Trending December 2023 # How Eating Together Benefits Co # Suggested January 2024 # Top 13 Popular

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Increased engagement

Taking time to push pause on your goals and transition to rest time doesn’t just benefit you; it helps your company, too. A study published in the journal Cognition showed that performance tends to decline over the course of a task. One way to counteract this is by taking breaks. By pressing pause a few times throughout the day, including at lunch, you will actually have an easier time remaining committed to — and engaged in — a task.

Legal meal and rest break requirements

United States federal laws do not actually require meal breaks. However, there are federal laws in place regarding pay and breaks in general. Meal and rest break laws vary by state.

Federal law requires break time to be paid if any of the following statements is true:

A break is less than 20 minutes.

The employee works through their break (such as working through lunch). 

State law requires paid breaks.

Perks of eating lunch together at work

It seems clear that the benefits of communal meals go beyond firefighters into the corporate world. While you may be tempted to eat at your desk and catch up on your work or even your social media scrolling, there are good reasons to hang out at the group table:

You get to take a break and relax. Of course, you can do this on your own, but you will take a more fruitful break away from your desk with no email notifications pinging and no desk phones ringing. You do better work when you focus fully on your tasks, not when trying to straddle working and eating at once. Plus, if you feel like you have to eat at your desk, you will build up resentment that can carry over into the rest of your day, dragging down your performance.

You’ll build social relationships. If you only talk to your co-workers about work, you don’t get to know them. Lunchtime is the perfect opportunity to chitchat about families, hobbies and interests. It is also the best time to learn what your co-workers know about office politics, personalities, and so on.

Social interaction brings the team closer together. Personal connections make working together not only more pleasant, but also easier and more productive. This is one of the reasons that some companies provide free or subsidized food to employees. Some companies go the healthy route, while others offer what the workers prefer, healthy or otherwise.

It’s a great networking opportunity. Get to know the finance analyst, for instance, or be there when the boss drops by the lunch table. Practice your elevator speech on the intern if you must, but stick to non-work topics for the most part.

Free meals as a return-to-office perk

Prior to the pandemic, giants like Google provided employees meals from the famous Google buffet. Other tech companies like Asana boasted similar perks, such as three nutritionally balanced meals per day available at the office. With rising costs and employees’ increased interest in remote work, however, many companies have modified or eliminated these benefits. Others are offering them for the first time.

Reduced financial strain for employees

A January 2023 PYMNTS Connected Economy report found that 51 percent of employees work in hybrid roles, while 35 percent go into the office every day. 

Eager to get more employees back in the office, Google reinstated some of the perks workers received prior to COVID-19, such as free massages, transit and food. The effort to provide onsite meals is one strategy more employers are using to reduce the impact of adapting to a new routine.

In a recent survey from corporate catering company ezCater, 81 percent of leaders said that offering free meals and snacks was the best incentive to bring people into the office, with seven out of 10 employees indicating that free meals made them more likely to return to onsite work.

Key Takeaway

Twenty-nine percent of employees say they enjoy their work more if their employer offers free lunch, according to ezCater findings.

If employees live relatively close to the office, free meals and snacks can help counteract the increased cost of gas and public transportation necessary to get to the office. By providing meals onsite, employers can eliminate the time employees must spend preparing meals at home. They can also decrease an employee’s need to leave the office and spend even more on gas and restaurant meals.

Increased employee retention

Catrin Lewis, head of global engagement and internal communications at Reward Gateway, pointed out that a sponsored lunch or breakfast will find its way onto social media and provide a nice boost to the company image. Focus on a theme and use the meal to encourage a volunteer endeavor (which means even more team-building and bonding opportunities for the staff) or as a time to explain and absorb new policy changes or company news.

The ezCater study also showed that employees are 64 percent more likely to consider a new employer if free meals are offered. In a competitive recruiting environment, free meals can make a difference. 

Although Google and other companies offering complimentary meals may not require employees to eat together or take a break to eat, collaboration guru Tammy Erickson noted the tremendous benefits of enhanced collaboration, including connecting previously unrelated ideas and co-creating products, services and experiences. Shared meals and other forms of employee engagement contribute to a collaborative environment.


