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Tips on getting started with Evernote

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Evernote graphic

Evernote is my main tool for work and home. I've been using it for 5 years and love it. It can be tough for someone new to Evernote to get started with it.

Here is a great article by an on-line friend of mine, Tim Stiffler-Dean, about how Evernote can be a little overwhelming at first and how to get over that.

Here is also a great article, and video, from Evernote on getting started and my main Evernote page has ideas on getting started.

I also told another on-line colleague that I would give him some tips on getting started with Evernote for his specific needs.

He teaches technology and physics, assists with the school network, and writes a tech column for a newspaper. Here are some ideas for using Evernote for each of these:

Teaching: (see here for more on how I used Evernote as a teacher)

  • lesson plan resources (from books, web sites, magazines, files)
  • lesson plans - schedule of what you are doing each day, linked to the actual lesson plan in Evernote
  • unit plans and resources (attached files, links, web clippings)
  • curriculum
  • project ideas
  • student work and e-portfolio's

School Network

  • specs of all equipment
  • network map
  • to do list
  • web clippings of articles that are useful
  • equipment information
  • plans
Writer: ( I do this for the articles I write for this blog and two tech magazines)
  • story ideas
  • notes
  • clippings of research
  • articles themselves

Hope this helps!


Related:

My Workflow as CIO - includes heavy use of Evernote



Online Distance Education Learning

Monday, December 30, 2013

Online Distance Education Learning
The emergence of the Internet as a worldwide communications network has revolutionized the concept of distance learning. Prior to the Internet becoming ubiquitous, distance education was being provided mainly through correspondence courses and video media. However, using the Internet, it has become possible for a student to study online from any location and at any convenient time.




With the adoption of online learning by universities as an important media for imparting distance education, the quality of the online courses offered has become comparable to traditional classroom courses. Courses on topics across a broad spectrum of disciplines have become available on demand and accessible from any location. These factors have also contributed to the increasing popularity of online distance education.

Earning an educational qualification from the comfort of one's home or workplace is an idea that is appealing to a large number of people who do not have the time to enroll for a traditional classroom-based course. It is usually easier to obtain admission for online courses; another advantage is that sometimes the tuition fee may be lower than a regular course for the same discipline.

online educationOne of the common misconceptions related to online learning is that it is a solitary, non-instructor-led, self-paced activity. This is far from the truth. Quality online education is a people-oriented, instructor-led activity that requires a level of communication comparable with on-campus education. Students are able to communicate with their peers through e-mails, online class projects and discussions. The availability of online libraries has also made the learning process easier. Some universities even allow students to shift from on-campus learning to online learning and transfer the credits.

With the proliferation of online distance education, it is becoming increasingly important to select the right college or university. Several websites provide detailed information about the online courses available and also offer a comparison of the colleges and universities with respect to the quality of their online distance learning programs.

Education Specialist Degree Online

Friday, December 27, 2013

According to the United States Department of Education, 92 million adults took part in some type of formal education to accommodate new job requirements, earn an advanced degree, keep their skills current or simply to attain a higher education. The education specialist degree program is intended for teachers, supervisors, administrators and counselors in elementary and secondary schools. This degree program offers specialization for teachers who have completed their master's degree, along with in-depth opportunities for enhanced professional growth.

The minimum educational requirement to pursue an education specialist degree is 60 hours of graduate credit, which might include a master's degree. A candidate for the program should have a minimum 3.0 grade point average on their previous graduate work. Furthermore, many educational specialist programs require at least three years of successful teaching in the field, standardized test scores, writing samples and recommendations. Since a specialist level teacher is considered an instructional leader, the education specialist degree program builds upon the teacher's prior education and professional experiences to accomplish this. The specialist program ensures that a teacher who completes the course is particularly knowledgeable about current theory and practice in education.

Specific areas of study can be pursued within the education specialist degree program. Such areas of include curriculum and instruction, administration and counseling.

Curriculum and instruction: Teachers pursuing an education specialist degree with a concentration in curriculum and instruction are involved with the teaching, supervision and curriculum of discipline-centered areas of study.

Administration: Those educators seeking an education specialist degree with a concentration in administration can seek licenses for advanced administrative positions within public and private schools, such as building administrator, administrative specialist, vocational director and district administrator.

Counseling: Teachers taking the education specialist degree program with a concentration in counseling have the opportunity for advanced training and study in specialized areas of interest, such as individual, group or family clinical counseling.

Specializations within each of the three segments of the education specialist degree include literature, art, English, foreign language, science, social education, mathematics and special education. The education specialist degree program encompasses 30 semester hours.

An education specialist degree is intended to develop proficiency and professional among teachers already in service. By earning an education specialist degree online, working teachers are afforded the flexibility to attend classes around their own schedule. Online education makes it easier for teachers to pursue higher education while keeping their current positions and maintaining tenure. Thus, attending an education specialist degree program online enables teachers to remain in the classroom with students while they learn how to enhance the educational experience. Teachers who attain an education specialist degree are useful in imparting leadership skills to other teachers, administrators, colleagues and students. Many such teachers implement school improvement plans, developing and using unique teaching practices right in their own classroom.

So are the longterm benefits of pursuing an education specialist degree online worth balancing time between earning and learning? The U.S. Department of Labor, Career Guide to Industries, 2006-07 Edition states that 1 in 4 Americans are enrolled in educational institutions; this makes the educational services the second largest industry in America. About 13 million jobs exist in education services today and most of them require at least a bachelor's degree. The Guide further offers that, "Wage and salary employment growth of 17 percent is expected in the educational services industry over the 2004-14 period, higher than the 14 percent increase projected for all industries combined. The number of teachers retiring is expected to remain a record high over the 2004-2014 period, so there may be a lack of students graduating with education degrees to meet this growing industry's needs. This makes job opportunities for graduates in many education fields good to excellent."

Education remains an important part of life and school attendance is compulsory the United States, so there are numerous educational establishments to teach at. As technology expands and the economy changes, there will be an increased need for skilled teachers with an innovative approach to dynamic classroom situations. People holding an education specialist degree will have increased opportunities to advance into positions as administrators, specialized counselors or even assist in developing cutting edge curriculum for students. In a Report released in July 2006, The U.S. Department of Labor reveals that school districts report difficulties in recruiting qualified administrators and teachers, especially in urban and rural areas.

According to the Distance Education and Training Council, over 4 million students are enrolled in online universities and schools and that number is growing by 30 percent each year. The convenience of pursuing an education specialist degree online enables teachers to learn while they earn, as well implement the skills they attain in their own classrooms as they go. Thus, education specialist degree online programs are beneficial to both teachers and their students.

