Author

Search Engine Optimization and Marketing
Digital Marketing,

Digital Marketing, Search Engine Optimization and Marketing

Digital marketing or online marketing as it is popularly known is a tool to carry on marketing for our product online.

Direct email marketing, search engine optimization and search engine marketing are few of the tools which come under this category. They are becoming more and more common in the online world. It is a very popular form of advertising,

Media is important now because we have access to a large number of data and more and more people are having access to this large data. They often view and review the data pertaining to customers tastes, ever changing choices, etc.

Other forms of marketing include text messaging, mobile apps, electronic billboards, digital television and radio messages. All are powerful tools to enhance our visibility to the customers.

Digital marketing is an umbrella term for all of your online marketing efforts. Businesses leverage digital channels such as Google search, social media, email, and their websites to connect with their current and prospective customers.

From your website itself to your online branding assets — digital advertising, email marketing, online brochures, and beyond — there’s a huge spectrum of tactics and assets that fall under the umbrella of digital marketing. And the best digital marketers have a clear picture of how each asset or tactic supports their overarching goals.

So What Exactly is Digital Marketing?
It is an umbrella term for all of your online marketing efforts. Businesses leverage digital channels such as Google search, social media, email, and their websites to connect with their current and prospective customers.

From your website itself to your online branding assets — digital advertising, email marketing, online brochures, and beyond — there’s a huge spectrum of tactics and assets that fall under the umbrella of digital marketing. And the best digital marketers have a clear picture of how each asset or tactic supports their overarching goals.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most common assets and tactics:

Assets

Your website
Blog posts
eBooks and whitepapers
Infographics
Interactive tools
Social media channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
Earned online coverage (PR, social media, and reviews)
Online brochures and lookbooks
Branding assets (logos, fonts, etc.)
Tactics

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The process of optimizing your website to ‘rank’ higher in search engine results pages, therefore increasing the amount of organic (or free) traffic that your website receives. (Read this post to teach yourself SEO in 30 days.)

Content Marketing

The creation and promotion of content assets for the purpose of generating brand awareness, traffic growth, lead generation, or customers. (Learn what goes into a modern content marketing strategy here.)

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing refers to the ‘full-funnel’ approach to attracting, converting, closing, and delighting customers using online content.

Social Media Marketing

The practice of promoting your brand and your content on social media channels to increase brand awareness, drive traffic, and generate leads for your business. (Discover 41 resources for learning how to leverage social media marketing here.)

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

A method of driving traffic to your website by paying a publisher every time your ad is clicked. One of the most common types of PPC is Google AdWords.

Affiliate Marketing

A type of performance-based advertising where you receive commission for promoting someone else’s products or services on your website.

Native Advertising

Native advertising refers to advertisements that are primarily content-led and featured on a platform alongside other, non-paid content. BuzzFeed sponsored posts are a good example, but many people also consider social media advertising to be ‘native’ — for example, Facebook and Instagram advertising.

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation refers to the software that exists with the goal of automating marketing actions. Many marketing departments have to automate repetitive tasks such as emails, social media, and other website actions.

Email Marketing

Companies use email marketing as a way of communicating with their audiences. Email is often used to promote content, discounts and events, as well as to direct people towards the business’ website. (Check out these 15 successful email marketing campaigns for inspiration.)

Online PR

Online PR is the practice of securing earned online coverage with digital publications, blogs, and other content-based websites. It’s much like traditional PR, but in the online space.

Digital Marketing Strategy
Digital Marketing,

When You Should Change Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Digital Marketing is continually evolving and this may seem unsettling at times. Strategies that were working in past, might not be effective in the present. Do you know why many businesses fail to get ahead of their competitors? It’s simply because they are not willing to adapt to the ever-changing world of digital media. But, the great thing about a digital marketing strategy is that you can change them on the fly in response to real-time results and analytics data. While this may seem tricky as if you change things too quickly, you may not be able to find if your strategy worked for long-term. But if you wait for a long time, you are likely to waste your two valuable resources: time and money.

