October 16, 2010
Article source: http://feeds.mashable.com/~r/Mashable/~3/fBwtem2oEBU/
October 16, 2010
The possibilities for social media tools in the classroom are vast. In the hands of the right teacher, they can be used to engage students in creative ways, encourage collaboration and inspire discussion among even soft-spoken students. But weve already made our case for why teachers should consider using social media in their classrooms. What about the how?
Even when people say they want to incorporate social media, they dont always know the best ways to do so. Its especially daunting when those efforts can affect the education of your students.
To help, weve collected seven of the the best classroom tools for incorporating social media into your lesson plans.
1. EDU 2.0
EDU 2.0 is a lot like online course management systems Blackboard and Moodle, but with a couple of distinct advantages. First, teachers can share their lesson plans, quizzes, videos, experiments and other resources in a shared library that currently hosts more than 15,000 pieces of content. Second, a community section allows teachers and students to network and collaborate with other members who share the same educational interests. And third, everything is hosted in the cloud for free.
The founder of software company The Mind Electric, who has roots in education, self-funded the development of EDU 2.0 in what the site describes as a labor of love.
This means free access to some great tools: An online gradebook, customized quizzes, a debate tool, chat, classroom blogs, the ability to track proficiency and a customized portal page. You can also create a network by connecting classes by school and schools by districts.
The popular visual organizing and sharing tool Symbaloo launched its EDU version last month. According to the company, 50,000 teachers are already using Symbaloo to organize classroom resources. The new EDU version comes with academic subject-specific resource pages or webmixes and top tools like TeacherTube, Slideshare, Google Docs, Flickr and more are fully embeddable. Teachers with a Free Plus account can add their school logo and customize the links. The site also allows students to easily share their Symbaloo pages and projects with classmates.
It not only becomes a way to organize yourself and find your websites, but a place to put your work, explains Randy Hollinger, the middle school science teacher featured in the above video. [SymbalooEDU] becomes sort of the e-portfolio.
The tool is free for up to 50 userkeys, which include a school branded website and customized domain. Mashable readers can sign-up for a free plus account and get 150 userkeys here. A premium package for unlimited users starts at $2.00 per user.
Theres no replacement for hosting in-person discussions in classrooms, but there are some benefits to moving portions of the discussion online. As high school English teacher Catlin Tucker points out in the above video, Class discussions seem to be dominated by about five to seven students. The same kids talk, the same kids dont speak at all For some students, however, online discussions are less intimidating to participate in.
This app gives teachers four discussion format choices. Students can either agree or disagree with a statement, answer a multiple choice question, post responses, or have the choice between adding a new response or voting for someone elses response. Teachers can add photos or videos to their prompts and all of the discussions take place on one class page.
Tucker says in the video that she uses the site for ice-breaking activities, creative writing prompts and peer editing. Other lesson plans are conveniently posted on a teacher resource page.
Democrasoft, the company that developed Collaborative Classroom, clearly field tested the product with their other businessiness-targeted products. The site is simple and effective; its clear how to ask a question, invite class members and send messages. The service is free for one year if you sign up before October 31.
This WordPress-like blogging platform only supports educational content and thus, unlike WordPress, usually isnt blocked by school filters. Since 2005, it has hosted more than a million blogs from students and teachers.
Common uses for blogs in classrooms include group projects, reflection journals, school newspapers, class web pages and parent newsletters. But, as evidenced by the winners of the 2009 Edublog awards, there are plenty of other creative options for integrating the blogs into curriculum.
The award winners are public blogs but there is also an option to keep blogs private. This is one of many safety features. Another is that unlike general platforms like Blogger or WordPress, there is no exposure to other blogs. One aspect that might raise red flags for teachers is that ads are allowed on the free version of the site. A $3.33 per month fee, however, removes all advertising from up to 50 student blogs.
Teacher Matt Hardy developed the first version of Kidsblog to use in his 3rd and 4th grade classrooms. He thought (correctly, it turned out) that his students would enjoy the collaborative nature of blogs, but general blogging platforms lacked safety considerations that would make them appropriate for school use. Kidsblog doesnt advertise to kids, doesnt ask for their e-mail addresses, and gives the teacher full moderation power.
Kidsblog is a bit more specific than Edublogs. There are fewer options to adjust the appearance of the main page, and its hard to use the platform for anything other than as a system for managing individual class blogs. The homepage serves as a catalog of student blogs on the right with a recent post feed on the left.