Driver's Education Online

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Online courses are offering enormous opportunities to people. Distance learning and online courses are making it easier for a large section of the student community to pursue desired education and vocations. Online courses are beneficial to those who are already working and wish to study further. These courses are available in all fields including driver's education.

The education given to a driver is considered an exceptional way to improve the safety standards on roads. Numerous driver courses focus on the hazards involved in unsafe driving. It is advisable to take at least one driver?s education course to improve on levels of confidence, alertness and overall safety.

Divers education is essential to get a driver?s license. The goal of driver's education is basically to prepare the candidates for the challenges awaiting them on the road. Along with the technical skill involved, it teaches them the defensive driving skill. This eventually gets them ready to take and pass the DMV test. On passing the test, the candidates are able to acquire learner permits and driver licenses from DMV.

Divers education online works to the advantage of the student, because learning online is considered far more interesting than any lecture. It also saves a lot of time by not having to go back and forth to a physical classroom for the necessary instructions.

By taking a driver's education online, a candidate can complete the course at his or her own pace. Driver education helps candidates to steer their vehicles with confidence. The online course is accessible 24/7, and is conveniently divided into seven sections.

The course is constantly updated with the latest DMV standards and is designed to give the learners the necessary knowledge about existent driving laws.

My Workflow as CIO - includes heavy use of Evernote

Monday, December 23, 2013





I am the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for an urban public school district. We have over 21,000 students, 3500 faculty and staff, 40 buildings, 15,000 devices, a full data center and fiber network, and an IT department staff of 15. We manage multiple large IT projects at once, including desktops, Chromebooks, Smartboards, network upgrades, Kronos, printers, new school construction, multiple network applications and software, and also consult on all technology issues and purchases in the district.


I have specific workflow that I have developed over the last year to help stay organized and on schedule.


I check emails when I get up for any critical issues (sent from monitoring software) or emergent needs. When I arrive at work, I login to my computer and check emails again, along with my calendar and tasks for the day. Then I check in with my staff and network engineers and technicians to discuss tasks and projects for the day, and anything they need from me.


I monitor the work orders in Track-It, which is our help desk software. I review work orders and reassign, add notes, comment, address the issue, as needed.


Throughout the day I answer emails, monitor Track-It, communicate with my staff on projects, consult with other district and school staff, work with vendors, manage projects, and more.


At the end of the day, I review the current day and make notes for the next day - tasks, follow-ups, and priorities. I check with with my staff and make notes on their projects.


Evernote graphic


The main tool that I use for all of this is Evernote.  I use Evernote for, well, everything. I have project management notes with schedules, tasks, attached files and more. I clip news articles for review, vendor websites, all my contacts, clip emails, with the attachments, from Outlook, notes, tech reference, personnel files, etc. You name it, it's all in Evernote for one-stop access, from any device, anywhere.


I have notebooks setup for projects, personnel, vendors, reference notes, tasks, contacts, to do later, to read later, etc. I have a main note, Project/Task Management, that I use as my task list. I can reorganize the tasks based on priority. Each task links to another note with more details. I have this note divided up with Follow Up, Priority 1, Priority 2 and Priority 3 tasks. These get moved around a lot as priorities change.


By linking to other notes, my task list is clean, but each task is linked to more details.


Each note also has attached files as needed - quotes, specs, spreadsheets, documents, and more. I also clip emails using the Evernote clipper for Outlook - it clips the email chain, along with attachments. I can then merge or link this note to other project notes and keep everything in one place. Instead of emails in Outlook, notes in Evernote and files on my computer, everything is in one place in Evernote.


I also have meeting notes, personnel files, schedules, and reference files and notes in Evernote. I clip websites and documents from online with the Evernote clipper and save them to the proper notebook. I use Evernote Clearly to clean up the page before I clip it also. You can also clip online PDF documents directly into Evernote.


I also forward emails or send files and notes from other apps to Evernote via email. You get a special email address to use.

The other nice thing about Evernote is that you can share notes with others, even if they don't have an Evernote account, for them to view. It is very easy to do. You can also share notes with others who have Evernote accounts and allow them to edit them.


I use the Evernote Scanner from Fujitsu (the Fujitsu ScanSanp scanners work to) for one click scanning into Evernote. All paper documents, print magazine articles, print brochures, conference materials, etc. gets scanned into Evernote and organized.


Meeting notes are taking in a variety of ways - type directly into Evernote, audio recording into Evernote, Livescribe Pen directly into Evernote, handwritten notes scanned into Evernote, and even notes take with other apps copied into Evernote.

If you open an attached file by double clicking it in Evernote (and it opens in created software such as Word), edit it and click "save" it updates the file in Evernote.


By keeping everything in Evernote, I can easily link or merge items, organize them by notebook and tags, easily search them and access everything - notes, emails, clippings, and files - in one place, from any device or computer. I use the Windows Desktop app at work and on my home laptop and then access my data with the Android App on my HTC One and Nexus 7, and the web app on my Chromebook and from other computers.

You can even set reminders for notes so that you don't forget to do something. Great for following up on tasks.

Evernote is available in free and premium versions. The premium version allows you to upload more data each month, have offline notes in the apps, and more. It's well worth it.


Here is a redacted image of my main Project Management note and notebook. You can also see the other notebooks I have on the left.





Here’s more information on Evernote:


Evernote Clearly:


Livescribe Pens:


Fujitsu ScanSnap Scanners:


Evernote Scanner:






Challenges in Introducing Value Education at Higher Education in India

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Value Education is the much debated and discussed subject in the plethora of education in India. Of course it is true that the main purpose of any education will go with Value orientation. More concentration on Value education has been given at the primary and secondary level of school education than in higher education in India. Values could be effectively imparted to the young minds rather than to the matured ones. It may be the important reason for this prime importance given at the school level. There are so many modules designed with the help of agencies like NCERT and others for effectively imparting the value education to the school students. In this context, many innovative educational practices are being identified by the experts. Good number of experiments and studies are being conducted in the recent days on the effectiveness of teaching value education at school level. Some schools have very innovative and radical course designs to impart the values.