If your business can’t offer free meals regularly, schedule them around times of high stress, such as your busiest sales week.

The impact of workplace meals

The way we work — and the way we view work — has changed drastically in the last few years, but the benefits of sharing a meal with colleagues remain strong. Encouraging collaboration with complimentary on-site meals can increase productivity while simultaneously reducing the personal time and costs associated with heading back to the office. When you consider today’s competition for talent and employees’ hesitancy to return to work, the opportunity to enjoy a meal together may have a bigger impact than ever before.

Additional reporting by Adam Uzialko.

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Curbing Eating Disorders, Not Appetite

Curbing Eating Disorders, Not Appetite Eating disorders are common on college campuses. Events this week will help educate students about the dangers of disordered eating.

“Close living situations and the unique social structure of college life can contribute to the contagious nature of eating disorders, where unhealthy dieting practices are modeled, learned, and even admired by friends,” Quatromoni says. “At the same time, maintaining secrecy and hiding an eating disorder may be much easier at college than in a family home with daily parental supervision.” 

People who suffer from eating disorders often have little self-confidence and compare themselves to others, according to Quatromoni, and the pressure to be thin is very strong.

“Most people blame the environment, the media, or the anti-obesity prejudice, but a lot of what I see is internally driven,” she says. “People with eating disorders are highly self-critical, and they judge and evaluate themselves harshly. Their thoughts about themselves are chronically negative, rarely positive or supportive.”

“At college we live and interact with peers on a more frequent basis, making us extra aware of body images,” says Chin. “Individuals react to these pressures in different ways, but the pressure to be thin is very prevalent in contemporary society.”

Nationally, diagnosed eating disorders have risen dramatically over the past few decades. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, about 10 million women and about a million men suffer from such disorders as anorexia nervosa and bulimia. Millions more struggle daily with binge-eating disorders.

“Prevalence rates are skyrocketing,” Quatromoni says. “There has been a tripling in the incidence of bulimia alone among women ages 10 to 39 in just five years, and rates are also rising among men.”

Despite these statistics, only a small percentage of those affected get adequate treatment. “Research dollars dedicated to improving our understanding and treatment of eating disorders are woefully insufficient,” says Quatromoni. “People with eating disorders often suffer in silence for many years because of the stigma associated with them and because eating disorders are so poorly understood. What starts as an innocent and well-intentioned diet can propel an individual into a lifetime of emotional and physical pain.” 

Eating disorders can be treated through education, intervention, proper therapy, and ongoing support. “There is a clear message of hope that needs to be spread. People affected by eating disorders need information and insight to recognize the warning signs,” says Quatramoni. “They need to know that they are not alone and that help is available. We need to break down barriers to treatment.”

Today a panel of speakers, including a family therapist, a sports psychologist, and a nutritionist, will discuss various aspects of eating disorders; another speaker will discuss her personal struggle with the issue. The lecture will be held at in SAR Room 101 at 6:30 p.m.

From Saturday, February 24, to Sunday, March 4, a jeans donation drive will remind students to be comfortable with their own genes. This event is aimed at persuading students to think twice about trying to change their bodies to fit fashion trends and unattainable beauty standards. Donation boxes will be available in the main residence halls, and all the jeans collected will go to charity.

On Friday, March 2, a diet-free day, called Fearless Friday, will encourage students to forgo the dieting constraints they often place on themselves for beauty.

Meghan Noé can be reached at [email protected].

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Exclusive Interview With Lokesh Rao, Co

Metaverse is growing in a steadfast manner and it is the perfect place for new businesses to develop. Trace Network Labs is a complete decentralized protocol for enabling lifestyle for any multichain metaverse. With its help, you can create your personalized avatar to work, play and socialize in various metaverses. Your buddy avatar is made with standards that allow cross-chain movement to allow you to enter and interact in different metaverses. Analytics Insight has engaged in an exclusive interview with Lokesh Rao, co-founder, and CEO of Trace Network Labs

1. How have you seen the evolution of the industry? As you said that you have been here from the beginning, how has the growth been?