With that said, how do you know when its the right time to change your Digital Marketing strategy? To help you keep up with the fast-paced industry, I’ve created this post to help you know when to change your digital marketing strategy.

Below are the 5 signs to help you decide when to quit your existing strategy.

1. Focusing on low-value metrics

If you’re concentrating on low-value metrics like impressions and clicks, you may be missing out because impressions and clicks only let you know about your marketing visibility. And not the real accuracy of your strategies.

2. Only focusing on your brand not on audience needs

Every marketer wants to spread their brand name but you should not overdo by pasting your brand name all over everything. In fact, make your content educational that focus on your audience problems and needs. This would really help you in targeting buyers in initial stages of the buyer’s journey.

3. Over usage of keywords

Although, it’s required to place keywords in your content, Google’s priority always lies in providing reach user experience and relevancy of content. Google has nothing to do with how many times your site shows the keyword like “Digital Marketing Strategy.”

4. Don’t rely on your instinct

Your prior experience is certainly precious. But your decision-making process should not be only based on what worked in the past. It’s a really bad idea as what worked tomorrow may be completely irrelevant today. Therefore guiding your marketing strategy through objective data will only get you better results.

5. Not integrated

Whether it’s about veteran digital marketer, sitting in IT or a start-up company, it’s too common for digital marketing strategies to be finished in silos. It is an easier way but of course, it’s not effective. It’s true that digital approach works best when it’s integrated with traditional channels.

Now you know that if you need to change your digital marketing strategy or not, here is a complete guide to help you build a new, powerful marketing strategy to achieve your online goals.

What are the essential steps for creating an effective digital marketing strategy?

When creating a marketing strategy for your business, always keep your audience first. Set goals, plan your strategy, implement it, and finally measure your success.

  • Research on your target market and competitors
  • Know your audience because if you don’t them, how can you help them
  • Integrate different marketing strategies and use only the correct tools
  • If you don’t have the required skills set, don’t hesitate to purchase special services
  • Identify your online value proposition and apply it across all digital marketing channels
  • Last but definitely not the least, prepare yourself

But before you do something ask yourself few questions. Asking yourself right questions and having their answers in place will certainly help you make the right decisions. I’ve given some Q’s & A’s below to help you out.

Which digital channels are most effective for you and why?

With so many digital channels around, it gets difficult to choose the best one. So you can identify it with these simple basics:

  • Identify the channel where most of your potential customers like to hang out
  • Analyze your target audience behavior
  • Build awareness with Twitter
  • Attend industry events and conferences
  • Social media and newsletters to reach out to your potential customers
  • SEO or combination of SEO and PPC to help you attract more visitors

How to evaluate your digital marketing activities?

Unfortunately, some companies don’t know how to answer this question correctly. If you’re also one of them, don’t feel embarrassed! Just hop on and find out how can you determine the right metrics and evaluate your current digital marketing activities.

  • Identify your target KPI (Key Performance Indicator) to help you understand what’s working
  • Monitor your website traffic and sales to know the necessary statistics about your customers
  • Track and measure your metrics through Google Analytics
  • Survey your site visitors to find if they’re satisfied with your solutions
  • Track ROI, conversions, market share, and sales

How to make your business stand out from the crowd?

In today’s competitive digital market it’s really difficult to make your business stand out from your competitors. But an effective strategy can help you stay ahead of them. Let’s see how.

  • Effectively communicate and educate your customers
  • Stay honest and transparent to build customer’s loyalty
  • Talk less, listen more
  • Be authoritative and helpful in what you do
  • Know your competitors and learn from them
  • Be creative, open-minded, and try new technologies
  • Speak in your audience language
  • Use proof points and testimonials to show you’re the best
Digital Marketing Success
Digital Marketing,

Digital Marketing Success – What It Is Made Of

What are the important parts of digital marketing that you wouldn’t want to miss?

Digital marketing can be simple to complex, depending on how the company designs it. The company can determine whether they need to add or remove some strategies should the need arises. However, there are part of digital marketing that are not and should not be easily discarded. These are the most basic but also most important parts of digital marketing.

