Afidence is now offering an Outsourced Chief Information Officer (CIO) program which can be a game-changer for your small to medium business (SMB). By having a part-time CIO on your executive staff, you can gain the technological vision to move your organization forward without the costs and support issues that a full-time CIO would require.
Viewing entries tagged
Since 1993, Oxford Physical Therapy Centers has provided progressive care while adhering to the highest standards of physical therapy services. Oxford Physical Therapy Centers has 13 locations in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas.
“Charity First”— Afidence would like to welcome new client, Bishop Brossart High School.
We live in enterprise world. The floor in this world has the Microsoft logo on it (Server and Windows) and some of the most important and common buildings are Microsoft buildings (i.e. SharePoint and Office). Other buildings in this world are built by companies like Oracle, Salesforce, and SAP, but this world relies on that Microsoft floor.
As I walked into the David H. Ponitz Sinclair Center where the 10th Annual Taste of IT was to take place, people bustled about setting up booths and chatting with their neighbors. Stephanie, our events coordinator and lead, smiled and welcomed me to the event. Information technology companies filled the floor, their banners featuring logos and calls to action. Each booth seemed to have its own theme and activity. One booth even had a virtual Lego builder! I was thrilled to be there and ready to make connections. Speakers and breakout sessions were to take place throughout the day.
On Sunday September 25th, Afidence employees gathered to donate their time at the Cyber Seniors event held at Cedar Village in Mason. We gathered to help bridge the gap between today’s technology and any senior citizen who was willing to let us help make their interactions with technology a little easier.
"It's easy to look back at Palm's story arc from 1992 to 2012 and feel a sense of loss and sadness — this was a company that pioneered PDAs, popularized smartphones, and developed a revolutionary new platform on limited resources with an extraordinary concentration of industry talent before meeting its demise at the hands of HP."
As an early adopter of Palm (thanks to Mr. Kesler, way back in the NCG days), this story really saddens me. My Palm experience included the Palm IIIx, Palm V (a fantastic device!), Treo 300, Treo 600, and Treo 650. There are so many things they got right early on, but simply failed to keep innovating. (Are you listening, RIM?)
Think about this: The beauty of Palm OS (back in the Palm/Treo days) was the simplicity and speed of the interface. It catered to business users (95% of the market), not techies (5% of the market). Windows CE (mobile) users criticized the device for a lack of home screen widgets (they stuck to a simple list of app icons) and lack of of true multitasking. Sound familiar?
A lesson for us all . . . ignoring the onslaught of the growing technology trends due to user demands and market innovation, while keeping the technology simple and user friendly, increases the risk of being obsolete within a few short years of cresting the mountain peak of success.
"If you're purchasing a stylus so you can write notes on your iPad, you're going to be disappointed. None of the styli I tested had narrow enough tips to provide the agility to scrawl anything but quick notes, doodles, and scribbles. But, if you're interested in drawing with apps like Paper, you can't go wrong with a few of these options. The Wacom Bamboo Stylus, with its combination of sleek looks, small tip, and great responsiveness is our winner for everyday use. If you're serious about writing on your iPad, the Adonit Jot Pro is the clear choice, while you'll have to be pretty careful with it. If you break the plastic disc on your Adonit, you'll have to wait for a replacement. The Kuel H10 is a fantastic and tiny won't-mind-if-you-lose-it stylus, while the Cosmonaut is unbeatable for diagramming or writing flash cards."
I've tried several of the ones tested. Of those, the Bamboo works best. However, one "boutique" brand (yes, I just said "boutique") that wasn't tested that I'm a huge fan of is iFaraday. I started using their "Basic" model over a year ago, and just recently picked up the Rx II. While these don't have the weighty feel that that Bamboo does, the writing tip itself is much better. Very smooth. Very clean. (Here's a review of the "Basic" model.)
"For companies, cloud computing's new economic model stands in stark contrast to the traditional economic model of IT where we buy technology from a vendor as a capital investment and continue to invest in maintaining and servicing it over time. Traditionally, much of the money allocated to technology has been locked away in capital expense allocations used for buying physical goods. However, cloud services are just that, a service, and require reallocating money to operating expense budgets. This can be a big change when your company must still pay to maintain existing infrastructure. It may even mean that new lines of expenditure must be created if cloud services don't replace existing services. (And you don't need us to tell you how hard it is to create new lines of expenditure.)"
