Category Archives: Tech Trends and Analysis

My Analysis on Social Media and Technological Trends

Web Round up: Tools, Academic News, and Zuck’s status update on Web Freedom

Wow! Spring break has flown by! I can’t believe it is Friday already! While my spring break has been mostly dedicated to catching up on work or trying to get ahead on projects, I took some time to relax and got out and hiked with Scout on Tuesday during our first day of truly nice weather this year (Instagram photos below and to the right of course 🙂 ).

Today’s post is a quick look at some great articles from around the web I’ve been reading over the past week or so that you may have missed.

Thanks so much to the wonderful people on Twitter who shared many of these – you are my go to source for news!

Social Media Tools:

29 Social Media Tools Recommended By the Pros by the always instructive Social Media Examiner

50 Top Tools for Social Media Monitoring, Analytics, and Management by Social Media Today

The (Potential) Pitfalls of Social Media Tools

Duck Dynasty, Amazon Show The Pitfalls Of Big Data – Highly recommend! This article cautions us about relying too much on the info we gather about audiences on social media tools when it comes to informing our decisions. We forget that the audience on social media is not representative of the wider population, and more specifically, our target audience. Reminds me of a lesson I learned in my first research methods class about sampling. 🙂

Academia News and Issues

Lost faculty job offer raises questions about negotiation strategy – Super interesting look at job negotiation and the issues surrounding it. This article tells the story of how negotiating a tenure-track position for one faculty backfired when a university pulled the offer. With job negotiating such a complex and difficult task, this is certainly worth a read.

What Should Students Call Their Professors? – This one raised quite the discussion on my Facebook page among faculty friends. The opinions were diverse. I think the article makes a great point that many students simply don’t know what to call their professors due to the wide array of persons teaching them, from graduate students, to MAs, to Ph.Ds., and so forth.

Zuckerberg on Internet Freedom

Lastly, Mark Zuckerberg posted the following on his Facebook page as a status update I thought I’d share. Though it doesn’t relate to the above, it is noteworthy. Reactions have been mixed, with some calling Zuckerberg a hypocrite given his company’s focus on collecting and using information to market to individuals. Here is his status update (I copied and pasted it):

As the world becomes more complex and governments everywhere struggle, trust in the internet is more important today than ever.

The internet is our shared space. It helps us connect. It spreads opportunity. It enables us to learn. It gives us a voice. It makes us stronger and safer together.

To keep the internet strong, we need to keep it secure. That’s why at Facebook we spend a lot of our energy making our services and the whole internet safer and more secure. We encrypt communications, we use secure protocols for traffic, we encourage people to use multiple factors for authentication and we go out of our way to help fix issues we find in other people’s services.

The internet works because most people and companies do the same. We work together to create this secure environment and make our shared space even better for the world.

This is why I’ve been so confused and frustrated by the repeated reports of the behavior of the US government. When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we’re protecting you against criminals, not our own government.

The US government should be the champion for the internet, not a threat. They need to be much more transparent about what they’re doing, or otherwise people will believe the worst.

I’ve called President Obama to express my frustration over the damage the government is creating for all of our future. Unfortunately, it seems like it will take a very long time for true full reform.

So it’s up to us — all of us — to build the internet we want. Together, we can build a space that is greater and a more important part of the world than anything we have today, but is also safe and secure. I’m committed to seeing this happen, and you can count on Facebook to do our part.

 

I hope you’ve had a great spring break!

-Cheers!

Matt

What I’m reading: Creatively Canceling School; The Future of Organic on Social Media

Hello from snowy West Virginia!

We’re facing over a foot of snow here for sure. Our driveway is measuring 18 inches! Though I’ve got a ton of projects to work on and a puppy who is getting restless since the snow is too tall for her to get outside (see Instagram photos on the column on the right, and below), I want to take a quick minute before strapping my snowshoes on to share a few articles from around the web.

