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A First-Timer's Summit: Are There Fire Breathers and Sword Fights at the Summit?

I will admit, I haven’t been to a big conference in a while. The last big one I attended was almost a decade ago....At this point, I don’t know what to expect at the STC Summit.

Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Here's my second installment to my series, "A First-Timer's Summit" on STC's Notebook blog! Enjoy! 

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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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Why Typography Matters For Better Visibility - Usability Geek

Why Typography Matters For Better Visibility - Usability Geek | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Expertise in web typography requires creativity that comes with experience but the most important aspect is always ensuring to maintain content legibility
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Rick Sapir shared this on Google+. I became interested in typography more after seeing the movie, "Helvetica" at an STC Summit event this past year. I never really thought about it THAT much, but it really does make a difference! Read this article for some perspective. 

--techcommgeekmom

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Top 10 Ways Successful Technical Women Increase Their Visibility

Top 10 Ways Successful Technical Women Increase Their Visibility | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it

Increasing your visibility is important for advancing your career. Below are ten things that highly successful women say they do in order to increase their visibility throughout the company, industry, and technical community.

Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

NJIT's Continuing Education program posted this on its Facebook page, even though this article came out a few years ago. The information is still applicable today. I know I've tried to follow these guidelines since I graduated from grad school. In my opinion, these rules apply to both women and men who want to get ahead. Take a look. 

--techcommgeekmom

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4 ways to size up your client's culture

4 ways to size up your client's culture | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
I appreciate all the clients I work with. Each one is unique, with its own corporate culture. Often, that culture makes it easier to work with the client. But sometimes it erects obstacles that we ...
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Larry Kunz has written a great article here, which in my view is about a company views both its internal customers as well as its external customers. He describes some bad positions at the very end of the article, and I can say that I've played every one of those parts (even the unlucky minion) way too often. I'm fortunate that I'm in a job that none of those descriptions are applicable. Corporate culture is all about attitude, and if it doesn't jive with yours, then you need to find something else. 

--techcommgeekmom

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Good Karma! | LinkedIn

Good Karma! | LinkedIn | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Everyone--men and women--should read this article on LinkedIn by Mika Brzezinski from MSNBC's Morning Joe. I have not read her book, but her gut reaction was the same as mine--and I'm not a SME on the subject the same way she is. I was raised in a somewhat progressive way, in that I was raised to believe that girls could do anything boys could do, just as feminism was really starting to pave the way. But reality would hit when I wouldn't get a job because I was a woman, or get the same pay as a guy. I wouldn't say that's the case with the job I have right now, thankfully. But when I heard that the CEO of Microsoft--whom I had high hopes for--made a statement like this, I was heartbroken. 

 

It's hard enough already to encourage women to have STEM-related jobs, and this was as big of a discouragement as it gets, from one of the biggest tech companies in the world. I'm like Mika in this article--I don't buy his retraction. He had plenty of time to prepare a speech, and this is what he came up with, even if the talk was partially improvised. Women are the ones buying computers as much as men are. Women even make up a larger part of the gaming world buying Microsoft's Xboxes. Seriously, Satya Nadella, did you really think an apology was enough? Nope, it's going to take a lot more to keep women down. 

 

There seems to be a resurgence in defining feminism these days, and it's that it's not all about "girl power" but about "people power"--making sure that men are not demeaned just as much as women are demeaned. True equality. An easy place to start is equal pay for equal work, and equal opportunity to earn the right to ask for a raise. 

 

This is a hot topic, no doubt, but one that hits close to home for me, so I have to say that I agree with Mika's analysis of the situation. Her gut reaction was the same as mine, as I'm sure it was for a lot of women in tech. 

