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LavaCon 2012 Recap | Write Techie

LavaCon 2012 Recap | Write Techie | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Having returned from LavaCon this year, I am more confident in the field of technical communication. Here are my first thoughts on the conference!

 

I only attended the Adobe Day pre-conference event, but I came away with the same feelings! This is a nice, short piece on LavaCon. 
--techcommgeekmom 

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M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications
A collection of all the tech comm topics I find most timely or helpful, with a special emphasis on e-learning and m-learning
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Learnlets » Design like a pro

Learnlets » Design like a pro | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

This is a great blog post by Clark Quinn, e-learning guru whom I think highly of. His post talks about whether there is a science to learning (spoiler: there is) and how e-learning professionals should frame it as learning engineers. It got me wondering how content engineers and other technical communicators beyond those in the e-learning field approach this.  

 

What are you thoughts after reading Clark's post? Answer in the comments section below. 

--techcommgeekmom

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10 American Slang Terms and Phrases That Confuse Brits

10 American Slang Terms and Phrases That Confuse Brits | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Like any other language, American has its idioms. Some are very similar to British English, and it’s not difficult for […]
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

As an American, I'm often trying to learn and understand British and Canadian expressions. But I'm sure that I'm not alone in that some of the expressions in this list I thought were possibly understood by my British friends! Read this...it's interesting. What might be some other American expressions that we Americans take for granted? List your suggestions below in the comments! 

--techcommgeekmom

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The Idea Builder: Dremel Releases a Mass-Market 3D Printer

The Idea Builder: Dremel Releases a Mass-Market 3D Printer | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
With a combination of accessible features, smart packaging, and a $999 price point, it's obvious that the Dremel Idea Builder is a machine aimed squarely at the mass market.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Wow! How cool is this? While the price point is still well out of my budget, it is certainly more affordable than many of its competitors, the biggest one being MakerBot. I think what appeals to me is that Dremel is a well-known brand associated with quality and with providing tools that are user-friendly in the creative arena. So, I have a feeling that this new tool will certainly be reaching for that same quality and user experience.  Time will tell if it truly can compete with other 3D printers on the market in regards to ease of use as well as the quality of the final output products. 

 

Dremel, if you are reading this, I'm more than happy to be a reviewer/tester for this product! ;-)

--techcommgeekmom

 

 

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David Noll's curator insight, September 20, 6:40 AM

wow... may not be for everyone but you got a admit it COOL!

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It's a good thing.

It's a good thing. | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
I know I haven't been on my blog all that much. What can I say? Life gets in the way. As I've mentioned, I've had a busy summer, and it is shaping up to be an even busier autumn. "Why would that be...
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Anonymity, egos, and corporate content

Anonymity, egos, and corporate content | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Corporate content and the processes surrounding it are not about the content creators themselves.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Alan Pringle of Scriptorium has written an excellent article about writing corporate content. I know that while I don't write 99% of the corporate content for the sites I work on, I try to make it a priority to point out when it seems to me that content--especially text--doesn't serve the purpose of the company or group's objective well. Corporate content is all about them, indeed, and as tech writers, we need to provide a positive rhetoric on behalf of our corporate clients. I truly agree with Alan's article. 

 

Seriously, read this!

--techcommgeekmom

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Content Marketing: How To Plan Your Business Blog Posts For A Year - by @charliesaidthat

Content Marketing: How To Plan Your Business Blog Posts For A Year - by @charliesaidthat | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Content Marketing: An Introduction Content marketing is the umbrella term for creating and curating relevant and valuable content with the purpose of attracting and retaining customers. Content Marketing has been a massively growing trend in digital marketing over the past two years. A quick look at Google Trends visually highlights the uptake in the term […
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

While content marketing has been around for a while, it's only in the last year that I've noticed it. My good friend, Charlie Southwell, is quite experienced with it, and he shares his simple breakdown of the strategy of how to make it work for your company. There's some great advice in here. Check it out!

--techcommgeekmom

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Content strategy. You keep using those words.

Content strategy. You keep using those words. | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Content strategy has become buzzwordified, with many disciplines trying to take custody of its definition. It's bigger than marketing, or information architecture, or even editorial, but all these fields are important to a successful outcome.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

This is written by my friend, Helen Mosher, whom I've known for about 25 years. Helen is the one who introduced me to certain alternative bands, knitting, and blogging. We even shared a knitting blog for a time. Anyway, Helen is in the process of figuring out the next steps in her career, and discovered content strategy in the past year or so. She wrote this article as an analogy based on her writing and publishing background. 