Ah, the journey has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. But, yes, I entered the blockchain industry in 2023 while building enterprise solutions using distributed ledger tech. Back then, the industry was pretty small with limited people. It was less of an industry and more of an exclusive club of people solving problems while using tech in the most democratic way they could.

From then on, I have been in the close vicinity of the industry before jumping full-fledged with Trace. I have observed the 2023/18 ‘crypto winter’ from close quarters and have seen thousands, if not more, of people, quit the crypto market for good.

The crypto bubble had popped but then, I believe it was a much-needed wake-up call for everyone in this anarchical industry. Governments started to take notice and regulations were laid down. Meanwhile, there has been a great shift in the industry, from being a speculators’ haven to being a builder’s play zone.

Now, blockchain solutions find themselves in most industries, redefining the status quo while crypto is

2. As the Founder/CEO of the company, brief us about yourself and your contributions to the company and the industry.

Sure! Before taking a plunge into the blockchain/crypto industry, I worked in the enterprise technology space for nearly 12 years. I collaborated with luxury fashion brands from all across the globe and helped them implement supply chain solutions. Then, as I mentioned before, I got involved with the blockchain space in 2023. So, from then onwards, I’ve been actively building solutions for brands and enterprises using blockchain technology.

Then, when I came across the concept of the metaverse, I was really fascinated and closely observed the developments in this space. So, in 2023, me and my business partner Sunil Arora came up with the idea of the Trace Network Labs to create a protocol that eases the transition of individuals and businesses into the metaverse. 

3. Kindly brief us about the company, its specialization, and the services that your company offers.

Trace Network is a decentralized lifestyle protocol for the metaverse. Of course, we all know by now that the metaverse is an umbrella term for virtual worlds built on the internet to stimulate and enhance real-world experiences. Even mundane activities like work, education, social interactions, and business events will be held within these virtual worlds and people are likely to spend a significant portion of their time in the metaverse. However, to enter the metaverse, people require digital avatars, which are realistic representations of themselves and which can be used to login into any metaverse. And as such, the need for lifestyle protocols arises.

At Trace Network, we allow people to create these virtual avatars of themselves through our signature product Buddy. The avatar is an NFT minted on the Polygon network and is created with a simple selfie of the user. It embodies the users’ unique personality traits and can be moved across different chains or used within various virtual worlds.

But that’s not all. We also understand that your virtual self needs to be as presentable as your physical self. So, we also have a lifestyle NFT marketplace called BLING. The marketplace essentially helps you build a digital wardrobe and features the best outfits and accessories that can be worn on your Buddy avatar.

Moreover, we also have an SDK that allows brands to bridge the gap between web2 and web3 by creating unique products for the metaverse. Eventually, we will be enabling brands to enter into the metaverse by setting up experiential stores for them to sell digital wearable NFTs and in the future, one can claim the physical products as well.

4. What is your biggest USP that differentiates the company from competitors?

I believe our unique selling point is the fact that we are a complete lifestyle protocol and among the first in the industry. This realm so far has had a few protocols that help build digital avatars and an almost negligible number of NFT marketplaces dedicated to fashion and lifestyle. Trace Network not only helps users build a realistic representation of themselves but also takes care of the vanity part of it by building a marketplace dedicated to digital fashion and lifestyle. I believe we provide a holistic solution for users to get ready for various events in metaverses. The uniqueness is in the NFTs which will be interoperable and compatible for different metaverse environments. Both BUDDY Avatar NFTs and their worn digital wearable NFTs will be agnostic to different metaverses on multiple chains. Eventually,  like how google login is for web2.0 applications, BUDDY avatar NFTs will be a login for web 3.0 metaverses and for our enabled experiential stores of different brands.

Apart from this, we also give users complete ownership of their avatars and dissolve our own involvement with their data and content.