Just for Fun

Well, school is canceled for us today. Though the announcement from Shepherd University wasn’t quite as creative as the Durham Academy’s cancellation in Durham, NC.

In a related vein, I would love your feedback: With all these snow days, how are you handing your classes? Are you Skyping in? Posting assignments on course management systems? I always find it difficult when classes get canceled.  The lack of continuity and the inability to work with students in class is difficult to overcome virtually. But I think I could do a better job in this area. So any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

To the articles:

What’s the future of organic on social media? Content Marketing and Paid Media on Social Media

Second, not too long ago I wrote about the future of content marketing in 2014. I want to follow-up with three articles that provide further discussion of content marketing in 2014.

  1. Gary Schirr wrote another great post on content marketing’s future, in his 4 P’s of Content Marketing
  2. Mark Schaefer has written a response to arguments against his notion of Content Shock, his term for the negative effects of a saturated content landscape coupled with finite consumer attention.
  3. I also am reading Social Mouth’s ““Organic” is Dead, Say Hello to the Age of Paid Media” – an interesting piece about the likely rise of paid advertising, and increased difficulty

So the question remains – if paid is indeed becoming the pathway to audiences on social media, what will the impact be for strategic communication folks? The Social Mouth’s blog post paints a fairly dire picture, if accurate – indicating that access to publics will be increasingly difficult via organic and that paid may be a must. Or, are these worries overblown, these predictions incorrect? Perhaps I am  missing it, but I haven’t seen a lot coming from the PR blogs about this. Just some food for thought.

What’s coming?

I’ve got a few great posts I’ve been working on ready to release in the next few weeks. So look forward to those! For now, stay warm!

-Cheers!

Matt

What is The Future of Content Marketing in 2014?

As I discussed on this blog, 2013 was to be the year of content marketing. (Here are all my posts on content marketing)

Recently, Gary Shirr (@ProfessorGary) brought up an interesting point in a discussion post he made to the Teaching Social Media Marketing LinkedIn group I’m a part of. It got me thinking quite a bit.

In essence, he asked what the impact of Facebook shutting down the “Like economy” last December will have on organic social media marketing? (And what the proper mix of paid and organic should be)

Gary (whose blog I highly recommend) also alluded to the problem of a saturated content environment, (What Mark Schaefer calls ‘content shock‘).

While I don’t pretend to have the answers to these questions, I wanted to share the problem here on the blog and put out a few related articles that you may enjoy reading. I hope it helps you jump into the conversation (see the great thread of comments on Gary’s post – cited below)!

So what happened?

Facebook made a change to its newsfeed algorithm resulting in a large decline in visibility of branded Facebook posts in an individual’s news feed.

The impact? Anecdotally, my wife, who runs the Facebook page for an international non-profit, said the change has resulted in a recent decline in her organization’s Facebook page stats.

What’s the Effect?

Gary argues in his post that it is the result of an effort by Facebook to drive more paid advertising (read his post for explanation). As a result, he says, organic won’t be enough to sustain a brand on Facebook.

Mark Schaefer posted a comment in Gary’s blog post that adds further clarity to the issue. In it, Mark is quoting a Facebook exec writing about the change: “On a given day, when the average person visits their News Feed, there are an average of 1,500 possible stories we can show. As a result, competition for each News Feed story is increasing. Pages will likely see changes in distribution resulting in a decline in organic reach.”

In a follow-up post, Gary discusses his recommendations to how businesses should adjust given the change to the Facebook algorithm.

Other Challenges to Content Marketing in 2014

As noted above, Mark Schaefer (@markwschaefer) recently posted about “Content Shock,” his term for the saturated marketplace of content marketing. In essence, he argues that as more people enter the content marketplace, competition for attention increases, and attention becomes increasingly fragmented. This makes sense! But this content is free. So how do you compete with the limitless supply of competition also creating free content? Mark argues that this flood favors those entities with big budgets, and that the cost of social media is rising. Read his post to get the details and more on the why.

