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Healthcare Social Media Pros to Lead

Friday, November 29, 2013

Lee Aase, Director of Social Media from Mayo Clinic, just told the attendees of the 2012 Content Marketing World Health Summit that the Mayo Clinic has 2,500 videos available on their site for internet visitors. And that 75% of them were shot with $150 flip video cameras by Mayo Clinic staff.

U.S. hospitals are starting to flex their full educational muscles.
And you haven't seen anything yet!

The content hospitals are developing is easy-to-understand, often entertaining, and much of it is lifestyle and wellness oriented. Your employees will be getting to know the best doctors and specialists locally and nationally via blogs, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+, Facebook, and more.

Maybe you don't believe your local hospitals can be a source
of health information people want to consume?

But I find their messaging more approachable and less clinical than most workplaces' approach to wellness. Here are a few observations:

• Hospital social media pros and doctors are starting to do a good job of keeping people healthy via a strategic focus on primary prevention (healthful lifestyles). The content is entertaining, useful, and refreshingly relevant to the way we live.

• The social media pros employed by hospitals seem to be transitioning into healthcare from consumer media backgrounds. They have an appreciation of the pool of talent available to them at their hospitals and are repurposing that content in valuable ways for their communities.

For example, take a look at healthy100.org from Florida Hospital. They ask what you want to be doing when you turn 100 years old? Talk about changing the conversation from illness to wellness!

Margaret Coughlin, SVP, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer from Boston Children's Hospital, tells a group of social media pros now working for hospitals to:

• Use a systemized plan to produce and distribute content.

• Build algorithms that map patient content use.

• Have specific goals for your social media plan.

Incidentally, the Children's Hospital offers fantastic examples
of focused messaging. There is no doubt who they exist to serve,
and that clear priority results in some of the most effective health education I've seen in my career.

This entertaining vs. serious approach to education tells me, unlike most workplace wellness programs, hospitals clearly know about...

• Primary prevention (lifestyles)...
• Secondary prevention (screenings, vaccinations)...
• Or illness (emergencies, disease management).

And we end up with a wonderful "M*A*S*H" approach that takes the mission seriously, but themselves − not so much!

What does all this mean for workplace wellness?

If you know me, you know I've been hammering on the idea that wellness programs need to grow horizontally from the silo of the workplace to the broader community that surrounds us all. And that great workplace wellness programs can now be had for $0 PEPY (per employee per year).

Millions of dollars of content, effective programs, and resources are within a five-mile radius of your workplace. Your local hospitals are a good starting point. Then at state and national levels, billions of dollars more in resources await your use.

Google+ - what is it and how to get started using it

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Google+ is Google's social network and it has become my preferred social network. Facebook has gotten too political, although I do use it to keep in touch with friends and family. Twitter is great, but Google+ offers so much more - photos, videos, animations, longer postings and comments.

It is a thriving community, with people and groups for all interests, including education and technology.

If you aren't on Google+, check it out. Here are some resources.

Related Articles:
Google Plus - tips for using in education, facts and data infographic

Social Media Guide and Resources for Educators

LiveMinutes - Edit your Evernote notes in real-time with others!

LiveMinutes is a very cool app that integrates with Evernote (my all time favorite and most used app) and allows you to work on the same Evernote note with others, similar to Google Docs.

Evernote is an excellent app, with the ability to share notes with others, but there is not a collaboration piece until this app came along.

You go to LiveMinutes and create a work space and select the notes from your Evernote account that you want to collaborate on, share them with others and off you go. You see multiple users editing the same note. Even if someone edits the note in Evernote, the changes are synced.

Here's a video that shows how this works: http://youtu.be/FOxYa8NqRmc

LiveMinutes is a full collaboration app that also lets you run conference calls, annotate documents and visuals and organize projects by workspaces.

If you use Evernote, this is something to look into. 

Related Articles:

Marketing and Sales Higher Education and Career Opportunities

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

You can prepare for a career in marketing and sales by finding an accredited school or college that offers training in this field. Opportunities exist for you to gain the accredited education that you need to pursue a successful career. Training can be completed in specialized areas, allowing you to seek out the career you dream of. You can expect to find programs that offer degrees at various levels. Accredited career preparation programs will help you to become the professional you long to be. Start by learning more about the marketing and sales higher education and career opportunities available to you.

Advertising career training can be done through enrollment in an accredited school or college. You can learn numerous skills that will help you to seek the employment you desire. Training can be completed at the associate, bachelor, and master degree levels. You can choose to complete two, four or six years of study depending on the level of degree you wish to obtain. Specific areas of study can include:

  • Web Design
  • Media Management
  • Advertising Design
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Advertising Theory
  • Journalism

...and numerous other topics. When you choose to receive accredited career schooling in advertising you will obtain the skills you need to seek employment in the field of marketing and sales. Once you have earned a degree you can seek employment as a promotions manager, account executive, market research manager, media director, creative director, and more. You can also pursue a career in other specialized areas of the field.

Marketing careers and training can be obtained by completing an accredited educational program. You can enter into the profession you desire within the field of marketing and sales with higher education. Degrees are available at the At the associate, bachelor, and master degree level requiring two to six years of study. Coursework will vary but can cover specific topics related to the career you long for. Studies can allow you to study visual communication, operations management, principles of selling, marketing research, promotions, internet marketing, and a variety of other topics. With an accredited education in marketing you will have the skills to seek out employment. You can learn to work in business, customer service, retail sales, wholesale distribution, advertising, promotions, and more. Researching available schools and colleges will help you to begin the path to the career you dream of. You can start by learning more about accredited educational options in this exciting field.

