Category Archives: social media

From Zero to Hero in 30 Days: Better Blogging Tips and Challenges for You


My friend Tina Newton forwarded me this interesting read by none other than the imaginative folks at WordPress.

It is a great read filled with tips and good advice from how to start blogging more often to how to increase the quality of the posts, to promoting your writing. Very inspirational.

Some of the challenges at the time of this writing:

Day One: Introduce Yourself
Day Two: What’s your name?
Day Three: What’s on your mind?
Day Four: Explore the Neighborhood
Day Five: Love Your Theme
Day Six: Try a New Element
Day Seven: Personalize Your Theme
Day Eight: Make Your About Page Irresistible
Day Nine: Head Deeper Into the Blogosphere
Day Ten: Add Two Widgets
Day Eleven: Leave Three Comments
Day Twelve: From Comment to Post
Day Thirteen: Build a (Better) Blogroll
Day Fourteen: Blogger’s Choice!
Day Fifteen: Explore Visuals and Content
Day Sixteen: Personalize a Prompt
Day Seventeen: Increase Your Commenting Confidence
Day Eighteen: Activate a Social Network
Day Nineteen: Publish a Post in a New-To-You Format
Day Twenty: Add a New Page
Day Twenty One: Build on your last post

Read more at “Zero to Hero: 30 Days to a Better Blog” on The WordPress Daily.

Also check out the Daily Writing Challenges page with tons of fun writing points… especially helpful if you’re staring at that blank page for too long.

Cite this article:
Silva E (2014-01-24 09:20:01). From Zero to Hero in 30 Days: Better Blogging Tips and Challenges for You. Enzo Silva blog. Retrieved: Apr 19, 2014, from http://enzosilva.com/blog/2014/01/24/from-zero-to-hero-in-30-days-better-blogging-tips-and-challenges-for-you/

Community Manager Skills


I’ve written about the community manager’s mindset before.
I recently came across this great summary of the main skills a community manager needs to have on Mashable:

 

A Community Manager’s Mindset

Those willing to participate in any company’s social media presence executing and improving on its social media strategy need to have, for the most part, a community manager’s mindset.

What are some of the characteristics of a community manager?

Expert Ryan Lytle highlights the following, summarized here:

1. Strong Communication Skills: social butterfly online and offline, strong people skills.

2. Good Judgement: sometimes answering a question in social media is detrimental to a brand’s image.

3. Empathy: see our brand from the customer/fan’s perspective! Don’t sell them anything!

4. Dedication: we all need to be dedicated to our careers, it goes without saying. However, a community manager needs to be always ready to reply, post, help the community anytime, anywhere.

5. Organizational Skills: with a presence that spreads across different online communities and offline events, it is important to keep track of communications, faces, trends.

6. Adaptability: with so many roles, communities, technologies to engage in, a community manager needs to stay abreast of the latest trends in social media AND quickly change roles from a designer to a communications/marketing person, to tech support – constantly! Especially when most of our day jobs ARE NOT that of a community manager.

7. Level-Headed Attitude: anything we say as community managers can be perceived as our company’s brand’s own opinions and used against the company and individuals. Watch what you communicate, when you communicate, how you respond to offensive or provocative comments as well as praises.

8. Analytics Skills: there are tons of tools out there to measure social media (ROI – o the hated acronym) or reach of campaigns, interactions, etc. Use them wisely. Know how and what to read in the numbers.

9. Ability to Enable the Community: the ability to start and participate in conversations that solve the community’s problems, point them in the right direction, connect them to expert advice is KEY.

10. Passion for the Brand: use your products and services, have  positive attitude about its mistakes, accomplishments, etc. Be a brand ambassador!

A lot of these skills (if not all) seem to apply really well to educators in various sectors of the industry.

Even if you’re not a community manager in your job title, do you find yourself performing skills related to this role in your professional network?

Optimizing Content for Mobile Devices – Or Why Can’t My Learner Access This Content Anywhere?


The question in the title of this post should guide most (if not all) decisions we make when authoring content for our audiences, this doesn’t just apply to Education, but is extremely important as the technological frameworks that permeate it are constantly evolving. In the fields of Marketing and Entertainment, it’s constantly stressed as an emerging trend that a user can start accessing content (e.g. a movie) on a SmartTV and continue where s/he left off on a mobile device, without breaking the flow of the experience.

The same should be true for learning experiences we design. We, designers and developers of learning experiences, should always ask ourselves “why shouldn’t my learner be able to start experiencing this content on one device and continue where s/he left off on another device?”

A couple of years ago, when HTML5 and other technologies offered alternative ways to provide rich content to audiences that were used to the omnipresent Flash technology were a little cumbersome to learn and glitchy to play with. Now, there is n lack of “mobile-friendly-content-spitting” authoring tools that are as friendly as those that previously authored Flash-only content.

