Makerspace, Standards, and a Look at Computational Thinking | 21 st Century Educational Technology and Learning on WordPress.com

Makerspace, Standards, and a Look at Computational Thinking | 21 st Century Educational Technology and Learning on WordPress.com

gears-818461_640

As I travel the nation's schools I see wonderful experiences provided to students as educators provide opportunities for thinking and doing. This leads to some amazing learning, if our process is both intentional and aligned with standards. With this thought of being intentional in mind, I thought I would take a moment to bring Makerspace, Computational Thinking, and Content Standards all together. Before reading, please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS, and give me a follow-on Twitter at  mjgormans. I promise you will find some wonderful information coming your way in the posts that follow…So sign up now and please pass this on with a retweet. Also, remember you can book me for a conference or your school district with workshops that are informative, engaging, and practical. Check out my Booking Page and as always… thanks so much!  I am taking dates for spring, summer, and fall of 2018…  Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Special Note and Discount – Think about joining me at FETC this January in sunny Orlando, Florida. I am excited to be a featured speaker at this very  special conference.  Perhaps you might even attend my session or workshops. Follow this link for more information and a discount code. Hope to see you there!

Makerspace, Standards and a Look at Computational Thinking – Michael Gorman

As you might know, I believe all transformative practices must be based in the standards. These standards must include both content and process standards (4C's). Too often, I see wonderful activities that engages students… but also see important standards that could have been incorporated not present in the activity.

The idea behind the Makers Movement includes allowing students to imagine, envision, create, innovate, play, formatively learn, experiment, collaborate, share, and most of all dream of possibilities. The idea of making is not a new concept. In fact, the art of making is at the root and mixed into to the very fabric of our culture. I believe that the amazing innovation we have seen in this country is due to a Maker mentality.. We have long been a culture set on dreaming up possibilities, and then taking the action to make it happen. The initial growth of technology has somewhat taken some of our creativity and produced consumption based thinking. We are now past the initial way of thinking, and the Makers movement allows people to finally use the technology to create and make. As we reflect on this… how are you using the Makerspace idea to engage students in content standards while facilitating and assessing process skills?

As you set, up or evaluate, the Maker movement in your school or district I ask you to think about how you are bringing this movement to the entire school and curriculum. I call it creating a Maker Culture. After-all the concept behind making is not a space… but instead a way of thinking.

For this reason, I think it is important to discuss one of the thinking processes often involved in making. It is the idea of computational thinking. This type of thinking is important not just in high stake testing, but also success in that world after school. Perhaps you have come across the idea of computational thinking in education.  The best way to describe computational thinking is to look at the way a computer thinks… or at least runs a program. This is actually the most important concept a student learns through coding and developing computer programs. We must keep in mind that it is not the coding that is important… but the thinking process. After all… one can use a computer, but not actually use computational thinking skills.

So, what is this skill set? They are best described as the important steps taken to solve a problem and come up with a solution.. As you read these steps think about your own curriculum. Where do you want your students to use computational thinking skills?

  • Decomposition – This involves the ability for students to look at a problem. and Through careful observation students break down a problem or system into smaller, more manageable parts.
  • Pattern recognition – Now that the problem is broken down students must look for similarities among and within the problem. What patterns can be seen and what does this mean?
  • Abstraction – At this stage students begin focusing on the valuable information only, ignoring irrelevant detail. It really is time to look at the specific trees while blurring the forest. While determining what is important… how does this relate to a possible solution?
  • Algorithms – At this point students should be able to develop a step-by-step solution to the problem. They maybe able to also identify rules and procedures to solve the problem

As you can see these abilities are an important part of critical thinking. They allow us to use our human ability to go beyond the computer program. While we have long used subroutines of thinking in class such as determining reasons for a civilization's decline, the twists in a story, the answer to a math story problem, or the use of a dichotomous key, we as the teacher often provide the steps necessary to find the answer. What would happen if our students created the algorithm itself, at least part of the time? How might we assess them in this style of thinking that provides deeper understanding. What if our hour of code turned into solving a real problem? What if we brought a Makers Culture into the classroom and facilitated and assessed computational thinking while emphasizing authentic and real understanding of the standards?

"We can have facts without thinking but we cannot have thinking without facts" – John Dewey

I knew you were wondering when I would bring the Makerspace idea back into the conversation.  I believe John Dewey said it best with the above quote. We must provide our students opportunities to critically think. We must assess them, and they must assess themselves.  We must go beyond engaging activities for the sake of engagement. We must engage the mind!  As Dewy reminds us, providing students the opportunity to think about content is what real learning is all about. Best of all, a new and real understanding will be achieved that no standardized test can stand in the way of.

Ten Ideas to expand Computational Thinking in your Classroom

  1. Take time to embrace the verbs in the standards
  2. Facilitate and assess the 4C's… assessment by teacher, peers, students
  3. Encourage metacognition and the "Habits of the Mind"
  4. Promote collaboration as it expands and enriches the understanding of all involved
  5. Embrace, demand, and facilitate inquiry
  6. Think Webb's DOK and upper Blooms
  7. Remind…. algorithms are steps that anyone can follow, not as many can write one
  8. Support students making and using computational thinking to expand standards
  9. Support standards that are aligned and assessed through making and thinking
  10. Provide content with thinking,,,  plus doing and making

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators. As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st-century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week! Mike (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

 Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C's. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page . Its also not to early to begin thinking of spring, summer, and fall of 2018! Please take a look at my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans. Thanks so much.  Michael Gorman (mjgormans@gmail.com)

Advertisements

Like this:

Like Loading...