5. Where do you see growth coming in for the sector?

The metaverse is the next step in the evolution of the internet and the younger generations of millennials and Gen z are already spending time in the metaverse. Experts believe that the metaverse will become the new source of entertainment, information, and interaction for the next generation. I recently came across a survey that stated that 75% of Gen z shoppers have purchased a digital item in a virtual world and over 60% of them think that popular brands should sell in the metaverse.

So, I believe this is where the growth for the industry will come from. The metaverse is a technological mammoth that can change the course of our world and when it becomes a reality, a significant portion of the population will become the metaverse residents. Whenever people sitting in different geographies would like to connect and collaborate with each other in a more immersive way without leaving their seats, they would jump into metaverses. For example, if you wish to watch a football game with your friends, you will simply be able to book seats in the metaverse and join with your avatars.  As such, the industry is poised for exponential growth. J P Morgan Chase believes that the metaverse is capable of generating over $1 trillion yearly, disrupting major world industries.

6. What are some of the challenges faced by your company today?

Okay! While the scope of growth for the metaverse is huge, it is still in its infancy. And despite the fact that the NFT- metaverse sector is reaching new heights every day, the bulk of people still disregard its potential and dismiss it as a passing fad. This is also true in the world of digital fashion. People don’t notice any immediate benefits of holding NFTs because the metaverse is still in its early phases. And without immediate benefits, they will find it hard to invest in the industry.

This, I believe, is the single biggest challenge for our company. We’re building digital avatars for the metaverse, in a time where virtual worlds and experiences are still limited. So, we need to find a way to circumvent people’s skepticism about the metaverse and NFTs and make people see the bigger picture.

7. What does your technology and business roadmap look like for the rest of the year? Also, a few words on the future ahead for the industry as a whole.

We at Trace Network, aim to create an entire ecosystem of products that will help users build their digital identities and navigate the metaverse. Our initial focus is on BUDDY and its successful launch. But soon after that, our NFT marketplace BLING will come to life and we also have plans for enabling experiential zones for the fashion and lifestyle industry, where people will be able to shop with their BUDDY avatars along with their family and friends. I remember the times when we used to go with family and friends shopping and make buying decisions together. Later, eCommerce replaced that experience with a convenient shopping culture. We will enable the same old experience and brand-customer connections keeping the convenience of eCommerce in our upcoming Experiential store’s concept for brands.

For the industry, on the whole, the future seems to be bright. Yes! There will be problems with initial take-off and creating awareness among people about the metaverse. However, with tech giants pouring in billions of dollars and the brightest minds of our world working on metaverse startups, this tech mammoth will soon be a reality.

Exclusive Interview With Dmitry Petrov, Co

As the machine learning market catches up with the competition, the ML engineers would need tools that can evolve beyond catering to the basic needs of an ML team, to make it easier and faster to develop models and enable collaboration. Iterative develops open-source tools for developers to build and deploy models to specialized software that can speed up the training process. Analytics Insight has engaged in an exclusive interview with Dmitry Petrov, Co-founder, and CEO of Iterative.

1. Kindly brief us about the company, its specialization, and the services that your company offers.

Iterative’s mission is to deliver the best developer experience for machine learning teams by creating an ecosystem of open, modular ML tools. Our tools are Git-native to bridge the gap between software engineering and machine learning so that these two sides of the ML to production pipeline can happen collaboratively, efficiently, and reproducibly.

2. Please brief us about the products/services/solutions you provide to your customers and how do they get value out of it

We build open-source tools that help ML engineers and data scientists automate their workflow and be more productive. DVC – Data Version Control – helps manage data and ML models and meld these two together with ML experiment tracking experience. ML engineers use DVC together with the Git source code version control system. CML – Continuous ML – is the way to use GPUs from clouds. It helps with ML-specific scenarios like using cheap spot instances for ML training and to recover jobs if they are terminated.

We believe in and support the open-source movement by contributing and maintaining modular open-source CLI tools for the greater ML/AI Community at whatever facet of the space, stage of the journey, or maturity level in which they find themselves.  Our SaaS product Iterative Studio, brings these open source tools together in a web UI that becomes the control center to drive collaboration, transparency, and efficiency among team members and leadership.