For many businesses nowadays, having an effective digital marketing is a major plus but can also be very challenging. If a business is not able to determine well on which part of its digital marketing is really not working, then issues may arise. Here are the most important parts of digital marketing that you should think twice before making any changes.

  • Engaging and Sharable Content Marketing

Content marketing may seem easy for new businessmen, but it is not. A content is not just producing articles or news about your business; it is also be about being informative, engaging and sharable. It should also have keywords that will be easier to find through search engines and will appear on organic searches.

According to a study made by business2community.com, less than 10% of their respondents say that content marketing is not helping their businesses grow. On the same study, 73% claims of having improved brand awareness and 64% on increased traffic due to their content marketing efforts. This goes to show that engaging and sharable content marketing creates better opportunities for companies.

  • Organized Email Marketing

Emails can become a bother to a consumer, especially when it is not sent in an orderly manner and the contents have no significance with the business. Have a schedule on the emails you will send to your consumers and remind them of how great your business is without exaggerating. Make sure that you send information that is relative to your business, products or services and will also be useful on their end.

  • Well-Built and Functional Website Design

Your website is the front of your business and an important component of your digital marketing strategy. Your web design should have a great and lasting impression for your clients and potential clients. Each button and link should direct your clients to where they intend to be and have the information they want to know. If any parts of your website is not working, it may cause your clients to doubt your site.

Your website should also be neat; the less clutter, the better. Remove buttons that are not necessary or place them under tabs. Place information on your homepage that are concise but still informative. Make sure you feature more of your business than other ads. Ads are great since you also get to promote other businesses, but having too many can make your site look annoying. Consumers will also feel frustrated if they accidentally click on an ad instead of a button or tab in your site.

  • Organic SEO

It is very gratifying to see your business on the first pages of search engine result pages. Organic SEO means your content marketing efforts paid off without any need of Pay-Per-Click ads. Organic SEO also helps you gauge the traffic to your site and the return of investment for your digital marketing efforts.

To be part of organic search category means your content is unique and your choice of keywords are mostly searched by consumers. Being included on the first pages of search results will allow your business to have more exposure to your customers and potential customers. This means bigger and better traffic and the potential of making more sales.

  • Mobile Marketing Ready

Making your website mobile ready allows your client or potential client to access your site even when using their smartphones or mobile phones. The use of mobile phones today is no longer just for calling or sending text messages. As technology progresses, mobile phones try to keep up by having the capability of accessing the internet and social media sites with the use of the internet.

  • Active Social Media

Social media has become a part of many company’s digital marketing strategy. It helps them connect to a vast number of consumers in a matter of seconds. The feedback of consumers can be assessed through their posts in social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

Sharing content and answering your consumers’ concerns through your social media accounts indicate how proactive you are in reaching for your consumers. In a study made by IDG or International Data Group in December 2012, 95% of consumers are using social media, with 44% indicating their purchase is affected by the product’s exposure in social media. This shows how significant social media exposure is for businesses, big or small.

  • Efficient Analytics

Marketing analytics is a crucial part of your digital marketing strategy. This will determine your company standing, how well your digital marketing efforts are affecting your business’ sales and what can be lacking on your digital marketing. An efficient analytics can help your business have a solid solution in the issues you encounter and what step you’ll take next.

Having all these elements working harmoniously for your digital marketing will definitely lead your company to a better future. Start on these elements and work your way up. Invest on your digital marketing needs wisely. Getting help from professionals in digital marketing will be a better move if you need any help with your next move in your digital marketing strategy.

The Ultimate Un-Biased Review
Programming,

The Ultimate Un-Biased Review Of The Truth About Abs Program

Now with this review I’m going to break it down into three different sections.

First, I’m going to start off with what the product is, some behind-the-scenes looks at the product, and the background of the creator behind the whole scheme of things. Generally this will be where I give you quality information so you don’t have to go through all the muggy research yourself.

Second, I’ll talk about how this product helps you, the negative things behind it (if any), and if there’s anything comparable to it in existence.