Captivate 6+, Articulate Storyline, Articulate Studio ’13 (just to mention the most well-known ones) all offer ways to convert old content and create new content in mobile-friendly frameworks. No excuses. We should at least “investigate” the possibility of offering seamless and/or second screen experiences to our learners, yesterday.

It’s not a choice.

I’m not discussing the creation of native apps and content that take advantage of mobile-platforms unique features like location-awareness, gyroscopes, etc. Nothing ground-breaking and uncomfortable. That’s topic for another discussion. I’m simply emphasizing the need to offer what you currently have restricted to a “desktop experience” in ways that are accessible from any* platform.

Free your learner. Now…

Do you face any challenges when trying to seamlessly offer content anytime, anywhere?

 

* “any” is a dangerous word, perhaps better replaced by “most widespread”

 

A Few Infographics on “Mobile Learning”

Source: interactyx.com via Enzo on Pinterest

Source: mashable.com via Enzo on Pinterest

Inside the Mind of a Community Manager [INFOGRAPHIC]


Here’s an infographic illustrating the mentality that not only community managers (those with that official title) but also learning designers, employees, students, EVERYONE in a community need to have. We are ALL community managers and relationship builders.

Investing in relationships, online and offline, is the key activity in this hyperconnected world. Relationships are one of the most important forms of  currency.

We need to have the mindset of every action (again, online and offline) being that of investing more of this currency into our knowledge economy. So, let’s put on the hat of community managers. Take a step toward being a meaningful relationship investor.

It’s now about the “media” in social media. It’s about the social, not matter what media. It’s about relationships that can be fostered through different medium types (media). Don’t get the “media” confused with electronic objects/assets… media as in means, medium.

Let’s all treasure our communities.

What does that mean to us Learning professionals? Let’s foster discussions in our different social media channels, let’s consolidate groups, let’s share best practices for creating communities and better utilizing the relationships we have across the board.

Let’s make it easy for people to communicate openly, let’s clean up, let’s facilitate, mediate, instigate…

</rant>

 

Getting Creative with Videos and Presentations for Learning (birthday parties too)


Death by PowerPoint is a myth. The true fatal diagnosis to millions of audience members that die daily in seats at training events, classrooms, conferences, and webinars world wide is the epidemic of poor design boredom.

With a little bit of creativity and just the right tool (and that includes PowerPoint), you can design simple yet effective visual presentations for concepts that are hard to visualize, or that you’d simply like to make more engaging, fun, eye-catching.

Here are a few tools I’ve used in the past that let you create live presentations and/or videos that won’t kill your audience and will keep their attention for longer than 5 seconds… oh, but again, the best tool is a creative brain that is not afraid to experiment, have fun, make mistakes… as much as we designers like to say humor isn’t universal, it is. Why not have fun and entertain your audience while they learn. Airlines have caught up to that idea

 

Sparkol / Video Scribe – While Sparkol is a presentation tool while Video Scribe is an animated, well, video scribing tool. I’ve always enjoyed seeing those videos that have artists draw on the screen concepts that are being explained in real-time, as the narrative progresses. This is exactly what Video Scribe lets you achieve without having to draw a single image. It recognizes lines in vector graphics (readily and freely available on websites like OpenClipart) to generate an illusion of a hand drawing the images progressively on the screen. Videos can be exported into various formats available (including direct publication to Youtube).

Prezi – Prezi has been around for a while. It allows you to create zoom in/zoom out presentations and videos on what they call an infinite canvas. Sequences created in Prezi don’t necessarily have to follow the linear nature of most PowerPoint presentations, and can be quite stunning. Prezi also lets you collaborate with your teammates in real time.

Spicynodes – This tool allows you to create non-linear and interactive mindmap presentations that can better represent your thought process or sequence.

Cite this article:
Silva E (2012-11-14 16:30:37). Getting Creative with Videos and Presentations for Learning (birthday parties too). Enzo Silva blog. Retrieved: Apr 19, 2014, from http://enzosilva.com/blog/2012/11/14/getting-creative-with-videos-and-presentations-for-learning-or-birthday-parties-too/

Learn Anything in Real Courses – For Free Or For a Fee


I’m always looking at/for new ways to learn things or for a flexible way to learn things my way. One thing I am always looking out for is informal learning opportunities, be it in the form of a Youtube video, a Pin on Pinterest, talking to a friend on Facebook/Twitter/Linkedin (the big 3), finding a useful document on Scribd.com, the list goes on.