Related


6 Noteworthy Finance Tips No Business Can Ignore

6 Noteworthy Finance Tips No Business Can Ignore

If you want your business to be successful and last a good while, you can't forget keeping its financial health in check. It is the key to measuring the financial aspect of the company. While, yes, measuring financial health isn't easy, for small or large businesses, but it is very important.

Getting your finances in order before you take a huge leap is probably a good idea. You can either sit down with a professional or work on it yourself. They're both fine ways to do it, it's all about what floats your boat.

Tilman Fertitta, CEO and sole owner of Landry's Inc., one of the largest restaurant corporations in the US, is probably right when he says, "Don't ever let your business get ahead of the financial side of your business. Accounting, accounting, accounting. Know your number.." Unless you want your business to not do that great, of course.

I think we can all agree that the single biggest reason that businesses fail to succeed is poor management of money. Here are a couple of steps for you to take if you want to improve the financial health of your businesses before your revenue problems grow to a place of no return.

Know What's Happening

Before you move on to doing anything for your business's financial side, know what's really happening. Make sure you know what revenue is coming in, how much is going out, the debt you're in etc.

Believe me, you do not want to be in a position where you have no idea where your money is. Even if you're one who wants to leave the finance side of things to your accountant, you need to know your business's financial condition at all times if you want to stay out of troubled waters.

Keep the dates in order as well. Always stick to deadlines and verify how long your debtors have to settle the debts as well.

Sticking to your word will obviously add to the reputation of your company, and will allow you to build a stable business.

Analyze your Expenses

Before you head out looking for funding, make sure to reconsider the places you're spending.. Make yourself a priority list and stick to it. Learn to budget. Cut out things that are unnecessary. If you have any larger expenses, don't forget that you can always get your hands on a periodic payment plan to help you through the way.

You can always earn money with sales, yes, but reducing your spending will help you in the long run.

Before partnering with anyone make sure you are working with the best option you have, whether it be for insurance companies or suppliers for your business. It's an easy way to save thousands of dollars on top of making better sales.

Marketing Techniques

Right, this one's an easy way for you to boost your business. With all the advancements being made in the industry, we have much better marketing options than we did even 6 months ago. Don't stick to the old ways. You'll have to spend a lot more money to get a result even close to what you desire.

Recommended for You

Webcast, November 30th: How Zendesk Scaled to 100,000 Customers in 150+ Countries - Simply and Beautifully

Today, you can easily market your products to a huge audience through the Internet. Use it to your advantage. Yes, it does take effort and patience but you'll be saving a lot of money and the results are much better. You can take examples from renowned websites like BuzzFeed, Panjiva, and eWorldTrade. These websites not only marketed their products and services through digital marketing but also earned a good amount of business conversions too..

Invoices, Invoices, Invoices

The worst habit you could develop is not keeping invoices. If you don't have invoices properly organized, you're going to have a tense relationship with your partners. Without invoices, there's no way of being sure about any expenses being made. Not only is that going to make it hard for you to keep track of everything, but it will also make your customers doubtful about the legibility of your business.

Learn to keep invoices for the tiniest things. Keep a record of every information when it comes to money. Also, pay attention to making your invoices easy, clear and detailed. Anyone who reads them should be able to understand what's going on.

Send invoices on time, and always keep copies of them with you as well. And if you really want to take this seriously, it doesn't hurt to ask them for an acknowledgment.

Invest your money

Before asking for money externally, invest a good amount of your own. But of course, don't sell all your assets in one go. When you invest your own money and have a record of it, asking for funding is automatically made easier. Most investors or lenders require proof of the amount of equity invested in the business before they invest any of their money into it.

Also, investing your own money will also lessen the pressure for you, as you don't have to pay anyone back, and motivate you to work harder as well to earn back the money you've invested.

You can ask your family and friends as well. Although, keep in mind that sometimes, when businesses don't do so well, relationships can get affected by it too. But it does give you a better chance of obtaining finances.

Alternative funding

It's not unusual for businesses to need a little help when it comes to the money. Every business at some point has needed monetary assistance. But I'd say to only approach banks or other options of financial help after you've done everything on your own. Starting out with a heavy loan is never a good idea. Most businesses do start pretty slowly, so if you pull a huge loan and it takes longer than expected for your business to stabilize, you're going to have a lot of problems, and we're talking courts and cases here.

After your business has some roots, you can think about reaching out to banks for loans or look for expansion grants by the government (not very common but worth a try).

Now, not everyone can get the bank or investors to loan them a few bucks. Crowdfunding is your next option. You can build you crowdfunding strategy, and with the help of the Internet and digital marketing, you can acquire quite a decent amount. There's no way of knowing how much it'll work but it is faster, and there's zero collateral damage in most cases.