 

Do you agree with her assessment? I can say that I do consider myself a content strategist, and my job title happens to be "Web Publisher".  But I also hold many of the other roles that she describes in this article. This is why I most often refer to myself as a "technical communicator", as it is much more of an umbrella term to cover all those different "hats" I wear. Technical communicators have to encompass all these roles. Some might concentrate on one aspect more than others, but I know I have to deal will ALL those aspects on a daily basis. So content strategy is a lot more that it looks, in my view, and it is an all-encompassing role. It's never boring, that's for sure. 

 

Add your comments below, and let me know what you think.  Also, contact Helen if you are interested in hiring her. I know she's looking for additional work right now. 

--techcommgeekmom

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Is It Too Late to Change Career Paths and Become a Programmer?

Is It Too Late to Change Career Paths and Become a Programmer? | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
A Quora user answers the question: Is it too late to learn to code?
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Another article I found a while ago and am just posting now. I don't know that I'd be looking to change careers, but it sure seems that with the surge of companies wanting tech writers who can write APIs, there is a big need for understanding programming languages. One of these days, I'll get around to learning one of these languages, I hope. 

--techcommgeekmom

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The Evolution Of The Employee

The Evolution Of The Employee | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
This concept and the visual was taken from my new book which came out today called, The Future of Work: Attract New Talent, Build Better Leaders, and Create a Competitive Organization. One of the things I have been writing about and have tried to make clear over the past few months is [...]
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

A cousin-in-law of mine turned me on to this article. While it's written generically, I could see how this easily applies to technical communication workers especially. Read it and comment below on what you think. 

--techcommgeekmom

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Megan Coker's comment, September 10, 4:06 PM
Lexibi
Megan Coker's comment, September 10, 4:06 PM
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Megan Coker's comment, September 10, 4:07 PM
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How to Score a Job at a Completely Virtual Company

How to Score a Job at a Completely Virtual Company | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Here are 10 completely virtual companies hiring now -- and some tips on how to score the job.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
I'm catching up with some articles I looked at a while ago and wanted to share. This is one of them. I'm a remote worker for the most part. I had to start commuting 50 miles each way once a week, which isn't too bad, just this calendar year. I wanted to share this info, as I agree with several of the main points, but also save for myself if I find myself someday looking for another position (which isn't happening soon, since it looks like my contract is going to be extended for a third year!). I hope this is helpful, as it seems to me that technical communicators would be great remote workers. --techcommgeekmom
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Julianne Pask's curator insight, August 29, 12:50 PM

I found this an amazing reminder of how the world of work has completely changed since I started in 1980.

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Who Has a License to Drive the Information Superhighways?

Who Has a License to Drive the Information Superhighways? | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
The former U.S. Vice President Al Gore coined the term, "information superhighways" to describe the Internet. It was a great political slogan, and Gore was certainly one of the most internet-friend...
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

My friend Ray Gallon has written an interesting article exploring how we should be looking at the "information superhighways". He's provided some great thought-provoking ideas about how we access these "roadways". Take a look. 

--techcommgeekmom

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Terri Rice's curator insight, August 6, 8:38 AM

Danielle is correct. This is a rather important letter to read, whether you are a parent, teacher, or administrator. We need to remember that children are human beings in the making. They are sponges soaking up everything they see and hear. This means we need to increase the positive to out number the negative things they see and hear. and remember, these little jewels are who will be taking care of us in our dotage. Make sure they know how important they are in the world.

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Microsoft may do the unthinkable to make you dump XP, Vista and Windows 7

Microsoft may do the unthinkable to make you dump XP, Vista and Windows 7 | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Windows is one of Microsoft’s main money makers, and the company is interested in seeing as many current Windows users move to its latest operating system as possible. However, no matter what the company does, there still are plenty of users who are on older Windows versions, including Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. ZDNet has learned that Microsoft may be working on a huge Windows 9 surprise to convince reluctant users to finally move to the latest Windows operating system available. The company is reportedly considering offering some sort of Windows 9 upgrade deal to XP, Vista and Windows 7 users, with a completely free upgrade option also on the table. This isn’t the first time free Windows 9
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

This is interesting news. I can understand dumping Windows XP and Windows Vista, but I admit I'm one of those Windows 7 holdouts myself. While Windows 8.1 does seem to be a slight improvement over Windows 8, I still haven't been entirely convinced that it's time to upgrade yet. Perhaps, if some of these rumors mentioned in the article come to fruition, then I might be tempted. 
--techcommgeekmom 

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Lorraine Elvire Wagenaar's curator insight, August 28, 1:59 AM

Gewoon interessant om te lezen.