Effective teaching practices in imparting value education ranges from story telling, exhibitions, skits, one act play and group discussions to various other formats. New methods have been evolved by educationists to create an effective learning sphere. The usage of electronic gadgets also gains importance in the teaching-learning practices of value education. But at the higher education level, due to various reasons, the importance given to value education is not as much as it is given at the school level. The curriculum and the teaching methods also could be subjected to scrutiny. It is true that colleges are meant for a kind of specialization in some field of education. But in the Indian social context, the youth require direction and counseling at this stage. They have been exposed to various challenges at this stage which demands the intervention of educationists for his/her betterment. His/her character building also strengthens at this juncture. Students' perception on various life factors and events are getting shaped at this stage. On the whole they evolve their own philosophy of life. Their sensitivity and knowledge are getting direction at this stage. Hence, an effective value orientation becomes inevitable to the students of colleges. Keeping this requirement in mind, States like Tamilnadu introduced a compulsory paper/course on value education to undergraduate students of all colleges in the State under the choice based credit system. Though this kind of effort is made with the good intention of imparting values to the youth, many limitations in bringing out the expected outcome could be identified.

The problem mainly begins with the definition of values. Defining the term 'value' poses a challenge to all scholars. The term value is loaded with varieties of meaning. Each meaning reflects its own philosophical position. Generally the term value is spontaneously associated with religious values. It is believed by many Indians that values are nothing but the religious and spiritual guiding principles of life. Hence, it is supposed that the path is already been laid for the life journey. But in the context of modernity and modernism there rises a fundamental question of whether value education is required at all in a modern state. There are those who argue that modern life is based on science and technology, and both are value neutral. They view that the values are bugbear held out by people living in the past, glued to outdated religious principles that have no relevance to the 21st century. At this point, there is also another group of modernist who propagate the necessity of value education at learning centres in order to safe guard the democratic state and its values. The values they wish to cultivate are modern secular values such as honesty, respect to other, equality, collectivity, democracy, respecting the human rights, sharing equal space in the public sphere and so on. These values are considered as the products of enlightenment period. Hence, four positions could be arrived at on the basis of the above understanding. The are:
1. There are religious values which are very much essential for every one and must be included in the curriculum.
2. The religious values should not find place in the educational system. They may operate at the private sphere.
3. There are non-religious secular values and they must find space in the education.
4. There is no need for teaching value education in the academics because they cannot be cultivated through formal learning and such value cultivation will make the individual biased.

In consequence to these positions, following questions arouse.
1. Whether value education should find place in the educational system?
2. If it is required, then what sort of values should be given preference in the curriculum?
3. What is the importance to be given to the religious values which are primarily developed on the basis of scriptures?
4. Can modern values alone are sufficient enough or is there any possibility of blending the values of modernity with religious values?
5. If religious values are to be given importance in the curriculum, which religion will find prime place? If there are contradictory propagation on a single virtue by two religions, then how are they to be handled?
6. Similarly religions differ on the practices also. Right from eating patterns, dress mode, marriage systems, war tactics, killing, punishments to various other aspects, religions differ on their outlook. In this situation, what sort of perceptions need to be taught?

Besides these questions, another billion dollar question would be raised on the methodology of effectively imparting those values. Then again as it is mentioned earlier, the school education can very well include this education easily because the system itself is advantageous for it to accommodate. But at the college level, the system finds it very difficult to work out. So this study could analyse the theoretical problems relating to the identification of values to be included in the curriculum at the one side and the problem of effective designing of the curriculum and imparting those values on the other side.

II

The necessity for imparting values to the students of all levels has been felt by everyone. The world today is facing unprecedented socio-political and economic challenges. Problems of life are becoming increasingly intense and complex. Traditional values are decentered. 'An environment of strife pervades all countries and broken homes have become common. An insatiable hunger for money and power, leads most of people to tension and absence of peace of mind and all kinds of physical and mental ailments have become common place" 1. In the present day context of frequent and often violent social upheavals, we have to look at the problem of restlessness of the youth, their frustration born out of futility of their search for meaning of life and the purpose for which they are living, often leading to evil and wickedness. This calls for a new approach to, and a new vision of education. It is obviously felt that the present educational system promotes rat race and keep the student community in a sense of insecurity. Educational institutions have become the pressure cookers building pressures in the minds of youth. Also a loft sided educational pattern which insists on instrumental and technical rationality for the successful life in terms of gaining money and power has invaded the educational system of India. The person who is deemed to be unfit for this survival race becomes disqualified and ineligible to live in this market economy based life. The spate of industrialization and economic growth in developed nations has brought about a perceptible change in this scenario. And developing countries including India are feeling the ripple effects of this development. Values earlier considered essential by all societies have been eroded and have given way to unethical practices around the globe. Where honesty and integrity were loved and appreciated, greed, corruption and red tapism have come in, bringing in their wake, unethical responses which have pervaded all walks of life and are thwarting efforts of a few enlightened individuals to promote value based society.2 Hence, implementation of well structured education is the only solution available with all states. With growing divisive forces, narrow parochialism, separatist tendencies on the one hand and considerable fall in moral, social, ethical and national values both in personal and public life on the other, the need for promoting effective programmes of value orientation in education has assumed great urgency. Development of human values through education is now routinely seen as a task of national importance. Value education though supposes to be the part and parcel of the regular education, due to the market influences, it could not be so. Hence, it has become an inevitable need to include an exclusive curriculum for value education at all levels.

Now the next question would be about the nature of value education. What sort of values should be given preference in the curriculum is the prime problem in the introduction of value education. This problem surfaces because we can find varieties of values prescribed on the basis of various scriptures and theories. Sometimes they are contradictory to each other. This issue has been thoroughly discussed earlier. But the solution to the problem of the nature of value education is primarily dependent on the social conditions that prevail in the state. There need not be an imported value educational pattern to be prescribed in India. The burning social issues would demand the required value education. Though India is considered to be the land of divinity and wisdom, the modern value system throws challenges to the ancient value pattern. Right from the Gurkula pattern to the varna ashrama values, all values are under scrutiny by modern rationality. Hence, the relevance of the golden values prescribed by the then society is questionable in the present situation. On the other hand, the so called modern values which have been listed earlier also subjected to criticism by philosophers like post modernists. They question the very nature of the rationality of the enlightenment period. Because critics of modernity strongly declare that the modern rationality is the reason for the deterioration of human concern in the world and they paved the way for inhuman killing and escalation of values. The reason of the modernism is considered as the root of power politics which leads to inhuman behaviour of the power system, according to them. Hence the modern values like democracy, civil rights, environmental ethics, professional ethics, discipline and all such values are found useless in bringing harmony in the society. The values like discipline, tolerance, peace bears the negative connotation in this context. Hence, what sort of modern values are to be included in the curriculum is a challenge thrown towards the educationists. At one side the fanatic and fundamentalist features of religious values and on the other side the modern values based on the market economy and other factors are to be excluded and a well balanced curriculum with genuine worthy values suitable to the society has to be identified and included in the educational system. In this context, it becomes obvious that there cannot be any universal pattern of values to be prescribed in the system. When a suitable blend of religious and modern values is to be done, the designing of such course demands an unbiased, scrupulous, intelligent approach on the part of the academician who designs such course. Thus the spiritual values of sensitizing the youth for happy world and rational values for a just world are very much required. Religious values can be taken but not with the label of any particular religion, democratic values are to be included but not with its dogmatic inhuman approach. Thus there need a perfect blend of both. This is the real challenge thrown to the Indian academicians.