Thirdly, I’d like to give you my complete honest opinion behind this product, and just pour out my honest thoughts about it, so you have a strong opinion behind this to base your decision off. I never want to give false information about a product, but rather I want to be completely open to you guys and help you out any way I can by either recommending it or not.

I want you succeeding with your Fitness Program and truly obtaining your goals, so if that means telling you that a product really isn’t worth your time, I’ll do that.

So, in case you don’t like reading millions of words (I often write too much), let me break down my four sections for review articles into a small list.

1. The basics of the product, what it does, the background, and how it work

2. How the product helps you, the negative feedback, and anything comparable to i

3. My completely honest opinion on the product and a run down of why I feel this way

The Truth About Abs Program

You may or may not have heard of this program but my guess is that you’ve heard of it some way or another. Now there are two types of audiences when it comes to this program: those who stray away from anything that has to do with this, and those who back this up 100% because they’ve personally seen success with this.

Now I’m neither one of these groups of people because honestly, I’ve never tried it and I don’t intend to. I’ll get into exactly why in a minute here. This program has a reputation around the internet, and it isn’t exactly bad or good. It’s just well-known because there are countless review of this program across the internet, and whenever you type in anything related to “six pack abs” this program will pop-up right in your face.

Nine out of ten times, it won’t be the real product sales page, but will usually be a review of the product intending to drive you to want to buy it from a link that they have on their personal review page. This is sort of a “spammy” tactic you see come along with this program a lot, and that’s the reason it has a reputation across the internet.

What Is This Thing?

This product is a complete fat-blasting, abdominals-developing program intended to help you achieve toned, six pack abs, or for women, just a flat stomach. It includes some great videos, dietary guides, and weight loss tips that are virtually unknown by most every individual.

The Author Behind The Program: Mike Geary

Mike Geary is the creator of this program and is well known for his expertise in nutrition and fitness. I’ll be honest, I haven’t personally tried the program, but I’ve read a bunch of reviews and success stories from this program.

Mike Geary has a BS degree from Susquehanna University and is honestly, a Certified Nutrition Specialist and Personal Trainer. I say “honestly” because you’ll hear of so many fake personal trainers and nutrition specialists out there who just use those two qualifications as a means of getting more attention to them. These kind of people are fake and need to get kicked off of the internet, permanently.

However, with Mike Geary it’s a different story. Out of all the reviews I’ve read and testimonials I’ve hear about, there’s been one thing that’s been consistent with this program. This is the fact that Mike Geary truly is what he says he is, and that he does have the knowledge to back up this program’s success.

Now I’m not saying this program is amazing (we’ll get into that soon) but I am saying that the creator behind the program does have a true passion for helping people and also knows what he’s talking about, since he went through that “fat stage” of his life.

And, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you can look past a program’s “testimonials” and all the hype around it and get to the true core of the program when you determine the kind of person who created the product him/herself.

Fun Facts About The Author Mike Geary

He’s been a certified personal trainer and nutrition specialist for over ten years and has helped millions of people get weight off of their waistline. Being a Nutrition Specialist or Personal Trainer, or in Mike’s case BOTH, is an extremely commendable accomplishment and should say something about him.

He constantly is improving and developing his program according to the feedback he receives from customers and he’s put his program through multiple beneficial changes in order to develop a program that really works in getting rid of that belly fat. Constantly improving a product to help others more and more is just something you don’t see nowadays, so when I notice an author constantly updates his program or makes little tweaks here and there, it really gives me confidence in that person and their product.

Again, I’m not saying the product itself is going to revolutionize your life and you HAVE to buy it now, but I’m stating solid facts that affect many consumers’ decisions when they purchase products. This is my way of helping you decide if this program really is for you or if it isn’t. I don’t base my success on how many programs I can get people to buy, but I base my success on whether I helped someone make the right decision to benefit them and ultimately help them get to where they want with their health and physique.

The Ultimate Un-Biased Review
Programming,

The Formula for Successful Market Programs – Finally Revealed

Awhile back, we wrote an Industry White Paper titled “Market Technology: The Missing Link.” In its simplest form, Market Technology outlined a methodology, which advocated that a company’s market program (effectiveness) was, as critical as, the product and services that a company engineered.