Running a business is not easy and definitely not everyone's cup of tea. But with these tips, you can better your chances of building something you're proud of. Don't forget to change your ways with the world, and keep adding to your knowledge if you really are aiming for a successful business.

Deb Dey is the founder and the CEO of a small content writing agency - 3Leaps. … View full profile ›


Six Drivers Of The $700B Mobile Internet

Six Drivers Of The $700B Mobile Internet

Editor's note: Tim Merel is the managing director of Digi-Capital

Mobile internet is all about big numbers. Revenue will more than triple to $700 billion by 2017, there was over $19 billion invested and $94 billion exits in the last 12 months, average sector returns were up to 15.6x all of the money invested over the last three years, public stock market returns were up to 78 percent in the last year, and there are 32 billion-dollar mobile Internet companies already.

Understanding what's driving these big numbers is critical for entrepreneurs, investors and corporates, so let's dig in.

1. Revenue to grow >3x to $700B by 2017

Digi-Capital forecasts mobile Internet will deliver $700 billion revenue in 2017, more than tripling last year's $200 billion. mCommerce will remain dominant, with over half a trillion dollars in sales. The other top earners are $74 billion consumer apps, $53 billion enterprise mobility, $42 billion mobile ad spend and $11 billion wearables.

Mobile internet all sectors

This is the Asian century, so it's not surprising that the largest region for m-commerce growth will be Asia with almost half of global m-commerce at $230 billion. America ($144 billion) and Europe ($113 billion) remain massive growth markets, but Alibaba's swing to 42.9 percent mobile sales from less than 10 percent a year ago shows Asia's strength today.

mCommerce

Consumer apps will deliver over $70 billion revenue by 2017, but will grow beyond the dominant mobile games market. Mobile games drove three-fourths of all mobile apps revenue last year despite having only 40 percent of downloads, but other sectors (such as social, where Facebook's revenue growth is all mobile) could take over half the market by 2017.

Where in-app purchases work brilliantly for games, App-as-a-Service business models are starting to deliver significant growth across sectors.

Consumer apps

2. Record $19.2B invested in last 12 months

Mobile Internet startups raised a record $19.2 billion private investment (excluding IPOs) in the 12 months to Q3 2014, up 232 percent on the corresponding year to Q3 2013. The big money went into m-commerce ($4.2 billion), travel/transport ($3.3 billion), utilities ($1.8 billion) and games ($1.1 billion), with 10 other mobile Internet sectors raising over half a billion dollars each (food and drink, enterprise/B2B, social, tech, advertising/marketing, messaging, medical, photo and video, music and finance).

Mobile internet investment - 19.2B invested

3. Total exits rocketed 7x to record $94B in last 12 months

Mobile Internet exits (trade exits/M&A and IPOs) rocketed 7x to $94 billion in the 12 months to Q3 2014. The massive Facebook/WhatsApp trade exit made the biggest splash, but a hot IPO market took 39 percent of all exits (50 percent excluding WhatsApp).

Mobile internet trade exits and IPOs (last 3 years)

Five sectors delivered over $5 billion, including messaging ($25.8 billion or $4 billion excluding WhatsApp), games ($18 billion), social networking ($17.7 billion), food and drink ($7.7 billion) and lifestyle ($5.1 billion). Another nine sectors saw over $1 billion, with utilities ($3.3 billion), music ($3.1 billion), enterprise mobility/B2B ($2.4 billion), finance ($2.3 billion), advertising/marketing ($1.7 billion), travel/transport ($1.3 billion), photo and video ($1.2 billion), navigation ($1 billion) and m-commerce ($1 billion).

Mobile internet trade exits and IPOs (last 12 months)

4. Early-stage exit returns up to 15.6x

Billion dollar exits might be impressive, but VC and growth equity investors (and their institutional backers) care more about exit returns. So rather than how many dollars you receive, focusing instead on how many dollars you get back for every dollar invested..

Early-stage investors typically hold investments for at least three years, and the three-year average return on investment for mobile Internet to Q3 2014 was 3.5x. That doesn't sound exciting, until you realize this is the return on all the cash invested in all 27 mobile Internet sectors over the last three years. Compared to comparable VC/private equity benchmarks of less than 1.2x, 3.5x is nothing short of spectacular.

Mobile internet exit returns on investment

But averages don't tell the full story, as there were even higher three-year returns for navigation (15.6x), messaging (15.4x or 2.7x excluding WhatsApp), social networking (15x), lifestyle (11.4x), games (9.9x), app store/distribution (9.1x), food and drink (6.7x), music (4.4x) and entertainment (3.5x). Although shorter than the typical investment timeframe (as most investors don't exit within a year), mobile Internet 12-month exit returns accelerated dramatically to average 4.9x, with individual sectors returning up to 36.9x on that basis.

5. Public stock market sectors returned up to 78% in last 12 months

Institutional investors have seen their faith in mobile internet justified, with the Digi-Capital Mobile Internet Index of 78 public companies in and around mobile internet giving a 28 percent return in the last 12 months (versus 20 percent for the S&P 500). There have been even stronger performances across the 15 individual mobile Internet sector indices, with travel/transport (78 percent), social networking (45 percent), navigation (43 percent), messaging (40 percent) and games (39 percent) outperforming the all-mobile Internet (28 percent) return, and tech (27 percent) just below it.