After the identification of these values, they need to be inculcated not to be informed to the students. Mostly listing the values is done very easily, but imparting them effectively requires genuine spirit and innovative educational practices. In the Vedic period, the gurukula system prevailed in which the student has to thoroughly undergo a pattern life with the guru shishya hierarchy. Whatever the guru declares are the values of life. But in the modern context, which is supposed to be the democratic sphere, a sense of equality and freedom has to prevail the learning situation. Also the values identified cannot be preached on the basis of the religious faiths. So the teacher has to find effective working module to internalize the values in the minds of the youth. The teachers' understanding about the values prescribed and his/her commitment in imparting them also play a crucial role here. How to sensitize the teacher before carrying the values to the students is also a challenge to the educationists. The value education class room, if it is dealt with full seriousness and sincerity would be very interesting and challenging sphere for students and teachers. At times they need to sail at the same level with the students. The hierarchy may get disappeared. Value education demands a total responsibility from the teachers. They become more accountable. On the other side, a teacher who is committed to a set of values would always like to preach and impose them on the young minds. That extreme should also to be avoided with a balance of mind. Value education cannot be done by just delivering lectures and screening films. It requires a strong interaction between the students and the society. A lot could be experimented at this sphere. For which the supreme value 'integrity' is expected from the educator.

It is observed that many modules of teaching values have been designed and tested. Some are seemed to be very effective. In Tamilnadu, especially in aided colleges, with all good intention the government has introduced the value education as a compulsory scheme at the undergraduate level. But each university has its own syllabus for the same. The scrutiny of those syllabi also reveals a lot of variations in conceiving the value education. In some universities, some religion based institutions are given the responsibility of designing and even carrying out the course. Similarly the teachers who have not been exposed to any such type of training in value education are given the responsibility of teaching values. The introduction of value education for all under graduate courses is done at the cost of a core paper of that course. The teachers who have been handling their hardcore subject papers had to meet the shortage of workload due to this programme and to solve this problem, they have been entrusted with the job of teaching value education paper. This is done with the aim of avoiding the workload problem of existing teachers. The most valuable and sensitive part of education has been made like a mechanical dogmatic part. At this juncture, the fate of value education at the college level could be imagined. How to solve this issue is again a challenge to the educationists of Tamilnadu. The same fate could be observed in many other states of India. Hence, two important problems surfaces here, one at the syllabus level and the other at the teaching level. As it is discussed earlier the syllabus could be designed by way of paying attention to all aspects but imparting the same requires not only innovative teaching methods, but also innovative training method of the educators. It is as good as training the driver to drive the car; the teacher needs to be trained in imparting the values. The technical education employs teachers with sound knowledge in the subject, similarly it is essential to have teachers with sound mind and creative teaching skill to teach value education. Value education is definitely not to be dealt with compartmentalization but it should be taken as a part of the whole educational system. As Nietzsche puts it, the society requires masters to create and impart values, not the slaves who accept all the values imposed on them without any critical understanding.

If education fails to impart necessary values to its citizens, it will definitely have a telling effect on the society. All efforts to bring just and peace in the world will become futile if proper value education is not imparted.
Notes:
1. Kireet Joshi, Philosophy of Value Oriented Education Theory and Practice, ICPR

Publications, New Delhi,p.217.
2. Ibid., p.218.

Google Apps for Edu: Learning the Ropes - guest post

Friday, December 20, 2013



By: Rob May, CEO, Backupify

More and more schools today are moving their data to the cloud, and more specifically to Google Apps. In the past two years, there has been a 100 percent increase in the number of students using Google Apps for Education – with 72 of the top 100 Universities (based on US News & World Report) using Google Apps and saving upwards of $1.5M annually.

The shift to this new solution is exciting but can be stressful if participants are not sure how exactly to use the platform. Google Apps for Edu is a powerful application that, like many other technologies and workflows, must start with basic training. How do you make sure your school is ready to go? Follow these steps:

1. Gain support from school administration: Like any new technology, the key for rapid adoption is to get major stakeholders behind the platform. Before spreading the word on Google Apps to teachers and students, provide the administration with an informational training session. If they understand how to use it, see its value and begin leveraging the service for internal documents, the rest of the staff will be more likely to adopt it quickly.

2. Get feedback and revise your training accordingly: After the first round of administration training, ask participants what they thought of the experience. Gauge which tactics worked and modify those that did not. For example, if participants found you spent too long on Gmail but not enough time on Google Drive, consider amending the schedule for the next round of training accordingly.

3. Assemble Google App Guides: Select individuals within the school to be the "go-to-resources" on all things Google. This group should get advanced training and can actually become Google Apps certified. Now they can easily organize and lead training sessions for other teachers and students.

4. Visit the Google Learning Center early and often: The Google Learning Center provides a wealth of tools for both those just getting started in Google Apps and those that are experts on the platform. The site breaks down each app and provides detailed training videos for users to watch. Google also puts on conventions throughout the year to share the latest updates on the platform. Check out the list of Google in Education Global Summits and see when sessions are going on near you.

5. Back up so nothing gets lost in the shuffle: The Google Apps service provides limited backup for all the documents stored within it. . Bring in a third party solution to ensure a secure, second copy of all information is always readily available. With new users on the platform, there's likely to be user error that could put vital data at risk.

There are several resources available for those who are implementing Google Apps. One is our newest eBook, “Mastering Google for the Classroom.” Google is constantly updating the Google Apps platform and there is always more to learn. Getting your school on Google Apps is the first step. As you continue to use the platform for every day learning, be sure to keep up with the latest it has to offer. This will not only ensure you are taking full advantage of what Google has to offer, but it also will guarantee your Google Apps experience is a success.

Related:





Is Traditional Education Better Than Technology-Based Education?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

This interesting article addresses some of the key issues regarding education. A careful reading of this material could make a big difference in how you think about education.

On-line education is in trend nowadays. In the future, students may have the opportunity to study at home with computers rather than go to traditional schools like what we are used to doing. And in some cases online education is the only way available.

The most common on-line form of education today is English tutorials. As of now, students and tutors use IM (instant messaging), headset and web camera as the path of communication and of education. Is this the better option?