Lastly, in a related vein I recently read an article on Shift titled “How Content Marketing Could Kill PR.” In essence, the piece argues that due to the flood of content being created, PR folks are being asked to pitch cruddy content. This may result in a loss of credibility, as those on the receiving end of the pitch are dealt sub par content. In their words, “What could kill public relations is not the content marketing itself, but increasing pressure from brands to pitch mediocre or bad content.”  It is a really interesting read and one I recommend.  So what to do? The simple solution may be “Create Great Content.” But will that really work? Will there be increasing need for PR professionals to help organizations break through this content shocked ocean of content and reach a targeted public?

What do you think? What is the future of content marketing? Is the “market saturated”? And if so, what will the effect be in 2014? How will organizations respond? Is the playing field no longer level for “the little guy?” Will the cost of social media become prohibitive?

Just some thoughts and questions for your Thursday! I hope you have a great one!

-Cheers! Matt

photo CC by Sean MacEntee

 

The Super Social Super Bowl? Great Reads You May Have Missed

 

Another week is almost over.  This weather has really made it challenging to get in the flow of the semester. Classes were canceled on Monday, and school didn’t open until Wednesday at noon. I want to take a quick minute to share some great reads from the week:

Super Social

The big talk this week has, of course, been about the social media and the Super Bowl. Here are a list of great articles I came across about how brands used social media for the big game:

Before

PRNewser’s Study: Doritos, M&Ms, and more score perception bumps with super bowl previews – As we know, brands now release their big super bowl ads before the game. What is the effect? This article explores.

Strategy

audi_snapchat

Fast Company had a great article looking at Audi’s plan for the big game. While many were talking about the dog commercial, what went unnoticed by many was Audi being an early adopter of using Snapchat for advertising. From the reactions I saw via Twitter, people seemed to enjoy Audi’s Snapchat photo memes.  Missed them? They were only around for 24 hours (unlike the 10 second limit for interpersonal messages). These messages were unbranded, and not related to cars. Here is one review. Personally, I applaud Audi for trying something new and different!

Winners and Losers

But the big question is often who are the “winners” and “losers” after all is said and done? Opinions of course vary, but you’ll see some trends emerge on these articles.

PR Daily’s “Social media ups and downs for Super Bowl advertisers” –

Marketing Land’s “25 Most Fantastic Social Media Updates From Brands During the Super Bowl

And The Metrics?

Here are some interesting stats from AllTwitter, including noting that game-related Tweets increased by 800,000 from last year.

And Media Bistro put together an insightful infographic of the social chatter, including a look at sentiment for different brands.

So what was my favorite Super Bowl ad? Putting everything aside, I have to say… Radio Shack’s #InWithTheNew 80s giveaway.

Really!?

Talk about the 80s in your ad (oh, nostalgia! My love for the 80s is only eclipsed by my love for the 90s), give away a table-top Pac Man arcade (I spent many of my high school years saving up for one of these only to never get a chance to buy it!) via Twitter to increase engagement, and you’ve got my attention. Doesn’t that make them the big winner? No. I’m not sure what Radio Shack’s future is… they tried to rebrand themselves to “The Shack” just a few years ago. And I honestly don’t know how long they’ll be around. But I loved the commercial… but it looks like despite my Tweet, I didn’t win that arcade game.

Maybe next year!

That’s all for now! I am hoping for warmer weather and less snow in the coming weeks. Though if my WeatherBug app is correct, I won’t get what I wished for. 😛

-Cheers!

Matt

More on Google and News Releases; New Google Tools; The Death of iGoogle

Scout on the stairs

It has been a very busy few weeks here. Good news: It is Friday and time for another web roundup! And I will be turning in my mid-term tenure review portfolio today! wahoo!