Drue and Daryl make a great point about the change from capital to operational budgeting when transitioning to the cloud. This is something that is often overlooked and can haunt you if the right financial planning isn't done in advance.
Have you ever been in a class or a training session and thought to yourself, “Why doesn’t that woman stop talking?” Last week I thought that, and then realized I was the one talking. I teach in four hour chunks of time. That’s a lot of words… Research has shown that adults don’t learn well in the lecture format of most undergraduate programs. In fact, where I teach we are encouraged to find more interesting alternatives to learning through lecture. I find that even in myself, as I grow older, I learn better when I can engage the information. I want to touch it, walk all the way around it, try it out in different situations. Kind of like buying a pair of shoes. When I was 18, I would buy anything that looked cute. Now I’m much more selective. I think about how they will feel after standing in them for 2 hours, can I run up the stairs in them, will the heel get caught in the sidewalk…
So how can we engage our audiences to learn effectively at whatever level of education we operate?
I’m working with an ethics class this term. It’s a fun adventure into the gray area between right and wrong. The traditional approach to this class is to present a handful of theories of morality and let the students select ones they find most comfortable. Some have criticized this method, because it gives little practical experience in expressing ethics in the workplace.
So I can’t just lecture about this, I have to encourage the students to interact with the ideas and material. Recently, I began looking for some practical experiences for the students. We took on real life cases, allowing them to think seriously about problems such as how to communicate to a boss that you won’t have your department work overtime to correct his continual mistakes. Talk about a sticky situation. How do you navigate that one without getting yourself fired?
We role-played occasionally to get down to the details of what to say. It’s easy to talk ethical situations in a clinical third person way, it’s an entirely different experience to sit down face to face and play it out like it really would happen. After one role-playing session, a student remarked on how hard it actually was to practice this. I could see he was fully engaged in the learning process. (YAY!)
Here is a list of some characteristics of adult learners:
• Adult learners are generally independent and self-directed in learning (they take charge of their own learning experience).
• Adult learners have life experiences to bring into the learning environment. These experiences must be integrated into the current topic being studied.
• Adult learners are most interested in learning about topics that solve problems in their immediate work or personal situations.
• Adults are self-motivated-no rewards needed here.
• Most adult learners are interested in applied learning- things they can apply immediately.
So thinking about these characteristics, what sorts of alternative methods do you use in teaching? Which have been most successful?
As another fiscal quarter closes we've continued to experience an influx of new clients that are unhappy with their current IT provider.
We've found that regardless of whether the client was dazzled by the lower rates typically found in the shop down the street or by the flashy, high-rise vendor the results have been the same -- IT torment and dollars wasted. We also found that the service had nothing to do with the offerings or size of the company, but rather the company's quality and ethics.
Going forward, we want to share with you the top 3 things to be aware of when choosing your IT support vendor:
BEWARE the "Contract". If they are that good, why do they need a contract?
BEWARE the "Kickback". Do they receive financial incentives for recommending and selling the products they recommend to you?
BEWARE the "Bait and Switch". The guy/gal giving you the recommendation most likely won't be the one supporting you . . . if they are, who supports them when they are on vacation or out sick?
A simple way to avoid loss of time and money is to CALL Afidence today before you sign. We have unparalleled client satisfaction and our mission is to be your trusted IT advisor and support vendor, which means we have to be better than good ALL the time!
We hope to hear from you soon . . . call Crystal at 513-234-5822, x441
As English teachers we are accountable for teaching students how to read literature and informational text. However, literacy should be something of a "team sport" that we can all contribute to throughout the education process, not just the English Department. Social Studies, Science, and even Math teachers have the ability to assist in the call to improve literacy. Not only is this integral to preparing students for college and career readiness, but taking a team approach will also help students better comprehend the material as well as help them understand that reading and writing are integral parts of communication and all of life.