People must prefer the traditional way because in a classroom setting, students can learn and socialize with their peers. Also, from the instructor, he or she can teach students many valuable lessons of life which cannot be learned through technology. It is like the question of doing research through the library or the internet. Both have advantages and disadvantages but traditional education has the numerous advantages over on-line education.

It seems like new information is discovered about something every day. And the topic of education is no exception. There are always fresh and new ideas about education.

Students learn better socially and academically in a classroom. Students are mostly young-aged. Therefore, they are generally interested in meeting and being with their peers. As they interact, it makes it easier for them to pay focus and learn. As social creatures, one could not just stay secluded and educate his own self. That is impossible! We live, grow, learn and succeed with people along the way.

Besides lecture materials, a classroom instructor teaches many other important life lessons. Students can learn and develop punctuality and good study habits. A teacher serves as a guide through education process which is a big part of life. Another important mission is to direct youth out of trouble. There is this bond between the instructor and the students which could not be built on-line. As the source of education, a teacher is not around just to introduce books and exams but also, he or she is selfless enough to share the lessons life taught her or him.

We must prefer to study at traditional schools and let us send our children there. It is because being around other people of our age or different ages gives us the opportunity to socialize and learn not only from the internet or books but from the society and from life. We could also learn other things which are important to education such as study skills. On-line education or any form of technology-based education is convenient. However, let us not risk quality. Long-term goals must always be prioritized.

And of course the other thing would be peer pressure and the competitive spirit of being the best in the classroom. A little competition is always good.

No matter how advanced technology would be- there will always be these things that would stay best if they would be maintained as is. One of these things is education.

Is there really any information about education that is nonessential? We all see things from different angles, so something relatively insignificant to one may be crucial to another.

I hope that reading the above information was both enjoyable and educational for you. The bottom line remains the same. I still believe that in my honest opinion, traditional education is the best, and always will be. But the most important thing is to get more education, any way that you can. Your learning process should be ongoing--the more you understand about any subject, the more you will be able to share with others. Your life will improve for you and your loved ones.

Social Media: What Is It, What Does It Do, and Why You Should Care

Monday, December 16, 2013

If you are like many people, you look at the youth of today typing incessantly on their smartphone keyboards and wonder, "what do they have to say that is so important and to whom?!" Then, with a Scrooge-like "harrumph", you discount the entirety of social media and with a wave of your hand, brush off instantaneous global connectivity and the entire digital world of the 21st Century. Nice going... you just put your business or law practice behind others.

OK, so you don't have to jump into social media and begin posting what you are doing at every minute to the world, but you should at least understand what it is all about so you can use it, if you want to, or know how it is applied in litigation.

As something of an aside, this article is naturally not intended to provide legal advice or to form an attorney-client relationship with the reader; it is only meant to provide general information on the important topic of social media and its impact on the modern business and legal practice.

What Is Social Media, Really?

By the summer of 2012, Americans spent something like 120 billion minutes a month on social media, up from 88 billion a year earlier. That accounts for upwards of 30% of all time spent on-line. Over 600 million people now use Facebook, and more than half of all Americans have some form of social media account.

Also, mobile usage is up tremendously with the reduced cost and proliferation of smartphones. The fact is the usage is up and you see it all around you and hear about it regularly. Thus, for better or for worse, it is here to stay.

OK, so you realize you can't ignore this anymore, but you're still not convinced that you need or want to use it and wonder what it really is. To break this information down succinctly, it can be lumped into two general groups, (1) websites that host user-created content, like photos, videos, and text postings, and (2) sites that replicate that content and provide enhanced internet visibility.

In the first category, there are some more commonly used or "older" sites, which means more than five years old, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google Plus, and Twitter, to name a few, and some arguably less well-known or "newer" sites like Pinterest, Ezine, Delicious, Squidoo, Slideshare, and About.me. Likewise, in the second category, there are older sites, like Twitter (yes, it also replicates content), Hootsuite, and Tweetdeck and newer ones such as Sharehaulic, Reddit, and StumbleUpon.

What Does Social Media Do, I Mean What Are Its Benefits And Uses?

Alright, now you understand what social media is so you're likely wondering how it can benefit you. A very interesting phenomenon of social media is that credibility and visibility seem to have merged. When thousands of people accept what an actor or actress, for example, says on social media or they act in a certain manner because of that, it demonstrates that those who are visible through social media have instant credibility with the masses that they attract. It is a strange world where a store's profits can increase simply as a result of a reality TV show star's social media postings raving about the store, but it is the world in which we now live and the world that you must understand because it impacts your business and that of your clients.

Other benefits are networking, instantaneous communication, and the sharing of information, knowledge, and documents. Not long ago, I met a pipe smoker in Japan on Facebook. We corresponded and I sent him a corncob pipe and some tobacco. He has since become the President of the Pipe Club of Japan. How amazing is that?! OK, I cheated a bit because I lived in Japan as a Rotary Exchange Student and I speak Japanese, but without social media we would not have been able to connect and build a friendship that easily across the planet.

When I was in the Army and stationed in South Korea, I practically needed an act of Congress to get a phone line to call back to the States. Now, I am able to Skype with my old Army buddy who was the Military Judge there and have a real-time video and voice conversation with him. This technology is available to us all so why not use it. With the permission of my opposition, I Skyped my client into a mediation not long ago, which saved my client a tremendous amount of money on airfare and hotel charges. That is just one way to use social media to reduce costs in lawsuits and benefit clients.

So Why Should You Care - Social Media In Litigation

Now, getting to the heart of the matter, you understand social media, you use or are at least willing to try it, so how do you integrate it into litigation or how does it factor in? First, you may already know that the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure added e-discovery components on September 1, 2012. This means electronic data, including e-mails, are now discoverable in civil lawsuits in Florida.

While at present there is more Federal case law on the topic, a recent Virginia State Court decision sanctioned an attorney for over $500,000 for allowing his client to remove posts and photos from social media sites that were relevant to the case. The worst part is that the direction to do so came not from the attorney, but a paralegal, however, the Court found that the attorney learned of it and allowed it. While that may be an extreme case, the day is not far off when we may have Florida decisions along those lines.

Let me pose a hypothetical to illustrate the impact of social media in litigation and e-discovery's place in it. Let's take a client who advances a personal injury claim and asserts that he or she can no longer lift, bend, or whatever. Then, during the course of the litigation, that person or even a friend of that person posts photos of them skiing and having a great time in the hot tub near the slopes. If you are defending the case, those photos will make your client very happy. If you are prosecuting the case, they probably won't. As you can see, understanding social media and how to ethically obtain those posts are now a relevant and important part of the practice of law in Florida.