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What Happens When a School District Gives Teens Laptops

What Happens When a School District Gives Teens Laptops | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
School officials at one Hoboken school thought it was a no-brainer to give every student a laptop. Now they've decided it was a terrible idea.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

This article comes to me by way of my friend, GeekMom.com editor Andrea Schwalm. 

 

I actually feel outraged reading this. The US wonders why it's behind, and when measures are put in place to provide tools to help kids keep up or get ahead, they aren't working. In this case, it looked like the school district didn't come up with a definitive plan before distributing the laptops out. Kids will be kids, but at the same time, I get the feeling that they haven't been taught that laptops are not toys, but equipment or instruments, and need to be cared for. If a teenager had a high-end smartphone, you KNOW there would be consequences for needing to fix or replace one of those! 

 

My son's small private school gives all the kids laptops--MacBook Air laptops, in fact. They distribute them in September, and take them back in the summer. Every year, parents have to signed waivers and such that say that if something happens to the laptop, especially if the kid is given permission by the parent to bring the laptop home, then any repairs or replacement is on the parent.  The same should happen with school districts as well. I guarantee that a lot more laptops would come back undamaged if parents knew that if something happened to them, they need to replace the machine. Many families can't afford one, so it promotes responsibility. 

 

With a better plan in place on how laptops and tablets can be used in the classroom and for school work, with a written understanding that the device is not a toy but rather an expensive tool to be used and mastered, then perhaps there's hope. The article mentions that other places have made it work. Perhaps the districts where this implementation did not work need to take few lessons from those where it did work. You can't implement something like this without careful consideration and a plan. You need a strategy, and it doesn't sound like Hoboken really thought it out. 

 

Perhaps rather than throwing all those laptops out, they should donate them to another school district who has a plan and be more appreciative of the chance to get kids up to speed in technology. 

 

(Oh, and yes, teacher/staff training is important and lacking, but I could go on about that too. That's part of having a good plan, after all. )

--techcommgeekmom

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Terri Rice's curator insight, July 29, 8:31 AM

Danielle is correct. this is NOT a terrible idea. It just needs adults to be better prepared before they jump into an expensive endeavor. Donating these laptops to a district that can implement a sound plan for maintaining the equipment will allow this wonderful idea to live on!

Estralita Williams's curator insight, July 30, 9:23 AM

Good reading

JNS Learning Systems's curator insight, August 25, 7:24 AM

Have a well-thought out plan before distributing laptops to students

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6 Signs TechComm is Changing: A Call to Arms for Technical Communicators - Acrolinx

6 Signs TechComm is Changing: A Call to Arms for Technical Communicators - Acrolinx | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Companies have long under-appreciated the role of techcomm in their organizations. That’s because management frequently regards technical documentation as a necessary cost, rather than as an opportunity to have a positive impact on customer relationships. Unfortunately, technical communicators often buy into this perception by seeing their value as limited to helping users answer their product …...
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Excellent article by the Acrolinx team! Must read! These are all points that need to be kept in mind, and it's something that I feel like I've been continually hearing about at conferences in the last few years. Read this now!

--techcommgeekmom

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Report: Students Believe Tablets Will Transform the Future of Higher Ed -- Campus Technology

Report: Students Believe Tablets Will Transform the Future of Higher Ed -- Campus Technology | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
The vast majority of undergraduate and graduate students believe tablets will transform the future of higher education, but most still rely on laptops and smartphones for school work, according to a new study conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Pearson.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

This is an interesting study. It shows that mobile is making a big wave in higher ed, but we still haven't transitioned completely off of laptops. I suppose that there will always be a need for keyboards to take notes for a while still. Read this article--interesting insights. 

--techcommgeekmom

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HazelC's curator insight, September 19, 6:08 AM

Something to think about........