However it hasn't all been plain sailing, with underperformance by lifestyle (13 percent), food and drink (3 percent), enterprise/B2B (-4 percent), music (-5 percent), entertainment (-23 percent), m-commerce (-43 percent), app store/distribution (-51 percent), advertising/marketing (-56 percent) and utilities (-67 percent).

Mobile internet investment - public market returns

6. 32 "billion dollar" mobile internet companies worth total $163B

Sector averages are great, but Digi-Capital's Mobile Internet Billions list analyzes the 32 billion-dollar companies that added $11.4 billion shareholder value in Q3 2014 alone. That's $125 million value added every day of Q3 to reach a combined $163 billion valuation. While some are household names, such as Twitter and WhatsApp, you might not have heard of others like Colopl and Momo.

Mobile internet billions

The companies listed all have substantial parts of their business from mobile Internet, but exclude mobile infrastructure (e.g. Qualcomm), device (e.g. Apple) or substantial but minority mobile Internet businesses (e.g. Tencent with WeChat). The valuations come from a mix of stock markets, acquisitions and fundraising rounds.

As well as adding huge value collectively, there has been a lot of movement in the rankings. Daumkakao (merger of Daum and Kakao) leapt 15 places to a worth of $9.5 billion, followed by Mixi, Square, Tango and AirWatch. Youzu Interactive, Momo, Com2Us, Gumi, Kabam and FunPlus are new to the list, while DeNA, King, GREE, Gungho, Pandora, Waze, Zillow, Snapchat and CyberAgent all lost places.

Mobile internet billions - up, new,down

The diversity of the Mobile Internet Billions companies is as impressive as its scale, spanning games (12), social (5), messaging (4), music (2), utilities (2), enterprise (1), lifestyle (1), m-commerce (1), navigation (1), photo & video (1), productivity (1) and transport (1) sectors. The next billion-dollar company could come from any sector.

Mobile internet billions - what do they do

Geographically the list is dominated by Asia (15) and America (13). Although Asia has the most Mobile Internet Billions companies, they are divided between Japan (8), China (5) and South Korea (2). Europe has Finland (1), Sweden (1) and UK (1), with Israel (1) the only Middle Eastern entry. Looking forward to the 2015 list, our analysis shows Asia's domination will increase and spread more broadly across the region.

Mobile internet billions - where are they

Mobile Internet first-mover advantage is more extreme than in any other technology market in history, so dominating quickly has been worth its weight in gold. Measured by shareholder value added per year since founding, WhatsApp ($4.4 billion per year), Twitter ($3.7 billion per year), Uber ($3.4 billion per year), LINE ($3.3 billion per year), Daumkakao ($2..4 billion per year) and Snapchat ($1.5 billion per year) have outperformed for their investors. If value continues to be added at this rate, the Mobile Internet Billions list could be worth $200 billion next year.

Mobile internet billions - how fast have they added shareholder value

What next?

Past success is not always a good guide for future investment in any sector, so Digi-Capital's Mobile Internet Investment Quadrant highlights opportunities where revenue outperforms investment/consolidation activity. We see major opportunities in m-commerce, app store/distribution, advertising/marketing, enterprise/B2B, wearables, business, education and books, hidden gems in navigation, games and entertainment, and exit opportunities in social.

There are still selective opportunities in health and fitness, music, photo and video, messaging, lifestyle, travel/transport, utilities and finance. This analysis does not guarantee any one sector or company will be a good or bad investment.

Mobile Internet Investment Quadrant

The last 12 months have been incredible for mobile internet, but our analysis shows the best is yet to come for entrepreneurs, investors and corporates. Read more here.

Featured Image: maggee/Shutterstock

6 Ways Social Sharing Can Grow Your Email List

6 Ways Social Sharing Can Grow Your Email List

Crafting great content isn't enough to get your content to go viral. In a world where sharing is social currency, social engagement is more important than ever if you want the world to see your content.

And it could be the key to getting more eyes on your emails (more sharing = more website visitors and exposure to your email sign up forms).

However, shareability is a skill that requires a lot of strategy and iteration. So we teamed up with our friends at AddThis to talk about social sharing. (After all, they are the experts.)

Read on to see what to share, when to share, and how to measure its success.

Sharing is the key to successful content

Sharing can help distribute your content to new audiences that it may not have reached before.

Think of it this way: People share things they find relevant and cool. Content that fits their own personal brand. If you wouldn't want to see it in your own Twitter feed, is it even worth sharing?

It helps to know your customers. Do your research and identify the things these people are sharing and use this as a basis for developing your content.

Ask yourself:

  • Will my audience find this useful?
  • Is there a unique point of view?
  • Does it make the reader feel something?
  • Would you want to share it?

They'll be more likely to share it and your content will get seen by people like them.

Creating shareable content is a skill

The average American spends nearly 20% of their time online browsing social media networks. And during that time, they're being inundated with content. Content that is competing for their attention alongside your own.

So how can you make sure your content is better than the rest?

For starters, it needs to be easy to share. This means adding sharing buttons, interactive elements like Click-to-Tweets, or simply including a note at the end of your content to pass it along to a friend.

