BlogElevated Followup

This post is long overdue. I have what I think are some very good reasons. One is technical, the keyboard on my laptop decided it was a good time start flaking out. You never realize how important the ‘v’ key is until you have to use the virtual keyboard every time you want to paste something. If you remember the book “The World According to Garp” you may remember that Garp got his name. Slowly, one-by-one, the keys would stop working. Next came the ‘t’, then the ‘5’…you get the picture. So I had to buy a logitech bluetooth keyboard which I am still adjusting to.

On Sunday night, after the Blog Elevated conference ended, I wrote some of the main takeaways from the conference regarding my talk. Things to work on, questions I got from people, and so on. So that was my writing for that night.

BlogElevated Flipboard talk

Dino and I take a selfie after our talk. Such a polite dinosaur!

But the real-time kill take-away came from the speakers themselves, and the people I met. All the speakers were real pros and it an honor to be selected to talk at this conference in their company. Each one gave you a lot to think about and how to improve your blogging game. You can take blogging as far as you want to go. The tools are there, and they are numerous.

Finally…it just so happens that this has been Linked-In‘s week of learning. All their courses are free this week. There are over 5000 of them from Lynda.com and others (i believe). And the dozen or so I’ve taken since Monday are great. I got Lynne signed up on Linked-In and she has been taking them also. You may notice the great graphics she is adding to our tweets.

My goals after leaving the conference were to learn to write a proper business plan and up my Search Engine Optimization (SEO) knowledge. I found some courses that were great for both of these. Lynne and I both have done courses together on Intellectual Property (IP) and Advertising. And these were short courses, anywhere from about 90 minutes to 3 hours. They also have full blown 30 hour or more in-depth learning. I will revisit these after I sign up for Linked-Ins for the 30 day free trial. I suspect I will become a regular of these classes tho and go ahead and pay the subscription. They are that good!

This new thirst for knowledge and learning was the result of the inspiration I gained at the Conference. it was very inspiring to meet the everyday people of all kinds who have taken to blogging and achieved success at some level. It is true grass roots entrepreneurship. After being immersed in the atmosphere for two days, while shopping at Costco, I found myself looking at the people and thinking, she could be a blogger, or her, or him etc, etc..

Big thanks to Lisa Stauber and Bobbie Boyd for all their knowledge, energy and efforts in putting this all together. They are amazing women. As were the people who spoke and attended this Blog Elevated Conference. By the way, did I mention I spoke on using Flipboard for blogging. Here’s a link to the magazine I created for the conference. Enjoy…http://flip.it/U2GB1t or you can see the magazine embedded in our blog as one of the exercises from my talk. Leave a comment if you’d like….Mark

Day1-BlogElevated

Day 1 of Blog Elevated is in the books (at least for me, others are enjoying a night at the beautiful South Shore Harbour Resort and Conference Center) so

South Shore Harbour, Resort and Conference Center

South Shore Harbour, Resort and Conference Center

I thought I would give a quick update of my experience today. After getting my badge and goody bag from the friendly folks at the front desk, I proceeded to the conference room. Looking around, I saw Stephanie Manley of CopyKat Recipes. I sat down by her and she immediately wanted to know about Flipboard. She set up her Flipboard account as I watched. It was a good thing too, as I’d forgotten some parts of the setup process. That’s what happens when you live in a Flipboard house, you’ve forgotten some of the basic setup stuff. I also created a magazine for BlogElevated People on Flipboard and flipped a few of the profiles of people sitting at the table to show how easy it was.

Sharon Hines gave the General Session talk of encouragement about staying with your blog for the right reasons. Kelly and Andy Marzka of Adthrive.com talked about the growing importance of using video in your blog to achieve success nowadays.

lunchLunch was an amazing Roast beef sandwich as I talked with a guy from a competitor of Flipboard. We discussed the state of print media and how apps like Flipboard are the future of publishing, as long as there is content generated to flip. After lunch, I ran into two of the Houston social media power players (actually social media anywhere power players)

Madalyn Sklar

my selfie with Madalyn

in Madalyn Sklar of #TwitterSmarter and Eric Tung of ericttung.com . Then Alice and Randall Chase www.thethrillofthechase.com talked about the importance of networking and collaboration and getting things in writing at the beginning. Good advice!

Eric Tung

Me with Eric Tung. I’m the one in the cool glasses.

We then broke for Breakout sessions. Eric gave an amazing talk on streaming video (or so I heard). I sat in Stephanie’s talk about work process flow. Then another break before wrapping up talks on Marketing Savvy by Lisa Stauber while in the other room was a talk by a panel of women using Instagram.

After another Study Session, it was time for me to head and get ready for Day 2. Learned a lot, and met some amazingly talented and hard working bloggers. If you follow us on twitter, you already saw all this. I’ll let you know how the #Flipblogger talk goes.

 

BlogElevated!