--techcommgeekmom

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Everything else stops at Stuart Country Day School for Hour of Code

Everything else stops at Stuart Country Day School for Hour of Code | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
For one hour on December 12, 2013, all other activity came to a halt as Middle and Upper School girls at Stuart Country Day School, and their faculty, took part in the Hour of Code. If you walked the ...
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

This is the school where I went for most of my childhood and teen years. I wish we had this way back when! It's good to see initiatives aimed at girls to do more STEM activities, and proud that my alma mater is leading the way. I know I would've love to learn code back then!
--techcommgeekmom

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‘Gamification’ Is Dead, Long Live Games For Learning | TechCrunch

‘Gamification’ Is Dead, Long Live Games For Learning | TechCrunch | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Our task is to show how learning is already very much like a game and to draw out those gamelike qualities.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

What do you think? Do you think that gamification is dead? I was struck most by the statement made in the quote from this article above--"Our task is to show how learning is already very much like a game and to draw out those gamelike qualities." Life isn't a game, but we find ways to make decision making challenges into something that fuels the mind instead of draining the mind when possible. This article provides an interesting perspective on the gamification "fad" and where we need to go from here using some of the same principles but in a different light. 

--techcommgeekmom

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Top 5 Tips To Effectively Use Humor in eLearning - eLearning Industry

Top 5 Tips To Effectively Use Humor in eLearning - eLearning Industry | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
How Can eLearning Profeesionals Effectively Use Humor in eLearning? Check the Top 5 Tips To Effectively Use Humor in eLearning!
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Humor is harder to write that one would think. I remember someone referring to me as a tech comm humorist at one time. I welcomed the title, but it's not something that I intentionally set out to be. Part of what is explained in this article is storytelling, and I try to do that in my own way, with my own sense of humor showing now and then. You have to be careful with humor, but if employed well in any writing, it can make a big impact. Read this article for a few guidelines that will help not only in e-learning, but also with any tech comm writing. 

--techcommgeekmom

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The Culinary Model of Web Design

The Culinary Model of Web Design | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
If you want to create a meal that nourishes and satisfies, and can even become a memorable experience, you hand-pick fresh, honest ingredients and combine them with care. It’s how the “mothers,” the great women chefs of Lyon, earned accolades and loyal customers—and it’s a great model for web design, too.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Rick Sapir on Google+ turned me on to this article, and it's brilliant! The author has created an incredibly delicious analogy comparing web design and culinary skills. Whether you are an amateur cook, food enthusiast, or neither, you'll find this article enlightening. I highly recommend it! Read it now! 

--techcommgeekmom

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Why Content Strategists Shouldn't Lose Sight of Actual People

Why Content Strategists Shouldn't Lose Sight of Actual People | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
It seems that many marketers on the whole may struggle to understand the discipline of content strategy. So a few content strategists were asked to get thoughts on the subject from Facebook content...
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

I had the chance to first meet Jonathon Colman on Twitter, and then in person in an elevator at the 2014 STC Summit after giving his fantastic keynote speech there. He's a really awesome guy. I like his insights, and that he truly brings everything back to the key of all technical communications: the audience. 

 

Read this excellent interview/article by Jonathon. He haspresented great insights here that all content strategists and technical communicators need to pursue going forward in the industry. 

--techcommgeekmom

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Peter Gabany's curator insight, October 3, 11:41 AM

Plan your content and content strategy wisely.

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Darin L. Hammond on Writing Style and Einstein

Darin L. Hammond on Writing Style and Einstein | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Albert Einstein was a simple man who believed in the scientific principle of Occam's Razor , paraphrased as:   "when you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the...
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Another gem from Darin Hammond. I love the Princeton connection in this! Well, I live in the suburbs of Princeton, after all, where there is Pi Day celebrating the number 22/7 and Albert Einstein's birthday, and I'm familiar with Cornell West's presence. But I digress...Darin's point is clear, and this point is especially important in technical writing, not just in blogging. If you can't explain a technical thing simply, then you need to think it through until you can. A presidential candidate once said something to the effect of, "If you can't explain the issues to your grandmother at the kitchen table, then you need to learn the issues better." I'm paraphrasing here, but you get the idea. Read the article. 

--techcommgeekmom

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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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Terri Rice's curator insight, September 24, 5:25 PM

Danielle, you are correct to believe this post is good advice. Clark's opinion about creating something worthwhile means putting in the time and effort to research the science behind the practice is what '"best practices" means. I am glad to see this in print. Now how can we get this in front of more management teams? Let's face it, faster is not always better and the tortoise is always better prepared. Great stuff. Keep it comin' Danielle. And thanks, Clark for the links provided in your post.

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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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Kevin Cuckow's curator insight, October 4, 4:48 AM

And if we look at it the other way. British and Australians speak a totally different language than the North Americans.