3. With what mission and objectives, the company was set up? In short, tell us about your journey since the inception of the company?

Iterative’s mission is to deliver the best developer experience for machine learning teams by creating an ecosystem of open, modular ML tools.  This mission was born out of the need for harmoniously joining the best practices of software engineering with machine learning projects that are driving a growing number of software applications today.  DVC (Data Version Control), the first tool of the suite, extends the versioning power of Git to the large and often unstructured datasets used in ML projects.  For the first time data, pipelines and experiments could be versioned reliably and reproducibly, supporting the data-centric movement and the growing need for data governance in ML projects. 

CML (Continuous Machine Learning), the next tool in Iterative’s lineup, provides CI/CD capability to ML projects.  This helps teams automate and orchestrate resources, whether in the cloud or on-prem.  The addition of TPI (Terraform Provider – Iterative) extends this functionality further, enabling the management of spot instances in multiple clouds to conserve resources when running large models.

MLEM, our latest tool, simplifies ML model deployment and is the basis of a full model registry, something many companies are working on in their ML teams.

We know that the one size fits all monolith platform will not work for all ML/AI teams. ML teams need flexible tooling that enables them to manifest their visions for their ML projects without the heavy lift of building that tooling from scratch. We aim to create these tools for them to allow them to iterate fast, use compute and people resources efficiently, enable cross-team collaboration, and provide as frictionless as possible deployment tools so that they can focus on solving their domain problems. We are building the tools to accomplish this task.

4. What is your biggest USP that differentiates the company from competitors?

Many competitors are building SaaS solutions that might satisfy the needs of data analysts and some data scientists, but ML engineers and researchers need an environment that is closer to a software development environment. ML engineers need command line, Git, CI/CD, IDE such as VScode, etc. This happens because ML engineers spend the majority of their time coding and we meet them where they are.

Some of our tools are GitOps-based, matching with software teams using Git as the source of truth for all applications. Information and versioning around ML models and experiments, data, artifacts, and hyperparameters, are all stored within an organization’s Git service. This GitOps approach aligns the ML model development lifecycle with that of an organization’s apps and services so they get faster time-to-market with transparent collaboration between software development and ML teams.

5. What are the key trends driving the growth in AI/Machine Learning?

Healthcare is a huge driver of AI/ML these days. Healthcare companies, as well as hospitals, are working on computer vision-based solutions to better treat diseases. AI significantly increases the level of automation in manufacturing as well as logistics. Computer vision is becoming an essential part of inspection and quality control. The financial industry, fintech, and banking were always big consumers of AI and this trend won’t disappear.

6. What are Iterative’s company and business roadmap like for 2023?

We’ll be continuing to develop new tools for ML engineers and data scientists, with a couple of new ones being released later this year. On the commercial side, we’ll also be continuing to add enterprise-grade features to meet the demands of AI- and ML-first organizations that use our tools. These will include additional security controls as well as features around data discovery/management and further development on our existing tool set. We’re the first to offer a data catalog around unstructured data for machine learning use cases and will continue to innovate around this as the AI and ML market matures in the next 5 years.

7. What are some of the challenges faced by Data Scientists today with respect to machine learning and modeling?

As the machine learning and modeling space are in a nascent stage, there aren’t established best practices or MLOps tech stacks for data scientists and organizations in general to emulate. A lot of the tools on the market today aren’t built with data scientists in mind – they focus more on business users. With this approach, the developer experience isn’t the best, and models under development are hampered and have a slower time to market.

8. What are your predictions regarding ML and MLOps over the next 12 months?

We predict a shift to a developer-first experience in ML. More integration of ML tools to development environments such as IDE, version control as well as GitOps-based ML model deployment systems. ML engineers will embrace more and more software development best practices. Data-centric AI is a big trend in ML model development. We expect that some of these solutions will be democratized and released as widely available open-source tools.

Seo Vs. Ppc: How They Work Together To Boost Your Business

You’ve heard the age-old question: If a tree falls in the forest but nobody is around to hear it, does it really make a sound?

The same could be said for your business online: If you invest in a web presence but nobody finds your business, does your web presence even exist?