It's also worth noting that the types of content that get the most shares are relevant and timely. Take note of trending topics and hashtags and deliver content that works in the moment. (A great way to repurpose your content!)

THIS is the best place to put share buttons

Now that you have a better understanding of the types of content to create, where is the best place to put your social sharing buttons?

We use AddThis on our own blog – those buttons over to your left. We love that they follow the reader as they scroll, so there's no searching around. They aren't intrusive either, which is a plus.

You can also add contextual sharing buttons throughout the content experience. These work best when they feel natural, like when the reader has that "a-ha!" moment.

Here's how to measure the success of your shared content

Likes, shares and retweets are important.

But if the goal of your content is to drive traffic and get more eyes on your content, clicks matter. Bonus points if you can measure the time people spent on your page.

Social sharing can help build your email list

Now that you know that the goal is in the click, how can you utilize that traffic to build up your email list?

Teasing your email content on social is a great start. Letting people know that the best stuff awaits their inbox generates the buzz your list needs.

Make sure that there's a prominent sign up form on the page you're driving traffic to, as well. Just like with social sharing buttons, don't make your reader work too hard to find it. Or better yet, serve it up at an opportune time.

The way we share has shifted in the past decade

Online content has changed significantly over the last 10 years. Brands have to fight more than ever now to get their content in front of the eyes of their target audience.

And people are being more selective about what they're sharing, favoring substance over click bait.

As Really Good Emails put it, brands need to know their audience more than ever in order to serve up great content.

Mark your calendars

We're ending the year with a bang! Join us on Thursday, December 1 at 12pm ET for a very special #EmailChat. We'll be joined by our friends from Litmus, Movable Ink, MailCharts, Really Good Emails, AddThis (and more TBA) to talk about the Best of Email 2016.

This is the one chat you won't want to miss.


We should all be working a four-day week. Here’s why | Owen Jones

We should all be working a four-day week. Here’s why | Owen Jones

Imagine there was a single policy that would slash unemployment and underemployment, tackle health conditions ranging from mental distress to high blood pressure, increase productivity, help the environment, improve family lives, encourage men to do more household tasks, and make people happier. It sounds fantastical, but it exists, and it's overdue: the introduction of a four-day week.

The liberation of workers from excessive work was one of the pioneering demands of the labour movement. From the ashes of the civil war, American trade unionism rallied behind an eight-hour day, "a movement which ran with express speed from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from New England to California", as Karl Marx put it. In 1890 hundreds of thousands thronged into Hyde Park in a historic protest for the same demand. It is a cause that urgently needs reclaiming.

Many Britons work too much. It's not just the 37.5 hours a week clocked up on average by full-time workers; it's the unpaid overtime too. According to the TUC, workers put in 2.1bn unpaid hours last year – that's an astonishing £33.6bn of free labour.

That overwork causes significant damage. Last year, 12.5m work days were lost because of work-related stress, depression or anxiety. The biggest single cause by a long way – in some 44% of cases – was workload. Stress can heighten the risk of all manner of health problems, from high blood pressure to strokes. Research even suggests that working long hours increases the risk of excessive drinking. And then there's the economic cost: over £5bn a year, according to the Health and Safety Executive. No wonder the public health expert John Ashton is among those suggesting a four-day week could improve the nation's health.

So the renewed call for a four-day week from Autonomy Institute is very welcome. "We want to shift people's perspectives, to better work and less work," says the thinktank's Will Stronge. Indeed, a deeply unhealthy distribution of work scars our society. While some are working too much, with damaging consequences for their health and family lives, there are 3.3 million or so "underemployed" workers who want more hours. A four-day week would force a redistribution of these hours, to the benefit of everyone. This will be even more important if automation in sectors such as manufacturing, administration and retail creates more poorly paid work and more underemployment.

A four-day working week could also help tackle climate change: as the New Economics Foundation thinktank notes, countries with shorter working weeks are more likely to have a smaller carbon footprint. This is no economy-wrecking suggestion either. German and Dutch employees work less than we do but their economies are stronger than ours. It could boost productivity: the evidence suggests if you work fewer hours, you are more productive, hour for hour – and less stress means less time off work. Indeed, a recent experiment with a six-hour working day at a Swedish nursing home produced promising results: higher productivity and fewer sick days. If those productivity gains are passed on to staff, working fewer hours doesn't necessarily entail a pay cut.

Then there's the argument for gender equality. Despite the strides made by the women's movement, women still do 60% more unpaid household work on average than men. An extra day off work is not going to inevitably lead to men pulling their weight more at home. But, as Autonomy suggests, a four-day week could be unveiled as part of a drive to promote equal relationships between men and women. A national campaign could encourage men to use their new free time to equally balance household labour, which remains defined by sexist attitudes.

It is heartening to see the resurrection of one of the great early causes of the labour movement. Germany's biggest union, IG Metall, is calling for a 28-hour week for shift workers and those with caring responsibilities.