Fully accredited learning programs are approved by accrediting agencies to offer you the best quality education available. Agencies like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges ( http://www.accsc.org/ ) are approved to fully accredit qualifying marketing and sales schools and colleges that offer a higher education. You can research programs to learn more about the ones that meet your career goals and educational needs and request more information. This will help you to select the one that is right for you and prepare you for enrollment.

DISCLAIMER: Above is a GENERIC OUTLINE and may or may not depict precise methods, courses and/or focuses related to ANY ONE specific school(s) that may or may not be advertised at PETAP.org.

Copyright 2010 - All rights reserved by PETAP.org.

Using Social Media - Today it Takes a Village to Succeed in the Paralegal Profession

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Most of us are familiar with the African proverb, "It takes a whole village to raise a child." The phrase brings to mind a large and generous network of people, not just parents, but relatives, teachers, neighbors and mentors, working together to produce healthy, happy children who grow up to be productive members of our community - and go on to guide the village's next generation of children.

Today it takes a village to succeed as a paralegal. The legal field has changed radically from even the practices we were familiar with five years ago. The ways that firms manage documents, exchange information, advertise for clients and hire new employees are evolving at a pace faster than the speed of light. Paralegals, including new paralegal graduates, are expected to stay abreast of the latest technological, practice, marketing and hiring trends.

That's when paralegals need to turn to their own village, their co-workers, colleagues, mentors and experts in the legal field. But how do we reach out to them and ask questions, especially if we work full-time, raise families and try to squeeze even more education into our crowded schedules? We aren't going to get mentored while eating lunch at our desk every day - or are we?

Using social media (simply defined as internet tools for sharing information) is key to enjoying the support of our village, and to giving support in return. Social media is key to building a network of legal and related professionals who know what is happening now, and who are smart enough to forecast the future of the legal field. Social media is absolutely key to surviving in a recessionary economy where many of our peers are losing their jobs at record rates, even the ones who thought they were safe.

I'm going to paraphrase a quote that has been circulating on Twitter recently, "You need to build your network BEFORE you actually need it." It's too easy to sit in our offices, comfortable in our expertise with the current firm technology, comfortable with getting clients from the same familiar sources, and maybe too comfortable that after a decade or more of working for the same employer that we'll never need to look for another job. This is the kind of complacency that can leave us without a job, struggling to learn new skills, and not only redundant, but non-competitive.

Our village is the key to our evolution as paralegal professionals. Our village has many open doors and many hospitable and knowledgeable members sharing information every day in numerous places on the Internet, including blogs, social networking sites, listservs and forums. For paralegals interested in growing their own networks and resources, here are a few of the basic types of social media that you should explore and use regularly.


LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/) is a free professional networking site. It's an essential online resource to publish your professional credentials and to build your professional network. Most career experts recommend creating and maintaining a LinkedIn profile, especially if you are (or may be) seeking new employment opportunities.

There are many LinkedIn Groups for legal professionals, including those particularly geared to paralegals. They offer opportunities to not only increase your network of contacts, but to participate in discussions started by members of the group, or to start discussions of your own.


Another free social and professional networking site, I've found Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/) to be invaluable for greatly expanding my professional network, and to keep up with "real-time" news and technology updates. Twitterers are limited to 140-character updates, which means news, information, questions and answers are delivered rapid-fire and continuously.

Not only is there a wonderful community of paralegals already utilizing Twitter, but there are many other kinds of legal professionals providing extremely informative content (I like to call it "great Tweet"), including attorneys, marketers, legal nurse consultants, virtual assistants, legal publications and legal groups.


Legal professionals need strong writing skills, and many of them direct those skills to now essential legal blogs that provide up-to-the-minute information regarding the law, specialty areas and technology. Identify those blogs most helpful to your current practice and future goals, and then spend a few minutes a week reading current posts - a fast and free form of continuing education (Twitter has brought amazing blogs to my attention that I would otherwise never have known about).

Two excellent legal blog directories are ABA Journal's Blawg Directory and USLaw.com Law Blog Directory.

In addition to participating in your state legal association listservs, consider joining one or more of the national paralegal listservs, including:

Legal Assistant Today-Forum
Paralegal Gateway (Yahoo! Group)
Paralegals (Yahoo! Group)

Don't be intimidated by the frequent postings; you can always receive posts in a weekly digest form or direct listserv posts to a folder to read later.

Benefits of listservs include the opportunity to engage in longer "conversations" with paralegals all over the country and to quickly get answers to questions, especially in the areas of legal research, technology and career-building.

Use social media to be a part of our village, a group of amazing, knowledgeable and generous legal professionals committed to the success and enrichment of the paralegal profession. The best part is, you can enjoy the benefits while eating your lunch at your desk.

Financial Literacy Resources for Students

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Money management and financial literacy are important topics for students. Here are some sites that have some great resources to use with students to learn about money and finances.

http://www.moneyasyougrow.org/ - Money as You Grow – Kids and Money – President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability
Offers 20 essential, age-appropriate financial lessons—with corresponding activities—that kids need to know as they grow. 

Personal finance information and tips


financial literacy project aimed at improving access to friendly financial information

Personal finance information and tips


Financial Literacy initiative to identify personal finance management curriculum modules that are aligned with national personal finance standards and relevant state standards. These modules are intended for use by schools and other organizations working with youth in grades 6-12. The initiative will also provide for training of educators and others to further financial literacy thorugh the use of these curriculum.

Home School Education - Advantages and Disadvantages

Why Parents Choose a Home School Education

An increasing number of children today are receiving a home school education. The reasons for making the choice to home school their kids varies from family to family but there are three main reasons why parents are removing their children from the public school system and giving them a home school education.