In addition to obtaining electronic data, including these posts, in a lawsuit, parties and their counsel now have an obligation to act in advance to preserve this data through such mechanisms as Litigation Hold Notices. Florida attorneys must also be aware of and advise their clients of the liabilities for failure to preserve ESI, whether it is requested or, in some cases, not. For further information on this, you are welcome to view the two featured videos on e-discovery on the homepage of my site.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Florida attorneys and business people can now ill afford to ignore social media. While you may not desire to tell the world what you think of a movie you just saw through such posts, you at least must understand the basics of social media and how it can impact a lawsuit in which you are involved or may later be involved.

If you are still unsure about social media and would like to get more information and a tutorial of sorts on how to start using it or how to use it more effectively, check out the free webinars put out by the free networking group, the Business Connection at http://www.yourlinktolocalbusiness.com. Click the "Blog" tab and down on the right side of the new window you will see a list of items. Follow that to Networking Education, Educational Videos, and LinkedIn Training (the direct link is http://pbbcblog.palmbeachbusinessconnection.com/group-video/linkedin-training ).

The Business Connection is a free and unrestricted networking group with about 10,000 members from Miami to the Treasure Coast. It holds regular, in-person coffee and breakfast meetings at various locations and has on-line groups and forums that many members use. The Business Connection is a good way to interact with others who are also trying to get their arms around social media and understand its applications in business. The Calendar tab on the site provides the time and location for the events. There are even very nice people in it who will teach you privately how to create on-line profiles.

As businesses, in particular, gravitate to storing all their data electronically and individuals increasingly live in the digital world of social media, you can no longer ignore social media. It is not as difficult as you likely thought and once you try it, you will develop more comfort with it and may even come to embrace it.

The Marriage of HR and Social Media

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Human Resources (HR) people work with human beings. Because of that perspective, HR people have not been among the first to jump on the social media bandwagon. However, it enhances their ability to recruit people. It is a natural.

Although HR has many different responsibilities, one of them, of course, is to protect the company for whom they work from legal issues. Another very large responsibility is to cultivate and protect the culture of the company. As time goes on, social media is becoming more clearly defined in business. This impacts the roles that an online presence will play for HR professionals. More and more HR professionals are using the Internet to find qualified candidates who not only look good on paper but also fit in well and have proven integrity. Additionally, businesses are encouraging their employees to use social networks to expand their list of contacts.

Finding a Balance Between Value and Productivity

When the Internet started to become popular, many businesses were reluctant to get their employees involved or in even allowing them to use it at work. They didn't really understand that value that it could have for their business. Their short-sighted view made them think that it was only a fun, personal medium for connecting with friends. Of course, we now know that it is so much more than that. In many cases, the attitudes (and ignorance) of the powers that be in companies have not changed dramatically. However, this time, it is all about social media.

It is extremely important to truly understand the value that online interactions can bring to business. It is very important to educate HR professionals about all of the benefits that they can get from it. Many of the online tools that they will benefit from the most have little or no cost involved with them. This can be regarded by business owners as not being worthwhile because there is no purchasing fee. In the case of social media, that has nothing to do with its value whatsoever.

Another valuable aspect of social media is that it positively affects not only a company's internal workforce but it also affects the entire industry. Companies can use social media to share valuable information with a very broad audience. This will have far-reaching benefits because the companies are building relationships that will draw people to them and eventually they will be doing business with them in some way. Hopefully, those people will stick around for a long time.

Social media is a convenient tool for HR professionals to use, however, it is critical to set up the proper metrics so that the results of using social media can be measured. There are many times in which social media can help to facilitate an HR process that would not be possible otherwise. There is definitely a great deal of value in that.

Resources whenever you need them

No matter which industry you are involved with, social media will help you to expand your network immensely. Being an HR professional is not an easy job. Being able to connect with as many good-quality people is a really big advantage. Having continual interaction with people results in stronger and stronger relationships. Social media also allows the employees in the company to position the business in a way that makes large numbers of others pay attention to the business and what it has to offer.

Embracing innovation

As technology develops more and more, it is extremely important for businesses to continue to embrace and take advantage of all of the new things being offered that will help them to grow the business. The advances in social media are so fast paced, it is important to stay connected on a very regular basis so that they don't miss new opportunities as they are presented.

The concept of "think outside of the box" certainly applies when it comes to HR and social media. It is more important than ever nowadays for companies to come up with new approaches and new thinking that will increase their business dealings and increase their revenue.

Reexamining corporate values

Social media can dramatically alter expectations. Before the advent of social media, it was not always possible to connect with people all of the time. Of course, there is a possibility that that could work in the opposite direction. Even though it is possible to reach people 24/7, there need to be respectful boundaries put in place that don't allow that to happen. This applies particularly to HR professionals.

Conclusion

The one thing that is for certain is that social media is not going away anytime soon. It is beneficial for all industries and all niches and anyone who does not embrace it and continue to grow with it as new technologies are introduced is doing themselves and their business a tremendous disservice.

We are pleased to provide you with the insightful comments contained herein. Please contact us at CompuKol Communications for further discussion on how we might be able to assist you and your team.

Google Tips - quick, easy tips for using Google products

Friday, December 13, 2013



Google has just released Google Tips, quick, easy tips for using Google Products.

It is setup in a card format, using simple, easy terms (not tech-speak). You can see them all, mobile, home, office, or by product.

Click on the card to get more info. Most have some kind of video to show you how to do it, or very simple instructions.

This is a great resource for anyone, especially schools using Google apps.







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2010 - Truly The Age of Social Media

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The dynamic nature of the internet has shown its true colours once again; 2010 is truly the age of Social Media and those savvy Internet Marketers who have kept up with the changes are now reaping the rewards.In fact it could even be said that Internet Marketing is turning into a social media stage show!

Only a year ago Google was 'King' for the Internet Marketer, who heavily relied upon Google 'AdWords' campaigns to create endless leads and sales, but then poof! - almost overnight the Google slap put paid to all of their efforts and thousands of Google loyalists were wiped out at the push of a button.

Now change is upon us and soon to go also will be the 'old school' 'MLMers' (multi level marketers) with their outdated recruiting tactics, and pushy sales methods and in their place the will be the 'new school' business models using 'attraction marketing' and GPT (get paid today) techniques.

Triumphantly, after learning the bitter consequences of 'putting all of one's eggs into one basket', the New Internet Marketer has been born again, but this time bigger, better, wiser and brighter than before.