That said, on its own the demand is not enough. Now that socialism is re-emerging as a political force that can no longer be ignored or ridiculed, the struggle for more time for leisure, family and relaxation should be linked to broader fights. Increased public ownership of the economy should be structured to create more worker self-management and control. If technology means a further reduction in secure work, a universal basic income – a basic stipend paid to all citizens as a right – may become ever more salient.

Sure, work can be a fulfilling activity for some. It strikes me, though, that few would disagree with the notion that we should spend more time with our families, watching our children grow, exercising, reading books, or just relaxing. So much of our lives is surrendered to subordinating ourselves to the needs and whims of others, turning human beings into cash cows rather than independent, well-rounded individuals.

Our social model means economic growth all too often involves concentrating wealth produced by the many into the bank accounts of the few, without improving the lives of the majority. Growth should deliver not just shared prosperity and improved public services but a better balance between work, family and leisure.

Labour politicians now position themselves as the harbingers of a new society, not mere tinkerers with the existing order. That must surely mean building a new economy that lightens the freedom-sapping burden of work. Labour may win the opportunity to build a socialist Britain. If it does, it must be ambitious enough to liberate citizens from the excesses of work.


How to Be a Top Tweeter: 5 Tips That Will Get Your Tweets Noticed

How to Be a Top Tweeter: 5 Tips That Will Get Your Tweets Noticed

Social media is the perfect platform for promoting your content, building your voice as an authority, and making lasting connections.

Twitter lately has been on the rise.

It's had its ups and downs (stock value rising and decreasing), but overall, Twitter is an excellent social media platform for engagement.

With 330 million people active on the platform every month, it's a force to be reckoned with among social platforms.

statista twitter

Screenshot via Statista showing monthly active Twitter user growth

Personally, for me, I've been able to build a community solely through Twitter that is one of the most committed, active, and engaged communities I'd ever had the pleasure of hosting (our weekly Twitter chat, #ContentWritingChat, that has been running every Tuesday for an hour since January 2016).

And with the recent increase to 280 characters, users have more creative room with tweets – more so than the prior 140-character limit Twitter had for years.

Here's an example of how I've been able to take that character limit and get creative with it:

In short, Twitter is quite far from being dead.

But, how exactly can you get to a point of high engagement on Twitter?

What if every time you tweet, you feel like you're shouting in an empty room?

You might feel discouraged. You might wonder if it's worth it.

It is worth it. Absolutely. You've just been going about Twitter the wrong way.

If you want your tweets to get noticed, if you want your network to grow, if you want to promote your content and build your online presence, you have to do a few things, first.

From my own experience on Twitter, I have some easy tips that can get your posts an audience and dramatically improve your experience. Let's dive in!

How to Tweet So People Listen: 5 Twitter Tips for a Lively, Engaged Following

Just like any other worthy goal, it takes a little work to build an engaged network on Twitter.

If you don't have one, your tweets will be like the tree that falls in the woods with no one around. (If no one's there to hear it, does it make a sound?)

Here are some good keys for getting heard when you feel like a lonely tree in the Twitter forest.

1. First, Build Your 'Base' Content

First and foremost, make sure you have an established "base" from which you can share original content. This solves the oft-asked question of "What do I post?!"

This benefits you threefold.

By making sure you have a great "content base," you guarantee that your content:

  • Links to you (important – why share content that always goes to other people and their services/site?).
  • Provides a way for people to discover and buy your services.
  • Promotes your content and extends your reach.

Without a base, none of the above is possible.

You need your site and your inbound content to round out and populate your Twitter page with quality posts. Everything that entails (blogs, service packages, pricing pages, and even your about page) are pieces of content you can share on social and amplify.

But, be careful with the "type" of base content you share.

Focus on your most valuable pieces – blogs, podcast episodes, etc. – instead of your service pages. And, curate content from other sources.

Here's a good identification of how to mix this up.

High-Publication Site

  • Share Your "Value Content:" Blogs, Podcasts, etc. 40-80 percent of the Time. Why does the percentage vary so much? This is based on how much content you create. You must be on a consistent content schedule with your site. I average publishing 2-4 new pieces of content on my base site weekly. We have over 1,000 pieces of past published content. This gives me a great place to share a great deal of content from, so we're closer to the 75 percent share mark.
  • Share Links to Your "Buy Now" Content 2-5 Percent of the Time. Tread very lightly here. Sharing too many links that go straight to a paid product is a huge audience turnoff. People unfollow for this.
  • Share Curated Content 60-40 percent of the time. Again, this depends on how much content you create. If you aren't on a consistent content schedule and have a new site, curate content at a higher rate. I'll mention more on this later, but you need to have 3-5 top influencer sites and publications to share content from that your audience already knows, likes, and trusts. For me, that's a mix of sites like Content Marketing Institute, ProBlogger, Search Engine Journal, and Smart Blogger.

2. Create a Posting Schedule to Share Your Content

Once you establish your base, including a website, blog, and a consistent content output, you should create a plan to share your content.

Daily tweeting is a must. I tweet at least 8/10 times a day, and far more when I'm participating in a Twitter chat.

There's a lot of different advice out there regarding how often you should tweet per day, but, in general, do what works for you. For instance, Twitter recommends "a regular cadence of content," not a specific number of tweets.

Sprout Social says to post 3-5 times a day. Moz says there's no right or wrong answer, but you should tweet depending on your audience and their "appetite."