The first reason is that the public education system in the United States is struggling to provide a proper education for the nation's children with out of date text books, run down school buildings and inadequate equipment. Provision of a home school education enables the parents to have control over the quality of the educational materials used by their children and the general conditions in which they are educated.

The second reason is that parents wish to assume more control over the influences their children will be exposed to. This is often on the basis of religious grounds but, very often, it is simply because a home school education will ensure the child learns the values upheld by the family and is taught from an early age what behavior is appropriate. Unfortunately, many public schools have a poor reputation for instilling good discipline in students. This often results in badly behaved children disrupting lessons and preventing their peers from getting the full benefit of classes. Discipline and the upholding of proper standards of behavior is an important part of a home school education.

The third reason many parents choose to give their children a home school education is fear for their safety. Violence is on the increase everywhere and the public school system has not escaped this trend. Violence in the public education system is getting worse and the individual acts of violence are more serious. Since the shocking events at Columbine High School there have been further tragedies involving firearms where teachers and students have been injured or killed. A home school education ensures the safety of children who would otherwise be seriously at risk of harm.

The Disadvantages of Opting For Homeschooling

Providing a home school education is not simply a matter of parental choice. In most cases the state education board of the state in which the family resides will have to approve a decision to give a child a home school education. The person taking on the responsibility of homeschooling must be certified to be a home teacher, the curriculum must follow the state curriculum, and the text books and other educational materials to be used must be approved by the state. Although this might seen like undue interference in what is a matter of personal choice, the state has a responsibility to ensure that all children receive an adequate standard of education and checks will be made to ensure that any child being kept away from public school is being properly educated.

A home school education might mean that a child is deprived of certain opportunities which would have been available within the public school system. There could be difficulties in providing facilities for athletic children to realize their potential. Musically talented children could be similarly disadvantaged. In some states there is provision for children receiving a home school education to take part in amenities such as being able to attend sports lessons and join after-school clubs. However, the level of assistance provided to homeschooling parents is not uniform and varies a lot from state to state.

The final potential disadvantage to affect children receiving a home school education is that they will not develop the social skills which will be important as they grow up. Social interaction with their peers and with adults outside the family is essential if a child is going to grow up with a properly balance personality and a reasonable level of social skills. These developmental issues can be fairly easily overcome if the child lives in a state where homeschooling parents are given support and the child receiving a home school education is accepted into classes and extra-curricular activities.

The decision to keep a child out of the public education system is not one any parent would make lightly and any weighing up of the pros and cons must take into account the level of support the state will provide. However, if the public school system continues to deteriorate, the number of children receiving a home school education is bound to increase.

Google announces 5 New GAFE Courses for Teachers and Admins

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Google Apps for Education

Google has an excellent selection of free courses and training materials for Google Apps and more. (see a bunch here).

They have just announced 5 new online courses for teachers and administrators on Google for Education that were designed by educators.

New Courses include: Internet 101, Apps for Education, Gmail, Drive, Chrome and Chromebooks. They are self paced and well designed.

You can find the new courses here: https://educourses.withgoogle.com/course

This is a great resource for all educators.

Google for Education Resources:

Education IRAs and Other IRA Accounts

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Most high school graduates are pretty much on their own when it comes to furthering their education, since parents are not able to help due to the increased cost of living throughout the United States. This was usually the case until just recently, when many different programs were developed for aspiring college students to make their dreams come true. Because not all students qualify for financial aid and other programs, they are left to cover the entire cost of their education, including books, lab fees, and living costs.

One program that was recently developed is the Education IRA, which works just like a retirement IRA. IRAs are meant to help people save up for a certain event in their life, like retirement or college education. The Education IRA is meant to help students save up for their college education, unlike other programs, which only offer tax incentives for high education expenses.

An Education IRA is a tax-advantaged saving account program that was created in 1997 by the Taxpayer Relief Act. Anyone is able to contribute to an Education IRA, whether related to the account beneficiary or not. There is a $2,000 maximum limit to an Education IRA, as long as the parent's earned income is under $190,000. Families with smaller incomes are able to make smaller contributions to the account, and individual filers are also granted the same option for contribution.

An Education IRA is very similar to a Roth IRA, since after-tax money is sheltered in an account to save up for a certain event. The money in the account will remain tax-free as long as all the money will go to education costs only. By setting a savings account up for education costs, a great amount of money can be made by the time a child is ready to continue their education. Education IRAs are best when they are started when the child is young, so they will have many years of built up interest to use for the child's education.

An Education IRA is a very effective method when trying to get money to put a child through college, since it is earned money rather than a loan. Because all of the money earned on an Education IRA is actually earned and not loaned, there will be no payments to pay back any costs of education. Education loans carry high interest rates and can take years to pay off, but Education IRAs can cover all of the costs without having to pay anything back.

Setting up an education IRA for children is very important, because it gives them a chance to go to college and pursue any dream they wish. With the costs of college education rising, it is important to have a plan to put a child through school while they are still young, until waiting until the last minute and having to take out loans or refinancing homes.

It is not necessary to contribute the entire $2,000 each year for each student, and you actually can choose not to make any contributions in a given year. You can contribute to the account each year until the child reaches eighteen years of age, with the exception of special needs children who can receive contributions after their eighteenth birthday. If funds remain in the Education IRA account after the school is paid for, it is subject to taxes and penalties that are determined by the bank. Unlike most other IRA accounts, Education IRA accounts allow you to withdraw money at any time. It is up to the account holder to make sure the funds are going toward education only, since this is what is outlined in an Education IRA.

You can contact your local bank or financial institution for more information on Education IRA or any other type of IRA accounts.

9 Reasons Why You Should Choose Independent Birth Education

Saturday, November 16, 2013

So you're pregnant, want the very best birth for you and your baby and want to get your hands on as much information as possible! Here's 9 great reasons why independent childbirth education is going to help give you the best chance possible at the most positive experience. So, why should you choose independent childbirth education? Because...