Terri Rice's curator insight, September 19, 8:41 AM

Danielle is correct. This article briefly tells how tablets are increasing in usage but have not replaced laptops and smartphones. Tablets provide a tremendous opportunity to expand how educators teach in a traditional classroom. No longer chained to a podium or computer for presentations or lectures, she can move freely around the room while presenting material. Yes, there is a learning curve for utilizing the tablet, but when isn't there a learning curve for new tools. we need to embrace this change and all technology if we are to stay relevant and effective with our students, no matter the age group.

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How to Stalk and Create a Blog Audience Through Empathy

How to Stalk and Create a Blog Audience Through Empathy | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Most likely you have a vague understanding of who your audience is.  To bond with your blog community, you have to overcome this narrow knowledge.  And, you can do it. The process isn't easy. ...
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Darin Hammond has done it again! This excellent article articulates how to keep the humanity in blog writing. Darin and I come from a similar mindset, and I think he explains the part that empathy plays in the process of blog writing very well here. I'm thinking of taking much of this to be a mantra I should remind myself often!

Read this now!

--techcommgeekmom

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Neither your content nor your product are Jimmy Buffett - Sharon Burton, customer experience consultant

Neither your content nor your product are Jimmy Buffett - Sharon Burton, customer experience consultant | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Your products and your content aren't that interesting. Make it easy for your audience to take the action you want.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Today appears to be a day focused on customer experience. Here's another great article by my friend, Sharon Burton, who shares more on this perspective. Read--now!

--techcommgeekmom

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Microsoft to acquire Minecraft for $2.5bn

Microsoft to acquire Minecraft for $2.5bn | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Tech giant Microsoft is to buy Mojang, creators of Minecraft, for $2.5bn, reports the Associated Press.

The phenomenal appeal and success of Minecraft -- just check our archives over the last few years!
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

This is a huge deal, especially if you know the scope of Minecraft. The thing that will be interesting to me is how Microsoft will keep the game family friendly, and in that same vain, how it will take advantage of how school curriculums are using the game. This is not only a huge gaming opportunity for Microsoft, but also one that can promote its participation in its e-learning/educational departments. Minecraft is not only used to teach kids about creating 3-D worlds, but it teaches teamwork and society building among other skills. I know my son's school lets the kids play Minecraft quite a bit during their free period, and it's what has helped my son with his socialization skills. 

 

Let's see what Microsoft does with that. They've certainly acquired a gold mine, that's for sure! 

--techcommgeekmom

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NKMS Tech's curator insight, September 16, 9:23 AM

I've read where this could also be used in the classroom in a creative way. It could encourage problem solving, collaboration, higher level thinking...

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Kids With Autism See Big Gains With Tablets - Disability Scoop

Kids With Autism See Big Gains With Tablets - Disability Scoop | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Even with intervention, many children with autism continue to struggle with communication, but new research suggests that using iPads and other tablets can help
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Here's a feel-good article! I have seen how both tablets, laptops, and even handhelds like smartphones or iPods have been helpful for my own autistic son. I wish some of this technology had come out sooner! It's so good to see that there's some actual data to back the concept that these are invaluable tools for autistic kids, and for those with communications disabilities in general. 

--techcommgeekmom

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Merja Saarela's curator insight, September 13, 4:17 AM

I believe this is very good news for many parents struggling with communication challenges of their autistic child. Reserch results show remarkable progress especially with communication skills. So playing with the tablet seems to be very helpful for these children and their families.

Jorge Luiz Sousa Rego's curator insight, September 14, 9:41 AM

M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications

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Look At The Insane Perks Google Interns Have That You Don't

Look At The Insane Perks Google Interns Have That You Don't | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) — Sitting in a kitchen stocked with free food, a handful of 20-something Google summer interns weigh their favorite perks, but where to begin? With bikes, buses, massages, swimming pools, dance classes, nap pods, part...
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

This article actually infuriated me. Whatever happened to internships that you only earned college credit if you passed? I did one of those for a TV station during my senior year of college. I had to pay for the college credits, pay for my own transporation (50 miles away from my school), and pay for my own meals.  I received no monetary compensation, and it was supposed to help me get a foot into the media industry. We all know how that ended up. 

I can see why companies would want to provide some perks in order to retain these interns as future employees. I get that--it's a marketing thing, in that respect. But these kids have better perks--and in some cases, compensation--than I've had, and I've GOT experience, unlike them. How is that fair? Whatever happened to the "poor college student" and "paying your dues" towards your career? 