Great articles from around the web:

Recently, the great blog SpinSucks posted an article reminding practitioners about the recent changes from Google that can have a negative impact on your news release. Here are their tips on how to avoid a Google penalty! I wrote about this several weeks ago if you care to learn more about the WHY behind these needed changes to news release writing online.

Wendy’s Hilarious and Clever Social Media Campaign – Here’s a great article about the latest from Wendy’s – a series of nonsensical soap opera style videos with real user tweets as the script. Absolutely clever. Absolutely hilarious. Check them out!

And, since I like to talk about cool tools for both in the classroom and for productivity for professors, here is a great list of 14 Google tools you may not know existed. While I knew a many of them, I found some cool new tools from this list, some of which are useful in the classroom – like Google’s NGram viewer that would be great for infographics! Btw, I’ve got a few more productivity post tips in the works.

How Social Media Killed iGoogle – Do you remember the customizable landing page? I do. I never got into it. This post helps me understand why – information gathering via social media, including incidental exposure, has killed the personalized portal.

Lastly, happy to see, though I suppose you already knew this 😉 – more professors are using social media in the classroom to teach.

How would you use iPads in the classroom?

Recently, another faculty member and I secured funding to get 10 iPads for our department (6 minis and 4 retinas). While we have some great plans on what we’d like to do with the iPads, I’d love any ideas and suggestions you have on how we can maximize our use of the iPads for learning. What creative ideas and suggestions do you have for using iPads in the classroom? If you’re using iPads in your classes, how are you using them? What has your experience been like? Please share your comments below, via Twitter, or G+. Thanks so much!

Scout update!

Lastly, a quick update for the Scout fans! Scout is growing up so very quickly! I have lost count of how many weeks old she is now, but she’s 27 pounds (she was 14 when we first brought her to the vet a few weeks after we got her).

We’ve spent a lot of time training her (I highly recommend The Power of Positive Dog Training) and taking her to a “puppy kindergarten” class. She recently passed her first puppy class, and we are hoping to enroll her in the next stage. She has been a joy and I have learned a lot – it has been a growing and learning experience for me!  A few weeks ago, we traveled to Pittsburg for a work function for Kelin. During that time, Scout got a chance to visit the breeder where she came from. She got to see her mother and sister. You can follow Scout on Instagram! Scout was confused by  her first Halloween, barking at the children! But she soon settled in. Thanksgiving will be fun!

The fascinating origins of the iPhone and Twitter you didn’t know

What is the story behind great technological innovations?  What was it like for those involved in making them? What were the struggles? The “aha!” moments?

I recently came across two great articles from the New York Times Magazine that tell the story (both myth and reality) of two of the biggest innovations in recent history: the iPhone and Twitter.

I share a lot of content across the social web (follow me on Twitter 🙂 – @mjkushin). But I want to take a moment to share these in depth articles on my blog and talk about them a little bit because they are two of the most insightful and enjoyable reads I have come across in months. While both are a bit long, I strongly encourage you to take time and read them.

Now I’ve been a Twitter user for several years. But I’ve never owned an iPhone. In fact, the iPhone came to be when I was in grad school and though while all my friends back home who were working had one, I couldn’t justify the expense on a TA’s stipend.  And besides, I grew up a Windows kid ever since we got our Packard Bell 486 back in the early 90s. While I use a Mac now, I wouldn’t say I’m a full-fledged Mac fan.  But the iPhone story below really gave me new respect for the innovation that was the iPhone and just how groundbreaking it truly was. It has been a few short years and we take for granted the multi-touch, the great picture, and the ability to do so much with a little computer in our pockets. But it wasn’t always that way…

“And Then Steve Said, ‘Let There Be an iPhone’” From NYTimes Magazine tells the stressful and secretive story of the invention – from concept to reality – of the iPhone through the eyes of Andy Grignon, an iPhone engineer. It is a lengthy and thorough article that tells the story about the launch of the iPhone by Steve Jobs at MacWorld in San Fran, 2007.  It is absolutely fascinating to see the guts and forcefulness of Steve Jobs. Though the audience probably never realized it, the iPhone presented at MacWorld barely worked. So how did they make it happen? You’ll have to read the article to find out.