The following is a list of “tips”, if you will, that may help the “team approach” outside of English. For instance, what can Science teachers, Social Studies teachers, and Math teachers do to supplement the teaching of reading? A few strategies include:
- Create anticipation guides that list key ideas or questions for students to focus on BEFORE reading that will guide them DURING reading.
- Provide an anticipatory set that provides background knowledge and stimulates interest before reading (science: demonstrations, K-W-L charts, history: guest speaker, thought provoking questions, anticipation guides, math: advance organizers that focus on the major concepts of a piece of text).
- Provide and scaffold graphic organizers that guide the information students should be looking for WHILE reading.
- Double journal entries, where students can ask questions, make connections, observe patterns, etc. WHILE they read.
- Provide students with annotation marks that help them ask questions, identify main ideas and important supporting details, mark confusion, etc. For textbooks that can’t be marked, provide post it notes or bookmarkers where students can physically interact with the text using annotations.
- Teach and utilize questioning strategies such as:
- SQ3R: S (survey: skim text for headings and charts), Q (question: turn headings into questions) 3R( read, recite, review: read to answer questions, answer questions and make notes, reread for details and unanswered questions).
- ReQuest: have partners read a text together, write 2-3 questions to quiz one another (after modeling this as a teacher). Possibly have student one ask questions for first paragraph, student two ask questions after the second paragraph, etc.
- Create question-answer relationship charts that have students use different levels of questions based upon Bloom’s taxonomy. Square One: in the text question, Square Two: compile information and think question, Square Three: question the author, Square Four: judgment/evaluation question. This will need to be highly modeled and scaffolded before it becomes an individual student activity.
This is a very limited and general list, so please check out my sources for more specific ideas and strategies:
- Chapman, Anne. "34: Teaching Strategies Across the Curriculum." Making Sense: Teaching Critical Reading across the Curriculum. New York: College Entrance Examination Board, 1993. Print.
- Fisher, Douglas, and Nancy Frey. Improving Adolescent Literacy: Content Area Strategies at Work. Boston: Pearson, 2012. Print.
- Lee, C.D., Spratly, A. (2010). Reading in the Disciplines: The Challenges of Adolescent Literacy. New York: NY: Carnegie Corporation of New York.
The best news for increasing adolescent literacy is that Ohio has now adopted the Common Core Standards. These standards will insist on shared responsibility of reading, writing, speaking, and listening amongst all the disciplines. This will also mean a shift to more informational text, along with a shift in the complexity of the reading for each grade level (making it more complex). There is now a READING STANDARD for Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subject. Surely, this will produce students who are better prepared for college and future careers.
I’m hoping to hear from Math, Social Studies, and Science teachers on any advice they may have on incorporating their subject into the English curriculum!
I’ve always prided myself on having had good study skills that I had hoped to impart to my children, who are now teenagers in high school. I have one son who was happy to take me up on some (not all!) of my suggestions and another who probably would’ve plugged his ears with his fingers would it not have been completely disrespectful. This was frustrating, as I felt it was my parental responsibility to teach these kids how to prepare for higher level coursework. Then, exactly one year ago, life threw quite a curveball at us. My older son sustained a head injury playing baseball, and had to have emergency surgery, which resulted in us becoming familiar with the term “traumatic brain injury”. We endured months of both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, and are very grateful that today he is doing extremely well, from a physical and cognitive standpoint. Part of his rehabilitation program included daily “cognitive therapy”, which was designed to improve memory skills and give him strategies to enhance his ability to retain new information…….otherwise known as STUDY SKILLS! I can’t tell you how many times I asked his therapist if I could bring in the younger brother for a few sessions, as I really felt this “cognitive therapy” was something that most teens could use. She assured me that insurance wouldn’t go for it, but I was more than welcome to share some of the things I learned with his brother (smile).
I know through talking with friends who have college-aged kids that many students are not well-prepared for the kind of studying necessary for success with higher level coursework. So many students have adjustments to make with being away from home, but also get slapped with the reality of life in higher education. I’ve heard too many stories of kids flopping and floundering with their workloads, calling home in a panic with every exam, and feeling so desperately overwhelmed. It occurred to me that some kids never learn how to study in an independent manner. Sure, they’re often given study guides, which usually help focus the study effort…..but rarely will a study guide cover all the material, or tell a student the best way to use it. Students really need guidance about HOW to study, not just WHAT to study.