Possibly, more important – especially for small-to-medium, sized companies that had to get it right out-of-the gate and did not have the margin for error that larger firms have. Market Programs can make or break a firm. This article discusses a process orientation to define/develop effective, Market Programs, which can impact several areas:

  • Vertical Industry/New Market Development
  • Product Launch Introductions/Roll-Outs
  • Competitive Attack Campaigns
  • Target Account and Opportunity Base Development
  • Distribution Channel & Strategic Alliance Development/Stimulation

As we overview this process, it is necessary to insert a critical role in the organization – the Market Programs Designer. No matter what your firm calls this role, it is essential to have a defined “owner” and skilled individual on staff that can translate critical business insights into effective Market Programs. Without this, your organization will be driven by bold ideas that stumble along or go nowhere.

This is the primary reason that many CEOs are reluctant to put the power stick in the hands of Marketing and invest. If they have been let down by the lack of results in past efforts, it only makes it more difficult for the Marketing Team to have a voice. This may explain the reason that Marketing defaults to trade show coordination, product support, lead generation and collateral development, as their primary focus in many organizations.

Here is a summary of the process steps to feed/fuel effective, Market Programs development:

1. Research Phase (Doing the Homework) – this does not have to be a strict, empirical study. For each program, a range of outside sources should be tapped to obtain or reinforce the insights needed to develop a baseline program profile.

For example, if the focus is on New Product Introduction, then engaging with Industry Associations/Groups that cater to your target segment (niche) and key customers and prospects (and even some ringers – competitors’ customers that selected them over your firm) can be engaged to gain critical insights. Cover your bases – obtain pure, unsolicited responses on Market characteristics, buying attitudes, evaluation/selection criteria, price points, problem-set, perceived or derived benefits (from use), key applications, packaging considerations, economic factors, competitive influences (tactics, options, alternatives, etc.), timing, cost/return considerations (breakeven scenario), roll-out incentives, etc.

This can be garnered in thirty days or less and once you develop a knack, it can become a continuous process. Once the data is collected, have some of your “bright lights” interpret and translate the various inputs into a general Profile. Make sure that this step is not contaminated by individuals that will either incorrectly translate the data or influence it to be what they want it to be. That will only result in ineffective program definition, as we move through the process. Imagine implementing a Program where the timing or other factors were flawed or misjudged – it happens and it results in a bust program.

2. Program Profile – the profile is the baseline that will direct you to the make-up and elements that will fuel and shape the Market Program or campaign. The profile is a composite of the results of the research phase and the translations/interpretations that were made.

Example: Let’s say that your front-end, research indicated Middle Management (those with the problem to solve), within target accounts were ripe for change (given the capabilities of your new product launch), however Senior Management was uncertain or found it difficult to introduce change into the organization, at this stage. To ignore this input and launch a new product targeted at Middle Management (user community) and not factor-in sentiments of Senior Management and timing of launch – may be detrimental to program success.

Certainly, a necessary element of the program may be to conduct an educational webinar for Senior Management or to develop a series of Industry briefs that could bring them up to speed. Each element that was derived from the research phase must be sorted-out this way and then transferred to the Program Profile. When each element is outlined, it is then necessary to evaluate and select the overall, make-up of the campaign.

Successful Market Programs
Programming,

The Benefits of Learning How to Program Computers

I still remember the excitement I felt when I wrote my first basic program on the BBC Micro at school. It was a simple four line program that drew a triangle on the screen. In the early 1980s we enjoyed playing games such as Chuckie Egg and the famous Granny’s Garden on the BBC Micro which was the first computer we were introduced to, but the real excitement was getting the computer to perform tasks in the basic programming language. Simple programs that drew shapes or printed text on the screen weren’t exactly ground-breaking but it was enough to wet my appetite for programming and set me on the path to programming games on other computers such as the Spectrum, Atari ST and Amiga.