Test out different amounts of tweets per day and see what gets the best response. The key is simply to do it daily. After all, the "lifespan" of a tweet is a mere 18 minutes! Your feed moves quickly, so it makes sense that you should post multiple times to get the most views/reads/traction.

3. Don't Post Generically – Get Creative

This is a huge point.

Generic posts won't win you any followers.

If you post generically, nothing sets you apart from the millions of other people tweeting the same way.

Instead, you need to be creative when you share your base content.

Make your posts interesting to garner interest.

For instance, instead of just sharing the headline and linking to a recent blog post in a tweet, go further. Tweet a good quote from the body of the post. Create image cards with quotes featuring your best sentences.

The above strategy is an especially good idea when you're sharing a long form, comprehensive piece of content. Give your audience a taste of what's in store if they click your link. Don't just slap the link in a post and call it done.

Here's a great example of an engaging tweet with substance and creativity:

4. Curate Content from Other Thought Leaders

Don't just share your own content; curate it from others in your field or industry.

For example, I have a personal rule for my posts: I share 60 percent of my own content. The other 40 percent is curated. This just means I share great posts and articles from others in my network:


This isn't a hard-and-fast rule, either. The amount of posts you curate and the amount you share that are original will depend on your content output.

Customize your own posting ratio to fit the way you operate. If you don't create a lot of content, share others' content more.

I create a ton of content on multiple sites, so I can do this and not share the same pieces over and over. No matter what, the content I share is always fresh, new and interesting – whether it's mine or somebody else's.

5. Engage, Engage, Engage

Engage. It sounds so simple, but it's huge for getting noticed on Twitter.

There are various ways to do it:

If you're new and need followers, start following.. A great way to gain more followers is to start following people, yourself. Get on Twitter and look for relevant people – those in your industry, for example. Search industry terms to find them, e.g., "content marketer," "entrepreneur," etc. Follow people that look interesting to you.

Do this for 10-20 minutes weekly. The amount of new followers you'll get will surprise you. I've achieved 100 organic followers per week just by doing this alone.

Here's a great infographic from Sprout Social that sums up this strategy:

Check your accounts daily and just talk to people. Talking to people is kind of the point. Make checking notifications and answering people daily a vital part of your Twitter content plan. Don't be one of those content marketers who never checks their Twitter conversations or replies to messages. Twitter is a place for real community and real conversations, but you have to be real, yourself, to initiate it.

Too many marketers just "tweet at" others instead of talking. Don't do that. Converse with, tweet with, talk with your peers. Do this regularly and you'll start to form and join communities. It will also bring trackbacks to your profile and site, which could get you some valuable leads.

START conversations yourself. A great example is @MadalynSklar, who started #VideoReplyDay. Everyone in that thread shares videos almost daily with inside peeks into their lives. These people have become like family to each other and support each other's online endeavors, like live streams.

Bottom line: Don't be afraid to build a community that doesn't yet exist, and don't be afraid to start conversations to do it.

Join weekly Twitter chats. Joining Twitter chats in your industry (there are tons in finance, entrepreneurship, marketing, SEO, freelancing, etc.) is huge! You can walk away with 15-20 new followers and, better yet, lifetime friendships with people who share your passions.

We have a guide to Twitter chats right here if you're unsure how to join in for a chat. In this article we liken them to mini networking events – so true.

They aren't just good for networking, though. They also cultivate partnerships, content collaborations, and more.


If You Engage Like a Human, The ROI Is High

It's simple.

And it's true. If you work at building your Twitter presence like a human, from the ground-up – without too much automation and without handing it off to someone else – you'll naturally and organically gain a following from your own engagement.

Your tweets will get an audience because you will be connected, plugged-in, and present.

"If you build it, they will come."

"Field of Dreams" reference aside, this mantra works.

Now, get out there and start tweeting.

More Twitter Resources Here:

Image Credits
Featured image and graph provided by author.


Digital Learning: How Digital Transformation Creates the New Learning Model

Digital Learning: How Digital Transformation Creates the New Learning Model

In the midst of a digital transformation, the labour market and the business world are undergoing many changes. Businesses are evolving faster and faster, practices change and require people to cultivate their employability by continuously developing both their business skills and their transversal skills. This new paradigm of lifelong learning has a significant impact on the vocational training ecosystem. With digital learning, the players in the sector intend to take advantage of the digital tools to lead agilely the conduct of the change of the formation in the sphere of the company.

Evolution of the cognitive sciences: a considerable contribution to rethinking our learning

With the industrial revolution and then the digital revolution, many companies have regularly questioned their modes of transmission of knowledge in order to adapt them to their cultural (technical and technological environment, uses …) and economic (labor market) changes. With technical and scientific advances, the cognitive sciences have taken an increasingly important place in these reflections.

Learning to learn by decrypting our cognitive mechanisms

Continuous improvement in brain imaging techniques and advances in life sciences (genetics, neurobiology, physiology, cognitive and behavioral sciences, etc.) have led to a better understanding of certain cognitive mechanisms such as reading, concentration or memorization . The discoveries of specialists in these fields have gradually led to a clarification of how the brain learns and forgets throughout life, thus providing man with the keys to learning better!