I suppose that as a person who still feels like she is "paying (her) dues" at the age of 46, despite having a career and a graduate degree in hand, this seems grossly unfair. Yes, yes, I know the world isn't fair. But really--what does a 20-22 year old need with a $60-80K salary, free food, and all those other perks? Why can't I get a piece of that?

Internships are supposed for the purpose of learning, not getting paid high wages and all the "good things".  Employees have earned a spot to have those perks, but interns haven't. 

I don't know...reading this just made me feel ill. :-(

--techcommgeekmom

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10 Programming Languages You Should Learn in 2014

10 Programming Languages You Should Learn in 2014 | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
With tech jobs on the rise, these 10 programming languages are essential for aspiring developers.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

While this was published a while ago, I only found this recently, and thought it was something worth considering. I don't know that I'll ever be a programmer, but some of these are programming languages that perhaps even knowing a little bit can go a long way. I know my Javascript skills are lacking, and I could see how PHP or Ruby on Rails could be handy. Read this, and see what might be helpful for you. Resources on where to learn these languages are included in the article (online learning!). 

--techcommgeekmom

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Tracey Vickery's curator insight, September 5, 8:13 PM

Definitely a skill the economy values...a bit like foreign languages, will make your resume stand out...even if you do not have a CompSci degree.  This is truly a 21st century skill everyone should learn.  Why not?  There are online sites which allow you to learn coding for free.

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Reuse is a good tactic but a poor strategy

I'm hearing people talk more and more about developing a reuse strategy. This is troubling. Reuse is a tactic at best. It is not a strategy. At least, it is not a good strategy. Content strategy ha...
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

One of the things I like about Mark Baker is that he's not afraid to tell it like it is, and present some counter-thoughts to popular thinking in tech comm that makes a lot of sense. When I saw the headline to this article, I knew I had to read this, and I'm glad I did. One of the things that I have found difficult to apply in my content management position is the practice of reuse as dictated by many. Mark's article supports what I've experienced--it can't always be used as heavily as one would believe.

 

Read this, and tell me what you think about his assessment.

--techcommgeekmom

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Weight Loss is all about content strategy. No, really.

Weight Loss is all about content strategy. No, really. | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Fear not, TechCommGeekMom readers, I am still here! I have had an incredibly busy summer. While some places might have a slow-down during the summer, my summer cranked up instead! I've been so ment...
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Taking Your Blogging Back to Basics - Notes from a Floating Life on scriptogr.am

Notes from a Floating Life | Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

This is a fantastic blog post about...blog posts. Scott Nesbitt does an excellent job of reminding us to keep it simple, and concentrate on the content. My blog has never been one that got caught up in too much "bling", and I'm proud of that. Read what Scott has to say. It's good. 

--techcommgeekmom

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I'm a Mom. (Sorry, I'm Not Sorry.)

I'm a Mom. (Sorry, I'm Not Sorry.) | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Recently over brunch & Bellinis, a mommy friend of mine asked me about an article that I published here on LinkedIn, 7 Sanity-Saving Tips for Busy Mompreneurs. It wasn't that she was curious about
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

This is not limited to moms in technical communication, but all moms that work. I don't regret that I took time off to be a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) for a few years during my son's early years, because if I hadn't, I wouldn't have figured out his developmental issues and gotten help properly. It was because I was at home at the time that he's doing well today. At the same time, family has always come first. I sacrificed growth in my career during those SAHM years, but it was worth it to see my child thrive.  

 

The author of this article makes excellent points that I completely agree with. Parents--both men and women--shouldn't be penalized for being a parent. Women get penalized more severely because more often they are the primary caretakers of children, although I know there are exceptions. For the most part, a lot of the parenting responsibilities fall on the moms. Over the years, fathers are taking on more responsibilities than before, but there are many families in which the responsibilities are not divided equally (my own included, but I've had my husband step up more over the years). Somehow in a country that likes to try to promote family values, we've lost that in favor of corporate dominance. It goes back to identity--are you a person who works at your job, or are you a person who IS your job? When I work for a company, I can be loyal to that company and its goals, but not at the expense of my family to get ahead.  The author's last paragraph is my own credo. And it really should be the credo of ALL parents, not just moms. 

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