1. Independent Educators Are Specialists In What They Do

When you choose an independent educator, they are trained specifically in birth education. Some are also skilled in other areas including midwifery, birth attendants (doulas), natural therapists and more. Birth education is a major component of an independent educator's work, compared to a hospital which may or may not have specialised educators. Many hospitals rotate midwives and/or physiotherapists into the job of running birth education classes, so you never know who you'll get, what their philosophies and attitudes towards birth are and let's face it - they may not even like presenting birth education. It may be a part of their job they are required to do. Either way, educators as passionate about education.

Independent educators know the right way to encourage both yourself and your partner to feel comfortable and engaged. You don't want a presenter to start a session with something like this (said in a smug fashion), "You all probably want a natural birth right now, but around 40% of you are going to end up with caesareans anyway." This is what one of my clients told me happened in their classes. Nice positive way to start the session! Sure it might be true (some of our hospitals have caesarean rates even higher than this) but negativity is catching and it's all in how you present it. The class apparently went downhill from there so my clients walked out soon after. They went on to have one on one independent education and loved it.

Even if you've had a bad experience before, great birth education is so important, so don't give up - find something better! Don't settle for maccas when you can have a lamb roast with all the trimmings! There's lots more you can learn from independent education that you've not heard in hospital based classes.

2. Information is Not Hospital Policy Biased

Hospitals all have varying maternity policies (and know that policy is not law, so you don't have to legally do anything they tell you) so whoever makes the decisions can influence what you hear and what you can and can't do.

Policies can be/are based on reducing potential legislation, making birth progress to their own time preferences so there are beds available, making things easier or 'safe' for staff - even if it's not in the mother's best interest. Yes that sounds strange, but in a leading Melbourne private hospital, I have seen midwives refuse to let women birth on the floor (on a mat/squatting etc) because of occupational health and safety apparently (the midwife also said she didn't want to stand on her head to 'deliver' her baby). She then went on to repeatedly tell the mother to lie on her back and get off her hands and knees to make it easier. Luckily dad firmly said no.

If you've had hospital education (or believe what you see on t.v.!), you might think that's just how you're supposed to do it - "Ahhhh, I need to get on the bed and lie down my back!" which in labour becomes, "Gees it's really painful in this position and I don't know if I can cope anymore." I had my two children in a private hospital and thinking about this bed issue later I found it curious that I had unconsciously gravitated towards the bed when I arrived. I guess it happened because the bed is in the centre of an empty room and I felt clueless and unsure of what to do, with no tools or decent knowledge under my belt. Lucky I know better since my births.

Most hospitals like you to be compliant and on the bed most of the time, when it's the last place you want to be for a good labour. However, if you've had independent education, you would know that pushing while on your back is not only more painful, but much less effective - in fact it's THE least productive position to push in. Why? Because your uterus which normally contracts away (or upwards if you're lying down) from your body, which means it will be working against gravity if you are lying down. Women in labour naturally want to lean forward - something your pelvis does when it contracts, so it makes sense to work with it. Your pelvis is also least open when on your back, whereas squatting gives you up to 30% more pelvic space. Thats something pretty neat I learnt after I had given birth - but not what you'll hear in hospital classes. And if you end up in a private hospital like the one I mentioned, you might not even be able to do that, further reason why they do not have their hospital built with the premise of helping you have the best/easiest birth possible.

Remember a hospital is a business and has business issues to consider firstly and foremostly. They don't open with the premise to give women the best experience possible, but to have a functioning maternity unit and to succeed as a business.

3. You'll See Birth DVDs Designed To Inspire Not Frighten

Believe it or not, there is actually a birth DVD that's been in circulation for years in some hospitals where the labouring woman is yelling something like, 'Get me a gun so I can shoot myself.' This and many other DVDs have result in couples walking out of their classes feeling like they cannot cope with a vaginal birth, serving to further convince them that they actually do need drugs for the birth - just like all their friends have told them. There are many factors that result in how a woman copes in labour and this is a big blow from the start. The DVD I saw when I was having my daughter was a mother in a hospital bed, screaming in pain, who then asked for an epidural and then she was really happy. What sort of message do you think this sends out to a first time, nervous expectant mother and father?

The DVDs some hospitals show are definitely not productive nor appropriate, whereas DVD's you see in independent classes are very inspiring, uplifting and show you the potential of your own body.

4. You'll Gain Many More Tools For Natural Pain Relief

Both yourself and your partner will have more confidence on how to cope with the tougher parts to labour if you are given more options and tools for natural pain relief. That one thing that ends up being your lifesaver, helping you get through without pain relief, may be so simple. If you happen to be in a class which skims this part of the education or omits it altogether in preference of pharmaceutical pain relief, then that's the path you are most likely to take - because you don't know any other options and you just cannot think about it and what you want in labour (apart from wanting to get the baby out - NOW!). You are also being given an important insight into the philosophy of the hospital when they teach pain relief in the form of drugs. I remember one client telling me that her hospital (a large Melbourne private hospital) had birth classes which was very detailed about pain relief - there was lots of information about epidurals and other drugs. I ended up asking a midwife during her labour why this was so, her reply, 'Well most women walk in here wanting epidurals, so we just teach them what they want to know about.' Too bad for the woman that would like to labour without one.

5. You Will Find Out ALL Your Options

Again, independent birth educators do not operate based on policy, but what is possible for you - what options and rights you have as a labouring couple. There will be no 'we do this' or 'we do that' only, 'you could choose to do this' or 'you could choose to do that' - with the pros and cons both ways. It is a much more balanced view of what's possible, with the view that your body is extremely capable - and not just what everyone else is like.