Leaving the vertical model of transmission of knowledge

This relationship between cognitive science and learning has led to the emergence of a number of pedagogical approaches aimed at optimizing our ways of learning in order to adapt them to the evolutions of our societies. They have led the training actors to rethink the vertical model of knowledge transmission and to shake up the roles of the teacher and the learners. In a context where knowledge is at a click and social networks are part of our everyday life, everyone becomes both a learner and a pedagogue.

Learning recovers its social essence and nourishes the collaborative and contributory values ​​of the web to make its moult. Time for collaborative learning values informal exchanges between peers and oriented towards the acquisition of operational skills that can be mobilized on the ground. As a result, the teacher's posture takes a 180-degree turn, and becomes a facilitator, a guide capable of providing the methodological and motivational elements that will allow each learner to construct his own learning path.

The aim of the pedagogue is no longer to deliver knowledge, but to provide the keys enabling everyone to appropriate it to convert it into practical skills and knowledge. Some approaches have been particularly adapted to this model of sharing and collective construction of knowledge.

While digital offers the opportunity for education and training actors to develop new learning modalities, it must be borne in mind that it will be necessary to accompany the new digital practices in order to adapt them to our capacities and cognitive limitations.

Adapt our learning to our digital environment

By enabling us to illuminate the impact of digital technologies on our learning, cognitive science is one of the keys that will enable digital learning to offer a new, more relevant training offer. Modes of reading, attention ecology, memorization methods, information management…

Digital Learning actors must support the development of new uses that allow each learner, regardless of his/her "digital culture", to orient and make the most of new digital tools. The development of this digital culture of learning also involves the introduction of new digital tools, serving both the new pedagogical approaches and the new requirements of the learners.

"Learner centric" and "adaptive learning" approach: Place the learner on the levers of his / her learning experience

Cognitive sciences are not the only ones that have had an influence on the development of new forms of knowledge transmission. The worlds of cinema, the Web and video games have also made their mark on digital learning.

By digitizing, the training has appropriated certain codes that have proved themselves in the digital domain, in particular the notion of user experience, storytelling, the so-called "user centric" approach or even personal recommendation mechanisms … The latter allowed to address the questions of the place of the emotions in the learning (motivation, commitment, completeness …) as well as the new requirements of mobility, flexibility and personalization of learners to whom traditional face-to-face training had difficulty responding.

Learning with fun, the secrets of gamified learning

In learning gamified, the learner is in control of his learning experience . It has a global vision of its course (objectives, steps …) and its progress thanks to the rewards it has collected by validating a certain number of evaluation steps. To cultivate the commitment and the surpassing of self, each learner can measure himself to the others by means of challenges or by comparing the scores and badges obtained. But collaboration and exchange, especially exploited in network games, are also encouraged and rewarded: they allow conferring a social and collaborative dimension to the learning.

Another essential principle in the world of video games and cinema: the transmedia storytelling . By exploiting different media and different temporalities, it creates the event by deploying an engaging communication strategy before, during and after training. This ensures that the learning system is meaningful by linking the objectives of the training, the operational gains and the strategic stakes of the company. Transmedia storytelling is also an important lever for extending learning and stimulating the development of learners' communities.

The latest trend in the game world, immersive learning exploits Virtual Reality (VR) or Augmented Reality (AR) to offer a learning experience in conditions close to reality. The learner is projected into his or her work environment and confronted with a situation that involves solving a problem or performing a complex task. This allows him to acquire and develop practical skills almost in the workplace. More applied, this approach promotes and reinforces the memorisation of the skills discussed. This method is also particularly useful for field training: it simulates realistic working conditions and environments that are difficult to reproduce in a classroom (firefighters, doctors, nuclear workers, pilots, etc.) .

Learning anywhere and anytime: learning becomes mobile

Relatively recent in the digital learning landscape, mobile learning has quickly become a must! Driven by the massive use of smartphones, the development of 4G or BYOD, this learning modality attracts us through its natural integration with our practices and the flexibility it provides for learning. It responds perfectly to the new expectations of workers who have become more mobile and have less time to learn.

Mobile learning enables students to integrate learning into the continuity of their professional activity, by consulting content from anywhere and at any time. It promotes the development of practical skills especially with the notion of just-in-time learning. The reduced costs of developing and updating learning content also make it attractive for companies.

Each has its own learning path and its educational cocktail

Digital learning does not escape Big Data! The collection and analysis of learning data is at the heart of the evaluation and personalization processes of digital learning. By combining the reported data (user profile) and observed data (navigation data, results with evaluations …), adoptive learning allows each learner to propose a learning path adapted to his objectives, level (skills, gaps, etc..) and the time available. With the rapid development of bots and more generally AI, learning will probably be more and more interactive, personalized and accompanied by the machine.

With the multiplication of pedagogical methods developed in the context of digital learning, the Blended learning approach is certainly the approach that makes the most sense in the process of transforming the vocational training offer. To the players in the digital learning ecosystem to co-build, with the companies they accompany, the pedagogical cocktail most adapted to their cultures, their needs and their strategic objectives to make digital learning a real lever of performance!

See Also: