural role of school/college libraries as a centre for learning and the exploitation of all available methods of communication. The library is a communication centre. Its commitment and concern for the encouragement of reading and enrichment of the individual's imaginative and creative life remains undiminished (Taylor, 1980).

It is the responsibility of the librarians to ensure that clientele develop the skill to find, use, evaluate and retrieve materials according to the clientele's own felt need and purposes. He should provide reference and guidance services when the clientele's skills are not adequate to the search problem at hand (Grass and Klentz, 1999). Librarians are often viewed as providers of resources, rather than co-teachers who share common goals. The librarian is an educator, custodian, organizer and disseminator of knowledge. The library therefore, enables the student to investigate context beyond curriculum.

Effective library use will enhance library-consciousness of young people; transform non-users and enthusiastic students to become lifelong readers and learners. Library-consciousness will also change the opinion of students who think his/her purpose in the library is only to study lecture notes or charge mobile phones without the ability to make research for assignments, project-writing or other academic assessments. The library enables users to develop lifelong literacies. It helps to increase individual student efforts and attainment; creates a new look at the use of information, and it is a stimulus for the academic community (lecturers, staff, students, researchers).

Finally, the library should be recognised and utilized by other professional colleagues in the learning enterprise (Lance and Loertsher, 2001). It brings professional clientele by the resources provided, thus facilitating richly-improved lecture notes fruitful to students' learning, project writing, term papers, assignments and of course, examination. Better approach will be taken on modules taught and 'notes-making'. This stimulates partnership between lecturers and the librarian. The work of the librarian is of high-quality and he/she makes valuable contribution to the academic community (Grass and Klentz, 1999).

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Grass, J. and Klentz, S. (1999). "Developing for authentic learning". Teacher Librarian, 27(1), pp.22-25.

Herring, J.E. (1988). School Librarianship. 2nd ed. London: Clive Bingley.

Lance and Loertscher, D.V. (2001). Powering achievement: school library media-programs, make a difference - the evidences. Sam Josa, California: H. William. Research and Publishing.
Mangay, S. (2004). The need for provision for an effective school library system in Sierra Leone. (unpublished).

Taylor, L.J. (1980). A librarian's handbook: supplementary papers and documentation, containing new policy, statement, standards of service and memoranda of evidence, and a fully revised direction section. Vol.2. London : The Library Association.

 

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