6. You Do Pay For What You Get

Birth educators educate for a living, their livelihood depends on presenting great classes which couples enjoy. Great word of mouth feedback comes from their clients who leave the classes feeling great about birth - informed, empowered and educated.

So it's in their best interest to make sure the class is worth it to you, since it's their own business and not someone else's. Some hospitals offer their classes for free, some don't - either way your money is best invested in independent education. I was shocked at how much I wasn't told in a hospital class, after attending independent classes during my training as a birth attendant. I even felt angry for some time - the care factor is so much more evident during independent classes. The educators genuinely want you to have a great experience and have great philosophies about birth.

7. You Know Who You Are Getting

Independent birth educators often operate individually or in a small team, so you will know who you are getting. You will be able to find out what their testimonials and feedback are like before you go, so you know you are getting a great service. They are also happy to take your calls and questions before and after the classes and trying to locate them isn't as difficult as in a big establishment!

8. Helps Partners Get More Involved

Because more time is spent on tools you can use, and the classes are more in depth in general, fathers-to-be learn much more and feel more comfortable getting involved - which is good for dads-to-be and good for mum-to-be. It's so important that a partner learns and understands what's going on during labour, as a support person who panics or is unsettled in labour will have the same effect on the mum - she needs someone solid as a rock to get her through. Pain relief is often used by mothers to help escape that horrible feeling of not being supported, or when she feels frightened or anxious.

If a partner only knows that if there is pain, the only way he can help is to offer pain relief, then that's likely where the birth will go. Men tend to be 'fixers', they like to fix, and there is nothing wrong with that, but this puts them very much outside their comfort zone in birth, where there is nothing he can do to take it all away. Labour is not a time for saving or fixing, but encouraging and reassuring!

9. It Will Help Better Form Your Birth Preferences (aka Plan)

If you are more aware of your options and choices, then you will be able to have a more in-depth discussion with your partner and your support people about the choices in your birth plan. You will have more control over what you want, rather than feeling you have to 'leave it to the experts.' You don't need to be an expert to have a great, empowered birth, but you do need to inform yourself and your support people and make choices based on what you have learnt. And the best, unbiased place to learn about your REAL options and gain more knowledge and tools for your birth is through independent childbirth education.

Where Can I Find An Independent Educator?

In Australia, NACE are the National Association of Childbirth Educators, and can help you locate a member in your area. Some educators I recommend in Melbourne, Victoria (but are not limited to) include:

* About Birth
* Birthing Wisdom (Rhea Dempsey) workshops
* Birth by Di Diddle
* Wonderful Birth by Lina Clerke

For the Men

A great book I recommend to all men is Men At Birth by David Vernon. It's a great book written by Australian men, for men.

Important to Note

While there are some brilliant birth educators out there, it's really important that every birthing couple realises that it's not birth classes alone that will get them across the line. Yes, they are a great start and will likely have you thinking about lots of things you hadn't already thought about, but all your choices as a whole will shape your birth, not just education. The carer you choose, the hospital (or not!) you birth in, your support people and the philosophy of all of those things and the books you read can impact on what sort of birth you end up having.

For example, if you really want a natural birth and have chosen an Obstetrician and private hospital - then you have chosen the statistically worst option for avoiding interventions including pain relief, caesarean sections, assisted delivery - there are plenty of pieces that make up a puzzle. Check out our article, Natural Birth - Giving Yourself The Best Chance for more information.

Business Social Networks - Social Media - Social Networking and You

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Business social networks, it seems that everywhere we turn we hear people talking about them. Almost everything you read on and off line has the words social media, social networking, social platforms, social something in the copy. You know they, the social platforms, are "out there" yet what are they and what do they mean to you? Despite their varied and often very strange names, they all have one thing in common.

What they have in common is a way for people to connect; it's that simple. Ever since the first humans started walking on earth, they wanted to connect and communicate with each other. Social media and social networking are the current evolution.

Think about it. If you go back in time, you read about villages, tribes and communities; celebrities have fans, leaders have followers and we have friends. The online social revolution merely moved those entities online. This may be the digital age yet, more than ever, it is the relationship age.

On Facebook you have "friends" for people and "fans" for business pages while on twitter you have followers. Depending on the network, there are groups, lists, communities and other such terms. While personal and business Blogs tie it all together. These social structures exist because of common interests.

Back in 1990 John Guare wrote a play popularizing the long held theory of "Six Degrees of Separation" first developed in 1929 by Frigyes Karkinthy. This theory held that everybody on this planet is separated by only six people. Today, I venture to say, that six degrees is probably closer to the three degrees that Milgram postulated for the population of the United States.

In fact, LinkedIn, the business-oriented social networking site launched in 2003, is all about connections. It operates on the concept of how many connections you are away from the person you want to communicate with thus it encourages people to pass messages via first degree connections to first degree connections. And it further encourages all its user to reach out the the 2nd and 3rd degree connections to expand the network.

On twitter, according to a study released in April, 2010, by the social media monitoring firm Sysomos, the average distance is 4.67.

Facebook's numbers fit squarely within the six degrees before the application was removed in 2009. Though it only measured 5.8 million users who chose to participate, nonetheless the average was 5.73 degrees.

Enough of the statistics, let's get to the Why.

Business Social Networks, Social Media and Social Networking are today's fabric of connection. More than ever before, people are reaching out to connect with people-no matter the age. From young children to great, great, great grandparents people want to connect with others. Why are they there? They are asking advice (78% of people trust peer recommendations vs. 14% advertisements), easing loneliness, reconnecting with family and friends, seeking employment, looking for business partners, doing research, educating themselves, learning a new skill or hobby and the list is endless.