Big News! We are honored to have been invited to give a Breakout Session talk at the upcoming BlogElevated Conference in Houston next weekend, Oct 21-23.
BlogElevatedMark will be speaking on how we use Flipboard for our blog. As you may know, we are big fans of Flipboard and have gotten featured by them and their founder even mentioned us during a talk at the Cannes-Lion Conference.

blogelevated-logo

So how did we get here? We’re not social media experts, just a mom and dad blog about life with an Autistic teen. I’ve been a fan of Flipboard since I first saw it when I got my first iPad. It was a beautiful way to read news, but that was all… or so I thought. One night a little over a year ago, I noticed the hashtag #FlipboardChat (conducted by @FlipboardClub) on twitter and was curious. I sat in on some of the chats, introduced myself, but really didn’t have much to contribute. Then I started to learn that Flipboard had become a way for everyone to make their own magazines with their own content. This was amazing! I found out all the different sources of media you could use besides websites, you could also ‘flip’ photos, video, sound and GIF’s. Soon Lynne and I and even Peyton were making magazines on all kinds of subjects.

Fast forward and we are starting this blog. I had always wondered just how easy or hard it would to use a system like WordPress and dived in. I found out that it is easy to put up a blog, putting up a blog right is hard. I joined a Meetup Group – Houston WordPress Meetup, hosted by John Peterson and Rick Ankrum. I have always tried to be involved in User Groups and Meetups are the modern-day equivalent. We would meet in a restaurant side room and discuss all things WordPress. Again, I didn’t have much to offer, except some noticed that I was embedding Flipboard magazines into my blog. Those familiar with Flipboard at the blog meet up, wanted to know how to do this, why we did it, and what kind of results we got. It got me to thinking about putting together a talk for the group.

A power blogger named Stephanie Manley was talking about her very successful blog, CopyKat.com, a site that gives recipes for making meals like those at your favorite restaurants. (I’ve tried several and they are GOOD!) Stephanie showed us all kinds of ways to increase traffic and even monetize our blogs, as she had been doing it for about 20 years. Also in attendance was Lisa Stauber, one of the cofounders of BlogElevated, a local blogging group. They also had a twitterchat called #BlogElevated and invited to join in. I found this chat to be very helpful on filling in the blanks in some things I needed to do to improve our blog. The members were very helpful and giving of their time and knowledge as they had all been new once. Of course, I wasn’t the only newbie sitting in either so there were lots of ideas flying around.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I saw a tweet from @BlogElevated about the upcoming conference. I asked if they would like to have me talk about Flipboard, but wasn’t really sure they would take me up on it. But they did and I am furiously preparing a talk on how to use Flipboard in your blog. This teaches two lessons: 1. Try something new, like a twitter chat…you never know where it will lead. 2. It never hurts to ask. All they do is say no, and it might lead to greater opportunities. We’ll keep you posted.

See Also: What is Flipboard and Why You Should Care

Mike McCue (Flioboard CEO) at Cannes-Lions

If You’ve Met One Child with Autism, You’ve Met One Child with Autism

Denied Followup

The Houston Chronicle reports that School Superintendents in both Dallas and San Antonio are questioning the arbitrary target goal of 8.5% of students receiving special needs treatment.
“I was surprised to see (the special education percentage) so low,” said Hinojosa (DISD), who previously worked as a superintendent in Georgia. “I’m used to that number being higher.” It is estimated that up to 250,000 children are being deprived of special needs attention based on the target goal and the national average. We can only hope that Houston’s new Superintendent, Richard Carranza, recognizes this deficiency and joins with other superintendents around the state to remedy this folly of a an unacknowledged policy.

Read Brian Rosenthal’s followup story here:
Dallas, San Antonio superintendents call for end to state’s special education enrollment target

Link to original Investigative Reports:

A CHRONICLE INVESTIGATION 

Denied: How Texas keeps tens of thousands of children out of special education
Texas Standard.org Texas is Keeping Tens of Thousands of Children Out of Special Education

DENIED! Education

The Houston Chronicle published an investigative piece yesterday that everybody, especially followers of this and other autism related resources should read. They have removed their paywall for this article, which has the ominous title DENIED. In it, Brian Rosenthal lays out the evidence that Texas is finagling (to put it mildly) admittance into it’s special needs programs in order to meet a self-imposed quota. As many as 250,000 special needs students are being deprived of the resources they need to reach their full potential. While the National average for special needs students per school district is somewhere around 13%, Texas has discovered the methods to maintain a number around 8.5%, or so they claim.

Houston Chron: Denied

Since we can only speak on what we know personally and we homeschool with an emphasis on learning and not just passing tests, I can only cite a few examples of the public school system. One kid that we bowled with could only speak in short syllable sentences and could not tie his shoes, yet received a High School diploma. Another was given the answers to the tests beforehand to study to help his progress. And yet another was encouraged to deny their daughters autism and dismiss it as merely learning delayed.

Please take the time to listen to Brian in this podcast and then dive deeper into the story here.

Thank you Brian, The Houston Chronicle and all who helped compile this important piece of journalism, including the educators who cooperated.  We welcome your thoughts…Mark

Sources: Houston Chronicle:
A CHRONICLE INVESTIGATION 

Denied: How Texas keeps tens of thousands of children out of special education
Texas Standard.org Texas is Keeping Tens of Thousands of Children Out of Special Education

Homeschooling with Flipboard

Flipboard & Technology for the #Homeschooler by Mark Simpson