This new breed of 'visible' and 'accessible' market leaders are now making their new stomping grounds the Social media sites such as Facebook, twitter and Youtube; not really surprisingly as Facebook alone has over 300 million users, but these social media sites require a very different approach to doing business.

When using social media for business today, the new rules are: never lead with your business, and never try to force your opportunity or products down people's throats; in fact it's now thought of as bad etiquette and even considered to be spamming. So gone are the days of the pushy sales techniques, for these have been replaced by relationship building, positioning yourself as a leader and giving value to others first.

The new currency on the internet is having the education, skills and know how to create the brand 'YOU Inc' and those people who embrace these new rules and methods are rising from the ashes to the top of their niches as Social Media superstars.

Not surprisingly, it's those people who have sought out cutting edge marketing training who are faring best. New skills such as copywriting, article marketing, video creation and email campaigning, to name but a few are all being taught by the leading marketing education platforms. Learning all these skills without the necessary training would be a lengthy and probably costly process. But the good news is that the top Network Marketers are succeeding like never before, even amidst the present global recession and are providing coaching and training for newcomers to follow along in their footsteps.

How Social Media Sites Can Improve Patient Engagement in Your Medical Practice Business

Monday, December 9, 2013

Social media can be fraught with examples many would consider violations of HIPAA. Some of these include situations where medical workers vent about workplace scenarios on social media, even without mentioning names of patients, or when health professionals are fired for posting photos of any part of a patient, even if that patient is not identified or may be in the background of a picture. It has opened a new breed of legal threats with many practices shying away because of risk versus reward. However, you can generally prepare for any additional consequence through close control, well thought out policies and procedures, and delegating social media use to an experienced and skilled professional.

Privacy protection is a critical key. Advise all staff never to post, or profile, anything about their lives that identifies their employer or even hints at the identification of a patient who visits your practice. Practices can also create an 'advisory person' who can counsel other staffers about HIPAA. Some of these common-sense preparations can prevent you from being on the wrong side of this very complex law that may apply to the online world in strange and controversial ways. Generally, you and your employees need to refrain from interacting with patients through personal social profiles.

Aside from personal profile policies, you may want to create a professional/practice page as part of your marketing mix. This marketing strategy can assist to establish your expertise and credibility through education, wellness tips, and valuable information offerings specific to your specialty. This can also be a great outlet to tell your story: what does your practice do better? different? Through a professional page, you have control over your image, how it is presented, and the kind of experience patients can expect when they visit you. You may also gain insight to trends or education individuals may want to see more of by monitoring conversations on your professional page. Use this to your advantage and if it makes sense, create new revenue streams. There is a plethora of medical "advice" crowding the digital landscape. You can cut through this clutter by linking to important health stories and accurate information sites impacting your expertise area or health concerns in general. If you are a regular user of multiple social media sites, utilize services such as HootSuite.com to efficiently manage your time to post across sites. You can also schedule your posts to deliver on a certain day and at a certain time. If you are going to take the time to create a page, execute it well by keeping your page updated. Not only will this show your target audience that you are on top of your digital image but that you are also engaged and present.

Have a better sense of your online presence by creating a Google alert for your name and your practice name. This will assist you to proactively manage your online reputation. See what your competition or other healthcare professionals in your area are doing with digital communications by creating separate alerts. You can also learn a lot by knowing what not to do!

In any case, have a well thought out plan before execution. An in-house or outsourced expert can help you avoid online violation pitfalls while fully maximizing the benefits of social media so that you can raise awareness about your practice, engage new referrals, and address concerns.

Why Use Technology in Schools and Higher Education?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The world seems at an end without access to technology. Organizations in various cities and countries tend to increase their usage of technology to reinforce customer interaction, enhance brand value, and build up a strong business network. There is substantial evidence that a good number of schools and colleges in the U.S and in other countries worldwide are using technology to revive the teacher-student relationship.

The 2010-11 survey report released by the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth found "98 percent of higher ed institutions are on Facebook, and 84 percent are on Twitter".

Teachers find social media and mobile devices highly effective in fostering an improved learning atmosphere. They are playing a great role in engaging more students into active learning in classrooms whether live or virtual. Academic faculty is tapping into the raw potential of online social media platforms to teach various subjects and execute projects. For example, professors are using Smartphone's to teach geography, iPads to download an educational video from YouTube, and Foursquare to guide students around new college campuses.

Let's have a quick look at the positive effects of using technology in classrooms.

Learn Comfortably

Tech tools allow students to learn at their comfort. It means a student can learn at ease by setting up a convenient time to study and complete assignments at home.

Invite Guest Lecturers

Social media and high-end mobile applications allow teachers to invite guest lecturers from any part of the world to participate in an online discussion with the students. It helps the learners gain access to expertise in a specific topic or subject-matter.

Improves School Efficiency

Technology also helps the administrators to collate bulk data, easily and effortlessly to improve their decision-making process and rule implementation. They can capture and store data in their central database to view and share later with the senior authority.

High Engagement

Technology also engages students in learning - they can instantly seek clarifications by asking questions, collecting feedback from fellow classmates, and interacting with the teacher(s), 24x7. In a sense, online applications help a teacher improve class attendance, decrease drop-out rates, and thus increase ROI.

Improves Teaching Skills

Teachers can enhance their teaching skills and train themselves to manage classes better. Download multiple e-books and similar other reference materials from the internet to use in the development of finer classroom practices.

Meet the Needs of All Students

Today, students want virtual access to all course catalogs, class schedules, registration forms, and much more. Technology enables them to do all of that and more in a far simpler yet affordable way. School management can upload upcoming class schedules, class calendar, registration forms, examination timings, etc. on the school website to let people view and download the required documents, anytime and from anywhere across the world.

Social Media Mistakes - 12 Things to Avoid on Facebook

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Posting too much about yourself

Don't make the mistake of thinking everyone is as passionate about your business as you are. People are self-centered, and I don't mean that in a bad way. It's just a fact. They want to know "What's in this for me?" And they have extremely short attention spans. In general, the rule of thumb is that 80% of your content should be entertaining or educational, and only 20% should be about your product, service or brand.

Not posting share-worthy content

Think of what you share with friends on Facebook. Chances are it's something about friends, family or funny stuff. Perhaps it's something that touches, or inspires, you, or possibly something that educates or informs. It's most likely NOT something about a business, and that's why it's so important for brands to ride on the coat tails of entertaining/engaging content, to keep in front of people, and stay top of mind. Coming up with the right content can be a time-consuming process, but there are some fun news feed sources available, which can help.