In the good old days of the Spectrum you could buy magazines which feature pre-written games in basic code that you could type into your own Spectrum and hope the program ran okay. This was a great way of learning how code works and what commands do what. Books on basic programming were also released that would take you through the basics of commands and structure, and end up programming an entire game. The satisfaction of making things happen was amazing.

So what are the benefits of learning how to program computers? In my personal experience it gives you a sense of achievement to create an entire program from scratch and see it working. Working out how to get the computer to do something is challenging as you try to decide how you are going to do it. The excitement of being able to create your very own game where you make the rules. The joy of other people playing it.

Programming is good for the mind as it involves problem solving. For example: how to get multiple sprites moving across the screen and dropping bullets like the famous Space Invaders game. What to do if a player does something unexpected and the game crashes, how to tell the computer how to deal with these unexpected events. I once spent over a week programming a zoom function into an Art Package I wrote which gave me a great feeling of relief when I finally got it working.

Programming can also be lots of fun and a great hobby. I met some good friends when I was writing programming tutorials for various Atari ST diskzines in the 1990s who I still hear from to this day. We would send each other disks full of programming tools and routines and look forward to the many programs we could create where we were limited only by our imagination. Our creations were reviewed in the top Amiga and ST magazines of the day which is something we all looked forward to.

Finally programming can become a good source of income for you. Creating your own programs can become a reality with the many excellent programming languages available such as App Game Kit which allows you to create software that runs on multiple devices. People always want new software and employers need to find programmers to create it.

There are many game creator programs on the market which require no programming at all but I personally find them limiting. If you want to create your own games or application then I highly recommend you get stuck into some good old fashioned coding with one of the popular programming languages on the market today.

How to Program Computers
Technology,

History of Educational Technology

There is no written evidence which can tell us exactly who has coined the phrase educational technology. Different educationists, scientists and philosophers at different time intervals have put forwarded different definitions of Educational Technology. Educational technology is a multifaceted and integrated process involving people, procedure, ideas, devices, and organization, where technology from different fields of science is borrowed as per the need and requirement of education for implementing, evaluating, and managing solutions to those problems involved in all aspects of human learning.

Educational technology, broadly speaking, has passed through five stages.

The first stage of educational technology is coupled with the use of aids like charts, maps, symbols, models, specimens and concrete materials. The term educational technology was used as synonyms to audio-visual aids.

The second stage of educational technology is associated with the ‘electronic revolution’ with the introduction and establishment of sophisticated hardware and software. Use of various audio-visual aids like projector, magic lanterns, tape-recorder, radio and television brought a revolutionary change in the educational scenario. Accordingly, educational technology concept was taken in terms of these sophisticated instruments and equipments for effective presentation of instructional materials.

The third stage of educational technology is linked with the development of mass media which in turn led to ‘communication revolution’ for instructional purposes. Computer-assisted Instruction (CAI) used for education since 1950s also became popular during this era.

The fourth stage of educational technology is discernible by the individualized process of instruction. The invention of programmed learning and programmed instruction provided a new dimension to educational technology. A system of self-learning based on self-instructional materials and teaching machines emerged.

The latest concept of educational technology is influenced by the concept of system engineering or system approach which focuses on language laboratories, teaching machines, programmed instruction, multimedia technologies and the use of the computer in instruction. According to it, educational technology is a systematic way of designing, carrying out and evaluating the total process of teaching and learning in terms of specific objectives based on research.

Educational technology during the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age
Educational technology, despite the uncertainty of the origin of the term, can be traced back to the time of the three-age system periodization of human prehistory; namely the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age.

Duringthe Stone Age, ignition of fire by rubbing stones, manufacture of various handmade weapon and utensils from stones and clothing practice were some of the simple technological developments of utmost importance. A fraction of Stone Age people developed ocean-worthy outrigger canoe ship technology to migrate from one place to another across the Ocean, by which they developed their first informal education of knowledge of the ocean currents, weather conditions, sailing practice, astronavigation, and star maps. During the later Stone Age period (Neolithic period),for agricultural practice, polished stone tools were made from a variety of hard rocks largely by digging underground tunnels, which can be considered as the first steps in mining technology. The polished axes were so effective that even after appearance of bronze and iron; people used it for clearing forest and the establishment of crop farming.