Having said that, if you want to introduce individual class blogs to your K-8 classroom, this is the perfect tool for it. The interface is easier to navigate than Edublogs, and you can generate user names and passwords for students, teachers, administrators, and guests with a couple of intuitive clicks. Teachers are able to edit and remove any of their students posts.
Teachers can also control how private they want the blogs to be. They can keep them student-and-teacher only, allow parents to log in with a password, or make them open to the public.
Edmodo looks and functions much like Facebook. But unlike Facebook, its a controlled environment that teachers can effectively leverage to encourage class engagement. The platform allows teachers and students to share ideas, files and assignments on a communal wall. Teachers can organize different groups of students and monitor them from the same dashboard. Once theyve organized classes, they can post assignments to the wall and grade them online. They can then archive the class groups and begin new ones.
There are several aspects that make the site safer than Facebook: Theres a group security code that users need in order to view class discussion pages, and although students and teachers can communicate privately, theres no private communication function between students.
Some other nice advantages of using this site are the ability to connect with other teachers, a group calendar where students can easily see when assignments are due, and a mobile version that allows teachers to moderate discussions from anywhere.
7. TeacherTube and SchoolTube and YouTube
As the name implies, TeacherTube is YouTube for teachers. Its a great resource for lesson ideas but videos can also be used during class to supplement a lecture. For instance, you can let Mrs. Burk rap about perimeters if you like her idea but lack the rhyming skills to pull it off yourself. This site also has a crowdsourced stock of documents, audio and photos that can be added to your lesson plans. Unfortunately, every video is preceded by an ad.
SchoolTube is another YouTube alternative. Unlike other video sharing sites, it is not generally blocked by school filters because all of its content is moderated.
The original, generic YouTube also has a bevy of teacher resources, though its often blocked in schools. Khan Academy consistently puts out high-quality lessons for every subject, but a general search on any topic usually yields a handful of lesson approaches. Some of the better ones are indexed on WatchKnow.
What resources have you found, are there any social media tools should absolutely should not miss? Let us know in the comments below.
More Learning Resources from Mashable:
– The Case For Social Media in Schools
– HOW TO: Help Your Child Set Up a Blog
– 5 Fun and Safe Social Networks for Children
– Social Media Parenting: Raising the Digital Generation
– 10 Essential Tips for Building Your Small Biz Team
Article source: http://feeds.mashable.com/~r/Mashable/~3/HWd0fyb1lK0/
October 16, 2010
Inbound marketing is a team sport, and I dont mean just the marketing team. I mean the entire company. The sales and marketing teams are trying to accomplish the same goal — create new customers — so why not work together? I have worked with other organizations where sales representatives believe they are the root of each sale; however, this couldnt be further from the truth. As a sales person, I respect my marketing team. They are the life blood of the company, and without them, my job would be extremely hard. To fully realize all the benefits of both the sales and marketing teams, it is important that they work hand in hand. Here are 9 things your sales organization can do to help marketing:
1. Stand in Your Marketers Shoes For a Day
I try and do this as much as possible at HubSpot. You may think closing a cold call prospect is hard; imagine pulling leads out of thin air. Take a day or even a couple of hours to shadow your marketing department to really understand what it takes to generate those leads you get. Go to your marketing department and ask if you can help them with an upcoming project. Make sure you have an agenda on what you are looking to observe or learn. You will have a new-found appreciation for your marketing department. Trust me.
2. Provide Positive and Negative Feedback to Your Marketing Team
Marketers thrive off of data. If you as a sales person can provide quality feedback, both positive and negative, your marketing team will not only love you but will also be able to provide you with better leads. Ask your marketing team what data they would like to see, both positive and negative. Once you have that data, use your CRM system to religiously record the information in each prospect profile.
3. Spread the Word Using Your Own Social Media Network
Every sales person should be involved in social media, or at the bare minimum, Linkedin. If youre not, do it now. Really, GO! Take the content your marketing department makes and share it with your network. This will not only allow you to attract more potential leads to your own pipeline, but it will also make your existing customer base happy to see that you are involved and interested in your own product.