Also very interesting, however, is the rise of curated and organized “class” experiences on the Web that are open to anyone (it seems some of my not-so-crazy predictions for 2012 were correct after all). You may know from this post that I have a bit of a disappointed attitude (to put it politely) with universities claiming they have “open content” out there for anyone to take, when all they do is put up a lecture in formats like podcast, PowerPoint files or videos. Top-down approach at its best with no participation. It’s a step in the right direction but not the “best” way (disclaimer: what’s “best” for me might not be “best” for you, take this comment with a grain or two of salt).

That’s why I get really excited when I see opportunities to learn “with/from” others and share what I know as well in “class” experiences on the Web.

I recently took a Gamification course on Coursera, delivered by Prof. Werbach from the University of Pennsylvania. The class was setup as a series of short asynchronous video lectures, interactive quizzes, and peer-reviewed written assignments. A university-level course with a lot of interaction with peers and the professor, open, free of charge.

There are many opportunities for professional development out there these days, and not all of them mean “I’m sitting alone at home watching a boring lecture on Youtube” (no offense – those have their place too).

As forward thinking individuals and companies, let’s take advantage of these opportunities and learn, spread knowledge. Let’s DELIVER classes and share with the world what we know (a call for myself too). Let’s support employee professional development by encouraging our employees to take full advantage of learning opportunities online and offline.

Recently, Laura, a colleague put it in her professional development plan to take a course to improve specific skills. The company fully supported her in doing so. This is the type of forward thinking organizations need to have nowadays, in the 2020 Workplace!

Here are a few of the 1000s of places where you can learn something in a structured course, online, for a fee or for free… openly. Go learn something new today!

Coursera: Instructor-led and peer-reviewed University courses available for free, providing certificates of completion! Watch videos, participate in discussions, submit written assignments, respond to quizzes. According to the Coursera team: “We hope to give everyone access to the world-class education that has so far been available only to a select few. We want to empower people with education that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in.”

Udemy: Curated and instructor-led courses online. Some are free others are not (but well worth paying for)!

General Assembly : “A global network of campuses for individuals seeking opportunity and education in technology, business, and design.”

Class Central: A curated list of several free online courses offered by universities on various platforms.

Udacity: Video lectures for free accompanied by problems/questions and answers, and exams. Udacity also offers certificates of completion!

SkillShare: A catalog of hybrid and local classes offered by experienced instructors.

CodeCademy: A gamified and fun way to learn code and programming with friends online!

 

More similar sites here. Explore, learn, teach, have fun!

[INFOGRAPHIC] – Gamers Get Girls – A Comparison Between Dating Sites and Games


Infographics are a relatively new fad. But a good fad: what’s not to like about just the right amount of graphics coupled with just the right amount of textual information and data, all wrapped in a beautiful typographical, visual package? Isn’t that what us in Education strive for: helping others understand and make use of information in practical and engaging ways?

Here’s a fun example a colleague suggested I post here, developed by OnlineUniversity.

Gamers Get Girls
Created by: Online University

Reusable and Shareable Learning Objects


When we normally think of reusable learning objects we think of reusing them in other traditional learning settings, be it a chapter of a student manual or a video used in a different e-learning course (yes, e-learning is traditional, isn’t it?).
When we think of modular, reusable learning objects we have to think of them as not just reusable in a traditional sense, but imagine them as shareable learning objects. Media elements to be spread in different social media sites by us (designers/developers) and learners themselves. For instance, when creating a job aid about a process or concept, make it attractive, publish it on different social media sites like Pinterest (the new fad now) so others can also share it. Or perhaps you design a video that can not only be used in a course, but also shared via YouTube. Those are simple examples, but we have to think of learning as a continuum, not just self-contained experiences.
Don’t just design self-contained experiences, design pieces of a whole that can also function separately. Pieces that can be reused, shared in different social networks.
Don’t just design learning media, design potentially social media.

5 Not so Crazy Predictions for Education in 2012


It”s not not uncommon for geeks to do some wishful thinking a line any mortal hoping their tech dreams will come true in the new year to come.

Id like to make some predictions for 2012 as well. Just a few humble predictions and observations.

1. Education everywhere

And by everywhere I don’t mean the whole any device anytime anywhere hype. I mean, everyone in every part of the world (except cultures that don’t accept technology and our views of Education of course) will have access to quality Education and educational technology. We will see more initiatives such as EducateNCare, which encourages professionals to provide some of their knowledge and time to tutors children in developing countries online. With initiatives such as this, others will see the need to equip this on the other end of the connection, the local students and teachers. We’ll be even more aware of the need to capacitate professionals in their own native countries.

2. Open educational content will actually be OPEN

Many institutions offer open courseware and content for anyone to access. What we will see is more open source content out there, not just open access content, but content that can be reshaped, and shared forward with other educators and learners via a license such as Creative Commons.