I’d like to share some of the ways I’ve heard teachers and therapists help students improve study skills, and invite you to share some of your strategies. I don’t believe helping students learn how to study is time-consuming, but it does take some forethought and planning. It might be helpful to have a bank of ideas! The result is students with better skills for lifelong learning.
The open note quiz: Students are not required to take notes, but are given an “open note” quiz about a week before a chapter exam. Common sense would tell even the most doubting students that taking good notes on the material is in their best interest. This strategy also gets them started on reviewing for the exam well in advance.
Notecards: Another “optional” study tool that has been suggested by some teachers….only the pot is sweetened…..students who turn in their notecards on test day get 5 bonus points on the exam.
The “tri-fold”: I’ve seen a teacher require the completion of a “tri-fold” as a homework assignment. These are great for learning new terms, especially foreign language vocabulary. It may be used like this: The paper is folded in three columns. In the first column, the student writes the word in the foreign language, and the English counterpart goes in the second column. Then the student folds back the first column, and attempts to fill in the third column with the foreign language word. The paper then gets turned over, and the process is repeated. Repetition, repetition, repetition!
Mnemonic devices (e.g. acronyms, word associations)….Try having students draw a picture that they associate with a concept, or come up with a silly phrase to help them remember a list, sequence, or formula. Our son was taught to use these often in his cognitive therapy. I asked him if he still uses the strategies he learned, and he said he absolutely does. Word associations are great for remembering things. When memorizing some of the body systems, he remembered that axillary referred to the armpit area by associating it with Axe deodorant. Hey, whatever it takes!
First 10 elements on the periodic table: Hydrogen, Helium, Lithium, Beryllium, Boron, Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Fluorine, Neon
Word association to help you remember them in order: Hyper Helen Likes Berries Boring Carl Never Opts For Neon
*The key to effective associations is to be sure they are personal to the students. They should come up with their own, unless you have a great one that is catchy and easy to remember!
Encourage multi-modal study habits….Read it, write it, and say it out loud! When we use different senses while studying, this helps file the information in a “deeper drawer” of the brain. This is better for longer retention of the material, and quicker retrieval.
Although most teachers are excellent about giving notice for exams, I do know some who wait until the day or two before the test to give out the study guide. This is usually the signal that students use to start studying, even though it may not be the intention of the teacher for students to wait for the guide. It may be best to give out the study guide at least a few days in advance so students get the hint that it’s time to start preparing! Yes, there will always be procrastinators, and even though you’ve had the exam date written on the board for ten days, some people will wait until they have the study guide in their hot little hands.
With all that teachers have to get done in a very short time, improving the study skills of students may not be high on the priority list for some, but there are some students out there who will truly appreciate it, many who will benefit, and some who will always remember that trick you taught them. If you have any ideas to add, please do! I’m still working on our other son (smile).
I teach in a setting in which the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis are used every day, as naturally as the sun rises in the morning. As a teacher of children with autism, in a specialized program for students with autism, I’ve come to recognize those same principles are simply the basis for good teaching, not just what we do in our special corner of the educational world. Sometimes applying those principles doesn’t come so easily to teachers, as it takes understanding and time to put it all into effective practice. An increasing number of students with special needs are continually being educated in the regular classroom environment causing teachers to be really challenged with meeting the needs of children with a variety of learning styles and issues, and the behavior management piece may be more significant than ever. In writing this article, my hope is to to share some thoughts, ideas, and support to those who are facing such challenges.
A couple of years ago, I was involved in the transition of a student with autism back into their “home school”, and attended a meeting with the staff who were going to be involved in supporting that child’s education. As we discussed things that may come up in the classroom, the teacher commented that sometimes “that positive reinforcement stuff doesn’t work”, and wondered what she should do if that was the case with this student. It became clear to me that she needed a deeper understanding of what “positive reinforcement” means. Her experiences led her to believe that sticker charts and praise for doing the right thing was all she needed. When that didn’t work for some students, she believed the principle had failed her.