If you want your business to exist online, digital marketing is your best bet. And some of the best digital marketing strategies help you get seen by people where they’re starting most of their searches for new businesses – on search engines like Google and Bing.

Many experts might say that you need one or the other – SEO versus PPC.

But, the reality is that you need both. Here, we’ll get into the SEO versus PPC debate to understand what each strategy is, how it works, and how SEO and PPC can work together to help you get even more customers and build your web presence.

What Is SEO?

To truly understand the SEO vs. PPC debacle, let’s first chat about SEO.

SEO stands for search engine optimization and is the practice of optimizing your web presence, including your website and offsite factors, to help you rank organically on Google and other search engines for relevant searches.

For example, if you’re a vet in Columbus, OH, you want your site to rank for a search like “vet near Columbus.”

Organic is another word for “unpaid,” so these are the results that show beneath paid search results on Google and can include the Google 3-pack results, featured snippets, and the rest of the organic results listed on the page.

Search engines use an algorithm that takes a lot of factors into consideration (we’re talking hundreds) when determining which search results to show for specific queries. With SEO, you’re optimizing for those factors so you can show up for relevant searches.

SEO entails both onsite optimizations — including the content on your site and the backend structure of your site – as well as offsite SEO factors like your listings, reviews, and social media sites.

Why SEO? 6 Benefits

SEO is a beneficial marketing strategy for a number of key reasons. Here are six benefits of SEO:

SEO Increases Your Brand’s Credibility

The higher you rank on search engines like Google, and the more often searchers can see you, the more credible your business seems. This is because people trust that Google and other search engines are providing them with the best results for their searches — which is partly why many searchers don’t go past the first page of Google.

SEO Is Free(ish)

You may spend some dough by partnering with an SEO agency to optimize your website to be easily searchable but you won’t be paying for the number of visits you receive or ongoing traffic as a result of your SEO efforts.

SEO Promotes Better Site Usability

In order to have better SEO results, your website needs to be in great shape, which is why SEO and website design go hand-in-hand. So, you basically get a two-for-one with SEO because optimizing your website for search engines enables it to become more user-friendly and easier to navigate with more readable and keyword-rich content.

Site traffic generated via organic searches translates into higher conversion rates for most sites. Why? Because in order to rank in search results for queries, your site and your content has to be relevant to that search.

SEO Has Sustained Success

Once you invest in an SEO strategy, it can take anywhere from three to nine months to start seeing success. But, that success is long-lasting because you’re putting in work to optimize the foundation of your website and your web presence and then continuing to build off that foundation with additional strategies.

So, it could take three months to start seeing some of your pages rank on Google, but you can continue ranking with minimal effort for many more months.

SEO Success is Self-Perpetuating

Once you start to rank high on search engines, it’s easier to continue ranking high and for other pages you publish to improve their rank. The better your rank, the more traffic you get, and the more traffic you get, the better your rank.

Related: See how your online presence stacks up with our website grader. 

What Is PPC?

Next up, let’s talk about PPC.

Related: We discuss the differences between SEO vs SEM here.

Why PPC? 5 Benefits

There’s a reason so many businesses run PPC campaigns. It’s a highly successful marketing strategy for a lot of reasons.

PPC Gets You on Top of Results PPC Has a Controllable Cost

Although PPC costs money, you’re completely in control of how much it costs. Your PPC cost will never exceed the budget you set at the beginning of your campaign, so you always know how much you’ll be spending for your PPC.

PPC Gives Quick Results PPC Is Highly Targeted PPC Is Easily Measured

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3 Ways SEO & PPC Work Together

Now that you understand the differences between SEO and PPC plus the benefits of each, let’s talk now about why the conversation shouldn’t be SEO versus PPC but rather SEO plus PPC.

Here are three huge ways SEO and PPC work together to help your business:

A Combined SEO + PPC Strategy Boosts Results

We already know that running a marketing strategy that encompasses multiple tactics is your best bet at reaching consumers across the web. So it’s no surprise that running SEO and PPC together can boost your results.