3. Learning on smart TVs
With all these smart devices proliferating, Education should take more advantage of them and be, well, smart Education. eLearning is made mostly with the old desktop metaphor in mind. But thing about all kids of fantastic learning experiences we could have of we designed for different smart devices. I’m not talking just about mobile devices with gyroscopes, location awareness, multitouch interfaces, I mean even (smart) connected TVs. If even the good ol’ tube is changing; why cant we innovate in how we do education in it as well?

4. Micro-location learning and information

We’re all familiar with the concept of GPS devices or mobile map applications taking you from point A to point B with guided turn-by-turn directions and pop-up traffic/trip conditions and events warnings. However, these technologies are normally only for outdoors navigation. You’re lost inside a building. This is a problem that Google has taken on now with their new solution Google Maps indoors feature, which offers guidance inside buildings such as airports.  However, in 2012 we’ll see the rise of microlocation-based learning, which can provide guidance within buildings and institutions indoors. Imagine the educational uses of such mobile applications: exploring the workplace, accurately connecting with others inside of buildings to share information and perhaps serendipitously  meet up for lunch (yes, learning is about forging relationships with others with whom we share or not interests), on-demand information about machines as a learner walks by it. Better yet,  as the learner walks by that very same machine, s/he will  be prompted by an alert on their location-aware device that there is something wrong with it and that it needs repair, not only that, but the alert will show what exactly is wrong with it and give the user an option to follow an interactive strep-by-step repair “tour”. On the job support, information, and true task-based learning about specific concepts, tools, processes as the learner actually does it.

5. Education institutions will allow more social media

With the advent of better content aggregation and curation techniques, Education institutions will appreciate more of the educational applications of social media and feel safer in letting students access social media resources to learn. Youtube has recently released it’s Youtube EDU which allows educators and schools to allow access (mostly) to content they approve on their channel by using technologies such as filters. Students will be given access to a variety of social media services in school as these services start to offer options for content access based on some of the issues faced by schools, issues such as inappropriate or distracting content.

6. [Bonus Prediction] Motion-based learning gets popular and affordable

As devices like the XBox Kinect and Playstation Move start to become more popular, we should see more affordable motion-based learning experiences in the field. Moreover, we should see precise motion training and job aids coupled with Augmented Reality HUDs as employees try to solve real-life problems in the workplace.

Second Screen Learning?


A phenomenon that can be classified as anything from multitasking to plain distraction is getting more popular as smartphones get smarter and tablet computers more ubiquitous: the use of the “second screen“.

It is common now to have at least one person (if not everyone) in the living room watching as movie on TV while, at the same time, checking what their friends are saying on Facebook, Twitter, or simply researching the lead role’s biography on Wikipedia. Whatever they are doing on the little screen, it seems that nowadays the big screen is not enough. People crave more. People want to connect with others and with information outside what they see on the big screen. Often, at least in my family, it is an interaction around the content of the TV, tagging it in Into_Now, and telling their friends on Facebook that they’re watching it and following up on comments about the same post.

ReadWriteWeb reports that 86% of people using their mobile device do so while watching TV. Of those, 33% use mobile apps, 37% browse non-related content, 40% are social networking, while 60% are texting with friends and family. It’s the rise of social TV which so far comprises mostly of static content (TV) coupled with dynamic, social activities (social networking, Web browsing, mobile apps, check-ins into shows and movies).

Disney offers an iPad / PC application called Second Screen which live syncs with the Blu-Ray movie on the TV and provides different content that supplements the movie: games, flipbooks, photo galleries with sketches, trivia about the movie, etc.

How would this second screen experience affect Education? What if, instead of banning smartphones and tablets, teachers in K12 encouraged synchronous exploration of concepts “synced” with what the teacher is discussing?What if in corporate Education, we saw complimentary interactions and information that gave students a better understanding of what the instructor is explaining or even interact with other students in a backchannel discussion around the topics in class?

Many already use in conferences, for instance, Twitter streams as a means to have a backchannel discussions in different sessions. Can we to go beyond that, explore other forms of “second screen experiences” at events, in the classroom, outside the classroom?

How can we combat some of the potential negative aspects of the second screen in the classroom, like distraction, lack of concentration? Can we produce second screen experiences that are channeled. guided and enhances attention rather than distract the learners? How can we employ this concept in online learning environments (being them synchronous live virtual classrooms or self-paces asynchronous experiences)?

Many questions, exciting exploration.

Food for thought: here’s a blogger’s take on how second screen experiences could be used not only in entertainment but also in politics, for instance.

 

Perhaps second screen experiences in Education will be a trend in 2012, with more an more mobile devices in consumers’ hands.

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