All Is fair in Love and Twitter” from NYTimes Magazine is the story of a simple idea – a service that allows people to share what they’re doing right now. That idea became Twitter, which we recently heard is going public. What you may not know is that Twitter exists perhaps because another company failed, a podcasting company called Odeo. Interestingly, this also has to do with Apple… but I’ll let you read the article to find out.

I hope you enjoy these articles as much as I did. These histories, and though recent that’s what they are, area fascinating!

– Cheers!

Matt

photos: top – Creative Commons wikipedia | copyright Twitter

The Dream of Content Curators is Alive with Portlandia

Yes, this title is a corny attempt to play on the popular skit from the first Portlandia episode. But the reference got your attention, so let’s proceed… 🙂

I’ll admit it. I love Portlandia. My wife has family from the great state of Oregon and so when I was living in Pullman, WA while getting my Ph.D. at WSU, we traveled to Portland numerous times. I love the city and I can’t help but miss it every time I watch an episode.

A recent blog post on the Portlandia page on the IFC website highlights a New York Times article about chefs feeding chickens high-quality feed in order to produce super tasty chicken. The brief post mocks the issue, using it to share a funny clip from a Portlandia episode where two characters humorously attempt to order a chicken meal at a restaurant but get caught up in the details of how the chicken was raised (asking questions such as, “how big is the area where the chickens are able to roam free?”).

In this case, the folks behind the Portlandia IFC blog do a simple thing very well: they curate content. They take a news story and relate it back to their show in a wonderfully creative and funny way.

Content curation is a great content marketing tool (see my other content marketing posts) for anyone running a social media campaign. Convince and Convert defines content curation as “the art and science of finding and sharing quality content on a specific topic. Curation helps you build an audience. You then have a larger group of people with whom to share your own content, and who can spread the word.” (Check out Convince and Convert’s “5 steps for content curation success…eventually“) . In other words, the social media team monitors the web for relevant content, and uses that content to share it directly with their audience, uses it to create their own content, or relates it back to their own content. Sharing relevant content directly with your audience builds your organization up as a trusted source for information on a subject and is further beneficial because it is hard to constantly come up with new content. It is also useful for new story ideas for creating your own content (like in the chicken example discussed on this posts).

I talk about content curation in my classes but struggle to find great examples to show students just what can be accomplished via curation. I’m glad to have found a fun example that students will hopefully enjoy.

Posting relevant content on IFC/Portlandia website or social media accounts often keeps Portlandia fans engaged with the show, remembering favorite skits, and looking forward to more (such as the new season, season 4 due out next year!). For example, the Facebook Portlandia page often posts single shots with text in a meme style of particularly funny moments from the show.

In my opinion, few do it better than this.

photo of Portland credit: – Paul Horner

bottom –

The Link Schemes Change by Google: Why I Am Not Afraid!

I recently posted on the impact the change to Google’s link schemes is having on what we should teach students about writing press releases for the web. But what does this change mean? There are some concern around the web that this is going to have a very negative impact on PR. There again, some seem to be completely ignoring this issue.

Here is my reaction.

(Note: I should have more clearly emphasized in my original post that this lesson extends beyond press releases into other online articles distributed on other websites – like online article marketing campaigns and widespread guest blog campaigns).

Is Google’s update to its link schemes the beginning of the end of PR as Foremski warns?

Clearly this update places greater importance on creating compelling content that folks want to share organically, or to use Google’s terminology “naturally.”

Will this change devalue the press release? From my standpoint as an educator: Honestly, I’m not too worried about it. I don’t think you should be either.