Although Stone Age cultures left no written records, but archaeological evidences proved their shift from nomadic life to agricultural settlement. Ancient tools conserved in different museums, cave paintings like Altamira Cave in Spain, and other prehistoric art, such as the Venus of Willendorf, Mother Goddess from Laussel, France etc. are some of the evidences in favour of their cultures.

Neolithic Revolution of Stone Age resulted into the appearance of Bronze Age with development of agriculture, animal domestication, and the adoption of permanent settlements. For these practices Bronze Age people further developed metal smelting, with copper and later bronze, an alloy of tin and copper, being the materials of their choice.

The Iron Age people replaced bronze and developed the knowledge of iron smelting technology to lower the cost of living since iron utensils were stronger and cheaper than bronze equivalents. In many Eurasian cultures, the Iron Age was the last period before the development of written scripts.

Benefit Young Children's Education
Technology,

Does Technology Benefit Young Children’s Education?

As parents, all of us have fought the battle with our kids as they are absorbed into a video game or movie on an iPad, tablet or smartphone. We’ve had a better chance of getting the attention of Tom Cruise walking the red carpet than our kids.

Today, it’s common for two-year-olds to be using iPads, elementary schoolers hooked up to video games, and we all suffer (or live with) the challenge of prying your middle-schooler away from the computer long enough to eat a decent meal…

Technology is everywhere and its draw on kids is obvious, but is technology helping our kids learn?
Technology is becoming more social, adaptive, and customized, and as a result, it can be a fantastic teaching tool. That stated, as parents, we need to establish boundaries.

Today, software is connecting kids to online learning communities, tracking kids’ progress through lessons and games, and customizing each students’ experience.

By the time your child is in elementary school, they will probably well-versed in technology.

Learning with Technology at School
Schools are investing more and more in technology. Whether your child’s class uses an interactive Smartboard, laptops, or another device, here are three ways to make sure that technology is used effectively.

Young children love playing with technology, from iPads to digital cameras. What do early childhood practitioners – and parents, too – need to think about before handing kids these gadgets?

Let’s start at the beginning: what is technology in early childhood?
Technology can be as simple as a camera, audio recorder, music player, TV, DVD player, or more recent technology like iPads, tablets, and smartphones used in child care centers, classrooms, or at home.

More than once, I’ve had teachers tell me, “I don’t do technology.” I ask them if they’ve ever taken a digital photo of their students, played a record, tape, or DVD, or give kids headphones to listen to a story.

Teachers have always used technology. The difference is that now teachers are using really powerful tools like iPads and iPhones in their personal and professional lives.

Technology is just a tool.
It shouldn’t be used in classrooms or child care centers because it’s cool, but because teachers can do activities that support the healthy development of children.

Teachers are using digital cameras – a less flashy technology than iPads – in really creative ways to engage children in learning. That may be all they need.

At the same time, teachers need to be able to integrate technology into the classroom or child care center as a social justice matter.

We can’t assume that all children have technology at home.

A lack of exposure could widen the digital divide – that is, the gap between those with and without access to digital technology – and limit some children’s school readiness and early success.

Just as all children need to learn how to handle a book in early literacy, they need to be taught how to use technology, including how to open it, how it works, and how to take care of it.

Experts worry that technology is bad for children.

There are serious concerns about children spending too much time in front of screens, especially given the many screens in children’s lives.

Today, very young children are sitting in front of TVs, playing on iPads and iPhones, and watching their parents take photos on a digital camera, which has its own screen.

Technology and Our Kids
Technology,

Technology and Our Kids

With most people plugged in all the time, I often wonder what effect technology is having on our kids. Some say technology is another helpful learning tool that is making our kids smarter and some say it is having no significant effect at all. Still, others propose that technology use is encouraging social isolation, increasing attentional problems, encouraging unhealthy habits, and ultimately changing our culture and the way humans interact. While there isn’t a causal relationship between technology use and human development, I do think some of the correlations are strong enough to encourage you to limit your children’s screen time.