Not socializing

Facebook is "social media," not "sell-me media," so be sure to use it to build relationships. Delight, entertain and engage people with fun, rewarding content. Job number one is making friends, in more ways than one. Think about it, if you were a real estate agent, who just met someone for the first time, would you try to sell them a house on the spot? No. There is a social dance that has to take place. They have to get to know you before they can like you, and trust you, enough to engage in a business deal. And they might not even be in the market for a house, but by knowing you, and liking you, you stand a chance of getting a deal if/when their time of need arises; and you could get a referral, if you are top of mind. Relationships take work, so work at it!

Posting at the wrong time

Facebook posts age quickly and get buried under a landslide of other posts even faster, so timing is critical. If you post something at two O'clock in the afternoon, by the time someone gets off work, and visits Facebook during their free time, your post is likely to be way down on the list and is less likely to be seen. The best times for posting are in the evening hours and on the weekend. Other times that work well are in the morning, before work, and on weekends. Many companies block Facebook on work computers, so keep that in mind also.

Not posting frequently enough

Making friends on Facebook is like making friends in the real world. It takes work. Posting daily is a good practice. You want to stay in front of people, but make sure your appearance is worthwhile. Entertain and educate.

Not posting consistently

Most people get out of the starting gates fast, and put up a lot of posts at first, but life is full of distractions, so it really takes a dedicated effort to keep it up. A good idea is to amass a collection of posts so you have them at your fingertips when it comes time to post. Better yet, use an automatic content posting system that allows you to schedule the time and day of each post ahead of time. Sendibles and Hootsuite are two popular platforms for doing this.

Not responding to comments

When someone makes a comment on one of your posts, take the time to comment back, or simply say "thank you." This simple step lets followers know you are paying attention and appreciate their thoughts. Remember, this is an exercise in relationship building, and two-way communication is important.

Not branding the post

It's relatively easy to find some funny picture to post on your site, but what good does it do you when someone shares it on their timeline, but your logo and contact info doesn't get to go along for the viral ride. Learn to use Photoshop, or some photo editing software, to put your branding on funny visuals.

Not asking for what you want

People are more likely to do what you want, if you just come out and tell them what to do. It's simple, but it works! Tell people to make comments, like or share something. Another good idea is to ask people to vote on something like "iPhone or Android," or "chocolate or vanilla." Every time someone comments, Facebook's EdgeRank algorithm places a higher value on the post, making it more likely to show up on other people's timeline.

Posting unauthorized contests

Face has rules regarding contests, and they will penalize you for not following the rules. You cannot offer any type of incentive, or prize, in exchange for an action such as liking or sharing. If you want to offer some type of contest on Facebook, you must use one of their approved applications for doing so.

Purchasing Likes

Facebook wants to protect the integrity of likes, comments and shares, so they will penalize you for purchasing likes through third parties. Even though these companies often claim their likes are organic - produced by an army of individuals, Facebook has numerous ways of identifying these operations. Their algorithm can spot unnatural spikes in activity, and they have employees that sign up to be part of these "teams," just so they can identify this type of activity. If you want to get lots of like, be prepared to earn them by providing content that is like-worthy, and purely organic.

Mishandling negative comments

For the most part, don't delete negative comments about your brand. Doing so undermines the trust between you and your fans. It's tough, but people respect, and trust, entities that can take criticism. Respond to negative comments, but don't be hateful, or mean-spirited. Appreciate the input, take it as constructive criticism, and use it to polish your brand. If people feel as though they are listened to, and their comments are valued, they'll feel an affinity towards, and take ownership in the brand. A brand, at the end of the day, is not what you say it is - it is what your customer's believe it is. Their perception defines your brand.

Public Relations - Understanding Educated Gambling

Sunday, December 1, 2013

As an entry level position to PR, I found myself typing up a forecast by a major Public Relation's firm for a major pharmaceutical company of what life would be like in the year 2000. Market research predictions included telephones with monitors that could help you see people while you talked, fax machines that could transmit information over telephone wires, microwave ovens for reducing food defrosting time from hours to minutes and other devices that have certainly come to pass. In the lifestyle area, predictions proved less valid. Not only would Americans be enjoying longer lives, it foretold, but they would have shorter work weeks, more vacations and overall, a more leisurely lifestyle. An iota of truth, but mostly wishful thinking when we read 2005 front pages.

I will always remember being called to account because the final document the Client saw had several typos. Presentation counts in this field.

PR firms attempt to influence the major media who in turn help persuade viewers, listeners and readers to think or act in a particular way. The people who enter the profession and those in the media usually have a gift of gab, a facility with the written word, a decent IQ and a certain love affair with risk.

Fortune tellers don't make much money. But most PR firms charge a substantial amount of money to present their client, product or service in a positive light to the media. People are continuously reporting polls or surveys as if they are fact, when, in truth, often the questions asked are the reason for the results tendered. Trends are so swift these days, just when buzz begins, another bee is buzzing a different tune.

Here is the PR agency drill. A brainstorming session consists of several persons who try and identify a project, tag line or campaign hook that will capture the right response from the media while delivering the Client message. Then a qualified person writes the plan, another person interfaces with the Client and still other people "pitch" the media. Often times in large firms, a separate TV department usually has close ties with the producers of various programming. You can pitch the same story to ten different venues, and come up with ten different responses. It is an expensive process.

Since everyone is trying for the biggest hits first, and the spots are truly limited, the pitchers have to be focused and persistent. Then it becomes a numbers game. The more balls you throw, the more likely you are to get a strike. The more strikes you pitch, the more likely your team will win, and the competition will be beaten. The more consistent your story, the more believed you will be. The more you can afford to spend, the more you get to use credible spokespeople to help tell your story. It is a numbers game.

So by all means pitch "Oprah" first if you have a story that will hug her heart. Next work the syndicated morning shows. Then try the syndicated writers at the major news services when your news is hard and important. Talk to AOL when you have the money, or put it in the movie theatre, the newest venue for enlightening if not annoying a captive audience.

But you can also tell your story with incredible reach and exciting response if you
use syndicated articles publicity via a service which currently targets the Internet with your original article. Your message usually gets printed exactly as you tell it, or your captioned color illustration tells the story just the way you approved it. You've increased your chances of the public reading a product or service mention by making it more informational than promotional, and you've had the help of expert PR people with years of presentation skills behind them. Your story will stay on their editorial website for six months to a year, and you get quarterly usage reports to help impress you if you are the business owner or your Clients if you are an agency.

Best of all, the educated consumer gets to find you online and to learn something informational that can help them and their family live a better life. It seems likely that any marketer would find this a low-budget risk worth taking.

 

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