I like Jason Kintzler’s view on the subject in 5 Ways Google Just Helped the PR Industry (And I like what his team is doing at PitchEngine. Maybe that’s why we are using PitchEngine for our social media release assignment). Particularly, I like his point on engagement – that relevant content is content that meets what an audience is looking for which increases the likelihood that it will get shared. But he also warns that unless folks “wake up” (his terms) “they will be replaced by other seemingly unthreatening parts of marketing and communications.”

So why am I not worried?

Because the savvy strategic communicators you and I are seeking to educate are storytellers, not press release machines. They are creating content for an interactive and interconnected multimediascape that users will find, enjoy, and want to share, naturally.

Wherever communication industries are going or not is fine with me. And I think it should be with other educators as well.

That’s because I believe If someone is going to come along and lead communication and relationship building online, it is going to be the type of student I and many others want to teach. That is what excites me about students. They aren’t afraid. They learn, adapt, innovate, and are not confined by “how something has always been done.”

I believe our goals as educators should be to strive to prepare ourselves and to help our fellow educators prepare our students to be the ones with the skill sets to lead that wave, whatever it is going to be.  I don’t know everything, things keep changing, and I’ve got a ton to learn! Isn’t that empowering and motivating?

I am not one for “how it has always been done.” And I know of a ton of educators who are they same. They are the folks bravely driving innovation and new ideas, experimenting, thinking about what’s around the corner, and not afraid to take risks and learn from them. The dozens of educators I have met, follow online, or otherwise observed (such as wonderful Promising Professor presentations at AEJMC!) are not stagnant. They are passionate about change.

Whether this or any future change by Google or some other entity means the press release has less value than ever or not, it shouldn’t matter if we 1) are adaptable and innovative educators, and 2) are teaching our students to be strong writers for the web with an eye for engaging content.

Maybe what I’m trying to say is, what an exciting time it is to be an educator!

I hope you all have an amazing semester! Today is our first day. I look forward to learning from you and growing over the coming months!

Next week I will share how I am teaching writing press releases for the web as part of my Writing Across Platforms course.

photo credit: jonrawlinson via photopin cc

Teach PR Writing? You Need to Know about Google’s Updated Link Schemes

Google recently updated its link schemes and it means an important change to how we teach students to write press releases for the web. This is because the change directly targets articles or press releases distributed on other websites, like an online wire service.

I’ve written a lot on this blog about teaching students to write for the web. And this is the biggest change I’ve seen to what we should teach since starting this blog.

Google wants links to your site to emerge naturally, that is organically via its popularity on the web because others like it and link to it via Tweets, blog posts, etc. That doesn’t include a press release, because essentially a press release is seen by Google as an advertisement you are putting out to drive traffic to your site. Google calls this “unnatural.”

“Lots of links, lots of repeated key words, and multiple postings of a press release to different sites, are all red flags to Google under the new rules. Such actions are viewed by Google as blatant attempts to trick its algorithm into ranking a site higher than its allotted position,” writes Tom Foremski.

When Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable asked Google Switzerland’s john Mueller “Why were press releases called out?” during the July 29 Webmaster Central Google Hangout, Mueller replied: “It is something that a lot of people are doing to try to promote the website. That’s something that we want to make clear, that we essentially see this as an unnatural link…” Later in the hangout, Mueller likened a press release to an advertisement. He is saying this in the sense, again, that the purpose of the press release distributed on the web is to drive traffic to a client’s site, the way an online advertisement does. I.e., an “unnatural” link. Of course, the purpose of a press release is to do more than drive traffic to your site, but not in Google’s eyes.

You can see this exchange by watching the first 10 minutes or so of the below video:

So what to do?

Having keywords be linked has been Best Practices for press releases over the past several years (in fact, if you have old press releases up it is best to go change them to the new format or risk hurting your client’s PageRank). I was planning to go into my Writing Across Platforms class (See syllabus. See other blog posts about the class) this fall with the advice to optimize keywords with links in the Social Media News Release assignment. As a result of this change by Google, this is what I’ll be telling my students:

Be safe:

Link Sparingly

nofollow all URLs in press releases and distributed articles on web.