Is television really that harmful to kids? Depending on the show and duration of watching, yes. Researchers have found that exposure to programs with fast edits and scene cuts that flash unrealistically across the screen are associated with the development of attentional problems in kids. As the brain becomes overwhelmed with changing stimuli, it stops attending to any one thing and starts zoning out. Too much exposure to these frenetic programs gives the brain more practice passively accepting information without deeply processing it. However, not all programs are bad. Kids who watch slow paced television programs like Sesame Street are not as likely to develop attentional problems as kids who watch shows like The Power Puff Girls or Johnny Neutron. Educational shows are slow paced with fewer stimuli on the screen which gives children the opportunity to practice attending to information. Children can then practice making connections between new and past knowledge, manipulating information in working memory, and problem solving. Conclusively, a good rule of thumb is to limit television watching to an hour to two hours a day, and keep an eye out for a glossy-eyed transfixed gaze on your child’s face. This is a sure sign that his or her brain has stopped focusing and it is definitely time to shut off the tube so that he can start thinking, creating, and making sense out of things again (all actions that grow rather than pacify the brain).

When you do shut off the tube, don’t be surprised if you have a melt down on your hands. Technology has an addictive quality because it consistently activates the release of neurotransmitters that are associated with pleasure and reward. There have been cases of addictions to technology in children as young as four-years-old. Recently in Britain, a four-year-old girl was put into intensive rehabilitation therapy for an iPad addiction! I’m sure you know how rewarding it is to sign onto Facebook and see that red notification at the top of the screen, or even more directly how rewarding playing games on your computer can be as you accumulate more “accomplishments.” I am guilty of obsessive compulsively checking my Facebook, email, and blog throughout the day. The common answer to this problems is, “All things in moderation.” While I agree, moderation may be difficult for children to achieve as they do not possess the skills for self discipline and will often take the easy route if not directed by an adult. According to a new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, children spend about 5 hours watching television and movies, 3 hours on the internet, 1 1/2 hours texting on the phone, and a 1/2 hour talking on the phone each day. That’s almost 75 hours of technology use each week, and I am sure these results are mediated by parental controls and interventions. Imagine how much technology children use when left to their own defenses! In a recent Huffington Post article, Dr. Larry Rosen summed it up well, “… we see what happens if you don’t limit these active participation. The child continues to be reinforced in the highly engaging e-world, and more mundane worlds, such as playing with toys or watching TV, pale in comparison.” How are you ever going to get your child to read a black and white boring old book when they could use a flashy, rewarding iPad instead? Children on average spend 38 minutes or less each day reading. Do you see a priority problem here?

With such frequent technology use, it is important to understand if technology use encourages or discourages healthy habits. It’s reported that among heavy technology users, half get C’s or lower in school. Light technology users fair much better, only a quarter of them receiving low marks. There are many factors that could mediate the relationship between technology use and poor grades. One could be decreased hours of sleep. Researchers from the Department of Family and Community Health at the University of Maryland found that children who had three or more technological devices in their rooms got at least 45 minutes less sleep than the average child the same age. Another could be the attention problems that are correlated with frequent technology use. Going further, multitasking, while considered a brilliant skill to have on the job, is proving to be a hindrance to children. It is not uncommon to see a school aged child using a laptop, cell phone, and television while trying to also complete a homework assignment. If we look closer at the laptop, we might see several tabs opened to various social networks and entertainment sites, and the phone itself is a mini computer these days. Thus, while multitasking, children are neglecting to give their studies full attention. This leads to a lack of active studying, a failure to transfer information from short term to long term memory, which leads ultimately to poorer grades in school. Furthermore, it is next to impossible for a child to engage is some of the higher order information processing skills such as making inferences and making connections between ideas when multitasking. We want our children to be deep thinkers, creators, and innovators, not passive information receptors who later regurgitate information without really giving it good thought. Therefore, we should limit access to multiple devices as well as limit duration of use.