Many teachers have classroom reward systems in place, or even school-wide positive behavior support programs, but these may not work effectively with all students. When a student comes from a different background, or has specific learning and/or behavioral issues, these systems may not be individualized enough to help each of those children. That’s when we need to step back and look at what we’re doing more closely, in order to reach those who may be most in need of extra support. Improving your own ability to reinforce/reward appropriate learning behaviors may go a long way to maintaining control in the classroom, as well as increasing learning opportunities for your students.
By definition, positive reinforcement occurs when something following a behavior increases the likely hood that the behavior will occur again. To truly understand positive reinforcement, you need to recognize that what is “reinforcing” to one person may not be to another. You may have a child who loves having a sticker put up on a chart for the entire world to see, and another who could care less. For some students, public praise is attention they seek, and is thoroughly appreciated. For another child, it might be downright embarrassing. I come from a program where students are motivated to complete tasks and learn by some pretty strange things. Would you complete your work for the pleasure of hearing a tape recording of somebody sneezing?!? Probably not, but my point is that when we’re thinking about positive reinforcement, we need to take individual differences and preferences into account. To utilize this tool well, you really need to know your students. This will be especially helpful if you need to develop or carry out a behavior improvement plan for a particular child, but will also help you motivate your class in general.
Finding out what makes your students tick is not always easy, but there are some things you can do to help you learn what interests them:
- For younger students, a classroom discussion about favorite things might give you insight. In Kindergarten, we had a daily morning meeting time with a question of the day, which always helped us learn more about our kids. Older students may be able to fill out an interest survey.
- Parent questionnaires are helpful, especially when the students have difficulty expressing their interests for one reason or another (e.g. age, disability, personality).
- Play with a variety of fun phrases/rituals….see which ones really capture the attention of your students. Although the girls in the class might be totally tickled by hearing, “That’s Bieberiffic!!” the boys in the room might start making wretching noises. We had a class of 6 year olds who absolutely delighted in the times one of us would end a lesson by saying, “You guys were such great listeners, you deserve to be Superstars!” Then we’d all stand up, count down from 10, and strike our best “Superstar” pose. Silly? Absolutely. But it was something that ALL of the students (including 6 students with an autistic spectrum disorder) absolutely loved doing. Most importantly, we saw increased attention and fewer disruptive behaviors during large group lessons.
- Observation!! Watch how your students individually respond to praise/public attention. Watch how they interact with others, and the activities they are drawn to doing when they have choice.
Taking the time to learn more about your individual students, and standing back to look at how you are using positive reinforcement to improve student behavior and learning may help you run your classroom more smoothly and effectively at a time when our job is more challenging than ever. In the near future, I hope to provide you with ideas for using praise more effectively and developing classroom-wide reward systems, as well as adapting classroom and school-wide behavior support systems to those individuals who don’t quite “fit the mold”. Who knows? You may end up with a sneeze-lover in your class one of these days!
Welcome . . .
-Dr. Shelley Tretter
-Johnson Investment counsel
- Koob & Associates
-Workforce Development - Sinclair Community College
-Dodok Wealth & Investment
"Do the most important thing first in the morning, preferably without interruption, for 60 to 90 minutes, with a clear start and stop time."
I cannot agree more. Tackling the more challenging tasks of the day, at least for me, requires a fresh mind. I also find that getting my daily priorities organized the night before (just before leaving work) works well for me. Not only does it help me stay on-task, but I sleep better knowing that I have a handle on what lies ahead.
"What is changed — and what is unchanged — in this newest iteration of the iPad reveals Apple’s priorities. Most important: how things look on screen, how they feel, how smoothly they animate. Not important: a faster CPU. Important: faster graphics processing. (Those last two priorities emphasize the hole that Intel has dug itself. Their expertise — CPUs — is no longer the most important processing bottleneck for personal computing. Graphics are.)"
I'm a tech-geek at heart, but Mr. Gruber is exactly right. Most non-tech people could care less about the CPU speed of their tablet, phone, or PC. However, they do care about the overall experience. How does it look? How does it feel? Does it do what I want it to do, and do it well?