Code for no-following:
nofollow-google-linkschemes
Why I’m telling them this:

I spent a great deal of time researching this new change and reading through varying opinions and reactions to the new link scheme update. While opinions differed slightly, Mueller’s own advice seems to be to no-follow all URLs just to be safe.

The penalty for upsetting Google? Possibly having your client’s site drop in ranking on Google search results – and no one wants that! In fact, in an article with the alarmist title “Did Google just kill PR agencies?” Tom Foremski warns ” PR agencies could be held liable for the damage they caused to the online reputation of client businesses through the execution of normal practices. It could lead to legal action and compensation claims on millions of dollars in lost sales. ”

So it seems best to me to not risk it.

Some great articles to learn more about this change and see what others are advising (note: I got many of these from a great podcast on For Immediate Release last week – listed below):

image CC Schmector

Web Roundup: Social Media rocks AEJMC 2013; Hot articles impacting

After a great trip to Washington DC and a wonderful #AEJMC2013 conference, I am back in West Virginia enjoying the last few days before classes start. Though I didn’t get to do all the things I had hoped nor meet all the great people I’ve gotten to know on social media at the conference, I came away from AEJMC having learned a lot.

Two quick observations:

1) As a field, our understanding of social media is growing exponentially! –  When I started researching YouTube and the 2006 election, not many scholars were looking into the new medium. Walking around the conference, I saw tons of very interesting and exciting studies and had a great time talking to folks with great research questions and findings.

2) Coverage of #AEJMC2013  on social media was robust, insightful, and engaging – Here are a few cool stats:

A visual display of #AEJMC2013 Tweets 

And:

The PR division of AEJMC was a clear leader when it came to coverage across platforms including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Storify.

Though my own access to the Internet was limited by poor to nonexistent cell phone coverage, I was able to follow along via my tablet. At the 2008 NCA conference in San Diego, I met one person using Twitter via an iPhone at the conference (it wasn’t me) and we later connected online. This year, I’ve met a number of great people either in person or via the #AEJMC2013 hashtag. I’m excited to learn from them! In fact, the difference between people Tweeting about the conference and “thinking social media” to express their experiences was noticeably up from just two years ago in St. Louis, a great deal in part due to the proliferation of smart phones I imagine.

A few articles with big implications for Education this week:

  • Majoring in a Professor – Insight Higher Ed – This study finds that a student’s choice of major is most influenced by the quality of introductory professor” This article explores the role that a student’s first experience with a major via a professor teaching an introductory course has in whether that student will major in that field. As the article states: “Maybe it’s much more simple: Undergraduates are significantly more likely to major in a field if they have an inspiring and caring faculty member in their introduction to the field. And they are equally likely to write off a field based on a single negative experience with a professor.” Read more on the potential implications of this finding. 
  • A letter from a high school teacher warns college professors about the incoming group of students went viral – The author, retired teacher Kenneth Beirnstein, argues that mandating testing and the No Child Left Behind program have hurt critical thinking and writing among the burgeoning student population and asks professors not to hold high school teachers who have little control over these matters responsible. But not many people have seen the follow-up. After I tweeted this article, he Tweeted me back stating he was returning to the classroom, and here is why. The piece is moving and motivational, as Kenneth proclaims “because even with the restrictions that exist I believe I can make a difference for my students” and ” because public schools are too important for me to abandon the field of conflict on their behalf.”

scout

That’s all for now!  Hope you are relaxing before the semester starts! Kelin and I are so excited to be picking up our new puppy, Scout, on Wednesday.   Scout (pictured above) is a Bergamasco, an Italian Sheepherding dog! I’ll admit, as a first time dog owner I am a bit nervous! Advice gladly accepted!

-Cheers!

Matt