Traditional business bureaucrats are have a difficult time embracing online business social networks as the real deal. Yet, they are beginning to throw millions of dollars at the social media platforms in hopes that it is. Social media marketing is in its infancy and as more serious networkers and responsible affiliates get into the game the growth is going to be unbelievable.

Social Media marketing is bringing the world to you wherever you may be. What a way to live. Will you open the door?

An Inside Look at the Special Education Profession

Monday, November 11, 2013

Special education professionals work to promote students' overall behavioral, social and academic growth. Special education professionals aide students in developing socially appropriate behavior within their family, school and community. Teachers of special education help students become more confident in their social interactions. Special education professionals administer activities that build students' life skills.

What Does the Job Entail?

Are you interested in helping others? Can you handle and care for people who learn differently and have other behavioral problems? Do you want to make a difference in a young child's life? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then you might consider a career in special education. Below is a breakdown of the short and long-term responsibilities of a special education teacher.

First and foremost, special education teachers focus on the development and academic needs of children with disabilities. They encourage learning in disabled students by implementing educational modules and behavioral techniques. Special education teachers work alone or with general education teachers to individualize lessons, develop problem-solving techniques and integrate children into group projects with other students. Furthermore, special education teachers are responsible for ensuring that the needs of disabled children are met during assessment periods.

Did you know that special education teachers work with a team of professionals, qualified staff and family in order to fulfill their job requirements? It is true. In fact, special education teachers work in conjunction with these entities to create an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for each student. An IEP is designed in collaboration with a child's parents, school principal, social worker, speech pathologist and general education teacher to ensure effective implementation. An IEP targets a student's needs and growth areas for maximum response. The specialized goals set by the IEP are woven throughout all aspects of a child's daily activities. Teachers of special education must monitor a child's setbacks and progress and report back to parents and administrators. Planned goals and tasks are outlined for family members to refer to while a student is at home as well.

The types of disabilities a special education teacher might encounter are difficult to predict. For one, the qualifications for special education services vary greatly from mild disabilities to extreme cases of mental retardation or autism. Types of disabilities include, but are not limited to, the following: speech impairments, hearing disabilities, emotional disturbances, orthopedic impairments, brain trauma cases, blindness, deafness and learning disabilities.

Do You Exhibit These Qualities?

Now that you have an idea of the job's demands, let's see if you have the right qualities to be a special education teacher.

Recognize the symptoms and needs of special needs students


Ability to work with one or more parties to achieve short-term and long-term goals

Strong communication skills

Ability to motivate others

Ability to multi-task

Knowledge of the most recent education modules, medical research and behavioral practices

  • Creativity
  • Knowledge of the latest medical technology relevant to special education

    Taking the Next Step toward a New Career

    Once you have decided to enter the field of special education, you will need to follow several steps. Due to the specialization of the field, special education teachers in all 50 states must receive licensure before employment. Licensures are approved by each state's board of education, and the requirements for certification differ between states. Nevertheless, the growing shortage of special education teachers has led institutions of higher education to offer more special education degree and certification programs. In fact, special education degrees are offered at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels throughout the nation. Not to mention, the booming field of distance learning has made certification more accessible from any location in the United States.

    In many cases, hopeful special education professionals do not meet the requirements of special education licensure due to their prior completion of degree programs outside of the field of education. Therefore, several states have begun to offer alternate forms of certification. The hope of these programs is to attract new special education professionals and fill the growing need for teachers. The chance to positively impact the lives of special needs children is one of the driving motivations and benefits of entering this field.

    After several years, some special education teachers look for new opportunities within their field. In the most common situations, special education professionals transfer to administrative or supervisory positions. Others, after receiving a higher degree, become college professors and educate new students in the field of special education. Experienced teachers of special needs students have also moved up to serve as mentors to incoming special education teachers.

    As for the future of special education and employment, there are many changes on the horizon. Most significantly, the job market in special education, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), is projected to "increase faster than the average of all occupations by 2014." Due to the new emphasis on education and training in legislature, special education professionals will become even more valued.

    Can I Make a Living as a Special Education Teacher?

    As mentioned previously, the special education job market is on the rise. In 2004, the BLS reported 441,000 employed special education teachers in the nation. While only 6 percent worked within private schools, over 90 percent were employed by public schools or districts. In rare cases, special education professionals were involved in home or hospital care.

    Several factors determine a special education teacher's financial compensation. Such factors include experience, educational background, area of specialty and geographical location. In May 2004, the BLS reported the following breakdown of median annual earnings of special education teachers:

    Preschool, kindergarten and elementary school level: - $43,570

    Middle school level: - $44,160

    Secondary school level: - $45,700

    Special education teachers receive increases in salary through additional involvement in their schools' educational activities and through coaching school athletic teams. In some districts, being a mentor to a new special education teacher carries additional monetary benefits. However, the most common way to increase earnings is through the completion of a higher degree, which can also make a teacher's instruction more credible and valuable.

    Educational Toys for Babies

    Friday, November 8, 2013

    Educational toys are fun for babies and provide another tool to stimulate learning and brain development in your infant. There are many ways to teach a child and tens of thousands of educational toys on the market to help parents in the endeavor. The challenge for parents, child care providers and educators is to choose from the vast array of educational toys available in a way that creates a balance of learning techniques, is age appropriate, and most of all fun. This article will provide basic facts about; how babies learn, types of educational toys available and examples of each.

    How Babies Learn

    It is quite surprising the rate at which babies learn and develop. Learning begins in the womb and continues throughout childhood. In early life how a child learns centers largely around the relationship with the parents. At least until the child starts preschool, the job of stimulating and satisfying baby's desire to learn falls primarily to the parents.