Perhaps a great example of this is the iPhone/iPad approach to screen resolution. In the world of laptops/desktops (Macs included), higher resolution usually equates to more stuff (though smaller) on your screen. On the iPhone/iPad, higher resolutions equates to better looking stuff (same size) on your screen. Which is more important to you?
Business Continuity . . . It’s a big scary topic that most small businesses associate with spending large amounts of money. The thought of giant brown bags with dollar signs on them floating out your window come to mind when business continuity is mentioned. Business continuity is really just planning and preparing for all the operation disruptions that can happen in the life of your business. If you unpack business continuity you will find disaster recovery planning, vendor/contract relationship management, employee management, and economic preparation/planning. Planning for all of these areas is key for any small business in today’s global market place. I want to take a look at one of these areas.
Disaster Recovery . . . It sounds much worse that it really is, most times. I always picture walking up to a house that has been leveled by a storm and pulling pieces of memories out of the scrap that remains. Disaster recovery is a plan and process to make sure you are prepared for things that are a ‘disaster’. Disaster recovery consists of several components: Unit Level recovery (PC’s, Servers), Energy/Power (building, office, equipment, shop/manufacturing lines), and Large scale events (Weather, Global issues, Economic Failure/Downturn, War). For our purposes I am going to drill down into Unit Level Recovery for small businesses.
Chances are . . . If you have data/files/music/pictures/unfinished business plans in Word Doc format, and who doesn’t, you have thought about some sort of disaster recovery plan. You may not call it “Disaster Recovery” *said using epic hero voice* you might just call it ‘backing up my files on a USB stick thingy’. Whatever you call it you want to make sure the things that are critical to your business are safe, secure, and retrievable if your computer dies tomorrow. You might be a once a year type who backs up when taxes roll around or you might be the OCD type that when you add an extra comma to that unfinished business plan you MUST SAVE NOW!!!! However frequent you ‘backup’ your data, we all need to know what options we have in case of a disaster in today’s digital world. I am going to spend my time on three different types of backup that can be used in any combination for disaster recovery at most Small Businesses.
Author: David Rice, Afidence
I teach as an adjunct at a local (Cincinnati) evening MBA program. I love it, it’s energizing, it enhances my creativity, and the students are for the most part excited to learn. Before starting this position, my academic experiences came from the time period of dot matrix printers and floppy disks. We used technology, but just to get our papers printed, or to store some extra charts and graphs. A lot has changed in both technology and learning. Now we interface with students through Blackboard or Edmodo. We fire up the 3M machine with our morning cup of coffee. I just found a high-tech version of the overhead projector, in case you want to show your students something actually printed, –like in a magazine or the newspaper.
I have had a lot of fun exploring these various tools, and consider it a personal accomplishment when I actually get them to work. Each time I use Blackboard, I have at least one “Wow, cool!” moment when I find something new and helpful.
But in the process of teaching in a technologically enhanced environment, I have noticed a new trend developing. The excuses offered by students are often fueled by the technology that is supposed to make the learning environment better.
Just in the past 6 week class module I collected the following “tech-cuses” (Homework or other assignments not completed and blamed on technology).
“Blackboard says I am no longer recognized as a student, so I can’t turn anything in.”
“The 3M lightbulb is going bad, so my entire presentation will have an eerie green glow.”
“My brother swapped computers with me and my presentation is on his.”
“My paper had great formatting before I sent it to you. “
“ I accidentally washed my flash drive and lost all my papers. ”
In response to these, I want to hold a hard line and say, “Too bad, no excuses! “ Yet, this fall my own home computer crashed twice. Even though we had backed up and duplicated important files, the whole family sat down and cried. Too much of our lives wrapped up in that hard drive. I feel these students’ pain.
So I write this post to see your reactions. When a student has a tech-cuse, often it is harder for the student to solve than the old, “My dog ate my homework.” excuse of 30 years ago. They can’t just re-type the paper, because all of their work was done digitally. Do we give them more grace periods, more extensions? It seems counter-intuitive to give extra time to accommodate the systems that should make life and learning easier for us. What do you think?