4. Help Out With Content Creation
I dont want to hear excuses from sales reps about why they cannot create content. You can pick up the phone right? Imagine not picking up the phone for an hour but still somehow generating leads: Thats content. Sales people should be flocking at the opportunity to create content. There are so many benefits: leads, getting your name out there, leads, using your knowledge of the product in a way your customers will understand, and oh, did I mention leads?
5. Make a List of Top Questions Asked During Calls Share it With Marketing Teams
Create a Word document or a notepad with questions you get during your prospecting calls. Every couple of weeks, send it over to your marketing department. With feedback from the front lines, your marketing department can create content that will answer the questions that will resonate with your prospective customers, allowing for a more informed, more qualified lead.
6. Be Willing to Experiment and Try Something New
That says it all. Be willing to try new things and keep an open mind. Your marketing department looks at the successes of other companies and does research on new marketing efforts before they turn them over to the sales team. If your marketing department asks you to do something, do it as instructed, and dont gripe until after the fact. Keep in mind that theyre testing something, and the time to gripe comes when the test is complete and feedback is due.
7. Agree on Expectations and Help Both Teams Holding Their End of the Bargain (SLA)
Because Sales and Marketing should act as a team, you need to have goals that make sense for both parties. For example, at HubSpot we use a Service Level Agreement that assures all efforts are matched equally on both sides. It works like this: If Marketing promises to provide each sales person with 75 leads per month, than the sales reps are required to touch those leads a calculated amount of times to best utilize them and maximize the amount of feedback available.
8. Touch Every Lead
If you get a lead, you should place at least one call and send at least one email no matter how bad it may be. Only then do you have the right to give negative feedback. Cherry picking is not always effective and doesnt provide accurate data for use in improving target leads.
9. Sell Happy Customers
This one comes from inbound marketing guru and HubSpot VP of Marketing Mike Volpe, and I could not have said it better: Make happy customers who will refer others and say good things online. Don’t trick customers and sign people up that will end up being unhappy only to post bad reviews and commentary about the company. Selling happy customers leads to referrals, and who doesnt like referrals?
The sales and marketing takeaway here is to work together. You cannot row a canoe upstream unless you are both rowing in the same direction.
Darion Miller is an inbound marketing specialist at HubSpot.
Download: How to Improve Your Sales Marketing Alignment
Posted by Darion Miller on Fri, Oct 15, 2010 @ 08:00 AM
October 16, 2010
Podcasting first experienced growth in 2006, but since 2006, many of the early pioneers and businesses no longer exist.
According to Webster, podcasting is doing better now than ever before. Grammar Girl, NPR and ESPN were cited as examples of current, successful podcasts. Podcasting is the concept of producing various types of media (e.g. video, audio) that get downloaded from the internet, often via RSS feeds.
Today in 2010, 45% of all Americans are aware of podcasting, while 23% of Americans listen to podcasts, which has increased from 11% in 2006. In addition, video podcasting viewership is up to 20% of Americans in 2010. It is estimated that 70 million people have listened to or viewed a podcast.
Webster asserted that one of the main problems contributing to podcasting’s lack of growth is that of convenience. Because people have the option of listening to or viewing podcast content any time they want, they will often push off consuming that content until never. This means that great podcasts need to be topical and timely to help create urgency.
In the most recent Edison survey on podcasting, the report found that age groups listening to podcasts have been redistributed to an older demographic compared to the previous year’s findings. Sixty-four percent of 12 to 24 year olds dont subscribe to podcasts. Instead, they consume content on demand, meaning they access computer-based players and listen to podcasts individually without subscribing.
Webster asserted that local news and information coverage is becoming scarce. Newspapers are failing, and most local TV and radio stations are simply using national programming with minimal local programming. This lack of local coverage, asserts Webster, creates more opportunities for podcasters. This is heavily due to the commoditization of music listening by services such as Pandora. According to Webster traditional media is abandoning local.
According to Webster, podcast consumption is happening more on the desktop as opposed to downloading content to mobile devices. Sixty-six percent of podcast listeners use Facebook, meaning that building distribution beyond iTunes is critical for podcasting success.
As a marketer, Webster advises capturing local coverage and the 12 to 24 age demographic for some ripe podcasting opportunities.
How does your business use podcasting?
How do you get started with YouTube, video podcasting, live streaming, or viral videos.
Download the free webinar to learn how to use online video to grow your business with inbound marketing.