    While babies respond to their parent's voice there are many other sounds they find interesting. When parents are choosing educational toys for babies they should look for toys that have sound, colors that are bright and contrasted like red, black and white, and have interesting textures that babies like to touch.


    Babies' respond to sound and some of the best educational toys include rattles and musical toys. Soothing music such as lullabies is usually best. Auditory and musical toys are known to stimulate logical thinking and imagery in babies and in adults for that matter.

    One good educational auditory toy is the Electronic Metal Keys. These keys are good for a child 6 months and up. The Electronic Metal Keys are an imitation of the parent's car keys. However, the Electronic Metal Key toy is safe for the child to chew on and has a push button that emits sounds like a car horn, doorbell, ignition, and remote control door.


    Bright colors in educational toys stimulate baby's vision. Look for toys with strong color contrast and patterns. A good one to look for is a colorful crib mobile that emits music, has different textures, curves and symmetry.

    One such educational toy is the Bath Time Fishing toy. This item is appropriate for babies 12 months and up. It's a great prop to use during a baby bath. Making the bath as fun as possible can also help overcome any resistance or fear your child may have during the bathing process. The toy is bright in color, has a rod and reel, and the strong magnets attached to its tails allow for easy catching. Bath Time Fishing is priced at around $16.00 dollars.

    Fine motor play

    Fine motor play educational toys are used to stimulate coordination in baby's finger and eye movements. One such toy aimed at developing the hand-eye coordination is "Counting Pals", which is aimed at babies 6 months and up. Counting Pals are 10 soft and squishy colored blocks. They can be stacked, tossed, chewed by the baby. Counting pals also provides animal illustrations that will enchant the baby. Counting Pals educational toy is priced at around $12.00.

    Cognitive Skills

    There are some educational toys that promote cognitive skills in babies, which is to say they stimulate the child's memory, how they picture things and their problem solving skills. Educational toys like building blocks, activity boxes or puzzles are a good purchase for your child. The puzzles can deal with numbers, letters or pictures; it does not matter, but they should be fairly easy for a baby to grasp and manipulate.

    Google launches Google Connected Classrooms with Virtual Field Trips

    Tuesday, November 5, 2013

    Google just announced Google Connected Classrooms, which allows classes to take virtual field trips using Google+ Hangouts. 

    Field Trip locations include the Seattle Aquarium, Minnesota Zoo, American Museum of Natural History, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and more. More trips are coming also. 

    The field trips are live hosted events, but past events are archived and can be viewed later. Teachers can also work together on plans and activities. 

    This is a great resource for teachers and students to be able to learn and explore without ever leaving the classroom. 

    Cracking Da Media Code

    With the international movie based on Dan Brown's book The Da Vinci Code breaking box office records around the world, its time to look into the secret world of the media.

    How do you crack Da Media Code and get your message across clearly and consistently in the media.

    Well, for some the media represents a secret sect to be feared or revered.

    In reality, the media are a group of dedicated professionals just doing their job of keeping the community informed.

    Understand how the media works, what makes a story and what motivates them ... and you understand how to work with them and not against them.

    Having worked in the media for the past 26 years, including print, radio, television, wires services, internet, blogging and podcasting, here is the secret code for unlocking the riches that the media can offer.

    First, you have to get inside the mind of the media, to unlock the code of what motivates reporters, editors, executive producers and other decision makers.

    Unlock this code and you are guaranteed of being able to connect with them and truly understand their deepest desires, aspirations and motivations.

    After working in the media for so long, my model on why people are attracted to working in the media has identified five archetypes.

    At the core, every individual working within the media could be classified within one of these five archetypes.

    Remember, according to wikipedia "an archetype is an idealized model of a person, object, or concept from which similar instances are derived, copied, patterned, or emulated. In psychology, an archetype is a model of a person, personality or behaviour."

    Cracking Da Media Code is about archetypes in the media and understanding how to work best with them.

    Understand how to work with these five archetypes and you have cracked Da Media Code.

    1. The Ego Driven.

    These people are attracted to the media because they want to see their name in print, hear their voice on radio or see their face on television.

    They have strong egos, opinions and self belief.

    To crack the code, learn to work with and to their egos. They thrive on looking good, being complimented and positive stroking of their already healthy self-esteem.

    They've got to the top by looking good, sounding confident and writing clearly.

    2. The Story Teller.

    These mediatypes are interested in the personal or hero's journey of individuals. They want to discover and tell the highs and lows of an individual's personal quest.

    Australian Story on ABC TV on Monday night is a classic palette on which a story teller can work their craft.

    You never hear or see the journalist. It is all about the talent telling their story in their own words.

    In fact the program has become the media vehicle of choice for people under pressure in the public spotlight who want to tell their version of events in their own way without the intense questioning of the media.

    The most skilled and successful archetype in this category influences millions through his work in Hollywood and ranks among the most successful storytellers in history. His name is Steven Spielberg.

    Storytellers tend to have a sense of wonder and faith in human nature and be optimistic. They love dealing with ordinary characters who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances.

    Sometimes anti-authoritian, they often take the side of the underdog.

    They love doing profile pieces and features on people and their lives and understanding what makes them tick.

    Often middle children, they connect well with people and like sharing stories.

    In cracking the code, work to their optimistic nature and how your story idea illustrates an inherent conflict or struggle to overcome adversity. What is the "rags to riches" angle?

    3. The Mirror Holder.

    These mediatypes want to hold a mirror up to the world. Not because of their ego but because they want to be part of living history.

    And that's the essence of what motivates them. They want to hold a mirror up to the world and report on history as it unfolds by reporting as accurately and fairly as possible.

    They are often foreign correspondents and found in the world's hotspots. They thrive on adrenaline, the thrill of the chase and have an eye for detail.