 

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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, 9:40 AM

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

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5 reasons why content development vendors have it wrong - Sharon Burton, customer experience consultant

5 reasons why content development vendors have it wrong - Sharon Burton, customer experience consultant | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Content development vendors don't have the workflow right. Here's my top 5 reasons why.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

My friend, Sharon Burton, is right on about this. Everything she explains here is what I've experienced, and in some cases, admittedly, I'm one of those who has to end up redoing everything because the SMEs don't understand the tools. Sometimes I don't understand the tools either, but I get by! Sharon has an interesting take on all of it. Read this article!

--techcommgeekmom

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Video Games as Learning Tools

Video Games as Learning Tools | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Video Games as Learning Tools
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

I saw that Darin Hammond found this and posted this on Google+, and I wanted to share it, too. The world is changing to one where digital literacy is just as important as traditional literacy, and it looks like they can work together. Read this. 

--techcommgeekmom

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How to write a blog post: A 9 step beginner's guide | LinkedIn

How to write a blog post: A 9 step beginner's guide | LinkedIn | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Another good how-to entry on how to blog. One of the points, I believe, has to do more with writing for a company. Since I write only for myself, I have no proofreader other than myself. But it's still a good pointer. I also agree with the commentary on length at the end of the article as well. Take a look. 

--techcommgeekmom

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montse's curator insight, October 16, 3:04 AM

A tenir en compte

CONETZAR's curator insight, October 20, 7:27 AM

¿Estás pensando en crear un blog? ¿No sabes cómo empezar y necesitas ayuda para publicar tu primer post? Aquí va una guía de 9 pasos para empezar a escribir en tu blog...

 

1. Elige un tema que te interese.

2. Busca y piensa en los puntos clave del tema que vas a tratar.

3. Busca y selecciona tus fuentes.

4. Desarrolla los puntos clave de tu tema y explícalos.

5. Revisa lo que has escrito.

6. Pide una segunda opinión.

7. Selecciona un título para tu post.

8. Publícalo. 

9. ¡Compártelo!

 

Y por último... Ten en cuenta la extensión de tu post. Lo recomendable es mantenerse en las 400-600 palabras. 

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"If You're Not Working, We Won't Hire You!" | LinkedIn

"If You're Not Working, We Won't Hire You!" | LinkedIn | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

I know this is a problem that afflicts many in the tech comm industry, even now. I can say that it was at least a year for me when I was looking for a full-time job, and I started looking covertly before I even got laid off (I could see the writing on the wall). I agree with many of the points Ms. Ryan points out. So many technical communicators really are multi-talented and can fill a space quickly. I've often said that employers are putting out wish lists rather than requirements now to weed people out, instead of seeing potential (like, I know X software, which is similar to the Y software you want me to learn--I could learn it in about 2-3 weeks if given the chance). Little things like that.  I find that people in tech comm are the most flexible because they have to be, yet HR doesn't understand how to see it that way. This is part of the reason that during my presentations of how to look for tech comm jobs that I suggest taking part-time positions. In some cases, it pays more than unemployment, and at least gives prospective employers a chance to see that you are still trying to work, even if it's just part-time. Sometimes, you come out with a new skill, or at least some skills don't get rusty long-term. 

 

It's unfair, but it is what it is. If you are looking for a job and have been looking for a while, take a look at this article. 

--techcommgeekmom

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Why Writing Well Could Mean a Higher Salary (No Matter What You Do)

Why Writing Well Could Mean a Higher Salary (No Matter What You Do) | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Your writing skills could be totally making or breaking your career, and you might not even know it.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

This article came my way from Craig Cardimon, who posted it on Google+.  This is an argument that I've made for a long time. While I am trained as a technical writer, and I suppose many would consider me a writer since I write my blog, I've never considered myself a writer. Even so, having taken the time to sharpen my writing skills has proven beneficial professionally for me, as I will often end up suggesting edits to content when I receive something that...well...is just poorly written, and is usually written by someone who is not a writer as described in this article). They are often grateful for my input, and I become the hero of the moment. I've often felt that taking the time to write well is truly a reflection of who you are. If you write poorly, it doesn't mean that you have bad ideas, but you aren't willing to take the time to put the effort in to be clear, concise, and cogent. If you write well, it shows a willingness to work hard towards communicating well to get the job done. It really does make a big difference. 

