The holidays can be a lonely time - especially if you are far away from your home and family. Send a card to a service member or veteran this holiday season. if you don't know one personally there are MANY groups that can help:
Here's a link to a 4.5 minute video of a Sergeant explaining what it means to him to get cards from the American public: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ULgnTOVmt0&feature=emb_logo
A Memo Reminds Me of...
Memo is short for Memorandum. No, it is not random. Memos are how we communicate with other people inside of our group, business, or other organization. Why not just write a business letter, you ask? The short answer is that business letters are for communicating with people OUTSIDE of our group, business or organization. Memo is for Inside, Letter is for Outside. Got it?
Okay, but what does a memo actually look like? How will I know I'm looking at one when I see a memo? Here is a sample in PDF format. Also, here is one you can view without Adobe reader:
How we communicate with others matters. In fact, it matters a lot. Even today, when VIDEOs are wildly popular, it's not always the best way to get your message to others. Writing is VERY powerful, but communicating in writing has its pitfalls. When you communicate in writing, you cannot convey all the information you might normally get across by speaking face to face, because your reader cannot see the person's face. They cannot get clues about your attitude towards them, and you can't get clues as to whether or not they understand what you are trying to say.
On the flip side, one barrier to persuading others is your age. Many grown ups will look at you and think, "You are just a kid. What do you know?" But in writing you can level the playing field. If you present yourself well using an accepted format, you can often get others to see your point, and win them over.
But what is an accepted format? There are 2 main formats: Full Block, and Modified Block.
This is an example of a letter done in the full Block Format. Here is another one. See how they are different? You could leave off the return address altogether if you were printing your letter on Letterhead stationery.
There are several parts of this letter that all have names and specific qualities. You can learn the Vocabulary of the business letter here.
Modified Block will follow...
Everyone knows how to sit, right? Sure, there's a chair, use it. But wait, it's not that simple.
I once got a job working at a prestigious financial institution as an auditor. I felt important wearing suits and making a big paycheck.
On my first day working at this company, I was REQUIRED to go to a training class to learn how to use my chair. Does that seem ridiculous? It did to me. I already know how to sit.
When I got to the training room, there were other people there, and a few of them were wearing suits, but most were wearing security uniforms, chef's or janitor uniforms. I thought for sure that I was in the wrong place, but the lady running the show insisted that I was right where I should be.
She began her presentation about the chairs, and how to use the different features and then I interrupted her again. I assured her that I already knew how to sit, thank you. I had been hired to do an important job, and I didn't understand why she was wasting my valuable time showing me how to operate a chair.
She was very patient with me, and let me know that the company had spent nearly $1,000 for each of the computer desk chairs that each employee was to use. With so many employees, the total cost had added up to over $1Million !! That IS a lot of money for a place to sit, so why did the company spend all that money? Were our leaders fools? Were they wasteful?
The answer was obviously, "No." The company had done research and found out that if they spent money on quality chairs, and then taught their people how to use them properly, then the employees wouldn't become as fatigued from their work.
They would avoid getting backaches, neck aches, and headaches. They would feel better at the end of the day, and they would not have to call in sick as much. They wouldn't miss work to go to doctor appointments or the chiropractor.
In fact, the company found that for the small price of the chairs and training, productivity went up. The staff got more done, they were absent from work less often, and they were also rewarded with lower health care costs. The company actually SAVED TENS of MILLIONS of DOLLARS in the years to follow.
So, how should you sit?
Watch this Youtube video of Keyboarding Do's and Don't's
Check out the Ergonomics Web pages at Cornell University
Here is how WebMD says you should arrange your work space when keyboarding to avoid pain or injury.
Think you got this? See how you do with the Cornell Ergonomic workstation survey HERE in PDF format.
Yep, one of these days you are going to have to get a job. Hopefully a job that does NOT require a paper hat. But if they don't give you a uniform to wear, then what SHOULD you wear? Nowadays, business casual is usually the answer. But that means different things in different parts of the country, and different things from one business to another. How to navigate this? Here's some help:
Here's a game I made to practice what is / is NOT business casual for a Man.
Here's a game I made to practice what is / is NOT business casual for a Woman.
And here's a game I made to practice what is / is NOT business casual when it comes to jewelry.
Everyone likes to get an award. And achievements are just awards that you can work towards getting. I'm sure you are aware of achievements in your favorite video games. We are going to set up levels of achievement here that we can all strive to accomplish, and I want you to be deeply involved in developing what kinds of awards you can earn.
Not just what achievements you can earn, but also what the awards will look like. We can't pass out a golden cup trophy to everyone who gets something done, but we can give you a badge. Think of Boy Scouts, or Girl Scouts; you earn merit badges for meeting some guidelines in camping, or cooking, or showing your skills in first aid for example.
Let's figure out what achievements we would like to be able to earn, and then work to design what those badges will look like.
Here are a few tools to organize our ideas about what achievements we should make available to earn:
MindMap that is already started. How can we make it better?
Here are some tools to create the image of your badge:
Computers are really useful because we con connect other devices, machines and gadget and personalize our computer to suit our own needs. How does that stuff fit together? There is some standardization in connections (in computer speak we call them ports).
Here are a couple of simple ways to practice connecting (in your mind) how things are connected to your computer!
A picture is worth a thousand words. But we often struggle with deciding what format to use to save that picture. "There are a ton of choices, and I'm not sure which format to use and when/why."
Physics professor Rick Matthews of Wake Forest University has some great pages to help us see the distinctions. His web page Digital Image File Types Explained is very informative and has great examples embedded in the page that demonstrate the differences in image clarity/quality as well as file size, too.
Designer and blogger Jennifer Farley published this article "GIF, PNG, JPG. Which One To Use?" that also does a great job of explaining the differences between the popular web formats, and with examples to demonstrate visually the quality (and transparency) as well as the file size.
Describing things can take a lot of words. and talking Tech is no different. We use a lot of very specific vocabulary to describe computers as well as their components and functions. Here is a fun puzzle to practice your vocabulary in a new way: Computer Vocabulary Puzzle. Sorry, Mac users. It's in Flash. :(
A few years ago I was watching TV and a commercial came on. It talked about how dependable Chevy trucks are. They showed trucks with tires spinning in slow-motion over rocks and mud - the Chevy truck just kept going - It seemed nearly unstoppable! Then to reinforce the point a graph flashed onto the screen. It showed a side by side comparison of how many trucks are "still on the road;" operational 10 years after they were made. That graph looked like the one you can see here on the left. It shows 3 bars, the tallest is on the left, and that is Chevy. That shows Chevy to be OBVIOUSLY better than the other two puny bars. They aren't even close. But look more closely. See what's wrong? Click here to discuss it.
Projects create a playground where we can examine problems and situation which cause us to put in to action all the Math, Science, and English learning that we do in our other classes.