    My friend, 33-year-old Australian cameraman Harry Burton, who worked for the Reuters agency and whom I met on a Vincent Fairfax Fellowship was typical of this archetype. He was tragically killed in a roadside ambush 90 kilometres from Kabul in Afghanistan on the 19th of November 2001 chasing his dream.

    Neil Davis (1934-1985), an Australian Combat Cameraman who is the subject of the book One Crowded Hour is another.

    To crack the code with these mediatypes means the story must have strong news values .... dramatic, newsworthy and with major consequences.

    4. The Truth Seeker.

    These mediatypes believe it is their responsibility to turn over every stone to uncover the truth.

    They are methodical and ruthless in their pursuit of the truth. One archetype I know was a detective in the police force before becoming a journalist.

    To crack the code, remember they will never write a story from a media release. They will be down at the courts or trawling through freedom of information material in their quest to uncover the truth.

    Always be honest and upfront when dealing with truthseekers.

    5. The Social Activist.

    These archetypes are attracted to the media because they want to change the world. They see the power and influence the media has and they use it to further their own cause or personal agenda.

    The secret is to find their cause, passion or reason for being and work to this strength.

    You will find them as environmental reporters, or covering industrial relations, education or social justice topics.

    In summary, understand these five archetypes and you will have greater success in getting your message across in the media.

    Note: Thomas Murrell, 8M Media and Communications and "Da Media Code" do not have any association with or authorisation from Sony Pictures or Dan Brown or the book and movie entitled "The Da Vinci Code".

    Want help cracking Da Media Code? Book here for our code breaking seminar Writing and Pitching Winning Media Releases in Perth on Wednesday June 28th.

    Educating the African Child - Any Hope in View?

    Saturday, November 2, 2013

    Africa is the mother of civilization. It is the center and origin of modern technology, but today Africa has been at the back and far behind in development.

    Poverty is a major problem of African development, because money has a very important role to play. Education is an all-round process by which an individual's mental and physical faculties are developed, making him aware of the circumstances in which he lives and from awareness, enable him to make the most out of those circumstances. In whichever way one acquires education, it is not free or cheap - money is involved.

    Poverty has created a wide gap such that illiteracy is preferred by people, and it is succeeding in caging the African child to be incapable of many things. Poverty has caused many people today to heard their children, especially the males, into trades rather than send them to school. Some parents also prefer to send their children to farm and the female children into marriages because they see these as more beneficial than the education they may acquire.

    An educated person is expected to acquire such skills as literacy and numeracy and abilities to pursue various vocations using his hands. He is also expected to be useful to himself and to his society and to particularly contribute positively to the growth of that society.

    With the current trend of formal school system, the number of African children that are out of school is alarming. The few rich among us have seized the system to be their status symbol, and where they sense a challenge from a simple help, private schools become the most preferred thereby subjecting public schools to perpetual decay.

    The bulk of the African child population falls within the ages of 0 and 22 years. As a matter of fact, the child has to move from pre-school age through the various levels of the formal educational system until he completes the first level of his tertiary education. By the time he completes his first level of tertiary education, the person has developed into a full grown adult and it will thus not be appropriate to refer to him as a child anymore.

    In Nigeria, for example, the government has made different moves to bring about balance and empower the children through mass literacy, yet the effort has yielded no fruit. However, the imbalance in the development of the country's educational system between the northern and the southern parts, contribute a considerable debate in Nigerian educational system. While one part of the geographical constituents believes that education is needful and could go any length to train up their children, the other part depends solely and heavily on the government for their children's education, thus compounding the chances of educating the children as expected.

    Although, funding is a crucial factor in providing the necessary facilities needed in our quest for educating our teeming children, it is not the only factor, or even the most basic one. Below are some other factors that militate against the African child education.

    1. Facilities -- Inadequacy of learning facilities pose a great threat to child education. Lack of classrooms, laboratories, workshops, libraries, instructional materials, and other buildings at all levels can hamper child education. Besides, lack of maintenance of existing facilities also contributes to the problem of child education in Africa.

    2. Workers -- Shortage of teachers and other school workers, more especially trained ones, that can handle major works as their need arises. Core subjects like Physical Sciences, Languages, Technical and Vocational, need qualified teachers that can handle them, but in most schools they are lacked. In some places where you have the teachers, they are abandoned to work in unfriendly environments by their employers, making their jobs so difficult that they are forced to leave teaching for greener pastures in private and public services, because for them, the educational commodity is not providing them satisfactory rewards and no one desires to be a teacher today. Educating the African child becomes a waste of time and resources when the schools lack qualified teachers and workers.

    3. Discipline -- With the serious disciplinary problems in all facets of our educational system, achieving a quality education for the African child is a mirage. Absenteeism, strikes, crimes of riotings, examination malpractices, and even murders, affect children education in Africa. In most cases, the teachers lack the needed motivation, and as such deny their employers their total commitment to duty, displaying low morale to the jobs. In fact, all the stakeholders are guilty of disciplinary problems - teachers, students, educational planners and administrators.

    4. Administration -- Constant changes in policy formulation and execution has occasionally been cited as one of the problems in education today. The continuity and stability of the African child in education is grossly affected.

    5. Economy -- The present economic situation is imposing upon many parents heavy financial burdens in the course of educating their children.

    6. Parental And Communal Responsibilities -- Parents and other members of the community have as a matter of cause, shirked their responsibilities towards the education of their wards. With this types of ugly development, educating the African child will continue to be a burden and an impossible task.

    However, there is hope in view if the government will come to the rescue. However, our attitudes towards education need to change, so that we all will see it in its basic objective of preparing the mind for responsible citizenship. With this, educating the African child will not only be possible, but a huge success.



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