--techcommgeekmom

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11 Digital Media Shifts every CMO should know

11 Digital Media Shifts every CMO should know | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
11 Digital Media Shifts every CMO should know
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

My friend Nick Kellet, who is one of the co-founders at List.ly, has posted this fantastic article that compares at social media and media platforms. This article is truly a deep-dive look, so it'll take some time to get through, but definitely worth the read. Digital media, as he points out at the beginning of his article, is always changing and shifting, and I think he does a really great job in showing how it's currently shifting and how we need to change to adapt to the current mindset. If you work or are interested in social media-related work, this is a must-read. 

--techcommgeekmom

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9 Reasons You Should Know a Little HTML and CSS

9 Reasons You Should Know a Little HTML and CSS | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Take your tech skills to the next level and you'll be on your way to a more fulfilling career.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

I must wholeheartedly support this article, because I'm living proof of it! I learned the basics of HTML and CSS about 17 or 18 years ago, and it's SO easy! It's taken my career to a completely different level as a result. Even now, there are people who think I'm brilliant simply because I know how to fix a table in HTML to present correctly. (Here's the truth--I'm not brilliant at all! Good HTML tools and knowing basic coding is all that it is.) Would I call myself a developer as a result? Never! But, it does give me an advantage when working with developers that I understand just enough of what they do and how web pages work that I know when they are telling me the truth and when they are trying to fool me. As a technical communicator--or just ANYONE, in my opinion, should learn the basics, and this article gives some excellent reasons why. Like I said, I'm living proof of it! 

--techcommgeekmom

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Allison Kenney's curator insight, October 14, 9:01 AM

Another reason why all students need to learn how to code or even just a little.  

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Arduino Leaks a Peek of Their Upcoming 3D Printer

Arduino Leaks a Peek of Their Upcoming 3D Printer | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
The company will present their new Arduino Materia 101 at Maker Faire Rome next weekend.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Here's another new entry in the 3D printer world from Arduino. The price is also not too bad. Looks like 3D printers are starting to become more mainstreamed, so the prices are getting better and more people are getting into the game. Read this article about the latest one to join the many models out there. 

--techcommgeekmom

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Mark Thomas Johnson's curator insight, September 30, 8:44 AM

3d printers are quickly becoming a staple in creative offices in the last 3-4 years.

Peter Gabany's curator insight, October 3, 11:30 AM

This looks to be real fun - soon we'll have our StarTrek replicators and a good Romulin synth Ale

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Autism: Decoding Emotions Through Glass

Autism: Decoding Emotions Through Glass | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Ned Sahin is a neuroscientist and technologist with advanced degrees from MIT and Harvard, and an entrepreneurial background. His latest venture, Brain Power, is working on software and hardware to transform Google Glass into a tool to help children and families quantify and manage the challenges an...
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

While I didn't have the best experience with Google Glass myself, I've never said that it was not a good tool. I saw Google Glass promote this article on Google+, and by golly, it's worth a read. THIS is mobile learning at its finest. THIS is using technology used for the good of special abilities kids, specifically autistic kids. This article pushes all the right buttons for me. It's amazing what people can do with the right technology in their hands to make the world a better place! 

 

What do you think of this use of Google Glass/m-learning?

--techcommgeekmom

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17 Reasons to NOT Become a Technical Writer | Kingoranges.com

17 Reasons to NOT Become a Technical Writer | Kingoranges.com | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Do you really want to be a technical writer? Though it is one of the best paying professions, but you have to sacrifice a lot of your normal life to be the best.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

This is a great article by Ajay Narang. As Ajay points out, technical writing is not for the faint of heart! I think much of this list applies to technical communications as a whole. Can you relate to this list? Do you agree or disagree with some of these "sacrifices"? Let me know in the comments below. 

--techcommgeekmom

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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, 9:08 AM

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

Terri Rice's curator insight, September 19, 11:41 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.

Lucie Ongena's curator insight, October 2, 2:25 AM

Ca ne m'étonne pas vraiment. Ecrivez sur une tablette pendant plus de 2 minutes, et ça devient insupportable. Vive les PC.