An SEO + PPC Strategy Gives You More Chances of Getting Seen

As mobile search becomes more popular, organic results are getting forced further and further down the small screen’s page. PPC gives you more real estate on the page so you have a better chance of attracting searchers to your site.

But that doesn’t mean you can discount organic results, either. In desktop or tablet search results, Google My Business listings appear on the right-hand side of search results and also impact how you appear in Google Maps results. Plus, Google often uses information pulled from websites to flesh out its featured snippets.

After searching “leaky faucet repair Columbus,” I received this featured snippet as a result.

Running a combined strategy that includes both PPC and SEO gives you a better chance of appearing multiple times on a single search results page for relevant searches.

Running SEO + PPC Gives You More Marketing Data

You might not always be able to see results like that, but if you’re working on a combined approach, there are opportunities to execute on trends that you’re seeing from your campaigns based on the comprehensive marketing data you’re able to collect from each strategy.

Throw Out the SEO Vs. PPC Debate & Get Started with Both Stephanie Heitman

Stephanie is the Associate Director of Content for LocaliQ and WordStream. She has over 10 years of experience in content and social media marketing and loves writing about all things digital marketing. When she’s not researching the latest and greatest marketing news and updates, she’s probably watching reality TV with her husband, reading, or playing with her two pups.

Other posts by Stephanie Heitman

It Takes Partnerships To Make Changes: Working Together Works

I’m always surprised when I speak with people who expect schools to innovate without support from the outside. Every innovative program I have been involved with has included strong partnerships with businesses, nonprofit organizations, and other community-based organizations. With a shared vision and purpose, partnerships between schools and the community have resulted in some powerful programs and practices.

My personal interests have led me to partnerships with many organizations in the following ways.

Task: Engage teachers, students, and their families in geographic-information systems (GIS) to enhance their science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills and develop a global awareness of the relationships among human health, the environment, community-planning efforts, entrepreneurship, and their own ability to become involved in community development and renewal.

I received funding to develop a GIS curriculum for middle school students. Using Garmin eTrex global-positioning-system receivers, we conducted a workshop led by a GIS expert in which middle school teachers were given the GPS devices and directed to use them on a scavenger hunt. The photos of the hunt show everyone totally engaged; the positive feedback was almost overwhelming.

I’ll be happy to email the GIS curriculum I have developed to anyone who is interested.

Task: Improve the design and implementation of virtual courses that educate students about how to recognize their own cognitive-processing styles through experiential learning, demonstrations, and experimentation to master subject matter.

I designed projects around three styles of learning: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. I then color coded these projects and had students choose the one that would best help them demonstrate the skill of mastery. At least once during the year, each student would have to do a project from one of the other two colors, forcing them out of their comfort zone and thereby allowing them to grow in these areas, too.

Task: To support innovative brain-research curriculum that teaches students the effects brain problems have on behavior and the important role nutrition plays in the health of their brains, which subsequently influences their ability to think and make intelligent choices.

Psychiatrist and brain-imaging specialist Daniel G. Amen worked with thirty-eight ninth graders at an alternative school in Orange County, California, to teach them about their brains. He held twelve student-information sessions (one hour each) with a hands-on activity (forty-five minutes each) and digitized his experiences in the classroom.

As the project director on a grant, I sponsored workshops after the curriculum had been tested for preservice and master teachers to learn about the science of the brain and how children integrate knowledge from their environment. Amen now offers this curriculum with videos of his classroom instruction and presentations of the research material.

Task: To model earth science and natural science curricula that highlight the global importance, impact, and urgency of preserving the fragile ocean, land, and space ecosystems of the Hawaiian Islands; one curriculum will use GIS handheld technology and Internet software to help Hawaiian students identify sacred sites and preserve them in their communities.

I have written several grants in this area that, because of government budget cuts, were not funded; however, I am going to implement this program on Oahu this year with a set of archaeologists who will work pro bono with teenagers.

I look forward to reading about your experiences in any of these areas. As an educator, I like to hear of new ideas, and I love to share them. Tag! You’re it — it’s your turn to talk.

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