Posted by Kipp Bodnar on Fri, Oct 15, 2010 @ 02:25 PM
October 16, 2010
Article source: http://feeds.mashable.com/~r/Mashable/~3/WZtjW1muGd4/
October 16, 2010
This post is part of Mashables Spark of Genius series, which highlights a unique feature of startups. The series is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here.
Quick Pitch: GroupMe makes life easy for you and your groups with free group texting. Its your real life network, in your pocket.
Genius Idea: There are plenty of mobile applications that support group texting even the once location-focused BrightkiteBrightkite has entered the space but GroupMes approach is by far the simplest. The SMS-based and device-independent service also has the most potential to connect real life friends and family members through group texting.
You can use GroupMe to start a private chat with groups of up to 25 people. Enter your name and phone number on GroupMes website to get started. The service will follow up with a text message from a unique phone number that phone number will serve as your groups number for texts and conference calls. You, and all other group members, can then add group members via SMS using the syntax #add name phone number.
Other SMS hashtag commands include #list to see a list of all group members in the chat, #name to set or change your name and, most importantly, #mute to mute or unmute the texts.
iPhoneiPhone users can optionally download the GroupMe iPhone app to manage their groups and add new group members from their iPhones existing contact list. If you register your account, you can also manage the group from the web and see the entire text thread online.
The beauty of GroupMe is that everything is routed through SMS, so you can have group chats with any of your friends, so long as they can send and receive SMS. This could also be a downside if your friends dont have unlimited texting, but eventually the iPhone app will let you chat within the app (and save your SMS). Still, the experience is fast and compelling, almost more so than the new Facebook Groups.
Where GroupMe shines is in actual use. This is one of those services that could easily become part of your daily routine, because its both practical and addicting. The use cases are endless: support groups, parents groups, one-time event groups, family or friend chat; its even applicable for business-related purposes. Just be careful not to abuse the texting privilege with chatters who may not want to be inundated with texts (though they can use the #exit command to leave a group).
GroupMe is a free service to use standard text message rates apply but the service itself is certainly not free to operate. GroupMe is powered by Twilios voice and SMS platform, which charges per group phone number, per text and per minute for each call. For the time being, GroupMe can use its $850,000 in angel funding to cover the costs, but the startup will need to find a way to monetize.
GroupMe has already taken one step forward on the monetization road. In an interview with MashableMashable, co-founders Jared Hecht and Steve Martocci explained that sponsored groups are a very real business opportunity for the young startup. That theory was tested last weekend at Austin City Limits. The festival launched a branded GroupMe initiative so attendees could create their own event-themed SMS groups and opt-in to receive relevant updates think band and beer style tips from the festival.
Right now, the guys believe theyve hit on something pretty big, and they have the numbers to back up that confidence. GroupMe officially launched in mid August and has since seen upwards of three million SMS messages sent via their platform. Were seeing hockey stick growth, says Hecht, theres now more than 100,000 messages sent per day, and on some days its more than a quarter of million.
Sponsored by Microsoft BizSpark
BizSpark is a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.
Article source: http://feeds.mashable.com/~r/Mashable/~3/D7ChZTUXTH4/
October 16, 2010
Guest Blogger, Geordie Romer is a real estate broker in the mountain town of Leavenworth Washington where he specializes in selling vacation homes to folks in the Seattle tech scene. Geordie has been blogging about Leavenworth Real Estate since 2005.
As tech savvy real estate pros we all spend an inordinate amount of time and energy making sure we get found in the search engines. Of course, there are a few places you probably dont care to make an appearance:
- KeepinitRealtor Its a little sad that this snarky blog hasnt posted since 2009. They describe themselves as a non-profit organization devoted to championing and promoting excellence in all forms of real estate advertising and design. In reality, they are championing the use of bad puns in real estate ads. Getting mentioned here is probably not a good thing.
- Lovelylisting.com- There are some real doozies here. I think this is the best (worst?) collection of bad listing photos on the web these days.
- Seattle Bubbles Real Actual Listing Photos Yet another ongoing collection of bad listing photos.
- Your States List of Infractions (California for example) Its one thing to be made fun of by a bubble blogger, but being on this list is probably the worst press you can get.
- Craigslist Rant and Rave A few years ago, I saw a competitors name show up here and it wasnt pretty. Though Id love to show you some examples, Craigslist postings may be explicitly sexual, scatalogical, offensive, graphic, tasteless, and/or not funny.
What are some websites that you hope to never appear on?